Thursday, November 26, 2009

First good report

For the first time in, well, I can't remember... Dad got a great report back from Toronto.  Typically, its "Mr Bloomfield, your liver enzymes are through the roof." or "Mr Bloomfield, your potassium is at lethal levels... we may need to see you again..."

Dad called me yesterday and said in a nervous tone, "Josh - your not going to believe what Toronto just said."  I was soooo scared... I thought it was going to be, "Mr Bloomfield, it looks like we put your liver in backwards."

Thankfully, it was, "Mr Bloomfield, we're pleased to report that all your blood levels are either normal or very close to normal.  Every level is on its way to being back the way it was supposed to be."  Keep in mind that my dad's liver levels haven't been normal is 10-20 years, because of the hep-c.  This is a first for dad.

I'm thinking that a few more weeks of these great levels, some exercise, and some great family time, dad will be  ... well, I was going to say back to his old self, but that's not true.  He'll be on a whole new level of awesomeness with his new liver.

So, all is well!  Looks like we've weathered the worst of the storm.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

False Alarms at Home

Dads finally home and doing great.  He recovers so much better when he's at home with his family.  He hadn't eaten in 3-4 weeks.  He was getting really weak and discouraged.  But now that he's home, all of that has changed.  So glad he's home.

Had a bit of a scare last night.  Dad gets his blood work done a few times a week.  Yesterday morning, he did just that... but then got a call in the evening from Toronto warning dad that he HAD to get to the ER immediately.  His potassium levels were through the roof - higher then ever before.  6.8 is lethal.  Dads was... wait for it... 7.4. The doctor on the phone said he could drop dead at any moment.  So, I had to pick dad up and take him to ER.   But by that time, dad's potassium had dropped to 6.2.  Dad has to keep a closer eye on his diet, I guess.

Anyhow, other then that, all is well.  I've got some MRI images to show you all as well.  I'll see if I can through a video together and post it.  Life is well for Chelsea and I... in the middle of some home renos, getting ready for the baby, and the business is crazy.  Its a season of madness... but I'm so glad I'm alive to be in a season of madness... and that dad can share in it all with me.

Friday, November 6, 2009

On his way home!?!?!

I'm a bit surprised - but dad's on his way home today.  The doc's are sure that he's good to come home.  All my dad's blood work is back to normal for the first time since the weeks after his transplant.  There was one liver enzyme count that was over 3700 a few weeks ago... the doctors seriously couldnt' figure out how dad was alive.  Its now down to 200 (very close to normal - which I think is 150)!

He's still pretty weak - but we're hoping that this is it... that dad is finally home for good...  Pray that it is!  We've had enough of this!!!!!  He says he feels great.  But part of me wonders if he's saying that just so he can come home - not that I'd blame him... doesn't matter how nice the hospital is... a hospital is a hospital.

Monday, November 2, 2009

ANOTHER Operation

Holy Moses! Dad's seriously going through some hell. He called my on Saturday and said that he'd had ANOTHER operation.


So, in total:


Operation 1 - 10hr insane operation to fix his liver with his colon tissue 
Operation 2 - 10hr operation to fix internal bleeding and clean him out 
Operation 3 - 4hr operation to clean (this past weekend)  


I said to Chel's parents yesterday - imagine dad's medical bill in the US right now... we'd be bankrupt before the transplant - let alone the transplant and all the subsequent care, medication and operations. CANADA ROCKS!  


Dad's doing good. They're saying he might come home at the end of the week. He's pretty independent at the hospital - he gets around on his own... he's doing well. One thing thats really bugging him is the pain in his abdomen. Imagine having your insides pulled out THREE TIMES in three weeks. Apparently its very painful. Keep that in prayer.  


Thanks for checking up on dad.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Doing great!

Dad's doing really great!  I've talked to him a few times this week and he just keeps getting better.  Yesterday, he had his big arterial IV removed from his neck and had a shower... so he seems to be up and about.  He's a bit lonely, but we'll be fixing that tomorrow.

Thank you all so much for your prayers, love and support.  Lets hope this is the end of the complications for dad.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Another Surgery

Hi Everyone,

Josh has been really busy and sick the past few days, so he asked me to quickly post an update for you guys.  Brian had to have another surgery yesterday, he was bleediing internally-one of the main concerns they had.  It's done now and he's doing well.  He called this morning and is hallucinating a bit (he doesn't remember that Linda was there yesterday to surprise him when he got out of surgery)  but he's still alive and fighting the good fight (Josh's words).
We'll be sure to update this week once we know more.

Chelsea

Thursday, October 15, 2009

No updates

I know as much as all of you, FYI.  Still no updates.

Marc is dad's nurse.  Not sure if you guys remember Marc... but he was my nurse on the 10th floor.  The dude is awesome!

I had called mom a few hours ago to let her know that Chel and I are expecting a GIRL!!! (We're pregnant for those of you who don't already know).  I told her to tell Marc to tell dad... hoping it would lift dad's spirits.  Never heard back.

Yeah - Chel and I are expecting a girl.  I'm going to be some girl's dad... that doesn't seem right to me... but I'm SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO excited.  So will dad.  Chel and I just keep talking about how this is the PERFECT ending to this transplant story... dad lives to be a GRANDPA!!  That was his dream.

Anyhow, I'll keep you all posted on dad.

Rough Surgery

I got a call last night around 9pm - Dad was finally out of surgery.  My aunt Patti and grandmother (both on my mom's side) have been in Toronto by dad's side all day and have been in the waiting room being the Bloomfield liaison.

The surgeon met with Patti and told her that the operation got really really difficult.  He stressed how important it was to get it right the first time as a second operation to fix mistakes from this operation may not fair well.  The surgeon seemed pleased with what he had to accomplish and that he got it done right the first time.

Dad was in recovery last night around 10pm.  They said he'd be transfered to the 10th floor (critcal care unit) around 3-4am.  He should only be there for 2-3 days max.

I hope to hear from my aunt Gail today who is going to spend the day with dad.

PATTI/GRANDMA/GAIL - Thank you all so so so much for being there for dad when the rest of us can't be.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Still in Surgery

Dad's STILL in surgery.  He was supposed to be out at 5:30pm.  Its 8pm... and he's going to be another hour or so.  Apparently they are dealing with many small blood vessels and such... its a pretty sensitive surgery.  Its taking longer than the trasplant itself.   That sounds crazy.

Keep praying!

In surgery now...

