Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blake's Health Update 2009/09/03

There are many things I appreciate about the blogging world. It's a channel to keep you updated in someone's life, to view some amazing photos, to read some amazing testimonies and Scripture references....

...and the one thing I've noticed it's most used for is keeping people posted on the health of a loved one.

With Blake's health going downhill lately, it seems there are some days that the phone just doesn't stop ringing, and I find myself repeating the same old story over and over to caring loved ones who are calling to find out how our dear little fella is feeling.

Don't get me wrong, folks... I am most appreciative of your care and concern and am glad that you care enough to stay informed and up-to-date on his 'progress'....

However, I thought it might be easier for those of you with computers, or those of you who must dial long distance, to check in here at our family blog and get updates.

However, that being said typed, don't think that you can't ever call. We know you care and we know you're concerned, and we ask for your prayers as Blake goes through this valley..... 'through' being the key word.... there WILL be a diagnosis and treatment, and we WILL get THROUGH this and come out on the other side! I have such peace about that.

Now to get y'all up to speed.....

You might recall this post, Praying For My Blake, where I gave a bit of information to you. Right now, I'd like to just give a quick review of where things started and where things stand now. Then as more appointments and progress are made, I can keep you informed on a regular basis via this blog.

Blake - July 4th, 2009

Here's a review of the past year and a half:

Late Winter/early Spring 2008 I noticed Blake just not feeling himself, not wanting to eat much, a little thin (but nothing alarming), a little bit of moodiness (a.k.a. giving Momma attitude!), fatigued. Blake was planning on going to Brazil on a missions trip July 2008, and I was concerned that his health was going downhill and he wouldn't be well enough to go. As it turned out, he went. All was well.

Same symptoms happening over the next few months. Made appointments with Doctor W. She suggested he get more sleep and eat better. [insert something-not-sitting-right-in-Momma's-gut here!]. Oh well, what do "I" know... she's the doctor, right?

Things still not getting better. Blake is now planning missions trip to New Orleans, USA for March 2009. Hmmm.... Momma still concerned about his travelling with health slowly going downhill. Son ignores Momma and continues with 'attitude'. Momma told by other parents "it's a teen thing... you're lucky you're experiencing it at 18 years old, most parents go through this when their child is 14". Hmmm.... this is just not sitting right with Momma's gut.

Blake goes to New Orleans, but comes back feeling worse. Small rash started before departing to New Orleans, but is worse upon his return. Go to doctor. Betaderm fixes up the rash over time; however, other symptoms are still getting worse. "Get to bed earlier and choose healthy foods, [Insert Mom's under-her-breath-growling here] and, let's get some bloodwork done again."

Over the balance of the Spring, his health is going downhill at Whistler-Mountain-speed. Going to take him to Doctor C, who is our main doctor. She suggests more bloodwork and is concerned, knowing she is not looking at a normal Blake, who she has known since his birth.

Fast forward a bit to approximately July 2009. Food, or even water, goes in Blake's mouth and comes out the other end in practically minutes. A lot more weight loss. A lot more fatigue. A lot more weakness. A lot of stabbing stomach pain. A lot of back pain.

More bloodwork.

Then more bloodwork and stool samples.

(and don't think THAT wasn't fun! The kids were all "grossed out" at the thoughts of THAT! hahahaha. Then to top it off, the nurse at the doc's office didn't indicate to me that it was time sensitive and had to be at the lab within 24 hours! We FINALLY got the MANY samples done on a Friday afternoon and took to the lab on a Monday....... "No, no, no," said the technician, "I hate to tell you this, but you'll have to do it again!" oh joy. oh bliss. Blake-Not-Impressed. (Trust me, neither am "I"!) I said to the technician, "BUT I KEPT IT COLD over the weekend!". "Doesn't matter... you'll need to do it again... sorry!"

Results of bloodwork are showing some "goings-on" with rheumatoid. Nothing to panic about; however, Doctor C wants to ensure that things are checked out a little more carefully by a rheumatologist. She feels we are possibly dealing with more than one scenario here, but is confident we will get a diagnosis.

The problem? No one is doing operative procedures/testing because it's summer time. Everyone is on holidays. Doctor can't get response from rheumatologist's office. Uhhhhh.... we're trying to beat the clock here for college in Eastern Canada, folks!

