For those of you who have been following Amy's story on her blog or facebook, I would like to give everyone a quick update on how Amy is doing and what is the latest on her prognosis.
First I would like to start by saying thank you to everyone who has been there for us. Thank you to all those who have shared their words of love, support and encouragement. Thanks to all of you who have donated so generously to the Amy Jackson Fund. Thanks to all of those who have given of their time and resources to help us with so many things that we have needed. Thanks to all of you who have brought our family meals and household supplies. All of you have been a huge part in making our difficulties and burdens lighter. As difficult as these past several weeks have been, I can't imagine how much more difficult they would have been or what we would have done without all your love, kindness and service.
I know many of you have been asking for more detailed updates and a more complete history as to what all has transpired in our lives over the last several weeks. I will try to first bring you up to date on what Amy's status is at this point in time, and then I will fill you in with a history of Amy's Diagnosis, Treatments, Symptoms and Struggles from the beginning, in a few upcoming posts. Hopefully, if Amy is up to it, we will co-mingle my posts with one or two of her own to allow you all to hear from her as much as possible.
To begin with, after all this time and all that has transpired, I still find it hard to believe that this is really happening to us. At times it still seems unreal and unfair. Yet I wake each morning to the reality of what we are facing. Everything has happened so fast. It just leaves my head spinning and wondering what will be next.
As you all know, we recently returned from a wonderful trip to sunny southern California. We spent a fabulous day at the beach followed by two incredible days at Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. It was quite an amazing thing to watch Amy on that trip. Many of you know that for several days prior to our trip, Amy had been experiencing quite a bit of pain in her hips and legs as a result of the progressing cancer in her bones. Many times, we considered cancelling or postponing our trip in hopes that further treatments may allow her to gain strength and relief of pain, thus making her trip more enjoyable. On the last few nights prior to our departure for our trip, Amy's pain was just absolutely excruciating. We came so close to calling it off. In fact the night before we flew out, we didn't get any sleep because we spent the whole night trying to make her comfortable. However, we felt that this trip was so important in so many ways and we felt that if we postponed it, we would never be able to go. Amazingly, Amy completed the entire trip almost completely pain free. We know that this was an absolute miracle on her behalf. There were so many people who were praying for Amy and our family and I am a witness that those prayers were answered. We had an amazing time and created memories that will always be cherished and will never be forgotten.
Shortly after our return home, Amy again began to feel a lot more pain and discomfort. And then on last Friday night June 4th, Amy simply moved just wrong and excruciating pain shot from her hip down her left leg. The pain subsided only when her leg was placed in just the right position and not moved at all. After calling her doctor and describing her symptoms, he immediately told us to get her to the hospital and have her checked out. So... after a quick ride in the Ambulance on Saturday morning to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, and several X-rays and Cat Scans, Amy was diagnosed as having a badly broken right hip and a non displaced hairline fracture of her left femur. The doctors suggested surgery right away. They felt she needed a complete hip replacement on the right side and a shaft placed inside the femur of her left leg to strengthen it and prevent further damage. The surgery was scheduled for Monday afternoon.
Over the next two days and nights however, Amy's body had other plans... Due to the tumors in her lung and other places, Amy's breathing and other vital signs began to be affected very quickly. Her respiratory function quickly diminished and she soon had to be kept on 5 liters of oxygen in order to keep her O2 Saturation levels in the safe range. The nurses and doctors tried several times to reduce the oxygen Amy was receiving, but each time her O2 levels dropped to the unsafe range. After consulting with literally every doctor, nurse, anesthesiologist and social worker involved with the case, it was determined that with Amy's body in its weakened state that the operations would be far to risky, The anesthesiologist even went so far as to say that he would refuse the case because of her high risk. Many of the doctors felt that if we went through with the surgery, we would have a very likely chance of losing Amy on the operating table.
At this time, we were faced with some very difficult decisions. were we prepared to take a chance of losing Amy at this time? What would Amy's quality of life be like with or without the surgery? How would we continue to care for Amy if she didn't have the surgery? What would her prognosis be with and without the surgery? So many things to think about. We knew that if we chose not to proceed with the surgery, Amy would be bound to a hospital bed for the remainder of her life. We knew that it would be almost impossible to continue with any treatment to the cancer. We also knew that if we continued on with the surgery, Amy would have to spend several weeks in rehabilitation in the hospital and a care center before being able to come home. We also knew that this surgery would not add any time to her overall prognosis and in fact may even shorten it considerably. After several hours of prayer and discussion, Amy decided that she wanted to come home and be made as comfortable as possible and be able to spend the remainder of her time at home in the company of her family and friends.
So... that brings us to where we are now... Amy is at home, in a hospital bed enjoying what time she has remaining, with her family and she says that she prays each and every day that she may just have one more day with her family. She is now on hospice care with a wonderful company called Love Hospice, which is such a blessing. Their sole purpose is to make the remainder of Amy's time on this earth as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. Though Amy is still on oxygen and cannot get out of bed, so far we have been able to make her pretty comfortable. But at times, when we have to move her ever so slightly to treat her bed sores, or bathe her, or change her bedding, she does unfortunately suffer some pain in her legs and hips. Over the past few weeks I have witnessed first hand what this terrible disease can do to a person. We have seen her physical abilities decline rapidly. She however, almost never complains. She is still such a wonderful example of Christ-like love and service. She is constantly trying to find ways to do things for other people, to make them feel loved, or to comfort them when they need comfort. Though her legs no longer work and her pain at times seems unbearable, she continues to find ways to inspire and uplift those around her.
I know that Amy's time on this earth is short and it will be so hard to say goodbye... for now... to my sweetheart and eternal companion. But I am so grateful for each day I get to spend with her. It is such a blessing to be in her presence at this time. I am continuing to learn so much from her each day. I pray each and every day for her comfort. I pray continuously that I may learn to be more like her, that I may learn from her what it means to truly be a servant of our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ. And I pray for the strength to endure my own trials with a smile on my face and faith in my heart that all will be well. I pray for the courage to persevere through the difficult times ahead. and most of all I pray that some day I may truly be worthy of the wonderful blessing of being the companion to one of God's elect ladies here on this earth.
With all my love and devotion to my beautiful wife,