Walking Through the Fog of Uncertainty

We sat in the doctor’s office as Jen yet again explained her medical history and recent symptoms to another specialist.

Jen waits patiently in the hospital as she undergoes numerous tests to determine the source of her lung issues.
Jen waits patiently in the hospital as she undergoes numerous tests to determine the source of her lung issues.

After 9 weeks of being sick, two trips to the hospital, numerous doctor visits, blood tests, chest x-rays, two chest cat scans and even a bronchoscopy, we were in the office of a Rheumatologist who was recommended to us by Jen’s Pulmonologist. Before April, when Jen started experiencing chest pain and general lung issues, I’m not sure I had ever even heard of some of the doctors we have seen recently.

Jen explained to the doctor that she had cancer when she was very young – 3 or 4 years old. She had a Wilm’s tumor, which is a cancerous tumor on the kidney. By the time they realized something was wrong, the cancer had spread to other parts of the body, including the lungs. Jen explained that in addition to having her left kidney removed, she underwent aggressive radiation treatment and chemo-therapy but she could not say how long those treatments were. After all, it was 40 years ago.

“That could explain some of the abnormalities we’re seeing in your lungs on your chest scan”, the doctor said. “It could be scarring of your lungs.”

The doctor continued to analyze results of the extensive blood work that has been done over the past few weeks. Just about everything that could be tested for that would cause Jen’s symptoms have all come back negative, making a diagnosis and corresponding treatment somewhat difficult.

In fact, Jen’s pulmonologist now believes Jen’s symptoms (low grade fever, chest tightness, dull aches in her upper back, dry cough, lack of energy) are the result of some kind of auto-immune issue, which is why we now found ourselves in the office of this doctor of Rheumatology.

The doctor continued to analyze Jen’s chart and lab results. “I see you’re diabetic.”

Jen explained that she has been diabetic since she was about 9 years old. We believe that her pancreas may have been damaged by her radiation treatments a few years prior, causing her to become an insulin dependent diabetic.

After perusing the data that filled her screen and taking numerous notes, the doctor finally turned to address us with her assessment.

“Your medical history is quite tricky. We know that there’s something going on because some of your numbers are quite high. They tell us something is happening with your lungs but they are not specific regarding the problem.”

The doctor then shared that she suspects Jen’s issue is most likely rheumatological.

“Before I determine a specific treatment, I recommend that you get a lung biopsy so we can further pinpoint what exactly we’re dealing with.”

And with that, we were referred to yet another specialist, a Thoracic surgeon. After several more doctors visits, more lab work and a meeting with a pre-op nurse, Jen has a lung biopsy scheduled for this Thursday at 10:30 a.m. PST. The procedure is not complicated but will require her to be in the hospital for several days of recovery. Our hope is that this will lead to a diagnosis and a corresponding treatment plan.

Jen poses with one of our former UC Davis students at a recent good-bye party for another one of our former students who is following God’s call overseas.
Jen poses with one of our former UC Davis students at a recent good-bye party for another one of our former students who is following God’s call overseas.

We’ve found ourselves traveling a road that is a bit murky and unknown. Our plans are loose, yet we’re trying to maintain as much normalcy to our lives as possible.

We honestly don’t know what’s next or what these tests might reveal but our hope and trust is in the Lord, who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. He is good. He is powerful. He is able to do the miraculous.

Would you please pray with us and for us? Please pray for the Lord to work mightily in Jen’s body to bring about healing, whether that is through conventional medical treatment or through God’s miraculous intervention.

We are incredibly grateful for  you and your prayers for us at this time. Your prayers and notes of encouragement mean more to us than you can imagine.

Click here to download the pdf version of The Lowedown.

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