Friends, we have received many messages and follow up questions about how Brandon is doing. THANK YOU. You have been so sweet to us and we rest a little easier knowing that an army of friends is bringing our concerns to the Lord Almighty. You are wonderful and we could not do life without you.
Here’s an update on his condition:
Today is day 3 in this hospital stay and we are beyond frustrated. When Brandon presented to the ER Tuesday night, he specifically talked with the doctors about not having a CT scan because he’s had so many in the past year, and it’s really not good for a patient to have so much radiation. We’re wanting to minimize our risks and potential side effects (because we’re already seeing negative outcomes from some of the treatments intended to “help”) and the doctors agreed it was in his best interest to not have another CT scan. They did an xray to rule out perforation and rupture and then he sat. For 2 whole days. Not eating and in pain and battling waves of intense nausea. Last night GI medicine finally came in and announced that they did not believe he had an obstruction and that he was going to have a CT scan shortly. Needless to say, we were upset that GI Surgery had not yet been consulted (we had been told they had been called earlier in the day and waited the whole day to see them) and that his GI doctors were making decisions opposite what had already been discussed.
Late last night, Brandon had a CT scan and GI maintains that he does not have an obstruction, but Internal Medicine (who is currently running point on his care) gets to decide and they agree with Brandon’s surgeon, that he likely DOES have a mechanical obstruction. Brandon’s surgeon (from his previous 2 resection surgeries) came by to see him earlier this afternoon and told us that the CT scan is not showing an obstruction in the sense that GI is thinking. His intestinal tract is NOT closed off completely. You might be thinking, so why is he in the hospital? Why is he having pain? What is causing all the nausea? Here is your medical lesson for the day (I learned something new today myself!!):
Your intestinal wall is made up of muscle, and food is moved through the tract by little squeezing motions, like contractions, that pulse the food on down the path. Well where Brandon had surgery, his intestinal wall has formed scar tissue and basically (this is the real dumbed down version coming from me, the furthest thing from a medical doctor, so just hear me out) that part of his intestines has become “paralyzed.” It doesn’t do that squeezing motion anymore because its stiff with scar tissue and the parts above that area have to work doubly hard and it’s gotten to the point that its causing Brandon extreme amounts of pain. Think about when you have a stomach ache with cramps, how it kind of comes in waves. The pain is like that for him, only it’s not just when he has a stomachache. It gets to be whenever he eats. Whenever food is trying to go down his intestinal tract. Think about that. Think about all the times throughout the day you eat. Every day. How awful.
The plan now is to have Brandon do a procedure called a capsule endoscopy. Basically, he will swallow a camera in the shape of a pill and it will take pictures of his intestines on the inside. His doctor has been talking about this procedure for half a year now, so it is somewhat a relief to know that will finally happen.
The risks with normal capsule endoscopy are minimal, but in Brandon’s case, the doctor thinks the capsule will get stuck (in the part of the intestinal tract that is thickened and not moving!) and that his surgeon will have to go in and retrieve it. At which time, they might as well go ahead and take out the blockage! His surgeon came in today and told us that Brandon is on the schedule for surgery for Wednesday. He is currently doing a bowel prep (which is no fun at all, seriously.) and will swallow the capsule tomorrow.
I am feeling so many emotions right now, I’m not sure I know how to even describe it all. I spent a large portion of time between 3:30-5:30am last night begging God to heal Brandon and to give his doctors undeniable wisdom and clarity. I am so distraught over how all of this affects Brandon. There’s the obvious, of course, that he deals with a lot each and every day physically. He is tough and on any given day, you’d probably never know anything is wrong, but I know. Because I see it. Up close and personal. It’s raw and its real, and it truly is amazing that he can go to work every day, parent our children every day, and love me gently as his wife, while being in pain, or nauseas, or uncomfortable, or tired, or anxious, or all of the above.
This hospitalization has felt different for me, I think because I have truly battled feeling overwhelmed with it all. I’d like to think I can balance work, owning a business, parenting 2 small children and being pregnant with a third gracefully, but to be honest, I’m juggling about 17 things right now and I feel like all of them are on the floor, having been dropped, by me. I’m so tired. And so worried I won’t be able to handle it all. And I’m worried. I’m worried about my husband, about how he’s dealing with all of the same emotions, but being trapped, unable to do anything about it all, in his hospital room. I’m sad that he’s feeling so crappy, and I’m worried that he’s worried. I hate that he’s been through so much, and I hate that I’m not more understanding at times. That I snap back when he’s feeling bad, and hold a grudge when he’s not himself.
As usual, you can pray for us specifically, because I believe there is power in taking specific requests to the throne of Almighty God:
For minimal pain and nausea and discomfort for Brandon these next few days
That his mind would be eased and he would not be anxious
That the team of doctors would truly look at his individual case and determine the best course of action for HIM
That there would be clear answers from the capsule procedure
That the boys would not worry
That he could avoid surgery if possible
That we could determine an effective treatment plan so that we don’t end up here again in the next few months
That I can be productive and focused at work early next week so that I won’t feel as guilty about being away the rest of the week to be with Brandon
That his recovery would be swift and without complications
That he would FEEL GOOD
Thank you for praying with us and for us. We love you all and are so grateful for your friendship and your diligence in showing us what community really is all about. I will keep you posted as I can and appreciate your words of encouragement more than I can say. This man is my world, and today, on our tenth wedding anniversary, the best gift I can receive is knowing you’re all praying for him. <3
(Read more about Brandon’s Crohn’s story here.)