Joe came home this afternoon, for which we are very thankful.  He is not feeling well and is in  much pain but is very happy to be home.  He still has a long way to go to find out what is going on and will need to follow up on an outpatient basis with several doctors in the near future, the main one being the urologist.  There was a concern that he might have an autoimmune disease called sarcoidosis but that has been ruled out, thankfully.

His nurse last night prayed to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  Please pray for Melissa and Ruth (the housekeeper) as they begin this journey of knowing God.


Health update

Joe is still in Cooper Hospital undergoing tests.  We seem to be getting closer to knowing what is wrong with him and are so thankful for the doctors here who are aggressively looking for answers.  In my last email I talked about the compression of the superior mesenteric vein.  Now it appears that the compression of the SMV is minor but there is compression on an even more important vein called the portal vein, which takes the blood from the intestines and spleen and brings it to the liver, thus supplying the liver with nutrients and oxygen.  The theory at this point is that Joe may have an autoimmune disease that is causing him to overproduce scar tissue.  This also relates to the blockage of the ureter.  We are not sure how this will be treated or what further testing will be needed to confirm this.  He is having a GI motility study right now and we are still waiting for the contrast to clear his body so that he can have the upper GI/ small bowel follow-through study.  The doctors want him to try to eat solid food after all that is done to see if he can tolerate it.  He will most likely have to moderate his diet considerably, if in fact he can eat solids.  He may be able to go home at that point, possibly soon.

We are  blessed to have a great team of doctors, nurses, and techs taking care of Joe.  We are so very blessed to have you all as our faithful prayer team and know that the outcome of all of this is in God’s hands, which is the safest place to be, no matter what.

Two Tales

I am going to title this email A Couple of Tales:

A TALE OF TWO BRITTANYs – Joe’s nurse and patient care tech over the weekend were both named Brittany.  Not only did they give him excellent care all weekend but Joe had an opportunity to talk with both of them about their relationship with God.  Both had made early commitments to Jesus Christ but had drifted away over the years.  Joe had an opportunity to pray with them and encourage them to renew their relationship with the Lord.  We are praying for continued opportunities to touch lives at Cooper, as it looks as if Joe will be here for a few days more, at least.

A TALE OF 3 CITIES-  While we were on our TN trip, Joe had a CT scan at the hospital in Pigeon Forge.  The radiologist said that Joe had compression of a major blood vessel (superior mesenteric vein or SMV) that takes nutrient-rich blood from the intestines to the liver.

When Joe went to the hospital in Toms River, NJ, and had a CT scan there, the radiologist and the doctors said that the reading of the CT from TN was wrong and there was no compression of the SMV.

Now we are in the 3rd city – Camden, NJ.  Joe had yet another CT which shows that his SMV is indeed being compressed, as well as possible involvement of some other blood vessels.  Hmmmm. It has certainly confirmed that we are in the right place to find out what is going on.  It is uncertain at this point what is causing the nausea/vomiting and how much of it is related to the vascular issue.  Joe was supposed to have an upper GI/ small bowel follow-through test today but still had too much contrast in his system for it to be done, so that was postponed until tomorrow.

We ask for continued prayer for patience and opportunities to show the love of Jesus Christ.  After all, that is the real reason we are at Cooper.

By the way, this is the second year in a row that Joe had had to watch the beginning of the NFL season from the hospital.  We call it the kickoff from Cooper.  Go Eagels!

Joe had his cystoscopy procedure this morning.  Unfortunately, the doctor was not able to clear the blockage in his right ureter with the balloon dilation. Joe will need another procedure in 6 weeks.The doctor has to order a special instrument to try to cut out the obstruction from within the ureter, instead of having to make an incision and cut it out surgically.  The surgical option is the last choice, as it would be major surgery and no one wants to do anything to Joe if there is another choice. He does have a stent in the ureter for the next 3 weeks – stents in the past have meant major pain, so we are praying that this time will be different.

Joe’s nurse today was a believer and was such an encouragement to us.  She has a nephew who has a drug problem along with having Crohn’s disease.  We would appreciate prayer that this young man will contact Joe and want help.  He spent 2 days at the Colony of Mercy last fall but left after a Crohn’s flare-up.

We appreciate you so much.

Health update

Just to update you on the most recent developments in Joe’s health issue.  He has continued to have GI pain, nausea, and vomiting.  We were able to see the head of the Cooper GI department yesterday and are now waiting to have the upper GI/ small bowel follow through test to rule out obstruction.  There is concern that he may have adhesions caused by the Whipple surgery.  He may have to have an endoscopy sometime soon.

Today we saw the urologist.  The ultrasound that was done recently showed increased obstruction in the ureter, so the doctor scheduled a cystoscopy in order to dilate the ureter and put in a stent.  This will be done on Tuesday, Sept. 3, at 8:30 am at Cooper.  It is not a pleasant procedure (as if any are) but is necessary in order to preserve the kidney function.  Please pray that Joe will not experience the renal colic that he has experienced with the other stents, which is equivalent to the pain of constantly passing a kidney stone. Joe said he is ready because his God is always ready.

Thank you for your prayer support.  We know that God does not waste anything and that this is another opportunity to share the Gospel, whether it be at Cooper or any other place. I also ask for continued prayer for me.  I am not really good at doing this, but Joe is kneeling next to me and asking me to be an example of the importance of asking for prayer.  Today’s news was totally unexpected to everyone except God. My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, ” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)