July 19th Health Update

Joe has made the transition off the IV meds and fluids to oral meds and is attempting to eat solids. We were told this morning that he may be released today to go home and rest up for the surgery, but he is feeling very sick and had nausea and vomiting after breakfast so it doesn’t look as if he is going anywhere. He has lost his “bounce” today, which is very concerning to me. There are bright moments along the way, such as me giving him a haircut in the bathroom yesterday, much to the surprise of his roommate’s family and the nurses. (I guess my motto should be, “have clippers, will travel.”) It made him feel better so that was the important thing. His doctor told him yesterday that she always starts her rounds with him so that she starts the day off well and that he is a joy to be around. After 2 1/2 weeks in the hospital, that is truly a testament to God’s grace and Joe’s great attitude.

 

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Updates on Joe’s Health Crisis and Ministry: July 9-18

July 18:
Here is the latest update. A member of the surgical team talked with Joe early this morning and said that his team and the GI team are meeting today to finalize the plan, but tentatively they are going to work toward releasing him in the next few days to come home for a period of time in order to gain some weight back, rest up, and allow the inflammation of the previous procedures to decrease. Then they will readmit him for surgery. The challenge is to wean him off the IV pain meds and fluids and find a regimen of oral pain meds and regular food that he can handle at home. The pain is still severe, so this will be a difficult process. He is looking forward to going home, after 2 1/2 weeks in the hospital. Please pray that the teams will communicate with each other and with us so that we know exactly where we stand and what the plan is. We are so grateful for you all.

Cherri
Isaiah 58.11

July 17:
We are still waiting to hear from the surgeon regarding the possible surgery tomorrow. He ordered an abdominal ultrasound this afternoon and is waiting to see those results before making the decision. We may not hear anything until tomorrow. It is the uncertainty that is so difficult to deal with right now, but the love of our God and the love of our friends and family sustains us. I wish I could express more fully how much your support means to us. There have been so many times when Joe has been feeling really awful and someone will call, visit, or send an email. It makes all the difference in the world. So thank you for taking the time to pray, visit, call, write, and just be there for us.

With love,
Cherri
July 16:

Today has been a very confusing day, as the 3 medical teams treating Joe haven’t had great communication with each other, so we are left with many questions. The bottom line is that we are waiting for the surgeon and the GI doctor to come up with a plan. If they decide together on surgery, it will most likely be on Wednesday afternoon.

Please pray for clarity for the doctors and patience for us. We know that God is in control.

Blessings,
Cherri

July 14:
Joe had his MRCP (as Joe calls it, an MRI on steroids) last night at 2 am – so much for sleep! We are waiting for the surgical team to come in to talk about the surgery. I am assuming they are going to do the surgery early next week, hopefully Monday. From what I have heard, the plan is to connect the pancreas to the common bile duct so that the pancreatic enzymes can be released into the small intestine and not continue to digest his pancreas. The pain continues to be intense and his weight loss is noticeable.

I will let you know when I get any more information. Your support means so much.

With love,
Cherri

July 15:
Joe saw one member of the surgical team this morning who said that the surgery is going to be Tuesday or Wednesday but no definite time yet. It is going to be major surgery, 3 – 5 hours long, so they have to find time on the surgical schedule to fit it in. They are expecting that he will be in the hospital recovering for a week afterwards.

Another nurse came to Jesus tonight. So thankful that Saisha is now part of the family of God. Please pray for open hearts to be drawn to God and for strength for Joe as he touches people’s hearts, despite his pain and fatigue.

Under the Mercy,
Cherri
July 13:
I just spoke to the doctor. He still was not able to get the pancreatic ducts open enough to get any dye through, even with the secretin, so surgery is the next step. The effects of Joe’s past on his pancreas are profound, causing the area to be as hard as a rock. The pancreas specialist here at Cooper is going to be brought in and a decision made as to the best way to approach the surgery. Nothing will happen until after the weekend, so I guess the Cooper “mission field” is going to still be active. While the news is disappointing, we know that none of this catches God by surprise. We trust Him completely. As Joe says, this is a chance for God to show up and show off. Your visits and messages are so important in keeping his spirits up. Thank you for going out of your way to support us. I don’t know if Joe has heard the news yet, as I haven’t seen him, but I know this is going to be a big disappointment to him so please pray for peace.

Good morning from Cooper Hospital. I arrived this morning at 7 am, not knowing what time Joe’s procedure is scheduled for and not wanting to miss the opportunity to talk with the “big cheese” doctor. So now we wait for word that they are ready for him, which could come at any time today. Joe was able to sleep fairly well last night, so that is a blessing. He is hoping that the procedure will help decrease the pain and that he will be able to be released sometime this weekend but we have had no word on the plan as yet. I will try to update you when I know anything further.

