Surgical Consult in South Africa…

We are writing this to give you an update and ask for your prayers.   As some of you are aware (though many are not) Jamie has been struggling with back pain for several years now.  He has a herniated L5/S1 disk in his back which was caused by a sports injury around 5 years ago.  He has managed it over the years with physical therapy, medications, and variety of other treatments.  However, after a very bad setback around 1 1/2 years ago, he has not been able to completely recover.   He has not been able to run, play sports, or hike in over a year…for those of you that know Jamie you how big that is.  He has to guard how he does everything…standing, sitting, lifting, etc.  He lives in constant pain and discomfort.  He has seen several doctors for this problem and tried many forms of treatment, but to no significant positive effect.  Around 6 months ago he discovered that the disc (due to repeated setbacks) has degenerated significantly and also is torn.  Because of this he has very little “cushion” between that joint.  It was determined that a disc replacement may be necessary, however to potentially avoid surgery, he started a physiotherapy program around 6 months ago with Dr. Zoe Gibbs.  Unfortunately, he kept having setbacks meaning that things weren’t stabilizing as they should.   In October, we tried steroid injections, but those had little effect.  Dr. Zoe feels that the only option left is surgery.  She has referred him to a spine specialist in South Africa for either disc replacement surgery or a fusion surgery.  This surgeon, Dr. Ulrich Hahnle, saw his scans 6 months ago and recommended disc replacement should the physio not work.  Today, Jamie is flying down to South Africa to meet with him.  There is still a chance that Dr. Hahnle will choose not to operate.  However, we have been told that we should fully expect surgery.  We are excited that he has the opportunity to see this doctor and get his opinion.   Dr. Hahnle is one of the best and even invented the artificial disc that will be used….if surgery happens. 

Please pray for Dr. Hahnle to have wisdom in making this decision, for Jamie as he and Melissa travel down to SA (due to logistics there is no way I could take the kids down and manage the hospital stuff…but if Jamie does have surgery we will go down to be with him during the second week of recovery), for the kids and me as we navigate life the next week without Daddy, and most importantly, for Jamie’s complete recovery and healing….whatever form that takes.  Jamie has been so strong through this whole ordeal and I am so proud of the way that he has walked through this very difficult time.  Even in pain his has still been an amazing father and husband.  To look at him you would never know he is in as much pain as he is.  Our God is in control and we are believing him for healing. 

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