It’s been a few days since my last update, and I wanted to let you all know that I am now at home “safe and sound” after my week long ordeal at the hospital. I arrived home here early Friday evening after being directly released from ICU at the University Hospital here in Edmonton.
In my last post I spoke about being treated for the latest clot through a method called TPA which is short for Tissue plasminogen activator. The treatment is primarily used for stroke or heart patients in the very early stages (up to 4.5 hours) of discovery, and it is often effective, however in my case my hematologist did not even know of another person in the world who had the treatment for the type of clot I developed called mesenteric venous thrombosis. My hematologist had recommended this procedure to an entire team of specialists at the time, because it was the only thing he thought they could do that would be less evasive then actually cutting me open! When I asked him if this had ever been used before for this type of thing, he only said that a young fellow they had admitted a few weeks prior had the procedure done for a clot that had developed on the entrance to his kidneys and that it was successful. Initially my doctor had wanted a radiologist to insert a catheter directly over the clot location and target the actual clot from there, but that was ruled out as it again entailed opening me up and the risks of course are enormous.
At this point we are not sure if the TPA did what is was supposed to do, because it was administered almost 14 days since the onset of the pain I started having. I am still dealing with some pain, but I will not know for sure if the treatment has worked until I do follow-up with my hematologist in a few weeks time, and of course if the pain has totally diminished. At the time I was having pain it was thought that I was dealing with that from the thickening of my gall bladder due to the congestion of arteries from the existing clots, but that was not to be. This latest clot caused swelling and distention of the bowel, and I was in considerable pain which increased in intensity since its onset a few weeks earlier. After being admitted to the hospital early last Sunday morning, a CT scan revealed that a new clot had formed just below an existing clot in the mesenteric vein. Click here for a diagram (black felt marks shows the existing clots I now have).
The danger for anyone having a TPA is that they could develop a clot in the brain, or bleeding, but in my case severe bleeding can occur as TPA is considered a clot buster with strong anti-coagulant properties. Since my original diagnosis 10 years ago, I have always have been at risk to bleed, but more so now because I have esophogeal varices.
Thanks to many of you who prayed for me while I had the TPA, otherwise who knows what could have happened? For those who sent emails, posted on my Facebook page, called me on the phone, stopped in to see me personally, brought food to the house, prayed diligently for me, or encouraged me through their words or hugs – I am feel so humbled by all your kindness! Knowing that so many people from around the world were in the background cheering me on, made me feel special, and I cannot begin to tell you what that means to me. You are a loved bunch! Bless you for your faithfulness. Not only was I blessed by all your love, but it was encouraging to my family that people were cheering me on in the background!
For the last several days I have had some thoughts I feel I need to share with you. Many of you already know that I am a person of faith, but I have only touched the surface of that reality in prior posts of what that faith actually means to me. In the past I have shared with you concerning the peace I have, and that has always been evident, except for the occasional moments (being human) when I did have some pervading fear – even as recently as early last week when I was not sure what would happen to me upon learning about this TPA treatment and how it could affect me. Last Tuesday, 2 of members of our pastoral team, plus a good friend and former pastor came up to the hospital to pray for me. I had called them because of the scripture that says, “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord”. (James 5:14) After they prayed for me and I myself prayed to have the fear removed that I had within me concerning the unknown, I overwhelmingly sensed “peace” and I can testify to that fact as it was real – all the way through the procedure until this very moment. Whether or not I was healed at that moment is not known, but I carry on in faith that God goes before me and gives me the peace that I need to endure all obstacles.
Before this latest clotting episode, I have had the following passage swirling around in my head for many weeks which reads, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal”. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Allow me to paraphrase this for you from my own personal point of view … The first part of this verse tells us not to lose heart, because we are wasting away (boy do I know this), yet on the inside (not physically but spiritually) I am being renewed day by day. For our “minute” and momentary (fleeting) troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory (heaven) that outweighs anything on this earth (I love this). Eternity is forever, the here and now is just temporary. If I/we fix our eyes on only what is seen, we lose sight of all that God wants us to be here on earth, and if we dwell (by God’s grace try to stay true or obedient to His word), we can have live on this earth with an eternal perspective which out does anything the world has to offer. I know in my own life this order often gets turned around because I don’t always put God before everything I do, therefore I fail and it keeps me from the beauty of the relationship and the peace that usually prevails which can happen when we trust Him for everything. One of the main reasons I think about this passage so often is that I do not have perfect health, of which I have never blamed God for, but have always thought it was His way of showing me that I needed to trust Him even through the most difficult times in life.
Lastly, there is one more passage I would like to share with each of you that is one of the most comforting passages I know, and one of many favorites at that. It is taken from John 14:1-4, and it is where Jesus is comforting his own disciples through these words, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” When you live your life with an illness such as portal hypertension or any other sickness of which the unknown is uncertain, it is comforting to know that when the end comes, full healing will take place because of a decision I made as a young child, to believe in all that Christ Jesus, God’s only son did for me by dying on a cross for my sin. When I think of this and the sacrifice that was made on my behalf, and the gift of eternal life that was given, it is a tremendous comfort – and in reality it makes life worth living all the more! As I look to the future, it may not be bright in many respects for me or anyone one of us, however I press on despite the odds!
To read the original story click here: www.portal-hypertension.com/medical-update-on-portal-hypertension-condition