So, I make appointment at doc's office because Blake is having major pain in his stomach and is extremely weak. We see Doctor C at 6:30pm in her office and she's getting concerned. She gets on the phone herself calling all hospitals in the area and asking to speak to radiologists on call. She's gonna get somebody movin' on this! (Thank you, Doc)

It was kind of funny because one person that our doctor spoke with was very abrupt and rude to her. She firmly said "THANK YOU!" and somewhat slammed the phone receiver down and let out a HUGE frustrating sigh. I started laughing, and she looked up at me and laughed. Then she said, "Sometimes I really don't like people in the medical profession!" hahahaha. God bless her.

She said, "Leave it with me. Tomorrow I will make some more calls myself and get SOMEONE to check out this boy!" This lady is a "mover and a shaker" in this community and I knew that things would now begin to roll along.

The doctor DOES suggest to Blake that he reconsider starting school in September. (Oh, my prayers are answered! I'm thinkin' the same thing but worrying that Blake and others will just think I'm an over-reacting Mom who just doesn't want to accept the fact that one of her little birdies is ready to leave the nest! Of course I hate to see my son go away, but right now it's a concern over his health! I don't need a call from the college telling me they found my son unconscious in bed or, worse yet, DEAD!)

So, as it turns out, my doctor IS a "mover and a shaker"; she called me the next day and said she'd arranged an appointment for him to see Doctor B and their office would be calling us with an appointment for a gastroscopy. Sure enough, a paper showed up in the mail indicating a date had been set. Problem was, it was scheduled for later in September.... when Blake would be a couple of provinces away! Obviously Doctor C became aware of this and the appointment was moved up to the very next week! Then a second hospital called to confirm the same procedure.... we had been booked twice for the same appointment on different days. The kind lady on the phone said, "Pick which date you'd like!" haha. I LOVE it. We chose the earliest appointment for August 25th.

Blake - 2007

On the morning of August 24th, Jon's and my stomachs dropped to our feet as Blake told us how he had just been to the bathroom and passed a significant amount of blood in his bowels. He had experienced this the night before, as well, when Jon and I were at our "adopted son" Justin's house; but Blake was in bed when we got home, so we didn't know. I realized we had just "reached a new level of severity" and I could tell Blake now realized how serious this was becoming.

Doctor C had instructed us in the past that if he ever found blood in his stools, we should let her know. Well, she wasn't in the office that day, so I made the decision to take him to the emergency department. I figured at this point, visiting emerg. wouldn't be such a bad idea. Maybe they'd do more tests while we're there.

During triage, the nurse indicated that Doctor C was the one on emerg. that morning anyways, so I was pleased I would not have to go through the long ordeal of what Blake had been experiencing the last year. Doctor C ordered more bloodwork and an x-ray of his back, due to severe pain he was experiencing in that area.

Back x-rays = no problems.

Bloodwork = no problems.

I indicated to Doctor C that Jon was very concerned of the possibility of cancer, due to the painful endurance of multiple myeloma that Jon's late Mom experienced from 2000-2002; and also the leukemia that Jon's late cousin Bobby experienced when Jon & Bobby were around 14 years old. Jon is getting very worried at this point. Doctor C confirmed that his white cell levels are perfect. In the all-is-good range of between 4 & 11, Blake was smack-dab in the middle at 7.7. Good News! Hemoglobin is really good as well, so those little red cells are doing what THEY're supposed to be doing. [insert sigh of relief]

Doctor C suggests we will get more answers from the gastroscopy, which is the following day.

Guess what.......?

No answers from the gastroscopy. Doctor B talks with me after the procedure and indicates that everything looked really good. He has taken a few biopsies anyways, but doesn't expect to find anything. He suggests because of the previous days' bleeding that we get a colonoscopy done. He said his office would call to arrange the procedure within the next week or two.

Fast forward a week. Blake wants to spend a few days with Grandpa & Grandma who live just up the road. Blake arrives there Monday night. I remind him on Tuesday that either his Grandma or I need to get him into town for bloodwork to be done for Doctor B before the colonoscopy. My Mom pulls in my driveway Wednesday morning (I'm assuming to pick up the bloodwork requisition) and she's worried that Blake is very weak and that I should come and look at him and possibly make another trip to emerg.

We get him up and dressed and head to town, after calling the doctor's office to tell them what we're doing.

In triage they weigh him. He's lost three more pounds over the last week.