Hey everyone - please throw up a word to the Father for pops.  He's under the knife as I type.  The procedure started at 11am.  I talked to him at 9amish and he sounded a bit nervous.  I'd be freaking.

The procedure involves them completely disconnecting my dad's liver from his bile ducts, then reconnecting the ducts with tissue from his colon.  In other words, their fixing his liver with a piece of his ass... strange.

Pray for a quick recovery and that dad would be in good spirits.

I'll be going down next Thursday for my 1 year assessments.  Hopefully I'll come back with dad and my pre/post transplant MRI images to show on the blog.

PRAY!!!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Could have been waaay worse...

Dad called me freaking out that he'd be in an accident and that the 'car is a write-off'.  It wasn't that bad (in my opinion).   Here's picks:






Dad was trying to cross three lanes of traffic.  A bunch of cars stopped for him... but dad didn't check the third lane before proceeding.  He was pretty shaken up.  He feels so bad that he busted up Becky's car.

Anyhow - we're all alive.  Its just a car... and hopefully the damage won't be that bad.

Car Accident

Chelsea here.

Josh just got a call from Brian saying he was in a car accident.  He is fine, don't worry!  No details yet.  Josh is one his way downtown to pick up Brian, he'll update with details when he gets back.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Home for Thanksgiving

Not sure when the surgery is... but the doctors were ok with sending dad home to Ottawa for a week or so before the operation.  So he's with us for Thanksgiving weekend!!!!  HUGE answer to prayer for Dad!

Surgery will probably be in a few weeks.  I'm trying to book my 1 year assessment around the same time so Chel and I can spend a few days in Toronto during Dad's operation.

And my dreams to see what my liver looked like before/after the operation might come true!  I talked to my transplant coordinator and she's going to see if she can hook me up with the MRI images before/after the surgery of my liver.  If I get them, I'll be sure to post the images.  I'm sooooooo curious!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Surgery it is...

Hot off the press...  Discussions in a meeting this morning resulted in a likely decision to operate on dad to try and fix the duct. All 5 surgeons concurred and results look promising.

Not sure what else to say... I think this sucks for our family (stressful)... but this is so hot off the press that I haven't even had time to process.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Nothing Yet

Dad hasn't heard anything from the doctors today.  Maybe tomorrow.

Probulation?

Dad just called.  He's out on a day pass (not sure how) to visit his sister Gail for lunch.

He's supposed to hear back from the doctors this afternoon about his prognosis.  They have two options...

A) Operation - they will do an operation to open his bile ducts.

B) 'Probulation' (my dad's terminology, obviously).  They're supposed to use some probe to go in and fix the issue.

If they go with option B, dad could be out of the hospital as early as Friday.  If they go with A, they won't even book the operation 'till Friday - and the operation could be a solid few days/weeks away.

Dad sounded good on the phone - but he's really bummed out.  He was supposed to go to a wedding this weekend, a big thanksgiving dinner, etc... and all of that is probably going to get cut.

As for his health, its actually getting pretty serious.  Because his liver isn't processing any bile, his entire system is slowly backing up... his kidneys, his digestion, his blood pressure... everything is going down hill.  But its all related to the bile duct being blocked.

I'll let you know what the doctors say as soon as I hear.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Amazing letter

We hadn't heard from dad all day yesterday and we were all starting to get worried.  Did something happen that we didn't know about?

We (Chel and I) had invited my mom over for some pizza to try and lift her spirits.  We had a great dinner... and guess who called right in the middle of dinner - DAD!  It was great - we put him on speaker phone and he told us everything.

Dad had his MRI.  It wasn't an MRI, though.  It was an 'MRICP' or something (says dad).  'They put me in head first this time instead of feet first.  Hooo boy!  45min of praying in tongues with my eyes shut.  And they strap you in, so you can't move your arms, legs...  Once I was in the test, my arm got itchy... then my nose... it was torcher!'

We had a laugh - but that really must have sucked.

Dad says the technician was really happy with the test - meaning that he got some great photos of my dad's bile ducts.  But my dad suspects he probably won't know the full prognosis until Monday.

Just incase I haven't been clear about what the problem is, here's all I know:

A common complication when doing a living donor transplant is that the recipient's bile ducts can shrink or collapse.  Its very common among living donor recipients.  This happened with dad.  Since they discovered this complication, dad has had a stint placed in his bile duct to keep it open and has since had it removed.  It's when they removed the stint that the bile duct fully closed.  So dad's liver is doing nothing.  Its still got blood going to it, but his liver is not cleaning or processing any fluids.  This is dangerous.

So the probable solution will be surgery - but we're not sure.  To be clear - this is a common, but critical complication.  Its not life/death yet, but there's always a certain amount of risk.  This does need to be treated asap.

Now on to the good part...

My mom shared a letter with me that she received from a sales rep from a local ad firm.  This is someone that no-one in my family knows personally.  My mom had met this fellow before because of business - but from what I understand it was brief and strictly business.

This letter was incredible.  It talked about some major revelations he had with regards to the importance of family.  After an incredible evening of spending time with his family, he headed back to the office to do some work - one task being to send Artistic Cake Design a thank-you card for past business.  But he didn't have the mailing address.  So he Google'd it.  He found the home page which displayed a link to dad's battle with liver failure.  Curious - he checked it out.  And:

"Four hours later, I had read every one of Josh and Chelsea's blogging posts. I had read virtually every comment left by people responding to Josh's blog. I had cried, then I had laughed and then I had cried again. Tears of sorrow, tears ofrespect for Josh's courage, tears ofjoy. I read about a son's love for his father and how I feel so much the same way about my relationship with my dad. And even though dad is not terribly sick (yes his diabetes limits his mobility and his sight has failed), he is still strong in spirit. But he is 75 and oflate instead ofthinking about the words I would say to him if! ever married (that has not happened to me.....yet) I have thought more about the words I will have to say in front offamily and friends when he is gone."
The letter was incredible.  Chel and I both fought back tears reading it.  Maintaining this blog was a decision I'll never regret - especially because of stories like this.

He went on to say:
"And yes, while Josh's posts became less frequent as the blog went on, it let me know that as sons, sometimes we act the way we should in crisis and then sometimes we drift back into our normal everyday lives."
Wow... he's bang on.  I feel so guilty for abandoning this blog for the last few months.  I know that my love for dad isn't directly proportional to the frequency I blog... but... it may be directly proportional to the degree I love you blog followers... who I owe so much to.

