The awkwardness of the post title above well reflects the difficulty of returning from such a hard - in many ways traumatic - week for Liza, straight back into a normal pain management infusion, as if nothing intervening had been done. The funny part of Monday was that our infusion-tech-friend had no trouble at all finding a vein on Liza. She actually knows Liza's arms like a road map. She has her favorite highways and little-known side streets. The map has caused fits for her in the past, but not Monday. One stick. Simple.
The infusion went pretty well although Liza began to feel the emotion of the previous week, as did I. While we were in LA - West Hollywood to be precise - we were focused on rest, healing and calm. Coming back into real life here, amidst continuing COVID questions, leadership demands and swirl of popular opinions, was abrupt. Of course being home with our kids (and pets) is so much better, but it was also very different. I guess while we were in California, it still felt different. Liza still had pain and discomfort, and the headache never stopped, but a dramatic change felt nearer, more possible, more potentially present. Coming back squashed some of those feelings. And since Sunday, Liza's headaches have been excruciating. I don't know if it's related to the heat, normal post-blood patch pressure, or what... but they've been horrible.
I felt the heaviness reapply its shroud to my shoulders too, almost physically, as we returned. But that's just the way life is right now, for almost all of us. Being able to cook at meal on Monday night was a simple blessing. For a whole week, we were in a small hotel room. I love my kitchen and making chicken parm for my son (his request) and the rest of us was a small blessing. Jumping back into to the life of the church with staff and family is also good. Liza dove headlong into a new business that has profoundly renewed her sense of purpose and relational impact - one that she does entirely from bed, mostly laying down.
We also received a note back from Dr. Schievink and his PA. If we choose to proceed with him, he recommends now (as is his normal pattern in cases like Lizas) a specialized kind of test called a DSM. This is a type of myelogram called Digital Subtraction Myelogram, which involves an injection of dye into the thecal sac surrounding the spinal cord. This is, of course, the reason why Dr. Schievink didn't start with this test. We are trying to fix leaks in Liza's CSF (cerebral spinal fluid) and puncturing the thecal sac is counterproductive, unless all less-invasive measure such as blood patches are exhausted. The DSM allows for much better visualization and specification of CSF leaks and fistulas. This would potentially lead to injections of a specific type of "glue" that Dr. Schievink uses to help in these areas. If appropriate, there are some micro-vascular surgical options as well.
So, we've got a lot of waiting, praying, hoping and talking to do. Beyond this option, again in LA, we have at least one other option locally, but nothing like the DSM.
Thank you again for praying with us - for your continued and persistent prayer. I'm not sure where we would be without it.