Monday, March 31

Good News, Not as Good News, and a Plan

I had another appointment with hepatology on Wednesday. I have three liver doctors overseeing my "case" just in that clinic, as well as a gastroenterologist (guts doctor) and three nurses/medical assistants working with me to communicate messages and test results, med changes, appointment requests, and so on. I'm in great hands!
This particularly hepatologist is the newest to my team, but the most experienced. The more we learn, the more impressed I am - he has been a part of or in charge of boards locally and around the world for GI, liver, and more that I can't remember. It amazes me to look back and see the path that curved like a zig zag up a mountain for a while, years back, when trying to get through to my team was near impossible and I felt uncomfortable and stressed - to now, when I have world-renound specialists that study this rare disease PSC and other like it, for most of their career. God is always a few steps ahead, working things out, isn't He? Awesome :)

Leaving my appointment- WITH supplies, woo! -wearing my new "SheIsStrong" tee

It was a great appointment. Dr checked my biliary drain site and said it looks just like it should. I got three spare drain bags and three new "stat locks" - the special sticky-backed plastic locks that tack ever-so-uncomfortably to my belly and hold the drain tube in place just below the stitches, so as it continues down to the Luer lock connecting to drain bag, it won't pull out of my abdomen and gut that it's in, if it gets snagged on something. (Which definitely would have happened by now if i didn't have the stat lock... but the one that had been on there for almost six weeks was so ready to go!)

Much of my time is used up resting, resting, and resting. I have a list now: things I wish I could successfully do lying down. Sew, paint nails, write thank you's, bake, cook, ...  Thank you for the daffodils Ry :)
The not-as-good news of the week was that my bilirubin, although dropping initially after this drain was put in February 14th, has slowly climbed back up to a number that has brought back even the terrible itching that comes with liver disease and severe jaundice. Ah so uncomfortable!!! I'll wake up in the middle of the night scratching my arms intensely and realize- wow my skin is just on fire, sleeping doesn't matter! I can't wait for the bilirubin to drop back down to a good level so that will go away too!


Last weekend I got to sit down for some ME time and made this "CHOOSE JOY" tee :)
I'm loving my growing collection of meaningful shirts!

My bili from last week was 16.8, and my doctor was saying it needs to be down around 10 before they'll look at removing the drain bag and capping the tube to just keep as an access point into my bile ducts. Thus, we discussed, it is time for the next phase of Operation Open Bile Ducts! (not an official title ;)  My doctor shared with my at last appointment that he just had a patient receive a liver transplant last year, after TWENTY years of being on the waiting list, but successfully having a PTBD drain that they would use to access the bile ducts and put in balloon stents and shunts as needed over those two decades. That regular routine keep him going for twenty years; that amazed me! He has more than one patient like that; one was just in before me on Wednesday.
Hearing about that as a very viable option makes me feel really encouraged! My dream and prayer is still to be healed, miraculously, completely, instantly one day! God is in the healing business! But this is another way God can continue to sustain me and restore health to my body, and if it does go on for years, who knows what other technology will be discovered that can help even further! Can't put God or science in a box- or the way we think our prayers will be answered. You never know what God is planning and setting up a few steps ahead :)

Ok sorry about that slight rabbit trail - back on track now. That will be my next step - PRAY the scheduling staff calls me Monday morning and has an opening for Tuesday or Wednesday morning, because I am so uncomfortable and yellower and itchier, and my liver really needs a lower bilirubin level to function well. I am seeing signs of the same communication challenges we ran into last time, and I hope they clear up tomorrow! Nothing like knowing what you next step should be and not being allowed to set it up. {Frustrating!}
Whenever it does end up being scheduled and done, the procedure will be like an ERCP but going through the PTBD drain in my abdomen instead of down my esophagus, and they will use balloons to inflate the scarred, obstructed ("strictured") ducts to an open state, and get those major bile ducts, especially on the right sided liver, draining through again. I wish I could share the pictures from my MRI and fluoroscopy, they are so cool in 3D and animated and everything! I asked- not an option yet.

So if you would, pray for an opening to have this Interventional radiology procedure done SOON, for it to be a "slam dunk" as my dcotor said he expects it to be, and for great function and drainage flow to be restored to those strictured ducts as soon as they get in there with the balloons to inflate the roadblocks of scar tissue and stones!

Here are two photos from today after church. You can't always tell the severity of jaundice on film, but it's been pretty severe! Today at the store I think I scared a few people- my eyes were glowing golden, and next to the undereye concealer I was wearing (regular skin tone concealer - because where do you buy 'jaundice' colored makeup? Lol!) the contrast was just unreal!

I find that if anyone is going to stare at my golden glow, it's not kids--- 

---It's adults! Adults stare at me in public places, and I just want to say, "didn't your mother/teacher/brother/grandfather tell you, 'If you can't say or do anything nice...'?"

I'm thankful for a good week, energy to make memories and laugh with my two sweeties,, and some wonderful doctors with an encouraging, positive plan that we all feel comfortable and hopeful about :)
God is faithful