Monday, April 8, 2013

UVA Update

Hello Prayer Warriors!

I'm so glad you are here, because prayers for Patrick & Emily are very necessary at this time.

As suspected, today was a big day.  It was a day of procedures, of overwhelming information, and of tears.  Per Patrick's request, I am going to be forthright with the new information obtained at UVA.

*   *   *

Early this morning, Patrick underwent his follow-up colonoscopy.  His gastroenterologist, Dr. Shami, also performed a tumor ultrasound while Patrick was sedated.  Additionally, the colorectal surgeon who will eventually perform Patrick's operation, Dr. Friel, attended the scope and physically examined the tumor.

The colonoscopy itself did not reveal a great deal of surprises as most of the information remained unchanged since the original colonoscopy.  Dr. Shami's report did indicate the "stage" of Patrick's rectal tumor:

Tumor Stage:  uT3 uN2

Medical Translation:
uT3:  Cancer infiltrating the rectal wall through serosa or perirectal fat
uN2:  >3 malignant perirectal lymph nodes 

In a nut shell:
Stage 3 cancer with cancer found in the surrounding lymph nodes.

(a photo Patrick asked me to share of him recovering from the procedure)

*   *   *

Immediately after the colonoscopy, Patrick & Emily met with Dr. Friel to discuss future plans and possible outcomes.  Unfortunately, he did not have much good news.

Due to the size and location of Patrick's tumor, Dr. Friel feels it is highly likely Patrick will require a permanent colonostomy (stoma (hole) formed by drawing the healthy end of the large intestine or colon through an incision in the anterior abdominal wall and suturing it into place. This opening, in conjunction with the attached stoma appliance, provides an alternative channel for feces to leave the body).

Furthermore, Dr. Friel expressed a concern about the location of the tumor within Patrick's rectum.  He was troubled to find that the tumor is on the front of the bowel (against the prostate) rather than at the back of the bowel (against the tailbone).  Due to the depth of Patrick's tumor, Dr. Friel has concerns that the prostate and bladder may also be affected by the cancer.  Although uncertain, he mentioned the possible need to remove these organs (prostate and bladder) as well during the surgery if he is unable to separate them from the tumor.  This would result in an additional urostomy (a stoma for the urinary system. A urostomy is made to avail for urinary diversion in cases where drainage of urine through the bladder and urethra is not possible.)

In the midst of this devastating news, Emily inquired about their future desire to start a family.  Dr. Friel also expressed concerns about nerve damage, impotence, and infertility.  He suggested that Patrick & Emily consider sperm banking prior to surgery and genetic counseling afterwards.

*   *   *

Earlier today, a friend of Patrick's referred to him as a "spiritual tough guy."  What an excellent description of him!  On the journey to UVA today, Patrick mentioned several times that:  "me and God are still okay."  His faith and reliance on the Almighty remain unshaken and exemplary.

Nevertheless, Patrick & Emily are also at a place of brokenness.  They are walking through the valley.

They are in desperate need of earnest and relentless prayer and uplifting.

*   *   *

Even in this deep valley, there is great hope.  Dr. Friel told Patrick & Emily that prior to surgery he will begin radiation and oral chemotherapy for 5-6 weeks.  This combination has the potential to shrink Patrick's tumor and separate it from the prostate/bladder.  This would mean avoiding the urostomy and potential infertility.  Best case scenario, it could also mean avoiding the colostomy as well.

Do we serve a big God?

I think so.

Want to pray specifically?

Please pray for Patrick's body to respond incredibly well to chemo and radiation.  Pray that the tumor shrinks drastically.  Pray that the prostate and bladder are unaffected by cancer.  Pray that Patrick is able to avoid these unwanted outcomes of his surgery.

(They are still smiling)


  1. Love you guys, you're in our prayers!

  2. Patrick and Emily,
    You guys are in my prayers. We love you both so much and we are here for you if you need anything!

  3. I saw this via a friend's facebook page...ironically, my mom had get ileostomy reversal this morning. She had the exact same stage colorectal cancer as Patrick. 8 months later, after chemo, she is cancer free! Stay strong the two of you! There is light and hope at the end of this very dark tunnel. Lean on one another, your friends and family. He will survive this and be by your side. Praying for you.

  4. You don't know me but I saw this on a friends Facebook and am a Sister in Christ.
    I am praying that God will Continue to use you and do All that He desires through your lives to Glorify Him and Further His Kingdom! That He would be your Strength, Your All in All and people would KNOW, It's ALL Because of Jesus!!! Be encouraged that the same God who spoke the Heavens and Earth into existence is Holding You firmly in His Hand!

    1. Go to Ethiopia to be healed With holey water

  5. Patrick, haven't talked to you since highschool. You were always a great guy to be around and always so nice to me and everyone around. I hope you get better. I'll be praying for you. You can beat this!

  6. Patrick, haven't talked to you since highschool. You were always a great guy to be around and always so nice to me and everyone around. I hope you get better. I'll be praying for you. You can beat this!

  7. Patrick we are praying for you and Emily.We love you guys and I know God is with you both in this situation and he will make you strong from this, keep the faith and don't give up.

  8. Patrick, I haven't done a good job keeping up with you the past couple years but that doesn't mean you have been forgotten. You're one of my oldest friends and our friendship will always hold a special place in my heart. Just hearing all this news tonight...can't imagine what you guys are going through. Love you tons, praying for you, asking others to put you on their prayer lists as well. Can't wait til this is behind you and we can get together to celebrate your healing!!!

