I thought it might be easier to start this page and catch everyone up to speed. We are the luckiest family because so many people love us and want to help. Thank you all. So, here's the story. On Saturday, February 20th Bert had a bad headache and thought he might have a sinus infection. He spent most of that day resting. The next day at a funeral he noticed his right eye was not shutting all the way. The headache continued and it seemed to worsen. By that night he decided he would see our family doctor first thing Monday morning. As he was brushing his teeth that morning he noticed he didn't have control of the water leaving his mouth. He also noticed that his smile was drooping and his right eye brow would not raise. After showering and getting ready for work he came downstairs and said we needed to go to the ER because he thought he was having a stroke. As we checked in at Nash General (Yes, I wanted to call 911 but he insisted on me driving him there, sweet stubborn man that he is!) luckily a nurse calmed our fears and said she did not think it was a stroke but Bells Palsy instead. He had all the typical screening for BP, was told it was a classic case, gave him steroids and an antiviral and sent us on our way. We did mention to the ER doctor that his back had been hurting, wondering if maybe he had a kidney infection so they did some labs and a back X-ray. Those result came back normal and we were told the back pain/achiness was just normal degenerate aging. Bert worked the next day after following up with our family doctor but did stay home Wednesday to rest. His BP symptoms began clearing up quickly over the next week but the back pain persisted and grew more painful. By the following week it was so severe he could not sleep. On Thursday, March 3rd we saw our family doctor again. The Wednesday before, after he got home from work he noticed his right foot was dragging slightly and he almost tripped down our steps. Our doctor examined him and noticed right away the weakness in his legs. He said Bert needed to see a neurologist and thought he might have Guillian Barre Syndrome (GBS). He sent us to Chapel Hill and a few hours we were being seen in the ER. The testing and evaluations started right away. The first MRI of the lower back revealed lots of swollen lymph nodes and from there they just continued to look at different parts of the body. They were also trying to asses what seemed like a neuro problem and possible GBS. We were admitted late that night.
The days tend to run together with lots of CT scans, MRIs, countless Neuro evaluations, 2 spinal taps and many other tests that I can't even remember. By this past weekend we received a final diagnosis of stage lV esophageal cancer metastasized to the liver. All the doctors have been completely baffled because Bert has not one symptom of esophageal cancer. In fact, the only acute problem he had was severe leg pain and weakness. He had several falls because his knees would just buckle and he'd go to the ground. The doctors decided it was critical to address this issue so we began radiation last Thursday. They believe the cancer could be attacking his central nervous system. There can also be tiny little malignancies that attach to the nerves. These are not seen on his MRI but can still be there. Another explanation is that cancer just does wacky things to the body. He was moved to the inpatient rehab floor last Friday night and has started an intense physical and occupational program. We are seeing great improvements and continue to pray the radiation will only help things get better and better. As of now we know he wil be here until Good Friday. Wouldn't that be a wonderful day to go home!
We cannot begin to express the love we have felt from so many friends and family. We know God is in full control and we have great hope that He is guiding us every step of the way. We prayed with a sweet Godly friend of mine a few days after we got here. During her prayer she reminded us to keep our eye on Jesus. The next day Bert said we needed a picture of Him in our room so my dear college friend broght the most beautiful picture of Jesus to our room. It has become our saving grace. We continue to keep our eye on Jesus and know He is taking care of us every step of the way.