Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Miracle

The title of this post might be over-stating things a little, but not much.  On Tuesday night, Michael and I got some great news that drastically changed everything in our lives for the better.  Here's why ...

As most of you know, both of Michael's parents passed away in September only 18 days apart.  Among other things, her mother suffered from liver disease, and her father developed pancreatic cancer.  However both parents were also diagnosed with Hepatitis C a few years ago, which is an infectious disease that attacks the liver and can lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure.  After quite a bit of reading and research, we found that many in the baby-boomer generation carry Hepatitis C of some varying degree.  In fact a few years ago the CDC issued a statement encouraging all baby-boomers to have Hep C screening completed.  Furthermore, many in the medical community believe we will see a drastic increase in cases in the coming years, possibly nearing epidemic proportions.

Michael, her sisters, and the rest of the family were very aware of the parents' Hep C condition, but were informed that it could only be spread by blood to blood contact.  We were all careful and conscious of extra hand-washing etc., when we visited New Mexico to take care of them, but doctors assured the family there was way less than a 1% chance of anyone contracting it while providing assistance in their last days.   

To be on the safe side, Michael and her sister had blood work performed to check for the virus after their parents passed.  Both of Michael's sisters' tests came back negative, but Michael tested positive for Hepatitis C.  We were shocked and devastated and didn't understand how she could have contracted it based on the slim percentages.  In what was the toughest time emotionally for Michael, due to the passing of her parents, she was now apparently Hepatitis C positive. This was a potentially life changing discovery, and we both were filled with confusion and fear of what the future would hold.

We immediately began researching treatments and scheduled a meeting with a Heptologist.  He confirmed that her antibodies in the first test indicated that she was most likely positive, but further blood work was needed to confirm.  So she completed the blood work, and then we waited.  Based on her conversation with the doctor, Hepatitis C was eminent and we were going to have to choose between treatment options, some of which can be very aggressive, similar in nature to chemotherapy that cancer patients receive.

But last night, on the way to our Christmas Lights Limo Ride, she received a call from the doctors office ... all of the secondary tests came back NEGATIVE!!!  She was given a 100% clean bill of health and they said there was no sign of the Hepatitis C virus.  It was the best phone call ever!

The timing of the initial tests just came at an unbelievably cruel time in our lives when Michael was very much still mourning the loss of her parents.  She still misses them dearly, and will for some time, but the "Christmas Miracle" of a negative test will certainly help make things a little easier, and I couldn't be happier and more relieved for her.
... be great today! 

24 comments:

  1. What a relief! How scary to think that she might have had to worry about Hep C on top of her grief. Happy for both of you that she's got a clean bill of health!

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    1. For sure Pahla, she's had a miserable year and I was so relieved for her

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  2. Glad to hear that Michael is okay. What a scary thing. However, I would encourage you to get a third, independent test -- unless there is some credence to give the second test more weight than the first. I'd hate see Michael not taking advantage of potentially early warning. I do agree that the chances are slim, but no regrets and no lingering doubts.

    Merry Christmas Jim and I look forward to reading more of your training logs.

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    1. I agree Eddie, we are both going to be tested again just to make sure. Have a Merry Christmas as well!

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  3. That is wonderful news! Very few people understand the prevalence of Hep C - it is incredibly widespread, and testing is not performed as often as it should be. And we really don't totally know how it's spread, so that complicates matters. Undoubtedly, Michael was exposed to the virus previously, and cleared it: the best possible outcome. Bright spot in an otherwise very tough year for her.

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    1. Yeah, I was gonna email you with some questions about it Grace, but she didn't want to let anyone know until we had some solid answers. There seems to be a stigma attached to it, and she want everyone treating her differently. It was great news!

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  4. I'm so sorry for Michael's loss - how devastating. She's very lucky to have you. I'm glad to hear the good news and hope it gives you some comfort as you move forward. Sending good thoughts and best wishes to you both.

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  5. That's fantastic news! You guys certainly deserves a stroke of luck after everything :)

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    1. Thanks - Michael has definitely had a very tough year.

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  6. What incredible news!!!!!
    So glad yall were able to experience a "Christmas miracle"!!

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    1. Thanks Melissa, it was really a load off our minds.

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  7. That is such wonderful news Jim. I reckon you can call it a miracle.

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    1. Well, it definitely was a HUGE deal, probably most people don't realize how life changing something like that could be.

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  8. Oh my goodness, the worrying and waiting must have been so difficult on top of everything else. SO happy to hear that you guys got such good news!

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    1. You're right Kate, just the time in limbo there for a few weeks was pretty tough on Michael

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  9. Oh that was a close call! I am so glad that Michael is not positive. It must have really put you both through the wringer though. It's a scary thing to be faced with!
    Happy you both have some good news this year, Jim. Blessings to you both & merry Christmas!

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  10. That is fantastic news! That scare had to be tough though. Enjoy your holidays together.

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  11. Thats great news!!! This happened to me before!! Everything changes in an instant! Happy to hear it's negative!!

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