I'm coming to learn that the most important rules in life are to:

Love God.
Love People.

That's it.  Plain and simple.  Its NOT about trying to live a pure life.  Its NOT about trying to chase a career and become insanely rich, though both those things may happen on your life's journey.  Your PURSUIT should be to love God and love people.  If you GENUINELY LOVE, I think that all the great things in life will follow, not that those should be your reason to love.  You should love just to love.

I need to keep this blog up-to-date... as a reminder that no amount of work/money should come between me and loving people... that I should find time to love... find time to blog... find time to have relationships and genuinely love...

I know that some of you don't want to hear this next part, but its the truth.  That's how Jesus loved.  Whether you believe he's God or in God, its irrelevant.  This Jesus dude existed.  Its recorded and historically verified.  And this man loved like no man/woman EVER loved before and no one will ever love like him.  He loved the terminally ill... he loved the street people... he loved the prostitutes... he loved those who are impossible to love... he loved those who were never loved before... he loved everyone.  And Jesus wasn't a religious dude - he HATED religion.  In fact - he ridiculed the religious people!  He ridiculed the priests!  He'd tell them that all they care about is looking religious, but that they didn't care about actually LOVING people.

Jesus- Help me to erase everything I think I know about you... everything I've learned about how church works - how God works... and re-teach me... I want to know YOUR PERSONAL LOVE - I want to love like you loved.  I want to love you back... No complications... just recklessly abandoned to your love.

After all that you blog-followers have seen our family though, the least I can do is keep this updated.  Ahhhhh - I feel so selfish.  Forgive me!!!   I owe you all so much!!  I'll keep this up to date!  Even if there's not much going on, I'll share my heart with you.   My goodness - this story could have turned out so much differently - I could have been fatherless right now... but I'm not - and I should use this blog to celebrate that!

I love you all!  Thank you all so much for following, loving, and praying.

And thank you, Mr x, for that letter you gave my mom.  WOOOOOOOOOW!  So encouraging!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fractured wrist!

My dad's a real piece of work...  LOL!

He took the bus to Toronto yesterday.  He got off the bus and started walking towards the hospital.  But halfway down the road, he tripped and fell.  No one was around to see him do it.  He had a big gash above his eye and he fractured his wrist.  Dad and I think its pretty funny - so you can laugh to.

He's waiting for some kind of crazy MRI for his liver.  Its not an MRI... its a 'step above' and MRI... my dad called it an MRI-Plus... but I think that my dad made that name up.   They've listed my dad as 'critical' for this test... and even at that status, he still has to wait a day.  Good ol' Ontario health care.

He's off to Value Village now to find himself some clothes (because he brought none with him).

Back under the knife

Dad got to Toronto fine yesterday for his appointment to have a stint put back in to his bile duct.  But when the doctors got their scope into his bile duct, they realized that since last week, the bile duct had healed completely shut.  So, they pulled out the scope and admitted my dad back to the infamous 7th floor.

He's a little disappointed because he was under the impression he'd only be in Toronto for a day.  He didn't bring much with him... and now he might be there for a week or so... maybe even longer.

The doctors aren't sure how they are going to handle the situation yet.  My dad is going through a ton of tests.  My dad heard the doc say something about going back into surgery to fix the problem, which dad isn't looking forward to.

This whole bile duct issue is a very common complication for living donor transplants.... which makes the situation a bit less stressful for the family.

Its been soooo great having dad home... and it was awesome reading back on the posts and seeing what life was like for us a year ago today... as nice as it is to recall some of those memories, I'd never want it to happen again.

If it turns out he needs surgery, Chel and I have decided we'll head back to Toronto to keep dad company.  I'll keep you all posted.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Back to Toronto

Dad's started to get a little yellow again - even with the stint in.

Turns out, the stint fell out. Dad was a little too active (lifting, walking, etc) and it looks like the stint moved.

Dad went to Toronto last week and they removed it. But now he's got to go back and have it put back in. He leaves tomorrow.

There's risk in every operation. Please pray he'll be safe.

--

On a side note, you know what I'm having fun doing?  Reading back on the blog.  WOW - I'm so glad I kept such a great record of everything that happened.  Its so amazing to read back on the posts now that I'm on the other side.

When your in a tough situation and it seems like there's no way out, its easy to give up hope.  Lesson #1 - NEVER give up home.  Never stop believing, loving, giving, being.

I can't believe what I've lived through.

Love you, dad!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Banana man

ALRIGHT - so I've got a lot to catch you all up on.

Last post was 'The Puss'.... The civic thought dad had an infection. WELL - Turns out, they had it completely wrong.

Remember that day operation where they tried to put a stint into his bile duct? But they couldn't find any blockages? Toronto wanted a summary of the doctors report from that operation. But Ottawa wouldn't send it (or was taking too long). So, they demanded that my dad come down to Toronto - especially with this potential 'Puss' issue.


That pick to the right is how yellow my dad was before he left for Toronto.  BTW - Look how insane my dad's scar looks!!!!  You can bare see it.  My scar is still in full force.

Anyhow, dad got to Toronto and Toronto decided to do all the tests and operations over again because they don't trust the Civic.

It took some digging, but they found a serious blockage in my dad's bile ducts. They installed a stint and dad feels AMAAAAZING!

Moral of the story - The Ottawa Civic Hospital needs a serious punch in the face and balls. Seriously - the Civic has ONLY BEEN A THORN IN OUR SIDE. The Civic's saving grace are their incredible nurses (1 in 3). They are the diamond in the rough.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Puss

Dad had really high blood pressure yesterday morning. He called Tele-Health and told a nurse about it. Their response was, 'If your temperature spikes, go to the ER immediately.'

A few hours later my dad's temperature spiked, so they headed off to the ER. He was there all evening, all morning and he's been there all day today. They've now moved him to the third floor temporarily.

After a bunch of tests, they found what they think has been causing my dad's issues... a abscess on my dad's liver. Its like a giant sack of puss... like a big pimple.

They immediately put him on IV anti-biotic. They've informed Toronto. He will have to go to Toronto for further care. Not sure when... we're waiting to hear back from Toronto.

Despite this - my dad is in GREAT spirits. He physically feels fine and his mind/spirit are in a great place. It sucks that there's another complication... but its so good to hear my dad being positive about it.

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Good & Bad News!

Dad had is day operation yesterday and he's well.

