Dear Friends and Family,
Wow, where do I begin? This week has been a walk of faith for all of us. God has showed us so many things…the beauty of waiting on Him, His faithfulness to hear the prayers of his people, the way in which God can give us peace amidst total uncertainty, and the strength that pours forth from the Body uniting together to minister to a need. We experienced God’s comfort and the love pouring forth from our friends who took care of every need. Most importantly, when we requested prayers, we saw you all call upon Jesus on our behalf. I truly believe that whatever was attacking my body God took away because of so many of you that were on your knees asking God for healing. To God be all the glory and praise!
This all began over a week ago when I contracted a bladder infection that wouldn’t go away with medication. It only began to worsen and become more painful especially in my back area. That pain took me to the E.R. where I was told the infection was also in my kidney’s and I had kidney stones. During this process, however, blood work determined that my white blood cell count was very low. A normal count is between 4.5-11 with most people being around an 8 or 9. Mine was 2.7 and had been there for a week. This explained why my body was not fighting off the infection. As a result, they called an oncologist who recommended I be admitted to the hospital and have a bone marrow biopsy. Eventually, the oncologist decided to transfer me to Baylor medical center and monitor me for a couple of days to see if my blood results improved. I was told my numbers should get better due to the powerful medication they had given me to rid my body of the infection. However, the numbers (my entire CBC report, not just the white blood cells) did not get better. When this happened, the oncologist actually told us they thought I had Lukemia and taking my blood work into consideration only gave us a 10% chance it was not cancer. They ordered the bone marrow biopsy which was almost unbearable. The normal procedure should only last about 15 minutes but mine took just under an hour. My bones were very hard and they had to make three incisions instead of the one that is normal. I don’t want to describe this process because it is just too terrible honestly. But God got me through it!
Afterwards, they did more blood work but basically we just had to wait. Eventually, they came in and told us that they had ruled out Lukemia but was now thinking it was Lymphoma due to an abnormality that came back in the bone marrow. However, today, I was told that when all the results were in, nothing else in any of the blood work was positive for cancer. Thus, they concluded something viral attacked my body causing a reactive chain of events to happen that totally bottomed out my white blood cell count and other numbers. The abnormality was related to a cluster of lymph node cells that formed together that can mean lymphoma but can also be caused from a viral attack, although it is rare. In fact, they told me what happened to me occurs only in 1 out of 10 cases. Wow! Isn’t prayer powerful?!
One previous test was also positive. It is what can cause Lupus and other things like Thyroid Disease. However, based on all the other results, the Dr’s believe it is a false positive due to the reaction of my body to the virus. They did more blood work this morning to look at that test more specifically. I am going to follow up in 10 days with the oncologist to get a final report… BUT they ruled out cancer before I left! Now, what does all this mean? They are going to monitor me very closely for a while. After looking back at my blood tests the past two years, I am always on the lowest end of “normal” regarding my white blood cell count. I believe this is why my immune system is always weak, I stay tired a lot, and get sick often. They even concluded from the tests that I had Mono at some point and didn’t even realize it. The oncologist told me that the good news is that they are going to be on top of this and if anything does appear again in the future we will know early. They say if I ever start feeling sick they will do a Complete Blood Count and the oncologist will read my numbers. I really feel confident that they are on top of things.
As of right now, I am just resting and trying to heal from the bone marrow biopsy. Jim and I literally feel we’ve been given a second chance at life! We are just beyond grateful for the news. I have been so blessed to hear how this has caused everyone we love to stop and place value on what is truly important in life. Thank you to everyone who has been on their knees this week and interceding on our behalf. God has been so faithful! We are so humbled by the prayers and love given by all of you. I mean, really, what can I say? How do you really express that kind of gratitude. Know that we deeply love each of you who have played a part in this healing.
Jim and I would like to particularly thank Jay and Ashli Hall who kept Riley and Jack. Ashli went overboard to handle every detail of their care and we just can’t thank you guys enough. Thanks also to Scott and Lori McCullough who kept them for a night and to Lori, his teacher, who watched over Riley at school for me. To Jeff & Ginevra Ott, thanks for providing them with one of the most memorable moments of their lives…mud-riding on your farm (even though Jeff threw Riley off the back of the 4 wheeler into a mud puddle)! Thanks also for taking them to school every day this week and making sure they started their days with fun and laughter. Thanks also to Karla Graul for bringing us much needed items from the house. Thanks to Bart Millard and all the MercyMe gang for using the MercyMe website to inform everyone and enlist prayer support that truly lifted our spirits. Thanks also to Ginger Beggs for creating the Facebook “Pray for Misti Bryson” cause page that became an awesome tool of encouragement for Jim and me.
We were so excited to read everyone’s prayers and scripture verses. We read every comment. And thanks to everyone that came to the hospital to pray over me and visit. I would have gone stir-crazy without you guys! Your presence meant so much! And thanks to my Mom, who was here with me every step of the way and cared for my every need. I love you, Mama! To Jim, my best friend, thank you for showing me every day why marrying you was the best decision of my life! And to my sweet little boys, I will never look at you the same again. Every moment with you is truly priceless and I will forever treasure every second. Holding you in my arms today has never felt so good. And thank you, God!!!! You are the Great Physician! You hold all things in the palm of Your hand. Thank you for being on Your throne always, for seeing me and answering our prayers. My love for You is beyond measure. We will keep you guys posted of any new news. Thanks again for all the prayers and words of encouragement. We are all so blessed to have each other. I only hope I can spend the rest of my life serving all of you the way you have served our family this week. With much love and gratitude,