This is Leslie, Mike’s older daughter, bringing you a brief update about how things are going this week. We so appreciate all of your prayers and thoughts and words of encouragement! Thank you for supporting Dad and our whole family as he walks through this.
First: Medical Stuff
In our last update, we let you know that Dad got blood tests back that confirmed three tick-borne illnesses: Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and EBV. This week he started treatment, the first part of which is 4 weeks of IV antibiotics. While he could have opted for an oral antibiotic, doing it through the IV is more aggressive and will hopefully be more effective more quickly, and because he got a PICC line put in, he can take this at home and also won’t have to be stuck with an IV everyday—the antibiotics are fed in through the small tube that sticks out of his inner arm and connects to a tube running through his vein all the way to his heart. That dose take about thirty minutes once a day, and as of today he’s had 6 doses, 22 to go.
This particular antibiotic is addressing the first part of the Lyme disease, and there will be two other parts to address before they move on to dealing with anything else. Dad is still also taking his regular medication for Parkinson’s, and when that medication is working well he’s able to function fairly normally, though he’s pretty tired and weaker than his old self. In between the doses of that, he tends to experience even more pain and has to just breathe through it (he’s found yoga helpful too). One especially big concern right now is sleep. Sometimes getting to sleep in the evening is ok, but because of necessary medication timing, if he wakes up in the middle of the night the drugs have often worn off and the pain comes up in such a big way that it’s impossible to go back to sleep, so he just gets up and does yoga or something else to calm his body down.
And now: A Helpful Analogy
As Dad has explained it, we are in a D-Day vs. V-Day scenario. You might be familiar with the Allied Invasion at Normandy, and that many would agree that WWII was truly won by the Allies at that point—but there were still many bloody battles and lives lost between that day and the true end of the war.
Right now, the great thing is that Dad has found great doctors who he and Mom like and who are partnering with them, and that through those doctors and lots of research and tests, we now know what diseases we’re dealing with and can take the first steps in treatment. So we are in Stage One of a long process (remember, this first antibiotic is just addressing PART of ONE of the three diseases!). Overall, this will probably take several months to address the main things, and probably a longer process to truly get rid of all the symptoms (though it’s possible and we’re hopeful that after a few months he will at least feel a lot better).
So, while there’s so much to be thankful for and the really crucial steps of treatment have begun, it’s also true that this war will take a while to finish, and that things might get worse before they get better. Antibiotics are no joke, and while they kill lots of unwanted organisms in Dad’s body, he has to experience all the toxins that get released by things that don’t want to be killed off. A lot of things have to be broken down before his system can be built back up strong and healthy.
So, we’re pretty much at Normandy. Attacking the beachhead. Beginning to end the war, but still going through lots and lots of fighting. Our specialist doctor is Winston Churchill, Mom is FDR (Dad said I could be Eisenhower, but I think he was just running out of historical figures), the antibiotics are the troops…..and Dad’s body, unfortunately, is the battlefield. But let’s remember that he came up with this entire analogy himself, so he’s at least in good enough spirits to make interesting historical metaphors.
SLEEP. This is the biggest thing on both Mom and Dad’s lips when I talk to them right now. Dad needs to sleep more at night, and he needs to be able to fall back asleep after he wakes up.
Effective antibiotics - that all this stuff he’s taking would be quickly and completely effective so he can move on well to the next stage.
Pain - please keep praying that his nerve pain would decrease, or be really bold and keep praying that it would disappear!
Work & Logistics - Pray for a favorable answer to Dad’s short term disability claim. We have heard that once the words “Lyme disease” are in the picture, things in this regard can shut down, since some doctors are not familiar with the chronic version of Lyme that attacks the neurologic system. We’re praying that his claim would be accepted, or if it isn’t, that God would lead Dad & Mom in which of the other options to pursue and give them peace in those decisions.