So it's been a while...but here's the good news!
For those who don't know yet, Alan's treatment so far has been a great success! Tomorrow will be 8 weeks into treatment, and consistently for the last few weeks his blood has tested as free of the virus. It is likely still reproducing in his liver, though, and we have to continue treatment for the remainder of the program (which is 24 weeks total). Since it is a clinical trial, we don't get a lot of choices or options.
We are so blessed, in so many ways, to be in this trial. We were initially told we had no options other than a) a slow death, or b) a miserable 48 weeks of treatments that were toxic to his liver and had only about a 50% chance of cure (opinions on that varied). One doctor told us he had a 20% chance of dying this year, another that there was a significant chance the treatments themselves would shut down his liver. Even if all went the best it possibly could, he would feel like he had the flu for 48 weeks.
Instead, none of that happened. The day we were planning to make a decision on which medication to take, we prayed and pleaded for God to guide us. Then a specialist who we had never even seen called us (and as anyone medical knows, specialists never call anyone) and persuaded Alan that it was better to wait a few months and be a part of a clinical trial.
When the clinical trials opened, there were only a few weeks in which anyone would be able to get in. We initially hadn't considered the Birmingham trial because it was so far away (2 1/2 hours), and because we thought we could get into the one with the specialist in Atlanta. But when his kept getting delayed, we eventually went to Birmingham and finally were able to start treatment. A few weeks later when his started, we were already in treatment. But now that results are coming out, it appears that the medications Alan is on are more effective than the ones he would have taken in Atlanta. And some of the side effects appear to be less severe.
God is good. I have been reminded of that over and over this year. But I often think, "What if things had gone differently?" The truth is, God would still have been good. No matter what happens (and we know that much trouble is ahead of us in the future anyway, through disease, death, or crises before the end of time), God will still be good. Always.
"Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him."
Please keep us in your prayers. Tomorrow we will go back to Birmingham for more blood tests (as we do every two weeks now), and we will find out more results in another week or so. So far Alan has had a mild rash, a single episode of nausea and vomiting, and lots of exhaustion and insomnia. His bilirubin is very elevated, which has led to him nearly getting kicked out of the clinical trial (that was scary), but he has done well otherwise and was even able to fight off a cold this week (hooray!). He gave his last final exam for the semester yesterday, so hopefully he will be able to invest more time in exercise and sunshine, which the doctor has prescribed. Yes, he really did. (Alas for Alan, we have a garden and I'm not afraid to use it.) :D
Thank you all for your prayers and support! We are so richly blessed to have such a wonderful network of love and encouragement. Blessings to you all.