My car got fixed yesterday and I am enjoying driving without “clunking” down the highway. It was relatively inexpensive also (the sway bar joint), so that was a huge blessing. Thank you, Dianne, for all your help.

I will write more later.

Love to you all,
Cherri
Deut. 31.8

July 12:

Here’s the latest from Joe. The ERCP is scheduled for tomorrow (yeah!!!!). We are assuming they found the secretin but haven’t been told that yet. No word on what time the procedure will be tomorrow. He had a pretty good night last night with sleep, although he did get a roommate sometime during the night.

Yesterday was an amazing day in that 3 people came to the Lord. Two of them were nurses and one was the daughter of his roommate who was transferred to a nursing home. Please pray for Daniella, Rebecca, and Anne. God has uniquely gifted Joe with the ability to go right to the heart of people. As difficult as this time has been, God knew there were people at Cooper that needed to hear about Jesus.

My car is in the shop today, as my wonderful friend Dianne loaned me her son’s car. Please pray that the repair cost won’t be exorbitant.

We are so grateful for all of you.

With love,
Cherri

July 11:
Here’s the latest on Joe. He had a tough day yesterday with nausea and vomiting, along with a deep cough. They gave him some cough medicine last night which seemed to help and did a chest xray to make sure he doesn’t have pneumonia. His roommate is an elderly man who has come to depend on Joe to help him with his needs and will wake Joe up repeatedly during the night to do something for him. The blessing from that is that Jack got saved yesterday morning. The tough thing is that Joe should be resting, not nursing. Jack is being transferred to a nursing home today. Please pray that Joe will get a quiet roommate or none at all. This morning Joe sounds better than yesterday and is keeping his focus on the Lord and being cheerful. He is not as nauseated and is looking forward to his breakfast of… you guessed it, JELLO! I don’t think he will ever eat jello again after this.

Please continue to pray that the doctor will locate some secretin so that this procedure can happen and Joe can be released. God’s will and His timing are perfect so we are trusting Him. Also, I have some issues with my car that need to be looked at but am dependent on it to go back and forth to Camden. I am trusting God for the right timing to get it fixed.

We love you all.
Blessings,
Cherri

July 9:

The latest news: no ERCP procedure today. There is a national shortage of the secretin hormone that they need to do the follow-up procedure for the pancreas, so they are waiting to see when that will be available. We don’t know what that means yet as far as keeping him here vs releasing him and bringing him back. At least they are letting him eat the clear liquid diet again; jello never looked so good!

If you would rather not get these emails, please let me know. I don’t want to bombard anyone.

Here’s the latest on Joe. He had the procedure last evening and did well. The doctor found that the muscle (sphincter) that controls the flow of bile from his common bile duct was almost completely blocked, so he cut that muscle and put a stent in, thus allowing the bile that was backing up and enlarging the gallbladder to flow freely. There was some bleeding from that procedure that was unexpected. The doctor tried to inject dye into the pancreatic ducts but was unable to get anything in, meaning that they are completely closed up. He suspects that Joe has a congenital condition besides the effects of drinking and will be looking more closely at that. Joe is supposed to have a second ERCP procedure today, although we don’t know when that will be yet.

Joe is exhausted, in pain, but is keeping his focus on the Lord. Today is one of the most difficult days we have had, so your continued prayers are so important. We are so blessed with amazing friends.

Blessings,
Cherri

July 7:

Dear friends and family,

Sorry about the mass email. The latest on Joe is that he was transferred to Cooper Medical Center yesterday afternoon and will most likely be having a procedure/testing sometime on Sunday. This will involve using an specialized endoscope to visualize the pancreas, gallbladder, and all the ducts associated with them, as well as possibly putting in some stents in the pancreatic and bile ducts. The doctor has not said what time yet but a doctor who works on his service thought it would be tomorrow. Joe will most likely be in the hospital for a few days afterward. He is still in major pain and is only allowed clear fluids. He seems to have developed an eye infection in the past few days so we are hoping that the doctor will get that looked at soon. He did get some sleep last night for the first time in a week. His professor has given him an extension on his schoolwork that is due Sunday night, so that is a big relief. The visits from friends have really uplifted us as we go through this tough time. Thank you all for praying and for caring. 3 people have gotten saved during his hospital stay, so it is no accident that Joe is where he is. One of those people was his 91-year-old roommate at Community Medical Center. Even though the pain and the stress has been really tough, we know that the “mission field” is wherever we are, and Joe is so faithful in sharing the joy he has found in Christ.

We love you all,
Cherri