Not sure how well this will go, but will try to give you all a brief update on yesterday’s meeting with Dr. Bartlett. As most of you know, I have adopted the Haitian Donkey as my moniker as seeing them struggle along the paths in Haiti under sometimes overwhelming loads on their scrawny legs reminds me that I, too, must at times be led down paths by my Lord that I do not understand, though He does promise to help us as we “take My yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Sometimes, like that donkey, I am somewhat bewildered as to where we are going with our burden and load, as well as the purpose of this journey.
At present, honestly, I believe that in my head, but my heart is struggling a bit. On the 2nd of April, I had my 4th CT scan since surgery, a regularly scheduled 3 month plan. I did it 8 days before my scheduled yearly checkup with Dr. Bartlett, at the University of Pittsburgh, as, after surgery, he said he wanted to see me in a year, but read each of my quarterly CT scans and would call me with his reading and plans. So, we headed down to Pittsburgh on the 9th and saw him early yesterday morning. The reading of the scans have always been negative except for some lymph fluid accumulating in the right groin area, which he felt was just reaction to the extensive surgery he had done to me. In December, I developed a small right inguinal hernia (I had a left one fixed in the 90s), nothing troubling, but maybe indicative of some mild pressure developing in my abdomen, but the CT scan in January was read as negative, so that was reassuring (of course, they are only shadows of the real thing, though helpful, of course). However, my CT scan on the 2nd of April had new, troublesome spots in the left groin area in addition to the old spots in the right side, felt consistent with recurrent cancer, so I was eager to know what Dr. Bartlett would think of this at my scheduled check. He, likewise, is troubled and proposed that we do one of the only 3 options, sit and watch, do more chemo or explore the abdomen again. I had considered the options a bit beforehand, but to suddenly have to make a decision on the spot was another struggle, but both Karen and I opted to be definitive and at least look inside, see what really had come back in 13 months (as the original cancer was listed as quite aggressive on pathology) and then reconsider the options.
Thus, I am scheduled to return to Pittsburgh on the 7th of May to undergo a repeat marathon surgery on the 9th with a lot of questions as to what the future will hold after that exploration. A number of things will have to be decided, possibly changed or rearranged, depending on the outcome of that surgery, but we greatly appreciate your continued prayer for God’s leading, encouragement, peace and strength as we face this somewhat puzzling (to us at least) turn in the path we are traveling on. The thought of being laid wide open again and not having a clue what will be left of me when the team gets done with me again, plus the discomfort of a “belly burn” caused by the 2 hours of cooked chemo in my insides, is a bit daunting. Also, since I don’t tolerate narcotics well, as far as not sleeping with them on board, will have to go carefully in that regard, balancing pain control with my desire to get some sleep (and believing that that is important to the healing process).
I am planning on going to Haiti on the 26th of April, with Jeff Berkompas and his parents, as well as Kevin Harlett, who will repair and maintain a number of projects, as well as overhaul and hopefully get #1 generator up and running, a major struggle we hope to resolve that week. I will head to Pittsburgh the next Wednesday for the bowel prep on Thursday and surgery early Friday morning. I will try to get all my commitments for procedures done in the office, etc, done before that, Lord willing, though some rescheduling will be required. So, appreciate prayer for wisdom in resolving all these plans in a way that is pleasing to our Lord and the people involved. As we stand before the season when we remember His great sacrifice and suffering for our salvation, may we remember again that we are to reckon (He didn’t say it would be easy or natural, just that we have to reckon it) Rom 8:18 that ‘the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Once again, my apologies for tossing out a bunch of somewhat jumbled thoughts quickly, but wanted to let you know what has developed in the last few days and appreciate your faithful prayer for wisdom, strength and direction from the Lord.
Bill, Karen, Rachel, James and Jenn