Monday, June 1, 2015
Update & Diagnosis
With such mixed emotions, tomorrow we will welcome my missionary, Elder Brett Hogg, back home. He lands at 2:30 pm our time. Brett was diagnosed on Thursday with Hodgkins Lymphoma, which is basically cancer of the lymph nodes. It's a very treatable, and curable disease! We have heard the words "full recovery" in several contexts. But we won't lie... we'll tell you we've felt every emotional under the sun. It's all a bit unreal - and yet too real - at the same time.
Miracles are happening for my son and the love being poured upon him and our family brings me to my knees in complete gratitude and humility! The Texas people are beyond amazing - let me tell you!! The physicians, the missionaries, the members ... oh my goodness... the people there are the most gracious, wonderful, people I've ever "met"!!! Texts, emails, pictures, facebook messages - are just phenomenal. For the "long story" keep reading. ..lol. .
Originally, it was being determined if Brett would stay in Texas to receive his first round of chemo only because the risk of transferring to another health facility might delay treatment. However, since he had to undergo a 3 day waiting period for the PET scan (a special CT scan to determine the involved cells and organs), it was determined between the Salt Lake and Dallas doctors, to come home so he can travel while his blood counts are up and he is otherwise fairly healthy. He was discharged from the hospital on Friday.
So we put the wheels into motion here in Wisconsin. .. calling insurance and determining where he can be seen etc. It was a HUGE blessing that he could be seen at a top medical facility here where I used to work. I used to be a financial/grant administrator for the International Bone Marrow Transplant Registry and I worked directly with the chief of hematology/oncology (Mary Horowitz). So, after 20 years (I had Brett when I worked for her). I decided to give her a call ... it actually was just hoping she could get a message to her to find out which doc to see. She put me right through to her (she was at her desk! Wow! She's a busy woman... running the Registry - and is the Chief of the Hem/Onc division at Froedtert) and she said, "Sue! I'm so so sorry. Tell me what you know. ." And I told get about the biopsy and preliminary tests and she asked which type of lymphoma. When I told her Hodgkins, she said, "Oh Good!!... Sue. ..it's completely treatable and curable. You need to see Dr. Tim Fenske. If you can't get in, let me know. He's an excellent lymphoma doctor. And if there is anything you need, call me."
I called the main appointment number and they put me right through to the "Lymphoma Coordinator"... wow. .who knew there was even one of those? I told her that Mary (my old boss) said Dr. Fenske was the guy. .she said he's here, let me talk to him and I'll call you back. She called me back and said Brett had an appointment on Wed morning and likely could get infused (chemo) by the end of the week.
Wow! Doctors at their desks on Friday afternoon. ..appointments and insurance cleared the way at this end, phone calls answered and calls being immediately returned. .. just phenomenal.
We spoke to President Taylor and he fully expects Elder Hogg to return to the mission. I told him we were so impressed with the elders that have stayed with Brett through the tests, the long days and nights, and buoying up his faith... I truly can't say enough. Missionaries don't know what's ahead for them when they arrive in the field. ..and their service to my son during this time has been such a comfort and blessing.
The members who have visited a boy they never met before - or those that have prayed for him/us and thought to put him/us on the prayer rolls... the words of comfort and tears that have been shed on our behalf had made us strong and faithful as we enter the next phase of Brett's mission.
Though he will be released tomorrow night, we expect it to be temporary. Brett was released from the hospital on Friday. SLC arranged his flight for Monday so he could say goodbye to his missionary friends, and attend his ward today to say goodbye on Sunday. I'm sure Monday morning will be sad as he says goodbye to Dallas, but I'm confident that life-long friendships have been made, and the hunger to return to his mission will sustain him through the weeks and months ahead (it's not going to be an easy summer!)...
I'll tell ya... (or y'all) that seeing Christlike love and compassion is real... I've seen it right here around us - and from 1,000 miles away and it's beautiful.
BLOG NOTE: Keep checking back! We will be posting updates periodically here to let everyone kneow what is going on and how treatments are going!