They got the wire in... got to the bile ducts and... no problems. So dad didn't have to have any stints installed. They bailed on the operation and told him they'd report back to Toronto.

So, obviously its both good and bad news that dad's bile ducts are ok. It just means that the liver enzyme issues are coming from somewhere else. The elephant in the room is his Hep-C. If it his Hep-C... his options are limited. Chemo - or new transplant. Actually, I'm not sure they'd even do another transplant if his Hep-C is this aggressive.

Anyhow - I'll keep you all posted.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day Surgery

Hey all - Dad's doing fantastic.

He picked me up on Saturday for breakfast - just the boys. It was good. Actually - its the first time my dad and I have hung out since the surgery - just him and I. He was totally blues'd out - Harley Davidson hat, crazy sun glasses, jacket... and Stevie Ray Vaughan cranked. And I mean CRANKED. I think its hilarious. I'm so happy for him.

While dad is doing a ton better, he's still got two minor issues looming. His potassium levels are REALLY high. That's dangerous because your heart could stop beating. Not much my dad can do about that other than not eating bananas and drinking lots of water.

Also - some liver enzyme is totally out of whack. TOTALLY. Apparently there's a problem with his bile ducts. They are shrinking.

Your bile ducts are these big veiny things that leave flow bile to and from your liver. When a living donor is used, because of the anatomy of the liver (they're only using 70% of a liver), the procedure isn't as flawless as a cadaver liver (whole liver from a diseased patient). And this is one of the common issues... some of the bile ducts can shrink.

Easy fix though. Similar to an angioplasty, my dad will have a long wire shoved down his throat (I believe) all the way to his liver. Its actually twice as long as the angioplasty wire. Once the wire reaches the bile ducts, they'll install stints that will expand the ducts. Its day surgery. Pray that the procedure goes without a hitch.

The doctors seem to think that this procedure will help my dad recover even quicker.

Also - my dad's Hep C is still lurking. Its already started to act quickly on his new liver. He's not in any danger yet... but its possible that in the next few months, he may have to go on a heavy CHEMO treatment. My dad really really doesn't want to. Its pretty hardcore - he'll be very sick for many months again... and that's the last thing he wants right now. Pray that the Hep-C will disappear and be a non-issue.

Anyhow - there's an update. I should post pictures so y'all can see how he's doing. He's getting fat again!!! So awesome! He doesn't use his cane as much anymore. All very positive.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Doctors give the 'all clear'!

Having my dad home has been amazing! Its been so good to stop by my parents house and see them chillin' at home.

However, there's been a lerking stress. Doctors have been concerned about my dad's bile ducts and his Kidney's. Furthermore, after a attending Kory & Steph Gorsky's wedding last week, dad took ill... had a tough time getting out of bed. So, as happy as we are to have dad home and as well as he is doing, his condition seems to still be fragile.

My dad was booked for an appointment in Toronto this week to examine both his Kidney's and his Bile Ducts. He was in an MRI machine for over 1hr 20min. If any of you have been in an MRI machine before, you know that spending more than 20min in one is unthinkable.

Dad just called from Toronto with the results from all his tests and... THE REPORT IS GREAT!

No kidney issues! There was a weird shadow on a previous ultrasound that led the doctors to think he may have a growth... but that has been ruled out officially!

No urgent bile duct issues! The doctors are booking him for some precautionary test, but all of them will be in Ottawa!

His next appointment in Toronto is... (wait for it)... January 2010!

The ONLY pressing issue is that dad's CDif (some digestive bacterial infection) has resurfaced. But he has been prescribed some insane anti-biotics ($900 for a two week refill... insane!). Doctors say he'll be 100% in a week or so.

So - you could say the story is just about over! What a journey... I can't believe that dad is home... and for good!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Perma-Home!

FINALLY! Dad's perma home! He got back to Ottawa Friday, May 29th.

So good to see him home finally! We had a family dinner on June 5th. Just as we were about to say grace, I looked across the table at my healthy dad... it almost brought me to tears.

That moment... even if it was all just for that moment... it was all worth it. My dad happy, healthy, energetic... back to himself for the first time in 14 months.

I said grace... it got intense, to say the least. I praised and thanked God for healing dad and seeing him through... seeing the family through!

WOOOW! What an awesome feeling it is to be on the other side... dad's well, I'm well, the family is well.

Dad still needs your prayers - there are a few minor complications that the doctors are still reviewing. Dad has a full abdominal MRI at the end of the month as well as a bunch of other tests. Issues include potassium levels, a 'shadow' on his last kidney x-ray, and some liver enzyme counts. Dad's overall health is good... he's not in a life or death situation anymore. But there are still somethings to work through.

Sorry for the lack of updates on the blog... such is life.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dad's Home

Dad got home this past Friday afternoon. So good to see him. He can walk (with a walker) and walk up stairs. He's doing so well!

"I can't believe how hard rehab is," said dad. "And just because I'm home, I think I'm all better... no way! I almost fell twice today trying to get up the stairs like I used to."

It seems like its been such a long journey... but its only really been 6 months since the surgery. In the grand scheme of life, its not that long at all.

One thing dad was dying to do when he got home was listen to his blues music and eat ice cream. I offered to take him out for some Dairy Queen. He jumped at the opportunity. We hopped in the car and dad instantly went for the CD player and threw on his blues. OH MY! My ears nearly bled. I'm sure you could hear us coming from a few blocks away. Dad was so happy! Singin' along, totally out of key... but he was in his happy place.

At this point in dad's recovery, his mind and his spirit have finally been restored. His body still needs a lot of work. My dad has over 20 bottles of pills. 20! That's insane. But he should be down to half that in a few months.

Dad's goal is to be home permanently by mid-June. Very exciting.

Thanks God for strengthening my dad and our family. Sometimes your plan is hard to see... but I pray this situation will remain forever in my life as evidence of your faithfulness to us.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The SUN!

Everybody make sure they grab a copy of Sunday's Ottawa SUN! They're running a story on dad and the family journey! I think page 3... but I'm not sure.

Dad's doing well. He just keeps getting better. No set backs lately.

Its Dad's Birthday on May 11th. Everyone post a birthday message for him on the blog and my Aunt Patti will make sure he gets your message. He's turning 55. Dad has a song he's been singing lately.

'55... 55... 55 and still alive!'

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

One step back, two steps forward

Its been a while since I've spoken with my dad. I kinda feel bad about it... but life's been so busy that I actually didn't notice that my dad hadn't called in a while. And I didn't even wonder why... I just assumed everything was going really well.

