Will was unable to get all of the MRI completed yesterday. He was given as much sedation as possible before risking not being able to bring him back and the pain was still too unbearable to lay flat for that long. They were able to get enough of it to see a fracture at the T4 vertebrae. The doctor said that it looked new, but they couldn’t tell if there was a tumor there based on the pictures they got.
We would both love to know what’s going on, but the nurse explained that for as much sedation as they would have to give him to be comfortable, they would have to “breathe for him” and his lungs might not be able to start breathing on their own after it was done. He could also go under general anesthesia, but that involves other risks and greatly affects his liver and immune system. This would make the treatment at Oasis ineffective, leaving us with only conventional medical options.
So, our options were to continue treatment as we have been, without knowing if there are tumors in the spine, but treating it as though there are, with a functioning immune system and liver… or we could get the MRI and learn exactly what we face, but then our options for treatment would become surgery, chemo, radiation — again without any hope of cure, only the possibility of treating the symptoms. The goal of the second option would be the hope of Will not losing any more functionality. While we desperately don’t want Will to lose any more functionality, along with the risks involved with anesthesia, surgery — and the idea of going down that road again — we decided not to proceed with the MRI and to continue with treatment as we were.
It was a really difficult and scary decision to make, but one we felt like we had to make with our greater hope of life and not just controlling symptoms.
We will be starting home health care this week which will hopefully help us with Will’s loss of functionality. This past week was definitely a setback, but Will was without a doubt getting better before this past week and we both really trust everyone at Oasis.
The past 48 hours have involved many tears and breakdowns, by both Will and myself, and even tears from a few nurses, who within moments had their hearts captured by Will. One ER nurse came up to visit us this morning in the hospital. She said she couldn’t stop thinking about us all night. She cried as she kissed Will on the forehead. It’s so hard and it’s so sad. But… we continue on.
There is fear in what we potentially face with our decision; the ER doctor told Will, “If you choose to leave, you will never walk again and your body will eventually succumb to the cancer.” That’s a really hard thing to hear, but we have heard it before and Will is not one to listen to those who tell him he can’t do something. We know the situation is dire. That’s why we are where we are now, but statistics are just statistics. Will is Will. Everyone is different and every body is different. This was definitely a blow that we could have done without.
But, as weak and feeble as we are… by the grace of God, we’re still here to fight. We will not give in… not to our fear, to our sadness, to the negativity, to all that is thrown at us. We hold on to hope and the power of God, the power of love, the power of community.