Thursday, July 10, 2008

Turning the corner

It's Andrew again. During treatments I was too sick and unmotivated to blog, but now I'm doing a little better. Last week and the week before were my worst ever. I threw up every day and felt so sick and tired that I didn't eat much either. I ended up losing at least 5 lbs, maybe 9 depending on which scale you believe in just 1 week. Anyhow, praise God that I'm feeling much better this week, I gained back a few lbs!

This past weekend we decided to go to Grace's cousin Amanda's wedding in Wisconsin. I thought I would be too sick to attend the wedding, so I was just going to stay in the hotel room and rest. But on Saturday I felt so much better and was able to make it to the wedding and part of the reception! And praise God that I've been feeling a little better each day since then.

Just as I started to get some energy back and stopped throwing up all the time, the Lord provided a new challenge for us all.

It turns out that the radiation destroyed some of my teeth and most likely part of my jaw bone. This is called radio-osteonecrosis. They said I would have to do hyperbaric oxygen treatments and then pull some teeth. Most likely I'll additionally have to remove a portion of my jaw bone that we tried so hard to save during my last surgery.

Hyperbaric oxygen treatment is used to stimulate healing and increasing blood vessels. You sit in a high pressure chamber breathing pure oxygen for 1.5 hours five days a week for 6-8 weeks. You have to do a regimen before and after the teeth and/or jaw bone are removed.

If we do not remove the rotten tooth and anything else that might be infected, the infection will spread to the rest of my body and be another thing distracting my body from healing.

Some people question that if you stimulate blood vessle growth this close to cancer treatments, if there is still some cancer that hasn't finished dying yet, the blood vessels could provide more blood to the cancer, thus feeding it. Statistics do not show, though, that hyperbaric oxygen stimulates cancer growth and instead seems to only be beneficial.

If we end up doing all the treatments it would mean 12-16 weeks of hyperbaric oxygen and another major jaw/reconstructive surgery similar to what I did in March.

Currently, the doctor has given me penicillin and some antibiotic rinses to keep the infection at bay.

Please pray that God would heal my jaw and that the next scan will show that the bone has rejuvinated on its own (which may be a possibility) and that there are no infections. Please also pray for wisdom as to what treatments to do if any.

The good news:
- This new rotten tooth/possible dying-jaw condition is not life-threatening.
- Also, hyperbaric oxygen should not be toxic the way his previous treatments have been. There is a slight possibility that the hyperbaric treatment itself would heal his tooth and he wouldn't have to have anything else removed.

The bad news:
- We thought we were done with treatments and are very disappointed and totally burnt out to a crisp.
- If Andrew's jaw is dying, which we don't know yet, they would either have to replace it with a bone in his leg and some muscle in his chest. If we didn't want to do such a major surgery and just replaced his jaw with a metal one, he would be disfigured.

It would be horrible for him to go through another major surgery like that again and would be a major obstacle to his recovery. I feel like in order to get ahead of his cancer, we need to stop doing additional damage to his body.


  1. it's good to hear from you, andrew. we're so glad you were able to make it to the wedding. what a wonder of the Lord! we'll be praying for all the details to work out so you don't need anymore major surgery. and we're glad the oxygen treatment isn't pumping poison into you like your previous treatment. that's an improvement! love you guys!

  2. Dude,
    Just when we think things are on the up swing, God throws His children a curveball. We will certainly be praying for the both of you. What is truly amazing, God is in control. In addition, we will Praise Him for your healing.

    Erik Greene

  3. Would it be alright for me to have your mailing address? I would love to send some things to you, if possible. I know you don't know me, so if you are not comfortable, that's fine. I work at Grace to You and was thinking that some of the resources here might be an encouragement to you.

    Amanda Thompson
    If you would like, you could email your address to me at