Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Latest

Dear Friends,

Greetings from North Carolina!  We left at 4 am this morning to take Jorge to the airport in Raleigh.  He should be arriving to Cartagena just about now!  After 3 1/2 months back in Colombia, Jorge and I returned to North Carolina a few weeks ago for some follow-up doctor's appointments.  

Jorge has been having some pain in his right side that we were concerned was related to his liver.  After being seen by a liver specialist, they ruled out the liver as the cause of the pain so that was very good news.  A lot of things have been ruled out (liver, kidney stones, gallstones) and the one thing that it seems to point to is the colon.  It looks like he probably has IBS or Colitis.  Which in the scheme of things seems to be "good" news because he can continue to work on his diet and lifestyle/habits to improve it.  

I have also been going through some follow-up doctor's appointments to make sure everything is on track after my double mastectomy and breast reconstruction last year.  Last Thursday, during my visit with the oncology surgeon, he found a suspicious lump in my armpit that he was not happy with.  The next day he sent me to surgery to take out the lump for a biopsy.  Today I had my follow-up appointment with him to find out the pathology results.  

Unfortunately the results have confirmed that  the Hodgkin's Disease (cancer of the lymphatic system) has returned.  This is the kind of cancer I had the first time back in 1985 and then again in 1992.  So this is the third time I have had this diagnosis.  

The next step is to do a full-body PET Scan and this is scheduled for Dec. 16.  After I have had the scan I will meet for the first time with the oncologist who I have been assigned to.  His name is Dr. Steven Park and from what I hear, one of his specialties is dealing with recurrent lymphomas so I am encouraged by the fact that there is someone who's special niche just happens to be what I need!

I will not know anything more until after the scan and the meeting with Dr. Park but it seems that chemotherapy will be unavoidable this time around.  I have no idea what kind of time-frame we are looking at or what kind of prognosis or anything else.  I will just have to wait to get more details.

On a positive note, I just want to let you know that this type of Hodgkin's typically has a tendency to grow slow and to be treatable.  I don't know about my personal case, how far it might have spread already or what effect the extensive treatments I have already had will have on this current case.  So, like I said, we just have to wait and pray.

Right now everything is up-in-the-air so I don't know when Jorge will come back to the U.S. to join me or what this means for us for the near and/or distant future.  We have lots of question marks floating around in regards to ministry and personal decisions.  I think that once we get more info from the scans and the oncologist then we will be able to come up with a plan.

In the meantime, Jorge will be back in Cartagena and Bocachica working on getting things squared away with our staff, the clinic, upcoming visitors and teams, our house, etc...  We have a small staff right now and we hate for this to be an additional burden on their shoulders but at the same time we are so thankful for their loving support and willingness to rally behind us during this time.  

So, when you think of us, please lift all of these concerns up in prayer.  We are just taking this one step at a time and in spite of all the uncertainties we have peace and assurance of God's goodness and sovereignty.  

We will continue to keep you posted.

Love and blessings,
Karen and Jorge

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