Thanks to all for your kind and faithful prayers, and your thoughtful messages of support.
There were two significant developments yesterday.
The first was receiving the frustrating news that the long-awaited test results will not be in the hands of the doctors until Monday. They were not available yesterday - despite the fact that such was the expected day of full reporting - and since the labs aren't apparently operating on the weekend, we can't expect any further results today or tomorrow. Thus the cause of Toni's suffering remains hidden, at least for another couple of days, if not more.
Secondly, because the 'growths' in the spinal cord have not decreased in size (nor increased I hasten add), the massive dose of steroids employed to subdue them cannot now be regarded as a successful treatment. This means the neurologists are going to a 'stage two' level of medication, giving Toni IV delivered antibodies each day for five consecutive days. This new treatment began last night. The hope is that these will strengthen her immune system and reduce the areas of inflammation.
Toni was able to go for a brief walk down the hall last night, ate dinner (date night! I went to Central Market and got her some real food), and was pretty bright and chipper in a brief conversation with the RN who changed her IV port. If you know Toni, you know she 'hates' injections, and so this last week has especially been a source of woe for her. She not only has the IV work of course, but an injection of blood thinner into the stomach is administered each day to guard against blood clots forming while she is confined to bed, and because the steroids raise blood sugar levels she also now receives an insulin injection each day to drive that count back to normal, with the attendant massacre of her finger tips from a test stick being administered every two hours to check the sugar levels. Perhaps with the steroid treatment now behind her the sugar related sticks will cease. I really don't know.
I will update more tonight, and believe me when I say that while Toni is 'absent in body' from church tomorrow, she is 'present in spirit' and in worship with you at the Lamb's High Feast.
Prayer today: for her to continue to strengthen and be able to remain fully conscious for longer periods of time, that today will see marked improvement; for the new treatments to prove effective in reducing the spinal inflammations; for her doctors and nurses, who serve her with great care; for us to give glory to God in all things; for Anna to have a joyous weekend and be comforted while she misses Mom; for Toni's family to have a safe journey as they make the trip here on Sunday to help out.
For over a year now, Toni has continually meditated on the great truth that we are not our own, that we are not in control, and that God ushers us into circumstances to teach us this difficult truth we must learn. She has spent a lot of time on Mary's surrender to the message Gabriel brought the Blessed Virgin, her vulnerability leading to victory. Above all, Toni has prayed through the truth that we are God's beloved children. These three great lessons have intersected for Toni at Seton this past week. She is not in control as she suffers; she is vulnerable and weak; she also knows she is supremely loved as she works at nothing other than enduring and recovering. These are lessons we all must learn, embracing the reality that we belong to Christ and his plans not ours reign supreme; that in surrender to the word of God we become a source of victory for the cause of Christ, especially in our weakness; that we are the children of the One whose Name is Love and cannot be forsaken, ever or anywhere. The 'sticks' she has received just point us both back to the terrible nails that pierced the Savior for us and in his wounds we know we will find healing for ours.