Toni enjoyed a restful day for the most part on Tuesday, made much more so when she learned that the dreaded spinal tap had been cancelled. She did experience considerable chest pain on a couple of occasions but this is more than likely to be the result of the tube that has been inserted into her heart for plasmapheresis than any new negative development with the spinal cord issues. In fact, on that score, Dr Greenberg informs us that Toni is making very good progress. There was a notable increase in left-side strength yesterday, her vision was much improved, symptoms on the right side have nearly disappeared, and she shows significant improvement in her short-term memory and various issues related to brain-arm/hand coordination. She even enjoyed a ride in the elevator and very slow stroll in the ground floor lobby to get a latte (skinny of course) from the coffee shop there. Hey, that's cause for celebration - walking around wasn't an option last weekend. Gripping a coffee cup was out of the question as well. Not today.
On the future: Toni's final plasmapheresis round is this Friday. That doesn't mean that she won't need this again; indeed it would not be surprising in the least if she were to undergo more plasmapheresis in the months to come. Such future treatments would not represent a set back but would simply be part of the journey on the path to wholeness. The 'many months' recovery aspect of this disease remains unchanged. Even if an MRI showed the last of the offending spinal cord lesions to be gone today, it will take those somewhat ambiguous 'many months' for Toni to get back to what we would all consider normal strength and energy. We are assured that she will get there, but patience (my strong point) will be essential.
Thanks to Carlos Lowenberg for stopping in to visit, as well as our wonderful sister-in-law, Dana Cassidy. Both were in Dallas on business and made a big effort to come by and offer some much appreciated encouragement.
Emily Plummer came by too, and very kindly included Anna in a great play day with her children. Anna had a terrific time waxing some autumn leaves and doing dramatic readings. Anna, dramatic? Who would've guessed? Thanks Plummers! The memory of the play overshadowed a difficult and frightening moment in the morning for Anna. She was in the room when Toni had a very nasty onslaught of chest pain and needed some assistance. That just undid her, and it took awhile for Anna's tears to dry. "I want Mom to come home and be well", she said through floods of tears. Don't we all.
This morning we'd be grateful for your prayers that the fourth round of plasmapheresis will go smoothly and that Toni can rest well afterwards, free from pain. Pray for Anna as well to be free from fear and have a wonderful day with the Greg and Brittany Lewis family (thanks guys!). Since I am teaching a class at Redeemer Seminary this morning, your prayers for that effort (and the sanity of the students) would be also greatly appreciated. Please give thanks with us for the gifted and attentive staff of Zale-Lipshy Hospital, and pray for our doctors as they do the research on Toni's illness and seek to provide a path to recovery for her and others who similarly suffer. Continue to pray with us that we will count this trial to be joy and properly offer it to our Redeemer and Lord as acceptable service. I know you would not be surprised to learn that on two occasions this week already Toni has had opportunity to minister to the staff here.
I'll be back over to the hospital midday after this morning's class, and hope that by tonight I will have good news to pass along.
Your friendship, encouragement, and prayers are a great treasure. May the God of all comfort and grace grant to you and yours his peace and strength this day. From the rising of the sun to its setting, His Name will be great in all the earth.