Cathy has Crohn's disease which is an autoimmune disease that occasionally flares. She had an appointment on April 30th with her gastroenterologist to help her manage what she presumed to be another flare, but was immediately sent to the ER at Emory St. Joseph's Hospital. She was initially treated for a kidney and urinary tract infection but after four days with limited improvement, the doctors discovered the underlying issue. Mercaptopurine, an old cancer medicine used in lower doses for Crohn's disease, had inadvertently accumulated, reaching a level toxic to her liver and bone marrow.
Her hospitalization was complicated by another infection called C-diff which attacks the colon. One of the feared complications of C-diff is that it progresses to the point that it actually causes the colon to die, which occurred very rapidly in her case. As a result, she became very sick very quickly overnight, going into shock and requiring an emergency surgery to remove the colon. The ICU team was heroic in stabilizing and preparing her for surgery, and thankfully her surgeon was successful with a bold and challenging surgery. Approximately one week following surgery, she was weaned off the ventilator and sedation and started feeling better. Five different medical professionals used the term "miracle" which is not one casually used in healthcare. Her hospitalization has been marked by cycles of three steps forward and two steps back, and she has continued to have occasional complications such as small brain bleeds or liver damage. But overall, she is slowly improving and we celebrate that progress. She still has weeks of hospitalization and physical rehab ahead of her, but as one doctor said, "She survived an unsurvivable surgery. The rest of her recovery will take some time." She will also need a repeat surgery in about 3-6 months, but we will cross that bridge when we get there.
So ultimately, this is a story of God's grace, as we believe that our God is the great physician. We know that He performs miracles. We have witnessed the power of prayer. We have likewise experienced the blessing of excellent medical care throughout this hospitalization. Thank you for walking this journey with us, as this post is intended to provide a summary of what has now consumed our last 31 days as a family. We feel extraordinarily loved and supported by our community and appreciate you greatly. Please join us in praying for complete healing for Cathy.