JULY 18: UPDATE ON MY WIFE’S CONDITION & RESUMPTION OF BROADCASTS
Most of you, I presume, have read my previous, but apparently all-too-infrequent (to judge from the number of people regularly requesting more information, and more often) posts about my dear wife’s health crisis.
If you have, you already know that at the beginning of this year Leslie began to experience a mysterious and excruciating pain in the center right region of her back.
Though I frequently drove her to chiropractors and massage therapists, these visits, as well as over-the-counter pain relievers, only provided a temporary diminishing, never an elimination, of the pain. On a scale of 1 to 10 — 10 being “the worst pain you’ve ever felt in your life” (which would almost certainly also describe Leslie’s experiences in giving birth to our numerous children, as eight of these — i.e., all but the two necessary C-sections — were non-medicated), her back pain almost daily reached a 10. Aspirin and other non-prescription drugstore pain relievers only brought it down a few notches.
About three months ago, in addition to this constant and cryptic back pain, Leslie began to experience an additional — and equally inexplicable — affliction: a crippling weakness, a shakiness, an almost inability to function.
From the dynamic, vibrant, vivacious, hard-working, healthy, active (easily accomplishing intense 1-2 hour workouts at the YMCA five days a week) companion she had been since we got married 35 years ago, my lovely wife became a housebound (and, eventually, practically chair-bound) invalid (except when I would drive her to a doctor’s appointment, which increased to a weekly and then twice-a-week frequency).
A chiropractor we next visited who was also a functional doctor had a medical lab analyze her blood, urine, and hair samples. The lengthy (16-page) report the lab generated indicated high levels of toxic metals and other substances in her blood, especially tin, for which we had no explanation. (We have a high-quality filter on our tap water, and despite that only drink bottled spring water.)
A regimen of special supplements to rejuvenate Leslie’s liver and then, in the second month, to neutralize and eliminate these toxins in her system, while undoubtedly healthful, resulted in no marked improvement in her condition.
This debilitation of her health, aggravated by her inability to eat more than two or three mouthfuls of food at a “meal” without vomiting it back up due to an extreme difficulty in swallowing, resulted in Leslie’s losing over 25 pounds over the last two months.
Late Sunday night (48 hours ago) my wife finally told me to take her to the emergency room, as she felt (in her words) that she was dying.
In addition to two separate blood tests — one at the beginning of the several hours we spent in an examination room in the hospital’s emergency section, and one at the end of that period — as well as an x-ray and a CAT scan, we consulted with three different doctors, including a specialist.
We’d originally been told we could expect to leave the emergency room and return home around noon on Monday after all the tests had been performed. One of the doctors, however, stunned us by announcing that he was having Leslie admitted to the hospital as an in-patient due to the fact the CAT scan showed what seemed to be a cancerous growth 4 centimeters in size in her right lung, as well as nodes of the same suspicious-looking mass on her adrenal glands (which sit atop the kidneys), which he suspected had likely metastasized from the tumor-like growth in her lung.
Once we told the doctor Leslie’s health history, he was as puzzled as we were at this anomaly, since my wife (like me and like her parents) has never smoked a cigarette in her entire life, nor has she encountered any other environmental factors that would normally account for lung cancer. In any case, the doctor ordered her to stay in the hospital at least overnight so he could schedule a biopsy, which took place today (Tuesday).
Prior to the biopsy another doctor, the surgeon who would perform it, met with us and explained (as he is legally obliged to do at the time of our signing of the consent form) that, as with every medical procedure, there is always a risk that something could go amiss. The procedure would involve the insertion of a long, very thin needle, guided by CAT scan technology, through Leslie’s back and on through her stomach cavity to the adrenal gland, in order to harvest samples of the suspected mass. We were informed that there was a small chance that this could result in bleeding — in some (though admittedly infrequent) cases, severe, catastrophic, even fatal bleeding.
The realization that there was a slim but potentially devastating chance that I might lose my dear wife this very day — and not months or years down the road — was shattering. But we equally knew that the risk was necessary in order to gather the tissue sample to determine whether Leslie had cancer so that we could begin treatment.
We therefore agreed to the biopsy, praying that God would guide the doctor’s hands and give him and his surgical team the necessary wisdom to accomplish the task without witnessing a tragic mishap. We prayed that Leslie’s body would calmly cooperate with the procedure by remaining entirely motionless. (She would be only partially anesthetized so that she could continue to breathe on her own.) We prayed, in short, that everything would go smoothly. And apparently it has (thanks be to God).
