Never a Dull Moment

by nemerson

(Disclaimer: I’m writing this using a voice-to-text app. It spares my tingling fingertips and catches spelling mistakes from my damaged vision. It’s not perfect though, so pardon any typos.)

Can I start by saying that I love you guys? You always leave such encouraging comments. It’s incredibly motivating to know that we have caring people behind us, rooting us on. It really is an unbelievable privilege to have you all on our team.

Also, before I forget (again), I have to submit a vote for Jill as wife/mother/caregiver of the century. She is an amazing and indispensable part of my life. Jill puts up with…

– my “helping” with dinner and getting the recipe all wrong
– asking me a question and I mean one answer, but actually say the opposite
– doing all the house/yard work, while I snooze on the couch
– calming my paranoia about spending money, even though she tracks an excellent budget

Granted, I imagine some of you are already thinking “that’s no different than what I do around here with my lazy, good for nothing…” But, I have to add a few things like…

– Seeing the daily details of my physical struggles as no one else can for the past 16 years
– Shining her ever present smile, bringing hope to the dark moments
– Being an excellent model of love, faithfulness and selflessness to our daughter (and myself!)

When she says “I love you”, I have no doubt.  She has proven it day in and day out in very tough circumstances. I’ll stop there before I run out of ink for the actual update. (Hey, maybe this will earn me some credit toward celebrating our upcoming wedding anniversary…)

Hodgkin’s Improving

Good news – the Hodgkin’s is still responding to the chemo. A scan showed that most locations have improved, although it’s still active in some spots. So, I’ll keep popping the chemo pills for now. I needed a transfusion a few weeks ago for a low red blood count (Thank you, Red Cross donors!), and I’m currently taking a break from treatment due to a low white blood count that was essentially zero, but overall it’s been a tolerable chemo, for which I’m very grateful.

Pain in the Neck (esophagus, actually)

Not quite so good news – a new medical challenge has come along (in case we were getting bored with the usual ho-hum Hodgkin’s routine). I’ve had intermittent swallowing trouble for the last several years, but it has recently flared up quite a bit. That’s not very helpful for things like taking pills and eating. My GI doc expected to do a routine dilation of my esophagus to stretch things out a bit. But, the procedure revealed a concerning growth. The initial biopsy report came back as “worrisome for esophageal cancer”. While we weren’t happy to hear that, we weren’t totally shocked, as that often occurs in people who have had radiation treatment in that area.

The next step was to do an endoscopic ultrasound to gauge the extent the growth. But, since the first endoscopy just a week earlier, it had grown even further and the doctor could not fit the ultrasound camera in. Thankfully, he was able to take several more biopsies. While we waited for the results, the pain in my throat was increasing. And with Jill leaving for India in only a few weeks, you can understand that we were anxious to come up with a plan.

This second biopsy report came back with a new and encouraging twist – the cells appeared to be primarily Candida Esophagitis (i.e. a yeast infection). Strange, I know, but the meds I’m on and my sub par immune system make me susceptible to this. The good news is that it is treatable with common anti-fungals. The pain has improved quite a bit and although my esophagus is still very narrow, I’m able to eat more comfortably again.  It still takes me twice as long as most folks to chew my food enough to swallow, but meals are meant to be enjoyed.  Why rush through them, right?

The report did also mention a large number of other abnormal cells that are still suspect for cancer. There are five doctors involved at the moment and most of them are concerned about that possibility. So, we’ve tentatively scheduled another endoscopy in early August to take another look.

Blessing or a Curse?

Spend much time pondering the meaning of these ups and downs in each of our lives? A friend of mine recently ran across a short story that sums up my thoughts on it. You can read it here when you have a minute.

Bottom line: Only God knows.  But, we’ve found time and again that we can trust him. As Jill and I celebrate our 16th year together this month, we can honestly say God has truly blessed us with a wonderful life. It may sound strange, but despite the ongoing trials, we are more confident than ever of his help and comfort.

Jill and Grace Travel Abroad

Tomorrow, we send Grace off to Florida to visit my parents for two weeks. She’s really excited. Have I mentioned how quickly she’s growing and what a blessing she is to us? Then, on Thursday, Jill heads to India for three weeks. Needless to say, she’s really excited, too! Don’t forget that you can follow her adventures on her blog.

OK, I think that’s it for now. Once again, thanks for taking the time to read and for all you do to support us.

Until next time, enjoy the rest of the summer!

2012 Bi-annual “Emerson Family Vacation”