Wednesday, December 14, 2011

December 2011 Report

Dear Brethren,              

            Shortly after our return from the South Pacific gospel campaign in April and May of this year, my life has become filled with doctors and numerous medical tests.  After being diagnosed with thyrotoxicosis and anemia, several cures were tried to no avail.  I was referred to a hematologist (who is also an oncologist) who ordered two different full body scans.  On October 17th, Linda and I were told that I had stage four renal (kidney) cancer and that it had spread to my lungs.  Linda and I were shocked!  After having thyroid cancer in 2008, I thought I was a cancer survivor.  Now, that remains to be seen.  However, God is in control and whatever happens will happen.  I have reconciled myself with everyone and everything and like the apostle Paul, if my departure is at hand, “I am now ready to be offered” (2 Timothy 4:6).  But, enough of that!

            I am in my fourth week of recovery from the surgery and everyone says I am doing very well.  (I wish someone would convince my insides of that.)  The surgeon said since it was major surgery, it would take about eight weeks to recover and that I was not to push it   However, those of you who know me know that I cannot not push, at least, to some extent.  I am feeling stronger every day and working as I can but looking forward to getting back to our work together for the Lord on a full-time basis.
            Yes, medicine is wonderful with what can be done today but it is certainly expensive.  I received a notification from the hospital in the mail that said I was responsible for $56,000 plus owed to them.  That didn’t even include the pulmonologist, the physical therapist, the two surgeons, and the host of other specialists involved.  One cannot afford to be sick these days.  Oh well, “Jehovah-jireh,” God will provide (Genesis 22:8, 14).

            May our God bless each of you and please accept my heartfelt gratitude for your prayers, words of concern, and financial support in our work.

In Christ Who Saves,
Jimmie B.Hill

Greetings from Georgia!   

We have not been able to send out a newsletter since mid-September, so here’s a brief timeline of our fall:

9/28 – Jimmie’s anemia worsened so he was referred to a hematologist.
9/30 – Emergency infusion treatment – Jimmie’s calcium level was almost to the coma-inducing level.
10/3-13 – Lots of blood tests, visits with specialists and finally 2 full body scans.
10/17 – Diagnosis:  Stage 4 Renal Cancer. The tumor was already involved with the vena cava so surgery might not be an option.
10/26 – Biopsy attempts on his lungs failed, but the kidney sample confirmed malignant renal cancer.
10/31 – The urology surgeon decided the vena cava was too compromised for him to tackle.  He referred Jimmie to a team at Emory Hospital. 
11/1 – Jimmie had 3 MRIs needed to evaluate surgery options.
11/3 – Jimmie’s first chemo was scheduled but his oncologist insisted on reviewing the MRIs first – then cancelled chemo.  He decided surgery should be possible and chemo would interfere. A few hours later Jimmie got a call from the first surgeon. Based on the MRIs he was willing to operate, provided a vascular surgeon agreed and would assist.
11/4 – Jimmie developed severe hiccups from the cancer. 2 different medications from the doctor gave only short respites from the horrible muscle spasms.
11/10 – The vascular surgeon signed on.  We got a call scheduling surgery!
11/11 – The oncologist almost cancelled surgery when he saw first-hand how sick Jimmie had become due to the hiccups.  But a CT Scan of Jimmie’s lungs showed no additional cancer growth there so he allowed plans to go forward. 
11/14 – Jimmie received 2 units of blood to try to make him stronger before surgery.                 
11/17 – Jimmie’s right kidney was removed.  During the 3 ½ hour operation he lost and received 6 ½ liters of blood - more than his whole body’s volume - so was sent straight to ICU on a ventilator.
11/18 – The ventilator came out but more blood had to go in.
11/19 – Jimmie left ICU for a surgical room.
11/20 – His blood counts dropped again so he got 2 more transfusions.  He was only allowed out of bed to take 2 steps to a chair, then back again.
11/22 – Jimmie got his first sip of water since surgery and was allowed to walk a bit further.
11/23 – Jimmie came home!
11/28 – 28 staples were removed from his abdomen.
12/9 – Chemo began.

Jimmie receiving his first chemo treatment.

Jimmie’s progress since the surgery has been nothing less than astounding to me, but his oncologist has been almost as happy about it as me.  He confided that he had really been afraid Jimmie would not survive the operation, but we all knew it was Jimmie’s only option.  As Jimmie said, it was definitely the right choice this time.  His remarkable recovery is also due to God’s grace and your prayers.  Thank you!  And thank you too for all of the cards, calls, emails and gifts we have received.

Now, we have a second battle fighting the cancer that is left.  His oncologist believes that our best weapon is a chemical too long for me to pronounce, even though this drug will not kill cancer cells.  Its purpose is to prevent further growth.  But we are praying for better results than that.  We know there is a stronger weapon. 

The day the doctor said “cancer”, the first question Jimmie asked was, “Can you get me well enough to go back to Africa?”  Please continue to pray that this will be possible.

In Christian love,
Linda Hill

No comments: