Saturday, October 27, 2012

Health Update: I'm almost one in a million...

The windings and turns of my recent health struggles have made it difficult to post updates here of late.  It has been difficult to know what to say as we have gone round and round about a diagnosis for what ails me and how to treat it.  And it has been difficult to find the time amid the myriad of appointments, tests, and travel.  But a little clarity is emerging slowly, so I can now give at least a partial update, and some specific prayer requests. I know many of you are faithful prayer warriors, Gentle Readers, because I see answers to those prayers, and God has been so very good to me in this process.

My breast cancer remains non-existent, praise God! I continue on the drug arimidex to keep my recurrence chances low.

My eyes have continued to be bothersome, and here we have made some progress. We have a firm diagnosis of a rare auto-immune disease called birdshot chorioretinapathy.  This is rare enough that I'm not really one in a million, but there are only about 4 cases in every million people. I will be starting immune-suppressant therapy this weekend, and hope to stop progression of the disease.  Left untreated, this always leads to blindness, but treatment with various drugs can often halt the disease's progress.  And I have found  an excellent physician and we have caught the disease very early. So my hopes are high that we can get this under control.

My continuing fatigue remains mysterious and discouraging.  I also have some funky blood work, and neither it nor the fatigue is explained by either the eye problem or the arimidex I am taking.  So my rheumatologist is continuing to monitor blood work, and the possibility of sarcoidosis is not yet off my table. But the Lord is holding me, and He gives me hope in Him, no matter what the crook in my lot is.  (And if you want to understand what I mean by the crook in your lot, or the bend in your path, and how we ought to respond to such things, listen to the excellent sermon by Rick Steele here.)

If you have not grown weary of praying for me, here are some specific prayer requests:
  • Please pray that I would tolerate the immune-suppressant well, with few side effects, or that I would be able to bear what side effects I have.
  • Please pray that the drug would be very effective in treating this disease.
  • Please pray for the fatigue I feel to lift.  A friend who is also an autoimmune disease sufferer recently sent me this link which does a good job of describing the fatigue if you are interested in understand more about those of us who look fine but are fighting illness. (Thanks for the link, Becki! Dave and I now talk in "spoonfuls".)
  • Please pray that my immune system would be restored, and that I would not continue down the path of constant illness.  And if God determines I need to travel that road, please pray that I would honor Him there, and figure out what it means to glorify and enjoy Him on that journey.
Thank you, Gentle Reader.  I am grateful for you!


Shannon said...

Hope you have a bright day today and a truly restful weekend. Love you much!

Cindy Marsch said...

Praying here,too, Chris! Much love, Cindy

Patricia said...

Dear Chris, Praying God will uphold you in these trials and that He will also grant relief.

Patricia said...

Praying for God's grace and mercy toward you.

EuroMom said...

Chris, praying for you!


Natalie said...

Thanks for the update, dear Chris. Praying for you as you walk this journey. You've blessed me over the years and for that I'm eternally thankful. From my perspective, you truly are one in a million.

E said...

Dear sweet Chris,

Thank you so much for posting this update; I am praying for you friend. You're never far from my thoughts and prayers.

Much love,

Rebecca said...

Thanks for sharing the Spoon Theory, that's a really interesting concept and does help me understand (maybe) a little.

Perhaps seeing our time/energy as a set amount of "spoons" would also help those of us who are healthy and constantly trying to do too much in one day be better stewards of our time--even though we have more "spoons" in reserve.

We'll be praying for you and Dave!