Not so much. Dad took a bit of a bad turn a few days ago. Nothing major... just a minor set back. He's got a head cold and his recurring case of 'the runs' has returned. Just like previous times he's been sick, he gets weak and unmotivated. However, he's doing a better job this time controlling his response. He's still doing this therapy and he can still walk on his own.

He called today and he sounds fantastic - he honestly did. He laughed a lot which was sooo refreshing to hear. MAN - I can't wait 'till that man is better and back home!

Mom is doing well - but as you can all imagine, its been a long road. Friggin' awesome woman, that mom of mine. She'll be home on Thursday to take care of some business stuff. Not sure what her plans are. She might be home for a few days... maybe even a week or two.

Keep dad in your prayers!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Chels Visit

Chelsea was visiting a friend in Toronto this past weekend. Just before she left for home, she decided to stop by and visit dad.

Apparently he's still doing great! His legs got even thinner, somehow. When Chel first peaked in his room, all she could see were is legs. She said to herself, I must have the wrong room... that looks like old lady's legs. Nope - they were dad's.

He's consistently doing his rehab every day and he continues to make great progress. 10 days ago, he couldn't get out of bed by himself. When Chel was with him, he was so excited to show her that he could get out of bed, stand up, and get into his wheel chair! Phenomenal!

Hopefully only 4-5 more weeks of St John's Rehab before my dad can come home and continue rehab in Ottawa.

~

I saw Bryan Fukumoto on the weekend at a hockey tournament. He's doing very well! Up and about. As is his uncle (donor).

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

First big walk

Dad just called. He's doing great. He walked from his room to the physio room... not sure how far that is, but any walking is worthy of praise. Dad says, "It was more of a shuffle than a walk."

On heavier note, he did get a bad test result back regarding a certain liver count... the doctors are slightly concerned about his bile duct. So they've booked him an MRI. I'm sure its nothing but precautionary.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter!

Dad is doing sooo much better!

Usually when we visit dad, he's very weak, very tired, and its usually very depressing. I always tried to encourage dad. "OH dad! Look how great your legs look - they aren't as swollen!" or "Looks like your gaining a few pounds, dad!" At the time, I thought those things were true - I wanted them to be true. Maybe they were...

I told dad that it was starting to get difficult to encourage him. Dad said, "Josh - you really kept me going! If it weren't for you, I'd have given up by now." I continued to say that its so much easier now to encourage him - he's so obviously doing so much better. He said, "I know Josh! I feel it this time. I didn't feel it before - but I do now!"

But this time - holy man! Dad was actually looking, and feeling, a bazillion times better then he's ever looked before. He isn't swollen at all any more. His legs are like twigs (matches his shoulders and arms). And my dad was back to being himself completely! No weird comments that make you think twice. Just dad.

So amazing.

For the past few months, the doctors kept saying that dad needs to 'turn a corner'. Well he clearly, FINALLY has!

We (Becky, James, Chelsea and I) left Ottawa at 7am and made it to Toronto by 11am. Dad was so happy to see us! Later, he said that he had such a great morning getting all cleaned up and ready to see his kids. The anticipation was great.

We went for a walk around the rehab facility. Awesome property - I was able to get a few pretty cool photos. At one point, I forgot we were in the middle of Toronto.

My aunt Patty and my mom met up with us an hour or so later. It was good to see mom again. We all spent the afternoon together - I can't really remember what we did for all that time... but it was fun.

We ended the day by having Easter dinner together. We were able to use the cafeteria, even though it was closed. We joined two tables together and had Swiss Chalet takeout. Dad even said grace like he used to!

DAD'S BACK!

We said our goodbyes, then headed home. We got home around 10:30pm. Phenomenal day.

~

Even though Dad's spirits are back to normal and his body is finally back on the mend, he still has a long road of rehabilitation. My dad's only walked 10ft... using those rail-thingys in rehab. His legs are very weak. He can't stand on his own. They estimate my dad will be making incredible progress by May. Dad's goal is to be out by May 11th, his Birthday. But he's totally fine with staying if he has to. When he comes home this time, he wants to come home for good.

Here's all the pics from the trip: http://picasaweb.google.com/jc.bloomfield.pics/VisitDad02#

Friday, April 3, 2009

REHAB!!

So by now you've all noticed my less frequent posting. LIfe's getting busy. I don't know how I kept this blog so up-to-date in the past... it seems like so much work now.

Anyhow, I do plan on posting at least once a week.

Yesterday, dad moved out of the hospital and into Rehab! EXCITING! One small step closer to getting back to normal. He even walked a few steps before leaving the hospital which is awesome news.

My dad has also shed 90% of the water that had accumulated in his abdomen and legs. He looks skinnier and scarier than ever, I could imagine.

One small scare... apparently he had some diarrhea the day he moved to St Johns Rehab. Pro - he got his own room in rehab. Con - he's in isolation. Hopefully it was just something he ate - which is likely given the fact that hospital food is nasty. But the attendants will keep a close eye on his in rehab.

Also - I found out earlier this week that an old acquaintance (Bryan Fukumoto) had a kidney transplant yesterday, in Ottawa. I'm not sure about his prognosis... if anyone knows, please post! We're praying for you and your family, Bryan!

You know, I'd never wish our situation on anyone... it was tough. But so much love and so much good has come from it. Its changed our lives for the better - and it was DEFINITELY worth it. Life changing. I feel lucky that I was given the opportunity to learn what I did. At one time, that reasoning seemed like a silver lining in the cloud. In hind sight, it was a sunny 35C the whole time.

Dad's new number: 416-226-6780 x1221

Friday, March 27, 2009

Back at it...

Alright - its time to get back at the honest blogging...

I've been so busy lately... I'm so sorry for not keeping you all up to date. I know there are many of you who check the site daily for updates. Your commitment and love for my dad means so much to me, but even more to him.

Dad is doing so much better. Now, he's still really weak but here are the facts:

- for the past week, he hasn't been sick
- he's stood up every day on his two feet - once for over 2 mins (that's huge!)
- physio says that he'll be walking in a few weeks
- dad says he's not leaving Toronto 'till the end of May - and when he does leave, he knows it will be for good this time!

He calls me every day! I LOVE his calls! He's in his right mind. He's kinda low - but its more of a lonely low and not a "I'm gonna die" low. I'd post his phone number but I don't know it. Your free to call the Toronto General Hospital (you can find the number from one of my older posts) and ask for patient Brian Bloomfield.

