For those of you who are following our blog and praying for Alan's health: thank you all SO much! Despite Alan carrying a full load of work this semester, since his anointing, he continues to have energy equivalent to what he had before the accident in March (when he was hit by a car while crossing the street--the painkillers he had to take after that accident apparently affected his liver pretty severely, and we were unaware at the time he had hepatitis C). This energy boost is a direct answer to prayer. Before the anointing, he was exhausted by lunchtime and had to have at least one nap nearly every day. Now, he only needs naps if he doesn't get enough sleep at night.
Last week we went to the (fourth) specialist. Dr. Pearlman is an expert hepatologist (not herpetologist) and a very friendly, warm man. His passion is helping hepatitis C patients, and it is clear he knows exactly what he is doing. He is hoping to be able to help with a drug trial starting in January/February of 2013, with a drug combination that will be considerably less damaging and miserable for Alan than any other treatment presently available. Every other option we have includes interferon, a substance the body produces when a person has the flu. Interferon treatments basically make a person feel like they have the flu throughout the treatment. Fevers, chills, exhaustion, nausea, headaches, low red or white blood cell count, and other draining side effects are the norm. Worst of all, if a person does not respond to interferon treatments, or the treatment has to be discontinued (which happens frequently because of the severe side effects), the patient is far less likely to ever respond to any treatment in the future. But it looks like it is possible we will be able to do a treatment without interferon. Please pray that this will work out, if it is best!
We have been told there is about a 60-70% chance that any treatment available, interferon-based or otherwise, will be able to conquer this particular strain of the hepatitis C virus (1b). However, Dr. Pearlman was very encouraging as he shared his enthusiasm about the latest developments in treatment for hep C. He feels confident that even if Alan does not qualify for this treatment (and we should know next month if he does), within the next year there will be several good options for other drug trial treatments.
For those who are enthusiastically encouraging us to try natural remedies, we are doing what we can in the midst of our busyness. We have started juicing with organic vegetables, and Alan has been walking to work whenever he can. He also has started going to the gym to work out (since it is getting cold now). We don't have the money (or the faith) to invest in a lot of the expensive therapy courses that have apparently done wonderful things for other people, though we are thankful that so many people care about us enough to share the information. (Thank you all!)
Some kind and generous friends of ours, Susanne and Bryan Vyhmeister, have started a fundraising campaign to help us raise money to help with our unexpected medical expenses. Whatever you donate will go toward the cost of organic food for juicing and eating, child care during doctor's appointments, etc. If we get enough, it will help us cover the cost of sending Alan to Eden Valley in Colorado for treatments (hopefully in January when he has a little more time). But please don't feel obligated to give. We know that God will provide for our needs, as He always has.
There is also a wonderful FB page that the Vyhmeisters have started for us, PrayforAlan. It is exciting to me to see how many people are praying for us (451 right now!), and that is also a way to get brief, regular updates on our progress.
This week we should get back results from Alan's blood work last week, and also from the MRI. The doctors are wanting to be sure he doesn't have any signs of liver cancer, but so far we haven't seen any, so we are optimistic on that front. We will let you know, here and in the PrayforAlan group.
Thank you all! Blessings!