Jaw Journey Update

Mandible_11_a

I gave this report in our church’s e-news this past week:

Thanks a ton for all your prayers as I continue to travel the healing road with the wound/infection in my jaw. I am now essentially under the care of infectious disease doctors for my osteomyelitis. They have put in play every strategy known to help my particular problem. It’s a two-fold approach. First, I have an at-home, every six hour, 24/7 antibiotic infusion—for four to six weeks. The hardest thing about that is the disruption of my sleep patterns. Pastor needs his sleep!

Second, the infamous hyperbaric oxygen dives. The toughest thing there is the time involved and somewhat the discomfort. I arrive at the hospital every morning, Monday through Friday, at 6:30 AM. They load the dive chamber somewhere around 7:30. It takes about fifteen minutes to pressurize the cabin to the equivalent of 45 feet below sea level. My sinuses tend to object strenuously on the way down. Think ice pick thrusts above the eye and you will get the idea. Once at depth, they install a clear plastic hood over my head. I breathe 100% O2 for 30 minutes, 5 minute break, another 30 of breathing, take five once more, a final half-hour of oxygen, and then 10 or 15 minutes or so back to the “surface.” I’m home in Altamonte usually by 10 AM. Fun, huh?

Needless to say, this treatment regimen has cut in significantly to my morning study time. As a result I feel I need to suspend the Genesis series until finished with this stewardship. I’m planning something less strenuous for Advent from the gospels. That will give me some breathing room as I keep on the healing path. My apologies for the disappointment this causes anybody. I just can’t bring myself to cheat study time on arguably the most challenging book of the Bible I have ever preached.

Most of my work hours for now will occur in the afternoon, evenings, and weekends, as energy allows. I appreciate the patience and grace I’ve received as I try to navigate the schedule with wisdom and grace.

Jaw Wars

Hyperbaric_chamber_image

The Star Wars saga has nothing on me. I’ve got more episodes in my journey than the popular movie series will ever produce.

This just in. My oral surgeon today said he’s done all he can do surgically. The problem with my escalating pain must be medical. What to do? Two things. One, hyperbaric oxygen therapy. I report for the first of these tomorrow morning, Lord willing, at Florida Hospital. Can’t wait to climb into one of those rigs (see image above).

Two, infectious disease consult. The surgeon removed all the dead bone debris he could find. My pain can no longer stem from that cause. The only thing he can surmise on that score is osteomyelitis–chronic infection of the bone. My oral surgeon referred me back to my medical oncologist/hematologist for this consult, especially because I had multiple infections of the blood during my chemo treatments back in 2005. I am still waiting to hear back from his office about an appointment. My understanding at this point is that treatment protocol for this involves inserting a central line for six weeks of IV antibiotics. Something to look forward to. But I am trying not to get ahead of myself.

Pain remains high. Still pushing the drugs to cope. Lots of rest required. The saga goes on.

I’ve hauled out a familiar friend from ’05, the promise of God in 2 Cor. 12:9, to sustain me along the way.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Oswald Chambers says this about one of my all time favorite verses of the Bible:

God does not give us overcoming life: He gives us life as we overcome. The strain is the strength. If there is no strain, there is no strength. Are you asking God to give you life and liberty and joy? He cannot, unless you will accept the strain. Immediately you face the strain, you will get the strength. Overcome your own timidity and take the step, and God will give you to eat of the tree of life and you will get nourishment. If you spend yourself out physically, you become exhausted; but spend yourself spiritually, and you get more strength. God never gives strength for to-morrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minute. The temptation is to face difficulties from a common-sense standpoint. The saint is hilarious when he is crushed with difficulties because the thing is so ludicrously impossible to anyone but God.

 Not sure about the hilarious part, but definitely striving for strength in the strain of each minute. Appreciate all the prayers of the faithful on FB.
More importantly, regarding Nancy, there is not much to report. She continues to work her therapy program therapy. Thank you for your faithful prayers on her behalf as well.