I can't wait for this to be all over - and it will be. But I don't think any one imagined it would take this long. In contrast, my dad's hospital roommate had a kidney transplant 6 days ago and he was being released. Isn't that crazy!?!? I was so happy for that dude. It was nice to share our stories.

Life for me is going well. My check up last week was good. All my parts are working. I feel good. But I'm realizing that I'm pretty out of shape. I mean, I wasn't very athletic before the transplant which makes an already bad situation worse. I told Chel that as soon as it warms up just a little more, I'm going to start my iPod walks again down by the river. So relaxing. Audio book, nature, walking... nothing like it.

The family is doing well. Mom is stronger than ever. Becky and James are doing well.

Not much else to say...

Dad's Birthday is coming up on May 11th. Here's his list:

- hats (he needs to stay out of the sun for the rest of his life)
- blues music
- suspenders
- "book from the Food Channel" (I have no idea what this means)

So keep your eyes open. I'd love to throw dad the biggest B-Day bash ever - even if he's still in Toronto.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

How do you hang out?

So sorry its taken so long to post. My life is out of control busy.

Dad's doing great. We had a fun visit last Wednesday... the videos tell it all. Listen closely.

video

video

Just talked to dad today - he's doing good. He's stands a few times a day. But he's too weak to walk. He's in good spirits.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Back to Toronto

Chel and I are just packing and getting ready for our day trip to Toronto tomorrow. I have my 3-Month follow up tomorrow. CRAZY! Its been 3 MONTHS!?!?!?!

I'll post an update with photos and hopefully a video as well on Thursday.

Dad's doing well again, BTW. Eating lots. A little more active.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Mom is amazing!

My dads recovery is going so strangely. My mom leaves for a few ours on Mar 10 and all of a sudden he's on a ventilator in ICU hallucinating. Then a day later he's sitting up, eating, talking, etc... just like he was today.

Its so great to hear that dad is going well. He's sitting up, eating, talking, etc. He had some tests that all came back positive.

I hate hearing about these strange episodes he continues to have - where he gets agitated and has a hard time breathing. No one can figure out what the deal is.

Anyway, mom is doing FANTASTIC. Her attitude is phenomenal. She's so strong - and she really believes that we're going to make it through this - and she's going to see dad through the whole thing.

Man - anyone out there need an example of commitment? Linda Bloomfield. She's had every reason to back down... every reason to give up... but no.

Mom... freakin mom. Jeeze louize she's amazing!

Mom - I've never been more proud of you!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Update

Just got a call from Linda.

When she got to the hospital this morning and headed to the 7th floor (where she thought Brian had been moved to), she found out he actually was moved back to the 10th floor.

It seems Brian was having respiratory problems, so he is back on full oxygen. On top of that he is very agitated and having hallucinations. They aren't sure whats going on as of now, but his red blood cell count is down which could mean infection.

Will keep you updated.

-Chelsea

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Great visit!

Baaaaaaa - Chel and I are soo freakin exhausted. We got in at 2am... and then lost an hour because of DST... so we really got home at 3am. And the drive home was terrible.

But it was seriously all worth it. Dad is doing infinitely better.

We left Ottawa really late (around noon) and arrived in Toronto at 4pm. Neither Chel or I were looking forward to the drive to Toronto - or being back in Toronto or Toronto General. But we both really miss dad. And especially after what happened this week, we really wanted to make sure we paid him an encouraging visit.

We grabbed a parking spot in the heated, underground parking. Very nice. VIP like.

We headed up to the seventh floor. This is the floor dad was on before the transplant and the floor he was on before he was discharged. Its a good floor to be on - and its the floor I thought dad was on because that's the last I heard from mom.

So, we poked our head into floor 7 and one of the nurses declared, "Wooo! He's alive!" They freakin remembered me - AND dad - AND knew that dad was still on the 10th floor. Man - the nurses at this hospital are phenomenal! They're so caring and they all seem to be in the loop. No rude remarks, no unwelcoming faces... just lots of transplant love.

On their advice, we headed to the 10th floor - the step down unit. This is the floor dad and I were on when we first got out of surgery. Everyone has a nice big private room. And there is a nurse's station with one nurse for every two rooms. That means my dad was constantly being monitored and always had someone to talk to. Usually they give patients a little emergency button - dad didn't get one because the nurse literally works a few steps away from his bed. This hospital is on the freakin ball.

Walking down the hall to see dad, there were some pretty scary patients. One dude was wrapped in towels... another lady was in a ball crying... some other patients were hooked up to every possible instrument available. Really makes you appreciate your health.

Then, there was dad! In the room at the end of the hall. He was too tired to give us a big hello. But he mumbled a few words of welcome. He's color looked great and his arms/legs looked less bruised (from all the unsuccessful IVs). And my dad's urine bag - it was full! Full of (what looked like) lemonade! This was phenomenal news! In Ottawa, his urine bag was never full. And if it had anything in it, it was a very small amount and it looked like Pepsi. Not only was dad peeing on his own, it was the right color. Go yellow pee!

We all got seated and started chatting - reminiscing. Great times. Dad started to wake up a bit more over the hour that we spent but eventually he needed to sleep. So mom, Chel and I headed out for a great dinner - just the three of us. It was so nice to spend some quality time with mom. What a strong woman.

After dinner, it was about 8pm. We headed back the hospital to spend a few more minutes with dad before we headed right back home to Ottawa. Dad was way more awake this time. He sat up in his bed and we had a great chat.

~

For the past few weeks, dad hasn't been himself. The depression - its not dad. He may struggle with it, but there was an element of it that didn't sit right with me. His attitude - his lost sense of humour...

I think it was the absence of some of those key Brian characteristics that was contributing to a general sense of defeat around the family.

~

But that night - dad was right back to being himself.

"Josh - I can't believe what those drugs do to you."

"I know dad! There were so many times when I would get mad at Chel the few days after the surgery for no reason. I wasn't myself. And it was the narcotic pain meds. I hated what they turned me into. My goal was to get off them asap - and I was, 3 days after I left the hospital."

Sometimes, when I get started down a passionate line of conversation, I close my eyes and look down. When I raised my head after my little rant - dad was sitting there nodding his head in agreement.

"Josh - Your my inspiration. Every time I see you I just want to explode!"

