The last few weeks have had some ups and downs. After a series of seizures a couple of weeks ago, the doctors doubled the daily steroids he was on in order to try to control the swelling in his brain (that was evident after the last MRIs). Shortly afterwards, Benjamin started having trouble with balance and walking. His vision was affected and when we went to church three weeks ago he was not even able to get out of the car without help. We found out his seizure drugs were at toxic levels in his system so they upped one medication and took him off the other for a weekend to make his levels drop. We added the meds back in slowly the following week which encouraged a couple more seizures to get thrown into the mix. I am happy to report that Ben has not had any seizures since last Sunday! Not even the focal (partial) seizures. Praise God! He is on a little lower dose of one medication then before and it seems to be working for him!
The medications that he is on through the Texas clinic continue to be holding tumor growth at bay and his last MRI said that there may be slight decrease in size as well. The doctor recommended Benjamin get a PET scan to see if the tumor is still active and if it is not, to continue on the current treatment for the next eight months. We have been trying to schedule a PET Scan and also, praying about whether this is the best choice for continued treatment as it becomes increasingly harder for us to come up with the money to pay for each month’s treatment.
In February we also found out that our doctor in Texas would be going in front of the Texas Medical Board on a list of charges. The clinic was unsure whether they would be able to remain open after the trial the first week of March. Because we could not afford to pay for medication in advance, we were unsure of whether we would be able to continue on the treatment plan that we have established there. We started looking at a few other options and came upon the Hope 4 Cancer clinic in Mexico. We prayed about whether to go there and started talking to the admissions staff to see if it was the right fit for us. Ben and I both (and his mom who helps us with decision making these days) felt that a diet and lifestyle overhaul would be a good choice for us at this point. When we realized the seizure meds he was on were pushing him to a toxic level, it helped us to realize that a few weeks of detox would help him to start fresh with treatment and hopefully help produce more of the results we are praying for. The fees for the treatment at the clinic in Mexico include a year of treatment and two follow up visits after this initial trip. If this proves to be enough treatment for Benjamin long-term, it will relieve a lot of the financial burden we are currently under (which is what Benjamin is most concerned about at this point). If the treatment does not prove to be enough on its own, it will work well in conjunction with the treatment that we are currently on through the Texas clinic and we will go from there.
The clinic would have been able to fit us in earlier this month, but Benjamin and I both felt taking a few extra days to pray about it (and get passports) was the right way to go at that point. The more we discussed and prayed about it, the more we felt that that was the path we needed to head down next. That said, Benjamin and I leave next Wednesday for three weeks at the clinic in Mexico. My mom will be coming to stay with our children while we are gone and we are praying that that will be uneventful. Please pray for me as well… I have never left the children for this long and while I know they will be in good hands, I am struggling with the decision to leave them for so long. I will miss them so much! I am so grateful that my mom will be coming to stay with them and provide the stability that they need while we are away.
*The clinic in Texas won at trial and will remain open should we have the finances to continue treatment there.
*Benjamin has been in much better spirits the past two weeks and has been able to spend quality time with the kids and I. He is sleeping less and feeling better.
Our prayer requests:
*That Benjamin will fare well on the new treatment. That the doctors will know the best course of action for his future treatment and that he will be miraculously healed.
*That our travel to Tijuana will be smooth and uneventful.
*That our house in Tennessee will finally sell and free up some funds for us to use to pay for continued treatment.
*That our children (and I) will handle the separation well and that we will be able to make up for lost time when we return. I miss them already.
*For Benjamin to find something meaningful to fill his days. He doesn’t admit it often, but he is lonely and often goes days without seeing or talking to anyone other than the kids and I. Any stay at home mom knows that is a hard place to be 😉