After what can only be described as an exceedingly difficult and painful morning, I can happily report that Toni brightened significantly and enjoyed what was surely her best day in two weeks. It was a remarkable turn around. Perhaps the new treatment of IVIG is kicking in and we are seeing the first signs of recovery. I hope this is indeed the case. I am cautious in this regard simply because she experienced and upswing last Wednesday only to be immediately followed by a mini version of the terrible seizure of the previous Monday and did not recover from that for another two days. Lets all pray that this hopeful improvement is sustained and increases.
The significant test results that remained outstanding have come back and no certain diagnosis can be offered as yet. That said, the default setting for treatment remains a post-shingles trauma to the nervous system known as Transverse Militus. This attacks the membranes around the nerves and is an auto-immune disease, turning one's body on itself in a sustained and brutal attack. It is not 'cured' per se, but is treatable and, while leaving the person with a certain measure of pain and numbness throughout life, it can be curtailed and largely subdued. If this is in fact the final diagnosed cause, we are confident that God's grace will sustain us in the ongoing battle with its residual annoyances.
Further tests are however underway. Toni will have a CT scan tomorrow to give some more insurance that no cancer is present (we suspect none at this point, but the doctors would like a little more evidence to that effect), and more blood work is underway with samples sent off to the Mayo Clinic to check for rogue and unusual viruses that might otherwise be missed. There are a host of auto-immune bugs out there apparently, and these further tests would expose such a thing if indeed it had attacked Toni.
Finally, tomorrow is the fifth day of the IVIG treatment, but the docs have ordered a further five day regimen, believing that this treatment is beginning to show signs of subduing the inflammations in Toni's spinal cord. The second round will begin on Wednesday and run through next Sunday. If all goes well, one would hope that an MRI on Monday would reveal that the inflammations have been checked and the spinal cord returned to normal proportion and function. Dare I hope she might be able to go home next week?
It has to be said of course that even after she goes home she will need significant recovery time (about 3 days for every 1 day in bed we have been told). That's OK with me - as long as I get her back, I won't moan for a single second about recovery times.
Toni has been greatly cheered by the arrival of her brother and sister together with her mom and dad; their stay will be brief, but this deeply appreciated visit has strengthened her considerably.
We were both brought to tears this afternoon by the fabulous notes so many of you wrote in the little journals made available at church on Sunday. We will always treasure these, and give thanks for your tender and compassionate ministry to us, together with your bold and unceasing prayers on our behalf.
That's it for today!
Thank you again for your great love for the Church. Love one another!!!