Well, you would think with such exciting news, we would be on the ball with this post! Our appointment in Cleveland last week went extremely well (beyond words, actually)! As many of you know, I'm not very good at condensing stories, but I will do my best :).
Alex had his colonoscopy on Tuesday (a week ago) and later that afternoon we met with Dr. Shen (Alex's GI doctor who turned out to be more awesome than we could have imagined). Basically, this is what we found out from Dr. Shen...
We need to change some of the meds around and come back in a couple of months to follow up. At that point Alex will also have another colonoscopy with a "balloon endoscopy" where they use a balloon to stretch the severely inflamed part of his colon out...sounds like an angiogram of the intestines if you ask me. They also may directly inject certain portions of his colon with steroids at that time. If he looks good then, they will take him off the TPN and see him back for possibly another balloon endoscopy in 6 months or so and then switch some of his medications back to the preferred medications.
So...what about the surgery, you might ask (because we sure did!)..........Not necessary! "Absolutely not" would be Dr. Shen's exact words. He said he feels like there are many more options before surgery is necessary for right now. Dr. Shen said many amazing things during our meeting with him, but the thing that won us over the most was him starting off our conversation by recognizing that management of these medications (which are not nice medicines, lots of side effects come with the benefits) is very difficult, but in making decisions he always makes final decisions based on decisions he would make for his own son's health and safety. I could go on and on, but basically...he was fantastic.
In all honesty, we were not exactly jumping up and down at this point. It was more like silent shock. We had both prepared to go in and set a surgery date and it took quite awhile for the news to set in. After meeting with Dr. Shen, we met with Dr. Geisler (the surgeon who saw Alex last time and the one who did the colonoscopy that morning) since he could really compare really-sick-Alex to Alex's improved condition. He said that Alex did look very much improved and stated over and over again how much he admired Dr. Shen's ability to manage this disease medically. He agreed that surgery was not necessary at this point, and even said himself, "now if you have a GI doctor and a surgeon saying that, you know you have made some wonderful improvements!"...most of the surgeons so far have really wanted to do just that...surgery, while the GI doctors have almost always been hesitant to take that step.
Bottom line....we are so blessed to be where we are today considering how scary things were just a short couple of months ago. We can attribute Alex's healing to nothing else but answered prayers from the ultimate Healer. Thank you again for all of those prayers, and keep them coming.....He's obviously listening! :)
Love to you all,
Alex and Gena