Doctor N is on duty and suggests...... (any guesses, anyone?....)

......more bloodwork.

Now I'm curious, because I'm bettin' his hemoglobin is down due to last week's bleeding.

After a couple of hours, Doctor N returns to indicate hemoglobin IS down.... probably from bleeding last week as well as being malnourished. (Even though Blake is able to get food down, it doesn't stay very long in his system before he visits the Little Boys Room).

I question whether an I.V. would give him a boost, but she said he is not dehydrated, so she recommends getting him on Ensure, those protein drinks. She said it might help until we get a diagnosis. She also said she wants to schedule him for an abdomenal ultrasound (yeah! Blake has been wanting one of those! My sister experienced same symptoms as Blake when she had problems with her gall bladder, so Blake has been wanting one of these tests! I don't think, however, the doctors feel it's a gall bladder scenario, but his symptoms sure do match Danielle's before she had the gall bladder removal.)

Doctor N will send a report to Doctor C and also she'll ask Doctor C to push harder for that appointment with the rheumatologist, Doctor T. She said there could be a tie between Blake's symptoms and rheumatoid, so she suggests we get in to see this specialist a.s.a.p.

And so, as it stands right now, I have purchased some Strawberry Protein Drink for Blake to "wolf down". He said it doesn't taste good. I told him to just not breathe, then to wolf it down. He said, "CLEARLY, Mother, you do NOT understand that part of my stomach problem is that I CANNOT wolf ANYTHING down!!!!".



CLEARLY I am out in left field. [wink, wink]

As of today, we have an ultrasound scheduled for September 8th and a colonoscopy scheduled for September 14th.

THAT should bring y'all up to speed. Sorry it's a long post, but many are asking for details. Future posts regarding Blake's health will be shorter, I promise. Remember I'm trying to cram one and a half years into this one post!

I would covet your prayers for Blake as he walks through this valley. I think, deep down, he understands that God must have a reason. Perhaps this will be a time of learning to trust in our Saviour. All the days were ordained for Blake before one of them came to be (Psalm 139:16), so we rest assured in knowing that the Lord is still in control and knows what He's doing!

Also please pray that the Lord helps me retain this sense of peace I am experiencing. I don't understand it one bit because I am definitely a worrier and a fretter. But God has not given us a spirit of fear (Romans 8:15). So I must continue to trust in Him.

Also, before I sign off here, I want you to know that our doctors are WONDERFUL. Absolutely WONDERFUL. I've heard of some pretty uncaring docs out there, but they're not here, thank Goodness. We have always been treated wonderfully and with great care and respect. Hats off and three cheers to our medical profession. And that goes for the AMAZING nurses and technicians out there too! Yes, things are sometimes at a snail's pace, but it helps when they truly care about you... and they do. We also have the Great Physician watching over us. You remember Him, right? The One who never slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:4). We are well cared for!

"But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds," declares the Lord (Jeremiah 30:17)

Thank you for your concern. Thank you for your prayers.

I'll update as things go along. Please leave Blake a comment. Click on the Comments button at the bottom of each post and enter your message. It's that simple. He'll appreciate your words, encouragement, and prayers, I'm sure.

Blake - July 2009


VictoriaD said...

We all are praying for you Blake, that you will get some answers soon and be on the way to recovery...and we are praying for momma too, that this sense of peace will continue and He will continue to hold you both up. We love you!

Carol Reed said...

Hey Blake,
Just want to let you know that I am (and have been) praying for you. I am so happy that you made the mature decision to take care of your health before you give school any further thought. Hopefully, we won't have too long to wait to get you back on your feet! And speaking of getting you "back on your feet", I am promising you an apple crumble pie - JUST FOR YOU - to help fatten you up when I know that you will be able to "keep it down"! LOL! Miss you here at the office, but I know where you can't get away from me that easily! LOL! You take care and know that many love you and are holding you up in prayer!

Michelle said...

Hey Carol!

What about an apple crumble pie for the REST of the family! We're the ones that have to LIVE with him!!!!

If you don't have enough apples, raspberry pie works too!


Janna said...

