Here is a thorough update on my situation starting on May 25th- to May 29th The purpose of this post is to keep everyone updated as well as I can and to allow people to be praying very specifically for Sarah and I.
A few days ago I created this quick update video to try and explain so please check it out.
Sunday morning I was barely able to breath and went to the ER with terrible back pain and jaw pain on my entire left side of face. I had crazy congestion and was coughing up a lot of junk.
I spent half the day in the ER explaining I have lung cancer and was being treated for pneumonitis. After getting a CT and chest X-ray, we compared the scans to the previous ones from April to find that it’s more likely that I actually have pneumonia, which had been masked by the treatment for pneumonitis. They put me on a bunch of antibiotics and we tried a few different painkillers. Dilaudid through an IV seems to be the winner at the moment, but only lasts an hour and means I have to stay admitted in order to receive it. I was also taking oral forms of narcotics but they haven’t provided any relief. I was unable to go an hour without an IV of dilaudid that night. However, in the morning my body stabilized a bit. So they sent me home Monday evening with some oral pain meds.
Turns out, those didn’t touch the pain at all, and Sarah and I went back to the ER Monday night around 1:30am with even more severe pain (evenings seem to be the ‘witching hour’…). I was given more IV dilaudid and admitted by 6:00 that morning. I’ve been in the hospital since then and have tried several different pain medications with no luck. The goal is to get me off the IV so I can go home with oral medication. I’ve met with a whole team of doctors several times, and dealing with all this has been one of the most difficult challenges of this season in my life. I’m tired and frustrated, but honestly at the same time I’m excited and enthusiastic about what God is doing in other parts of life.
My wife deserves the biggest trophy… from endless foot massages, trying to distract me from the fifth unsuccessful IV insert, theological discussions in the wee hours of the morning, to just being an encourager and holding my hand and helping ask the right questions, remembering all the 50 million drugs they have me on. Sarah is absolutely amazing and I love her so very much.
All of this madness falls on chaotic times. We are moving to the 160 on the 31st, Sarah is in her last week of school with the little girl who she has been caring for these last four years. She is moving back to Italy and we may never see them again, a sad harsh reality of this transient city. All this change is hard and I appreciate your prayers for Sarah. Oh yes it is also her birthday June 1st and I want to make sure she knows how amazing she is.
To all my SF friends and family, you have stood firm with Sarah and I in all of this. I cant even begin to express how important you are all to me. This is community and I am so proud to be “in it” with you.
Something that has been on my heart lately are these words, “this too shall pass.” Not sure if this is a real quote or not. But as each new pain experience comes I have been coping by comparing my own pains of those from the past or even those that I have not felt. Being able to compartmentalize my pain has been helpful. I often use humor or story to pull myself out of painful situations and I remember learning in an intro to psych class that this is not always been the best way to cope but it is working. I may do a vlog on this later.
While here I have spent a lot of time on youtube, hearing some crazy stories and some adverse opinions about God. Christians are few on Youtube and they are quickly trolled out when they share their thoughts. I have begun to step up to this challenge and speak on important issues like blind faith, reaching out to atheists, and other needed dialogues. I would really appreciate people standing behind me in this by subscribing to my channel and helping me come up with other important topics to address on youtube.
And I will be keeping this post updated until my official release from the hospital.
6:20PM Update. Doctors have thoroughly reviewed my scans from March and my latest CAT Scan to find that I was misdiagnosed with radiation pneumonitis. New blood was taken to check high amounts of calcium. They are now tapering me off of the steroid treatments which apparently masked the pneumonia.
6:30PM Update. Doctors are still uncertain about how pneumonia could cause all this pain and they are calling in a pain specialist in to consult. They are switching me to a dilaudid IV pump that I can control whenever the pain comes on. This will help me achieve a better nights sleep. Not gonna lie, being misdiagnosed is highly frustrating.
Sunday June 1st Update. Sarah’s birthday! Some very special people have sent her some fantastic gifts that will make the day great. Some all natural snacks and some Kara’s Cupcakes. Yay for birthdays!
They have been observing my pain med usage and are now weaning off the PCA Dilaudid. They have me on 1g tylenol every 8 hours, methadone three times a day 10mg , ibuprofen 600mg every 6 hours, Oral dilaudid 4-8mg every 2 hours as needed, neurontin three times a day. The goal is to do a third bronchoscopy this Tuesday to gather new tissue for testing with secondary goal of cleaning up any tissue that is related to the pneumonia. So they are gonna vacuum my lung. This is a low risk procedure that will provide me with lots of answers finally. Depending on how the bronchoscopy goes an early P.E.T. Scan may be what is next which is what I have been waiting for oh so very long. The PET will tell us which cells are alive and which cells are dead. In other words, this is the game changer that will tell us if I still have cancer or not. Though we are nervous about what may or may not be, It is a relief to finally just know. Best case scenario is that the cancer is gone and that the tumor will now slowly disappear. Worst case scenario is that the cancer is still alive and is spreading. If it is the best case or near to best case, I want to celebrate with all who fought for me and Sarah so like a big dance party full of life and joy. If it is the worst case I want to be able to still say that it is well with my soul and strategize on how to fight this battle. My doctors and the entire medical staff of UCSF are amazing and I am very confident in the battle plans they have for me.
Either way I am ready to find out what is what. God is good and he has done amazing things for both Sarah and I.
- God gave us a new home.
- God gave us two fun loving kittens.
- God gave us a generous community
- God gave us amazing friends
- God gave us supporting family
- God gave us fantastically gifted doctors
- God gave us love and patience for each other
- God gave us jobs with people who understand our struggles
- God gave us His one and only Son
- God gave us a prayer network that wraps around the world
- God gave us life in the beautiful city of San Francisco
This list can go on forever, the point is God is good. Please continue to pray for us as we wait until Wednesday to find out the big news.
Thank you so much for reading my blog, please comment. I want to hear from you.