the enigma of my liver ailments

At my appointment with the gastroenterologist on Monday, he opened with the following, “Your liver ailments are an enigma.”

Well, that sent me ISO of my dictionary as soon as I got home and this is what I found for the definition of enigmasomething that baffles understanding and cannot be explained.

That’s not to say he doubts my ailments … he has seen the elevated liver counts from blood work taken during my worst times … he has seen the ultrasound and CT scan pictures that showed an enlarged spleen and excess fluid around my liver … he is aware of how much fluid they withdrew in the two parencentesis procedures … he knows I maxed out at a 38 pound weight loss in just a little over six weeks …

Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am pining away; Heal me, O LORD, for my bones are dismayed.  Psalm 6:2 (NASB)

In fact, just a little over two weeks ago his diagnosis was that I was in the early stages of cirrhosis of the liver.  Then about 10 days ago he did a full set of blood work (they took 7 or 8 vials of blood) so he could do a complete liver analysis … his diagnosis after that … “None of the tests indicate any disease in your liver … Your liver ailments are an enigma.”

As God told the Israelites during the exodus …  “I, the LORD, am your healer.” (Exodus 15:26)

The next step would be a liver biopsy but apparently it has a far greater risk than other biopsy procedures and if it were to confirm cirrhosis (which at this point I truly doubt) my doctor would not change his treatment (diuretics to control the fluid build up and paracentesis when there is fluid build up) and since I have cancer I would not be eligible for a liver transplant.  So basically we would just be taking the risk to know … my wife and I agreed ‘No thanks.’

While no tests have seemed to explain what has been wrong with my liver, my doctor believes that since I have gone without chemo for nearly 8 weeks and my liver counts and other symptons have improved in recent weeks … all that might suggest that my liver just got fatigued from nearly two years of bi-weekly chemo treatments.  My oncologist has never seen anything happen like that before … and there is really nothing, other than what has happened with me, that justifies such as assessment by my gastroenterologist … but I tend to agree with him.

O LORD my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.  Psalm 30:2 (NASB)

So the last two weeks have seen great improvements … my weight loss finally stopped and my weight has stabilized about 35 pounds down from where I was at the beginning of June … and I’m now able to eat three meals a day … and it seems like the diuretics are preventing further fluid build up in my stomach.  All good news – thank you Jesus!

I am fully expecting to resume bi-weekly chemo treatments next week after an eight week break.

Now that I am through the worst of this … let’s talk about the blessings.  I could definitely stand to lose 35 pounds.  In fact, my family doctor has been after me to do so for years.  So while the method of weight loss is not recommended, the weight loss itself is a huge blessing from God.  The goal now is to keep that weight off … while working at regaining my strength.

Oddly enough during my ordeal oftentimes all I could eat were eggs, fruits, vegetables or low fat – low sodium meats and carbs (in fact, both my wife and I have been reducing fat and sodium in our diets.)  We’ve both become more aware of the nutritional content of everything we eat.  And we usually hit the local farmer’s markets two or three times a week … and most of the vegetables we buy are organically grown.  So as a result of what I’ve been through the last 8 weeks my diet has radically changed in a healthy way that my track record suggest never would have happened otherwise … another huge blessing from God in the midst!  The objective now … to continue eating a healthy diet.

I shared with my wife this evening that I am feeling better than I have in five or six months – THANK YOU JESUS!

Thank you Lord for your constant abiding presence throughout this entire ordeal!

Thank you Lord for sustaining me throughout!

Thank you Jesus for healing me!

Thank you Father for the many blessing you bestowed upon me as You tested and You strengthened my faith!

All, and I do mean ALL, glory and thanksgiving is due to You my Lord!

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.  Romans 11:36 (NASB)

“Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”  Revelation 7:12 (NASB)

Yes indeed, hindsight is 20/20.



About bwebbjr

A grandfather, father, husband, man, and a child of God who is following Christ Jesus and working out his salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work IN me, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). I dodged my first bullet with cancer when a cancerous polyp was removed in a sigmoid colectomy surgery in August 2007. Four years later, in the midst of a second colectomy surgery we discovered I had Stage IV metastatic colon cancer. Rather than colectomy surgery I had colostomy surgery, which now means the colostomy bag is a part of my everyday life ... with the emphasis on life. God has given us a peace beyond understanding as my wife and I have traveled this journey. By the grace of God I am blessed to be a 6 plus year cancer survivor aka warrior. In writing, I am often wrestling with my own personal struggles and beliefs and in the midst God leads me to a lesson He wants me to learn ... or sometimes He simply touches me in the revelation of Himself. My hope is that the result you see here might touch your heart and glorify God. And let me be clear ... I am not the only one with something to say. Please join in the conversation sharing your faith, your cancer experiences, etc. I would love to hear from you. Bernie
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6 Responses to the enigma of my liver ailments

  1. jimdavenport says:

    Bernie, and thanks be to God for allowing you to share of His goodness to you in the midst of such trials. To God be the glory, great things He has done! Jim D.

  2. Thank You Lord. Your will is good. Your ways are best. You are all sovereign.

    • bwebbjr says:

      Yes Richard … yes. To often in the midst of trials and difficulties I suffer from total amnesia in regard to God’s sovereignty. Yes, His will is good! His ways are best,


  3. judikruis says:

    Thank you for sharing so openly Bernie. Thank you Lord for giving Bernie such grace. We pray for more strength and less enigma’s in all that he does! God bless you and yours

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