Initial Health Update

I wanted to give you a quick update on my health, as some of you are in the know, and some of you aren’t.

Back before Christmas, I went into the doctor to try and take care of a nagging cough that I had for over 2 months. In addition, the glands and lymph nodes in my head had begun to swell up, and I was experiencing severe abdominal pain. They did an X-ray of my chest to make sure I didn’t have any fluid on my lungs, and while the X-ray showed I didn’t have any fluid on my lungs, it did show a giant mass of inflamed lymph nodes between my lungs. The doctor was obviously concerned, as this is generally a sign of cancer present somewhere in the body. He put me on steroids to get rid of the cough, as well as lessen the effects of some of the other symptoms. He then referred me to a pulmunologist here in town.

The pulmunologist sent me in to get a CT scan of my abdomen to get a better picture of what was going on, as well as determine if any cancer was present. The CT scan did not show any active cancer in my body, but did reveal a pretty big mass of swollen lymph nodes between my lungs, that had sorta wrapped themselves around my wind pipe. The CT scan also revealed that whatever was going on with the inflammation in my body had caused my pancreas to become inflamed. While there wasn’t any cancer present, it still did not rule out lymphoma, which is where I’m at now: I’m just waiting to get scheduled for a biopsy of this mass with the hospital, and it will probably be pretty invasive as it is located between my lungs, right behind my sternum. That will give us some pretty definitive answers once that is done.

It could be lymphoma, which would effect your head and stomach/liver/pancreas area like that, but right now my doctor is leaning towards an auto-immune disease called IgG4-RD, which presents itself as a mass (like I’ve got), but is not cancer. It also directly effects your pancreas, and your saliva glands, which is what would be causing all the glands in my head to swell. Being an auto-immune disease, it would simply mean managing it from here on forward. Hopefully I can get this test done this week and find out.

What the physical toll of this means for me right now:
  • With all the glands in my head being swollen, it leaves me with pressure on my head and neck at all times.
  • With the inflammation of my pancreas (basically chronic pancreatitis), it has left me with zero appetite, and the times I do eat are pretty painful, which has lead to a lot of water fasting the past 4 weeks. The normal ways you treat pancreatitis aren’t working for me (fasting, changing diet), as it’s something outside my pancreas causing this. I’ve lost over 30 pounds currently, but my pancreas continues to press against my stomach pretty bad.
  • The mass around my windpipe has gradually gotten worse, making it extremely hard to breathe. I had to ask the doctor last week to put me back on steroids for a short run just so I could breathe, as I wasn’t even able to sleep because my breathing had become so labored.

That’s where I’m at now. I definitely covet your prayers at the moment, as it has become pretty debilitating. Prayers that these upcoming tests will be pretty definitive in getting some answers. I’ve been working from home a lot more recently, and probably will until I can move forward with a diagnosis. I definitely won’t be trying to lead worship for a while, as singing is really tough.

Just wanted to let you guys know what was going on.

Shelby out!