~

If your not aware, dad was prescribed way too high a dose of narcotic pain medication in Ottawa. Between the high doses and my dad's history with drug abuse, that's what lead to his episode this week. When Toronto reduced the pain meds, his body wasn't too pumped about it. To avoid the situation from getting worse, dads body was sedated to the point where he needed a machine to help him breathe. Toronto is convinced that the pain meds are the reason why dad's recovery has been so rocky the past few weeks.

Yesterday, dad didn't have any pain meds. I'm so proud/happy for him!

~

It was time to go. Blast! As great as dad was doing, Chel and I are always afraid that its just 'the same old story'. We were afraid that he'd end up sick again or in worse shape a few days later. We're praying that this is the end of the sickness and that dad will be fully restored.

While leaving Toronto, Chel said, "You know... walking through that hospital today and even driving through Toronto, I'm not hating as much."

Chelsea and I both HATED Toronto for the first few weeks after the surgery. We vowed never to go back.

She continued, "The city and hospital actually feels like good memories now."

"I know! Looking back, it was such an amazing experience - so much love. It wasn't as terrible as we thought it was."

~

Today, dad should be transferred to floor 7 where he'll have a TV and a phone. I'll post the number as soon as I have it. The goal is to get dad walking. As soon as he can walk, he'll be out of the Toronto hospital.

I suggested to my parents that they DON'T leave Toronto until they are sure that dad is truly on the mend and that mom and dad can take care of themselves. So, they'll be staying in Toronto (not sure where) for a few weeks after they are released from the General. The last thing dad needs is to be back in the Civic.

~

In all seriousness - The Civic hospital needs a freakin redo. Staff, facility, etc. It all needs to be redone. If you're in Toronto, go and stop in at the Toronto general. The place is amazing. At some points, you forget your in a hospital.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

No more ventilator

Talked to Mom a few minutes ago.

Dad's doing better today. He's off the ventilator. They also fed him 'normal' food today through a tube. He's urinating had improved as well.

He's still in ICU, but he'll be transferred to the step down unit (10th floor) tomorrow if his condition doesn't worsen.

The 10th floor is where dad and I were the first few days after surgery. Matter of fact, before dad was transferred to ICU, he was in my exact room from after the transplant... nice private corner room with a great view.

Slowly... things seem to be moving forward.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Just spoke with mom and a nurse.

So, dad was having a tough time breathing this morning and he was really agitated. So, the team thought it best to sedate dad so that he doesn't hurt himself and so that he can be hooked up to a ventilator to breath better.

The doctors did some scans to make sure there was no urgent medical issues. Everything looks okay.

At this point, the doctors think that my dad was on way to many pain narcotic pain meds and that they need to be drained from his system. I guess that's what is happen now.

He's doing better now then he was when he was first placed in ICU early this morning.

Life Support

No joke.

Mom called this morning bragging on how much better dad was doing. He had been cleaned up and was well taken care of. He was sitting up, talking, seemed to have a little more energy. His kidney's even showed some improvement and he was urinating on his own now (no need for dialysis or catheter)

That was yesterday

Mom just called a few minutes ago. When she came in this morning, dad was in a strange room hooked up to a strange machine. Turns out Dad's on "life support". Now, I'm not sure if that's what my mom was told or if that's the terminology my mom is choosing to use. Regardless, a machine is breathing for dad. He can't breath on his own anymore. The nurses couldn't wake my dad this morning and must have noticed something wrong with his breathing

I'm not sure about the details of my dads situation. Mom is supposed to call back as soon as she's spoken with a doctor.

~

So many different feelings right now. Fear of the worst, obviously. Frustration - frustration that dad's prognosis seems to have some bi-polar disorder... fantastic one day, terrible the next.

Hmm... kinda just speechless really. Feels like someone has taken my breath away.

I'm afraid to prepare myself for the worst because I feel like that would mean I'm not "keepin' the faith". But I don't want to get blindsided by it.

Blast - I can't even write it! Because I'm so afraid of it. It. I don't want to spell/speak it into existence.

If I haven't said this yet - I really miss dad. Like really badly. Here's the dad I miss... I haven't heard him laugh like this in (what feels like, and what probably is) years. I took video of when I treated my parents to a trip to the Dominican Republic when I was young, single and overpaid. That purchase turned out to be one I'd never regret...

video

Monday, March 2, 2009

Arrived Safe

Chelsea here.

Just talked to Linda. They arrived safely in Toronto. Brian got there around 5pm yesterday and Linda arrived with her sister around 8pm. No updates other then that yet, hopefully we'll find out more today.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

First Flight Out

Visited Dad on Friday. No major changes in his condition. But, we did find out that he was supposed to receive dialysis treatment first thing in the morning. This freaked Chelsea and I out a little. So we asked a nurse what the deal is.

First off, for those who don't know what dialysis is... My dad will be hooked up to a machine that will clean his blood for him. It tries to do what the Kidney's do naturally when the Kidney's aren't working to well.

It turns out that Dialysis can be used on very sick patients who are experiencing temporary kidney problems. Just because my dad has started dialysis, does not mean he will be on it for the rest of his life. My dad's Kidney's are simply having a tough time right now and his body needs a break.

~

Chel and I poked our heads into the hospital Saturday around 11:20am just to see dad being wheeled through the corridors. He had just come back from Dialysis. He looked a bit better. When he finally got settled in to his room, we asked him how it went.

Me - "Any pain dad?"

Dad - Shakes his head, no... "They took 2 litres of urine out of me! Dialysis is a good thing."

I was taken back by the amount of waste they removed from my dad's blood - 2 litres! Thats awesome! That will give my dad's body a real opportunity to get better. And I was so happy to hear dad say, "Dialysis is a good thing." Because it is! Its just a temporary measure to help dad get back on the mend.

But what about Toronto? Wasn't dad supposed to be gone by now?

Well, we've been waiting for a bed for a few days... and we found out on Saturday night that dad was leaving first thing in the morning - 9am flight from Ottawa to Toronto General. Because my dad's condition has worsened, it was necessary to make sure a nurse could accompany him during the flight. I believe my mom was supposed to go as well.

Later in the evening on Saturday, we had a bit of a scare. I guess dad was having a hard time breathing and he was getting kinda panicked. Wait a minute... that sounded familiar... back in October the same thing happened when he was put on a certain kind of a pain medication. I mentioned this to a nurse (who was kinda useless) and never really got that resolved. Apparently it cleared up 30min after I left, though.

