Anyway, they told me that I had an infection and wanted to do IV antibiotics. They also said that the CAT scan did not look good. They said that tumor had grown significantly and was pressing on my brain and not a little. It was applying pressure all over, enough to push my whole brain 10 mm to the left. Especially concerning was pressure on my brain stem. The brain stem is nothing to mess around with. It controls things like breathing, and heart beat and a ton of other stuff. Kind of important functions. Some of the pressure was from tumor, much of it was from swelling. The doctor felt like the swelling was enough that my life was in immediate danger. He recommended that I have IV steroids to bring the swelling down immediately.
I have been avoiding any sort of steroids because the researchers in Houston tell me that steroids kill off my T cells. Honestly I just didn't know what to do. Because the hour was late in Houston I couldn't contact them. I don't want to mess up my T cells but I also didn't want a life threatening event in my brain. So, when the doctor left the room I simply said a prayer. I may not know what to do but God does. So I asked Him what I should do.
For some reason, of late, I have had the most amazing connection with Heaven. It is almost as if I have a telephone when I pray. In all of my life I have never gotten answers so quickly and so clearly. Many of the impressions are much too sacred for me to share in a blog. I am so grateful for this connection at this time in my life. This night was no exception. A clear answer came right away. The words that formed in my mind said simply "Eric, please do both the antibiotics and the steroids. This is important and urgent and don't worry about the T cells, it will all be fine." So, off we went on the new drugs that they wanted to give me.
Within hours I started feeling a lot better. I could walk easily again. My pain began to go down. My mental clarity improved. And, interestingly enough my answers from heaven became even more profound and clear as the swelling in my brain went down. Wow, this connection with Heaven is almost beyond belief. I am so thankful. The other day I asked God, "Why am I getting answers so readily right now?" Almost immediately the answer came, "Eric, you should know that I love you. Your answers are coming so readily right now because you are worthy and you need them. I would have thought that would have been obvious"
Anyway, we started the week needing an MRI to continue in the study in Houston. This was an important image for us. If my cancer has progressed I may be taken out of the study. So, I am good at MRI's I would estimate that I have had 24-36 MRI's since this began. They really don't bother me. Thankfully I am not claustrophobic.
Well this was officially the hardest MRI that I have ever had. They put me into the machine and it was fine. Halfway through I was pulled out while they gave me a contrast die to look for cancer better. This is a liquid injected into my veins. Anyway, the technician left to go back into the control booth and the machine began re-inserting me into the tube. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with the most terrible nausea. Realize that at this point my head is in a metal cage and can't move and I am bound to the table. I started barfing my guts out. The vomit was running down my face and filled up my sinuses. My head was laying in a pool of oatmeal vomit. It was in my ears and all over my face. My mouth was full and the robotic machine voice kept saying, "Do not move, do not swallow" I had a panic button I could have pushed. I probably should have pushed it but I kept thinking, "I know that they only have so much time to get this image after the dye is injected. I just need to hold still" It was so awful. I lay like that for about 40 minutes. Finally it was over and the machine spit me out. The technician came back into the room and saw what had happened. He felt so badly. He told me, "how in the world did you hold so still. You held more still that most of my normal patients." I told him that I tried really hard so that he could get a good image. Anyway, it was not easy.
He gave me a cup to rinse my mouth and some towels to clean myself up with. I went to my locker. Truly, through these last four years I have tried really hard to never murmur with my afflictions. That day was really hard. I was kind of emotionally overwhelmed. I sat on the bench in the locker room and told Heavenly Father "Why does everything have to be so hard for me. I'm really not a bad person. Why can't this ever be easy" Again, an answer came almost instantly. It said, "Eric, I am so sorry for your suffering. You should know that in the future you will have a chance to help others who suffer greatly. What you are going through right now will help you in the future to help them better. There is a purpose in what you are going through. I will try to be gentle with you dear Eric." Needless to say I was pretty tearful by the time I met JoLynne in the waiting room.
So, the MRI was not good either. It showed essentially what the CAT scan showed. We will talk to the doctor in Houston today about it. I still have faith that God has prepared a way for me to escape this awful cancer, I just don't know exactly how that will happen right now. I pray that I will recognize the path when I find it.
It was almost two years ago now that JoLynne and I sat in a doctors office at Mayo clinic. This was a very intelligent man. He looked at my scans and told me that my time in this life was over. He told me that nothing could be done for me. He estimated that I had three weeks to live. I left that awful appointment with my sweetheart. We were so distraught. I remember thinking. "A renowned doctor is telling me that I need to prepare to die and righteous priesthood holders have told me in blessings that I will be healed. They can't both be right. I need to decide who to believe." At that time I chose to believe in priesthood blessings. Two years later, here I am. God was right, the doctor was wrong. I am still choosing to believe in priesthood blessings.