But Leslie now has to stay a second night in the hospital. (Even one overnight stay, let alone two, was something we had not originally reckoned on, and is worrisome, from a financial perspective, as a stay of even one night can typically cost two thousand dollars or more, not to mention the cost of all the tests and procedures done, which will cost several thousands of dollars more — an alarming prospect, especially as we have no health insurance.)
The second night stay is required because my patiently suffering wife has a second procedure scheduled tomorrow (like today’s procedure, preceded by a 12-hour period of observation on their part and total fasting — even from water — on her part) to attempt a esophageal dilation to enable her to swallow more effectively.
After recovering from that procedure, Leslie should hopefully be able to be released later in the day and return home to await the results of the biopsy report (typically 3-5 days), and then, of course, begin cancer treatment if the masses are in fact malignant.
Apart from a couple of short absences yesterday and today to go back to the house to get things for Leslie and to attend to other matters (arranged to only occur while Leslie slept), I have essentially been by her side day and night here in her hospital room, where I now write these words.
Needless to say, this utterly unexpected turn of events has made my keeping up with my broadcasts on the readings in Dom Guéranger’s The Liturgical Year virtually impossible for the past three nights (Sunday, Monday, and tonight, Tuesday night).
If we do indeed return home tomorrow, depending upon the time of the return I may be able to resume my broadcasting then (Wednesday night). If that becomes impossible due to the evening being overly hectic as we seek to get re-settled, I should be able to broadcast on Thursday evening. In that resumptive broadcast we will of course attempt to cover everything from Sunday’s readings up through that night’s, so as to get fully caught up.
I want to thank the handful of you who, having read yesterday’s post, kindly sent a donation yesterday or today. Your thoughtfulness and generosity is deeply appreciated, and I will be sending you individual thank-you’s as soon as humanly possible.
Given the current situation, this seems an apt moment to remind everyone of my strict policy regarding donations.
Every penny of every donation received (whether by PayPal, credit card, check, or cash) is meticulously documented and conscientiously and exclusively applied to the bills and the ongoing operating expenses of Biblical Foundations International (BFI). It never goes to pay for any of my or my family’s personal expenses — including any medical expenses, past, present, or future. This is no less true of our current critical situation than it is of any other period over the 27 years since I started BFI in January of 1991.
But what perhaps many people don’t realize (despite my having mentioned it more than once) is that donations have been drastically down for some years now — this, despite my having uploaded several times a week, on average (and now, nearly every day), to my public figure Facebook page what now number as hundreds of free videos.
As a result of the severe drop in donations my family and I have had to make many sacrifices to massively underwrite the cost of continuing the work of Biblical Foundations, though this has left us with no savings, no health insurance, and very little leftover income.
An influx — such as we’ve gratefully witnessed over the past couple of days — of even a handful of donations (less than a dozen) thus shoulders a much greater share of the burden of subsidizing the work of BFI. This enables us to use the corresponding amount of our own personal income (which we would otherwise have had to pour back into BFI) to pay for other things, such as at least a fraction (all too small, alas) of the mounting and astronomical medical expenses incurred by my wife’s health crisis (which will probably take us years to pay off).
But the donations people send us never directly go to pay such expenses: they always and only go towards BFI’s apologetics and evangelistic programs and the expenses these programs incur — though, as I say, this enables us to use more of our (very little) annual income (less than $25,000 a year for our family) to meet our other expenses, such as unexpected medical bills.
So thank you, one and all, for your love, your prayers, and your continuing support of this vital work of explaining and defending the authentic Catholic Faith, without which (as the Church’s magisterium has solemnly, repeatedly, and dogmatically defined) no one can be saved.
And thank you, no less, for your kindhearted concern and prayers for my wife’s health crisis, which has perhaps only just begun (although we are boldly praying for a miracle, while at the same time saying, “Not our will, but Yours be done.”)
May Almighty God abundantly bless you and your loved ones, both here and hereafter.
Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us!
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!
St. Peregrine, pray for us!
St. Luke, the Beloved Physician (Colossians 4:14), pray for us!
St. Jude and St. Philomena, pray for us!
All you holy saints and angels, pray for us!
Yours in Christ our Healer and Mary our Hope,