Caption: after surgery–the straw-like device is to keep draining fluid from his throat.
The surgery went well yesterday. Josh woke up from the anesthesia and said, “that wasn’t so bad!” He didn’t feel sore or anything! He had one of the best surgeons and he didn’t see any infection, which helped the doctors get a clearer picture of what’s happening. Josh has tested positive for the Epstein Barr Virus (EBV). Also, they are doing a PET Scan to make sure the EBV has not caused cancer in his lymph nodes. Since he is a bone marrow transplant patients with the EBV, he is at risk for a type of blood cancer /lymphoma or a complication called PTLD that’s very dangerous. Our prayer is that he wouldn’t have any of that. Ultimately though, we ask that God’s will be done. He is sovereign over all of it! Medically speaking regardless of whether or not the EBV has led to cancer, they would treat Josh the same way. They wanted to start Josh right away on a drug called Rituximab to combat the virus and get him feeling better quickly. He started his first dose tonight along with some steroids. The steroids will help prevent reactions to the drug plus help his swelling to go down. He is feeling so miserable right now. His neck is huge, his feet are swollen, he’s been running fevers almost non-stop even with Tylenol, and has had chills. His breathing is not so good and his throat is a bit sore. Despite the fierce suffering Josh is going through, he continues to be anchored by God and says this is all being used to define him. The doctor said with this new medication all these symptoms should start improving almost right away! The drug a form of chemotherapy and could cause side effects or reactions, so prayers for this to go smoothly are much appreciated. Josh tends to have allergies and is sensitive to chemo. He was given Benadryl and steroids to help with possible reactions. In addition, they will be administering the Rituximab extra slowly through his IV. Josh’s doctors and medical team have been doing an excellent job at keeping on the top of it!! They have been bringing different doctors together and even called specialists on FA from Minnesota to be extra cautious.
We’ve had the opportunity to pray with a couple of people during this past week and with others, we’ve been able to plant seeds. One of the social workers here is a believer. She came to check on us while the nurses were taking Josh’s vitals, and I asked her if she could pray for us. It was neat for her to pray for us aloud with others in the room with us. Josh said he was surprised she was allowed to do that with how awfully uncomfortable some people get when evangelical Christians pray. We’ve also been playing the ESV Audio Bible from a Logos App on Josh’s iPad which has really ministered to Josh and me, and we never know who else may be listening. Yesterday while Josh was in surgery, I went into the waiting room and got to pray with a lady for her dad. She was under much emotional toil because her father was not breathing very well after the surgery and was elderly.
I’ve been sending long days with Josh at the hospital to be able to talk to the doctors. This has been a bit of a challenge. A sweet saint from our church here in Clackamas brought over a meal today! Thanks, Annette! Also, Katelynn keeps doing a fantastic job with the boys! Thanks, Katelynn! The boys are doing well adjusting and not letting all of this affect them negatively too much. Keep it up, Noah and Nate! Noah loves AWANA here and has quickly made many new friends. We thank everyone for the kind cards, encouraging messages, and prayer for our entire family (including Katelynn, of course, because she’s like part of our family now.) Josh likes to read the cards everyone sends in the mail! A million thank yous to all!!!! I wish I could write everyone a thank you note personally. THANK YOU!