Michelle - I am one of those folks that appreciated this post. I'm sure it took a while to write, but I was so out of the loop that almost all of it was new to me (I knew from some taglines that we should be praying for Blake's health, but I wasn't aware of how long this had been going on for and all that was involved!)
Blake, I can only imagine how annoying this has to be for you - not just the pain, but the setback of starting school. I remember many years ago that one of my pastors said, "Why waste a good trial?" meaning - if you're going to go through something sucky anyways, why not try to learn from it and let God be the peace and strength you need? Depend on Him and don't be afraid to let your family, your friends and your church family minister to you. And as you're doing all these tests and dr. visits, remember that God may be using you to minister to the people you meet along your journey.
Boy, that sounds preachy. I was trying to be encouraging, but if I was annoying, you can give me a good 'ol kick in the butt. Course you'll have to drive all the way up to Hogtown and find me first (hahahaha!) so I'm not too worried. :-)
Ayway, I'm praying for you and I hope it all gets cleared up soon!! Hang in there!!!!

Jeanette Arsenault said...

Hi Blake - My prayers are with you as you walk this road knowing that Jesus is walking right along side you. Remember Job? No matter what befell him, his faith never wavered. And I am sure it is the same for you.

I believe that if you embrace the obstacles that have been placed on your journey, and can still find reason to praise God, then you are truly placing your life in His Hands. I once read somewhere that sometimes God has to squeeze the fruit to see how pure the juice is. He always knows just how much He has to squeeze!! (um, you can stop anytime now...)

Only God knows "why" something is happens to us - our question should not be "why" but "what" - what does He want me to learn through all of this.

May your faith and yearning to serve Him give you the strength you need to face this challenge. And, may you always remember how many people are praying for you, too!
Peace and blessings, Jeanette

Anonymous said...

Hi Blake,
Just want you to know that Dave and I are thinking of you and keeping you in our prayers. Trust in God and He will see you through this terrible ordeal and restore you to good health very soon. You have a wonderful family and many, many friends who love and care about you. Keep your chin up and hang in there, sweetie!!!!
Love you a bunch,
your friends,
Dave and Lenore

Michelle said...

The following comment was left for you from Tricia D., but it was left on Aug. 21st's post. So I've just copied & pasted it here so you wouldn't miss it.
(PS to Tricia - got any connections to a good pharmacist for those "good drugs"?
[wink, wink])

Hey Blake, just wanted to let you know that I'm thinking of you and praying for you. I've had a lot of the tests you have/or will have. Just remember, the prep is the worst part and ask for the good drugs. You won't remember a thing. Take care.

Lynda Westervelt said...

Hi Blake, i wasn't aware of all your health issues until recently..... you will be in my prayers daily ....... may God give you a strong sense of His presence at this really hard time for you..... i'll be thinking of you and your family often.... you're a great kid and God has special plans for you.... take care and keep your eyes on HIM!!!!! later, lynda

S said...

I stumbled upon this blog when I was googling something for my own blog and have been nosing around a bit.
I am keeping a Christian Weight Loss Blog and have been reading a book called "The Maker's Diet" by Jordan S. Rubin. The only reason I bring this up is because your experiences/symptoms sound SO much like the author's. He ended up being diagnosed w/Crohn's disease and sought the Lord's word and leading in what to eat and how to care for his body and his health completely turned around.
I know you can google him and find all sorts of stuff about him--photos, story, book, etc. But I just felt like God wanted me to tell you about it.
I'm adding your family to my daily prayers and can't wait to see how God works in this situation.
God Bless!
Stacey Lillich
Shawnee, KS

Carolyn said...

Hi Blake
We had no idea that you had been going through this very difficult time but be assured that you will be in our prayers every day.
You have been a very important part of our church family & we all have grown to love you. You also give GOOD hugs.
Vel asked for prayer for you at Men's breakfast this morning.We will be praying for you also Michelle & the whole family.
Love Carolyn

Sophia said...

Dear Blake,
I am so sorry for the difficulty and pain you have been experiencing. It is hard to know 'why' we go through some things in our lives but if we F.R.O.G. (Fully Rely on God)
there is peace in that.

I will pray that the doctors are able to get to the bottom of this soon....keep your chin up...

kkaci said...

You know I'm praying, Blake :-). Love what several folks have already said. You likely won't know why God has you going through this any time soon (or ever!). And I know you don't FEEL capable of doing great things for God at the moment. But be open to His leading ... He can use a quiet, subdued Blake just as he uses an inspired and energetic Blake. Stay submitted to Him. He will do the rest.

Beautiful Aunt Michelle said...

Michelle- I will be praying for your darling son and that the truth will be found quickly.