December 2010 was just like any other month except: is it the month that holds Christmas and it was the month that I had been waiting for. We (Rick, Sean and I) had been planning a vacation to Hawaii. Sean was finishing his undergraduate work at Geneva College. That part of his journey was complete and the next part hadn’t started yet.
What I didn’t know was that while I was busy planning a Christmas vacation in Hawaii my liver was planning on a sneak attack. It started with a pain in my shoulder and back. I thought I had strained a muscle lifting a patient at work. So I took some Tylenol and forgot about it. Fast forward a few weeks. The pain in my shoulder keeps coming back but now it includes my neck and the muscle going down my right shoulder-blade. Heat, a hot bath and Tylenol help to ease the pain. On the plane ride to Hawaii the sneak attack calls for reinforcements but the home troops get assistance from the mind. Hawaii is in sight. Tropical paradise with time to sleep, warm weather, swimming in the ocean and basking in the sun. The pain retreats and the liver goes into planning for the next assault. I wake up on the 2nd day of our trip and I am in so much pain that we cancel our plans and just lie about relaxing and basking in the sun. I switch pain relievers to aspirin and Aleve. The pain recedes but now I notice that any walking and I am having trouble breathing. Rick notices that I am struggling and we change some of our plans for a long hike, the weather cooperates and the rain washes out any potential for our excursion. Instead we land on the beach. I sun bathe while the guys go snorkeling. The soothing sun along with no discernible movement has won this skirmish. The rest of our vacation I am able to do all of the activities with the help of aspirin. Our trip home is easier than expected.
The liver has been secretly enlisting the aid of the diaphragm without the mind’s awareness. The liver has developed a new secret weapon, a fluid filled cyst that pushes the diaphragm up into the base of the lungs. Any deep breath taken, is now met with resistance from the diaphragm. The diaphragm fires off a response and sends signals through the nerves into the shoulder and neck. Of course I do not understand this partnership so I wake up crying from pain in my shoulder, down my right arm and searing across my neck and upper back. I call for back up and head to the doctor’s office. I can’t take a deep breath and the fingers in my right hand have started to become numb.
The doctor gives me medicine to relax the muscles and pain medication to cut off the enemies attack. The doctor is wise so she calls for special counsel. A chest X-ray is completed on that Friday to rule out pleurisy, which is an inflammation of the lining around the lungs. The doctor also calls in MRI to map out any problem areas in the spine that can pinch off a nerve; the MRI completes his task on Monday. The Doctor receives aerial footage from the radiologist that reassured her that these areas are safe. No enemies are storming these sites. But the all-seeing eye of the radiologist notices something in the distance. He sees an area on the map between the liver and the diaphragm that is black. This alarms him. The signals are not good. The enemy has entrenched. Spies are sent in to gather more data. What kinds of weapons are being used in this battle? Who is calling the shots? The spies send in their best agent, CT scan aided by contrast. The CT scan gathers data from the abdomen and pelvic area.
The report is complete. The liver has developed a plan of attack. The cyst is 14 cm covering the entire right lobe of the liver. The cyst is filled with approximately half a gallon of fluid and the growth is pushing against the diaphragm. The nerves of the diaphragm are sending distress signals which are received by the shoulder. The SOS signal is heard by the troops.
A plan of action is quickly made. A needle guided by the CT scan will drain off the liquid then a new liquid will be introduced that will seal off the cyst. But ….. before this plan can be carried out God steps into the battle!
The brain reminds the control tower that there are other doctor’s that can be called in for reinforcement. The needle plan doesn’t sound like the right course of action to take. The liver has put up a fight and the cyst has grown too big to be handled by this plan. It is now Friday, January 21. An email goes out asking for referrals to a very special liver doctor who might be able to reassess the aerial images of the CT scan, X-ray and the MRI. A phone call arrives and a name is thrown into the ring as a potential key figure in this fight. But does this special liver doctor have the time to review the facts presented? The lady at the office of this special liver doctor discovers that just by a coincidence a cancellation has occurred for the upcoming Monday. I think this is a God-incident myself!
Monday morning, January 24 looms ahead. What will happen? Will a new plan of action against this enemy be discovered? What will the outcome be?
The very special liver doctor, Dr. Chopra, reads the aerial reports. He points out the flaw in the original plan with a slide show of the various pictures. The cyst has grown too large. The fluid is made up of many potential substances. He maps out a plan that is put into action immediately. Blood is drawn out to analyze for any potential dangers. Dr. Chopra calls in the man who can take action, a surgeon of great renown. He “happens” to be in the building seeing his other patients. Dr. Chopra’s phone call to him results in an immediate time to strategize.
This surgeon, Dr. Geller, firmly takes a stand. “I know how to rid your body of this enemy but you need to do it on my schedule. Follow my recommendations and on February 17 a team of instruments will insert themselves in the middle of this battle. They will drain the cyst of its noxious fluid. Then in an all out frontal attack the cyst itself will be surrounded on three sides and cut off from the liver. The camera will take pictures to make sure that the diaphragm has not been injured. The rest of the cyst will be bathed in a protective coating to stop any other fluid from accumulating in the future. Any leaking pipes will be closed with a special fitting and a team will be left behind to suction off any remaining fluid. The instruments will be withdrawn and their path will be sealed off. The team left behind will remain to observe for 48-72 hours and then they will be removed.”
The plan is accepted. The battle will soon be over. The liver will need time to understand that it has been cured of its bizarre behavior. The diaphragm will need sleep to recuperate from the pressure but it will settle back down and continue it’s very important job. The SOS signal has been heard and it will be turned off once the body has time to heal up and get back to normal. After a few weeks everything will be back to full operation. The entire team will praise God for knowing the complete story and sending in the right troops in just the right time! Hallelujah! The miracle of life continues on as planned. Everything will continue the task that was set into motion one day long ago when the first spark of life began!
Please stay tuned for further updates. The tide has turned and the plan of action begins! The enemy will be defeated!
Hugs and love,
from the body known as Kathy (LOL)