If we are friends on Facebook, there is a good chance you noticed some drama happening yesterday evening and my urgent call for prayer. I didn't explain what was really going on there, but I will attempt to here. My purpose for doing so is not only to remain transparent, but hopefully, to have others join us in prayer...may God's light exude from each one of us. May God's glory be seen by all. May Satan cower and shiver in his boots, just as he should.
Without writing a novel, I will share a brief background about my health, but first let me say a few things so it is absolutely clear because it is extremely important. I am not medically fragile. I have a normal life expectancy. I am not sickly nor do we have any reason to believe that I will continue to have health problems. My doctors have absolutely no hesitations giving their approval and support to live life to the fullest, and I do have a team of doctors I rotate through regularly to make sure we miss nothing.
With that said, if you have not been following my blog from back in 2007/2008, you may have missed my few months with a rare cancer. It was a very slow growing cancer and of this rare cancer, I had the rarest of the various kinds. I had major surgery and have been considered "cured" since. I get regular scans and labs done as prescribed by my Oncologist, have the best surgeon in the world for the kind of surgery I had (the Whipple procedure) and have a gifted Endocrinologist who specializes in he rare cancer I had. I have been NED (No Evidence of Disease) for 4 years now.
Not sure if I posted about it on this blog but probably posted something on FB in late Aug. 2010 on my way to adopt Marni, I had an awful, painful attack and sickness with no real explanation. I made it through but then dealt with several more over the next few months. This eventually led me back to my surgeon who discovered scar tissue in my bile duct that was causing a stricture.
So this time last year a drain was placed in through my side, and into my bile duct. due to the major surgery, it is the only way to access the area. The drain started small (although incredibly painful) and they increased the drain size about 4 different times). The idea was to stretch the scar tissue. I was supposed to keep it for months and live relatively normal with this drain hanging out the size, but once again I'm rare. I had so many complications. I'm pretty certain my body was fighting the invasion. I was sick, sick, sick, in terrible pain and got infection and weird symptoms after weird symptoms. After 3 months and lots of doctors trying to figure out why it was so difficult for me, we insisted it be removed...it seemed to be killing me. They removed it without hesitation, believing that 3 months could have been long enough.
I began to return to normal ALMOST IMMEDIATELY after it was removed. That was after 3 long months in bed practically. All was good until about a month later I started getting pain "attacks" again. They aren't as bad but still painful. They don't last 12-15 hours like before the drain but 15-30 min. I would not have any for a few weeks, then spend a week having repeat attacks. No answers.
I ended up finding a group of people of FB who have had the same surgery for various reasons that have these same attacks, and no doctor knows why. The thinking is that it is a spasm due to possible nerve damage from the surgery. Not life threatening but annoying and frustrating, to say the least.
I received anti-spasm medicine made specifically for targeting stomach and gastrointestinal spasms. When I have an attack I take one. Sometimes they help almost immediately. Other times they seem to take forever to work (10 min is too long) and other times I wonder if they are even working at all when it takes longer than 10-15 min. I found through my own research that Valerian Root (an herbal supplement) is a natural anti-spasm herb for the same thing as the meds. It makes me tired so I take it at night before bed. But it seems to decrease the amount of attacks I have. I have recently gone probably one month without any, but I'm in my hell week now (multiple attacks pretty much daily).
As normal I have been seeing my doctors and having my routine labs and scans completed. The cancer I had does not have cancer markers to track but could potentially secrete hormones, so they test for those. Although there are several hormones it could secrete, the tumor I had did not secrete any. There is still the possibility that if another tumor began to grow, it could secrete hormones, so they test for those. One of those hormones came up higher than normal recently. They retested and same result. I am waiting to hear what they think. It is likely due to the meds I take for acid reflux (which resulted from the initial surgery), so I'm not real concerned, nor are the doctors, but it certainly added to my almost freak out yesterday...I'm about to further explain.
So on Monday of this week I went for my routine MRI. We never expect to see anything. I initially seemed to have some post traumatic stress from my original diagnosis and experience, but have really gotten past that for the most part. So Kristin (my bff) and I went to the scan and out to lunch as if it were any other day away from the kids (ha ha! That hardly ever happens except for trips to the doctor like this...so we take full advantage).
Well, yesterday evening I received a phone call from my Oncologist. In short they found a blood clot in my hepatic vein (in my liver) on the MRI. Its called Budd-Chiari Syndrome (all blood clots there are diagnosed with this syndrome). She mentioned blood thinners but had concerned because I recently had bleeding that we were not able to conclude why. Of course, I don't just want to be put on blood thinners!
So while this may have absolutely nothing to due with any of my other medical annoyances, they pile up and can freak me out. I've been through so much.
At this point, without major liver damage or multiple blood clots, etc. it is NOT life threatening. Unlike most blood clots, there is no concern here that this could shoot up to my head, heart, lungs, or whatever and take me out. However, we have no idea why I have it yet and it must be taken care of.
So, next week I will see my gastro doc. He said he will probably schedule testing to rule out an intestinal bleeding and my oncologist will run some labs to check for any blood clotting disorders, and I assume check liver enzymes, etc.
Naturally, this whole thing began to freak me out and I cried out to my friends and family for prayer via Facebook and text. And I got it!! (THANK YOU!) As I headed to women's bible study shortly after receiving this news and beginning to panic, I fellowshipped with God and everything changed. Those prayer for peace were answered. Here is what I KNOW....
I KNOW....God is doing glorious things in our lives
I KNOW....that many people are watching what God is doing in our lives
I KNOW....that adopting 2 more special needs orphans and the enemy is MAD! (I am referring to them as orphans here strictly to make my point that they are currently Satans POWs)
I KNOW...that God's work is not done in this adoption and those huge mountains before us are crumbling at even a faster rate than before.
This is a spiritual battle. I can't expect to step out in faith in such a big way, and so publicly and not find ourselves under attack! Satan wants to discourage. He wants to derail. He wants us to curse and blame God. He wants us to turn our back on God.
INSTEAD, however....MANY people bowed their heads and prayed to God for me last night.
INSTEAD....I ran to God
INSTEAD....God's peace and light became more evident
INSTEAD....I put on my boxing gloves and told him to bring it!!
Here was my Facebook status last night:
"Change of plans. There will be no freak out happening. My God has got this! I've put on my boxing gloves and am ready for a throw down with the enemy who obviously is fearing the glorious things my God is doing and about to do in our lives and in the lives of orphans. I know who wins this battle. I know whose side I'm on. Bring it!"
Perhaps Satan sees what is happening in Ukraine with "Flower" as God prepares the way for us. Perhaps Satan sees the approvals happening in Eastern Europe for Alyssa and Piper. Perhaps Satan sees what people are doing to help in the girls' journey home as God prepares their hearts. Perhaps Satan sees the MANY people praying over this adoption, and the faith that is growing in other believers to step out and to trust Him. Perhaps Satan has picked up on how God has been faithful every time and it will be know different this time. Perhaps Satan knows, by what he sees happening, that the mountains before us are about to be obliterated before our eyes.
Today, I'm not scared. It won't work. Today I am determined to disappoint Satan. Nice try, but Gods got this!
(sorry for any typos, no time for spell check!) :)