  9. We Will join you in prayer each day for Patrick's healing.

    Abba Father, through the name of your Son, Yahshua, I pray, believing, for the complete healing of your servant, Patrick. Allow his body to respond fully to the treatments he will receive and not just shrink and detach, but be removed from sight! Show your power and might through this young man that he will be the perfect example of your devinity. I pray this will be in your perfect will. In Yashua's Holy name I pray. Amen and amen!

  10. Danny and Elizabeth CampbellApril 10, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    Daily and multiple times every day Danny and I are lifting you and Emily up. Our prayers are that God will really show off medically, leave the surgeon, oncologist, pathologist speechless, our great God will be glorified and we will testify to anyone who will listen how great is our God. We love you guys and are interceding on your behalf.

  11. I saw this on a friends face book. Praying for you both! May you always remember if god brings you to it he will bring you through it!

  12. Hey Patrick,

    You are in my daily thoughts and prayers, as well as Emily. I miss seeing you at youth and hopefully we will get to see you sometime soon. You are an inspirational guy and and one epic dude.

    Keep fighting on, Patrick!

    Hugs, Cheyenne S.

  13. Hey Patrick and Emily, you are in my thoughts. Let me know if you need anything at all.

  14. Isaiah 41:10 - Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

  15. Patrick and Emily, I don't know you, but was sent this because my husband and I traveled a very similar, almost exact road this time last year. Our heartfelt prayers go out to you both during this time. We know the fear you have, the tears you shed, but the peace you have. The world can't understand how this peace comes especially at times like this, but our Heavenly Father gives it to us during times of trouble. I would cry and praise God at the same time for the confidence I had in HIM, but the tears flow because of the flesh we are in. My husband also had colo-rectal cancer. His was stage 2 and with surgery, and God answering prayer he is doing very well now. I will be very happy to share our story with you - pray with you and cry with you if you would like to talk. Please know God is still in the miracle business - my husband is proof of that. We pray Patrick will experience the same healing, and I pray He will give you comfort and peace as you travel this road. You will be in our prayers each day. Be encouraged and stay strong in the Lord, He will see you this.

  16. Elizabeth LinebergerApril 10, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    Patrick and Emily, this is Chrissy's mother, Elizabeth. You are in my prayers and thoughts. God is good and has you closely in His loving arms. He is Almighty, all knowing, and the perfect Healer.

  17. I do not know you but your story and the replies have touched my heart. I have seen miracles of God. They are real. Hold to your faith. God is with you and I will pray for your healing. God bless you.

  18. Patrick and Emily, I am Isabell's Mom and I want to let you know that I am praying for you. It is good to know that we can turn to God from anywhere, whether from the US or from here in Germany. I am praying that God provides you with comfort and strength.

  19. Psalm 91 begins "1-He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2-I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3-Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence." Psalm 91 ends "15-He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. 16-With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation." The whole chapter is (as Patrick would say) "awsome." Patrick & Emily I am crying out to God for you - for complete and total healing and for strength as you face treatments and surgery -knowing that God will "never leave you nor forsake you." I am praying that you'll have peace in your hearts and be comforted knowing that no matter how it feels, seems or looks - God loves you! and.....I love you (enough to keep praying)!!!! Hang in there "little" cousin. Love to you both from your big old cousin, Kim

  20. Hey Patrick! We've never met, but in some small way I know a touch of what you are going through. My name is Josh Payne. I graduated Lu back in 2008 with my BSN. From there I moved to Nashville and currently work as a Critical Care Registered Nurse on the Cardiovascular Intensive Care unit. I have also had Crohns disease, an IBD since I was about 8 years old. ive had one major surgery to remove part of my intestine as well as my appendix. There is no nice way to put it. it just sucks. A person can struggle so hard to find the meaning, purpose...etc in tough times, but as i have told myself and my patients so many times when I am at my weakest moments, "relax, breathe, let go." No doubt you are a fighter man, but remember to that its okay to let others do for you. As a guy I know thats a tough thing to do. But as you do, you will also be trusting God and his planned outcome for all of this. My grandmother had colorectal cancer, my father is extremely high risk, having both Crohns and UC. Sometimes its like I can view my future ahead of me. The thought of having a colostomy is tough. Honestly when I was young I use to pray that I would at least make it through highschool without one. Im 28 now and thankful that I have dodged that bullet thus far..but in my mind i have already made peace with it. If i can give you any advice it would be that, slowly process everything, visualize all the possible outcomes, prepare yourself mentally allowing yourself to feel whatever emotions come your way, and then relax, breathe and let go. Nothing is too hard for the Lord, but not every cup that passes before us is able to be turned away. With all that said, enjoy this time the best you can...i know that may sound crazy, but when youre sick you get to see and hear from countless friends and enjoy that time and dont be afraid to laugh at whatever comes your way, even if its highly inappropiate. Nurses do it all the time! I guess I will wrap up this little novel I started. I know you have countless people there for you, but if you have any questions or if there is anything I can do to lighten the load, just give me a shout. contactjtp@gmail..... I will be praying for both you and your wife. Oh and if UVA doesnt treat you right stop by Vandy and I will introduce you to my gastroenterologist team. haha..take care! -Josh

  21. Patrick and Emily,

    I am looking for the good reports and set myself in agreement with your prayers joining my faith with yours. I am praying this verse over you both and trust you will know and feel God's peace and provision.

    "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging." Psalm 46: 1-3

  22. Hey patrick its andrew saunders from preston oaks in roanoke virginia.I just wanted to let you know that I'm praying for you bro. and if there is anything you taught me its to trust in good and it will be okay.

  23. stay strong guys