annie thomas

First post: Dec 13, 2018 Latest post: Mar 3, 2019

My thanks go out to those who have so faithfully shared their concern and prayer for me during these past six years of most amazing health experiences. It's been quite the road trip; one I wish was less traveled. Along the way, I've met countless folks who truly suffer with catastrophic health issues deteriorating the very fabric of their lives. I've been fortunate/blessed to be able to work, enjoy family and friends, travel and carry on throughout.  It's hasn't been easy. I have discovered that God's strength shines throughout challenging times, when there is a personal relationship. . He makes even the most arduous travels look easy to those observing. As he says, "My strength is made perfect in weakness."

 A little over six years ago, without reason, my digestive system began to deteriorate. Thought to be an auto immune problem, I navigated through gastroenterology, rheumatology, acute allergy and  four major surgeries in four years, two colon resections, a complete colectomy, hysterectomy and various other surgical maneuverings. 
It was as if my body was simply failing. 

The surgery that resulted in the  loss of my large intestine mustered an onslaught of digestive annoyances like  gastroparesis, a slow down/ oft paralysis of my upper digestive tract and a whopping case of gastric reflux. The domino effect continued as digestive juices with battery acid strength seeped their way  into my lungs, rendering healthy tissue irreparably fibrotic .

My coughing, choking and lung function worsened at an alarming rate,.I was sent to Fairfax hospital for needle biopsies of the nodules and mini masses forming in both lungs.  Scans  showed "Broken Glass" appearance shifting from one location to another, necessitating a more intrusive VATS biopsy where tiny slices were taken via laparoscope under general anesthesia. The information gathered was inconclusive but became topic for Grand Rounds at the hospital. 

While there was no malignancy, there was also no definitive culprit for the lung problem. A hard press was initiated to find the cause lest  it  fall back into a dire diagnosis of Idiopathic Lung Disease with Fibrosis which nearly always requires a transplant and carries a two year or less prognosis. 

I  returned to the Rheumatologist to once again test for Scleroderma, or other rheumatoid processes, earlier thought to be attacking my digestive system.  No significant tests proved culpable and the focus returned to the digestive tract.  A gastroenterologist performed an endoscopy implanting a BRAVO chip at the juncture of stomach and esophagus. Over the next 48 hours, this little computer chip would communicate with a unit at my waist, reporting the severity of gastric reflux. I was already taking the maximum doses of anti reflux drugs. 

 The amount of acid refluxing up my esophagus was labeled "Profound". and surgery was strongly recommended to prevent any further lung fibrosis or damage to esophagus. 

 Friday, December 14th, a thoracic surgeon will do a trans oral fundoplication to tighten up the juncture at the base of the esophagus and prevent any further reflux. Three months of some dietary changes...should be interesting!

My heart's desire is to get our family celebration of  Christmas prepared and poised ahead of time. Certainly, everything will be just fine without us, but this year more than any other I'm excited to prepare a place for our family, especially the grandchildren. Steve says I'm "Nesting."  I'm just so glad to have a shortened work schedule and the time to dedicate to the Holy Days. 

Thankful for God's timing in closing down the restaurant on a successful note at the conclusion of the lease this Fall. I sensed a very clear direction on that well before these latest goofy health issues arose. 

 I'm still working as a Private Chef, catering and recently accepted an executive position in the kitchen of a nearby Farm Manor and Inn. Fortunately, I  have a great staff to keep up the good work while I am out of commission. 

Thank you for wading through this with me and especially  for your prayers. We will try to update at some point. 

Until then, I hope you and your family enjoy a most blessed Christmas season with Christ at the very center! 

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