~

Just got off the phone with mom. She had a few things packed (not all her stuff) and was ready to go with Dad to Toronto. But her and my dad decided that it would be better if mom stayed at home an extra day to make sure everything at home and work got packed up properly so mom doesn't have to come back to Ottawa after they arrive.

Dad left this morning around 9am. No word from Toronto yet on how dad's doing. But mom said that dad looked good.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Finally! Some progress!

Chelsea and I arrived at the meeting today at 2:30. My dad's sister (my aunt Linda) and my dad's close friend (Danny) were there with my mom.

We met with Dr Code, Jennifer (head nurse), and Dr Code's head resident. They walked us through the series of events as they knew it.

My dad arrived at the hospital with a bug from Toronto. Even though stool tests didn't show he had an infection, he was still treated as if he had a bug. This treatment worked to clear up his symptoms. However, just as he things were starting to look up, the doctors think that the infection reared its head for another onslaught.

Eventually, the infection passed, though my dad will remain on antibiotics for the remainder of the month.

During my dad's stay, his kidney function has been affected negatively. His urine output has decreased. And they are sure that its the kidney's as he has a catheter draining urine directly from the bladder. Furthermore, they think he may have a bowel obstruction or a 'lazy bowel'. His liver levels seem alright - but the Ottawa team would feel more comfortable at this point if he were assessed in Toronto. Sooo...

Dad will be on his way back to Toronto in the next day or so. He's just waiting for a bed. We're all happy about this - except for dad. He's somewhat okay with it... but he's insisting that it be limited to just a week or so.

So dad's definitely back at square one - except with a new lever.

~

We found out today that a friend of a friend recently gave birth to a child who was born with liver failure. It was necessary for the newborn to receive a liver transplant. The father gave a small piece of his own liver for his child - in the same hospital as dad and I. The new born is recovering at Sick Kids. Please keep that baby in your prayers.

It was cool to hear the story for 2 reasons. A) Our friend let us know how encouraging our blog was - especially when it came to hearing about how well the Toronto General Hospital treated dad and I. It really gave her a boast in confidence that she could pass on to her friend. B) It was encouraging to hear that if this new born baby can fight for its life, how much more so should my dad be able to!?!?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thank you all so much for your prayers and thoughts. So many phenomenal suggestions keep coming in. Please, the more the better!

Good news - I called Dr Code today and left a message. A few hours later, I received a call from a nurse who has set up a meeting with Dr Code, a resident doctor, herself, my dad, my mom and I. Finally - the appointment we've been waiting for! I'll update the blog as soon as I get back from the meeting.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I visited dad on Sunday. He called me crying - saying that no one had visited him that day.

When I got there, my dad was in rough shape. Physically, it seems like his Kidney's may be in trouble. And emotionally/spiritually, my dad is fully ready to give up.

I was pretty gong ho when I saw him. I was encouraging him and telling him I'd help take care of him and get him better.

I pulled a nurse aside and asked her some questions about my dad's situation. She gave me some valuable advice and the name/number of a the staff doctor. She suggested I call the staff doctor and address all my concerns about my dad.

Its so frustrating because it seems like random doctors come visit my dad at random times and just treat my dad's symptoms. They don't look at my dad's health as a whole and try to assess him from there. They continue to prescribe the same medications when its obvious they aren't working.

Anyway - I should have called that doctor by now.

I visited dad today. Mom and James were already there. The room was so heavy. Man - it was the most depressing visit yet. It was almost like no-one in the room believed dad was going to make it out of this... at least thats how I felt.

Lord! I don't know what to do! Blast! I'm so frustrated and broken. I gave all I can to help dad... but its not enough! Lord - its not up to me at this point anymore. I've done what I can. And you know what, I'm willing to admit that up until now I believed that earthly medicine would resolve my dad's situation with your guiding hand. But its obvious to me now that we need more than just your guidance - we need your healing power. Lord - I need your miracle working power. I need your crazy-ass, supernatural, unexplainable, Divine, undeserved, healing power.

Lord - literally... you're my only hope. Your my dad's only hope.


Please people - more than ever - pray! I've never seen my dad this sick in the past 12 months he's been sick. I never seen my family this hopeless.

Visit and call my dad! Encourage him. 613 798 5555 x12283. He's room A534, 5th Floor, Ottawa Civic Hospital.

So, here's a rough break down of what I'm going to discuss with the doctor. If anyone out there has any medical ideas/advice, please fire away.

Current meds my dad is on (I don't know the exact drugs):
- pain medication
- anti-rejection drugs (suppressing his immune system)
- anti-depressant (efexor?)

Current Condition:
- fluid only diet
- can't keep food down
- very weak
- very depressed
- all liver levels are fine

Symptoms:
- urine is very dark and far less than his fluid input
- water retention in his legs and abdomen
- pig-tail catheter in his abdomen to drain fluid
- dehydration
- can't keep food down
- diarrhea
- elevated blood pressure

Treatments that haven't worked:
- albumen
- urine catheter

Friday, February 20, 2009

Where are yah!?

Just called dad to check up on him. He's losing his mind again. I didn't even recognize his voice. Here's the convo:

Me - "Umm... Is Brian there?"

Dad - "Yeah - what?"

Me - "Dad? Its Josh."

Dad - "Where are you?!?!"

Me - "I'm at home?!"

Dad - "Yah ars! I thought were getting me a wheel chair?"

Me - "Hahaha! Dad - I'm at home!"

Dad - "I thought you were down the hall getting a wheel chair, though!"

Me - "Dad - what drugs are you on that your confused again?"

Dad - "So, whats your plan?"

Me - "Plan?"

Dad - "Yeah - when you coming in?"

Me - "First thing in the morning ok?"

Dad - "No"

Me - "You want breakfast?"

Dad - "No"

Me - "I can bring a fruit cup."

Dad - "Ok... well... we'll see... I'll call yah."

Me - "Alright, well I'll talk to you later."

Dad - "K..."

I was kind of amused... am I a jerk for finding stuff like that funny?

In reality though, I was hurting inside. Its seems like we're back to square one. And I'm not upset because he has my liver and I'm not afraid the transplant didn't work... I'm just so tired of seeing dad sick and tired. I just want this to be over.

My emotions may be a little amplified given some other life stresses at the moment. I may look back at these posts in a few months and regret feeling this way... I don't know...

In an ideal world, I'd love to know beyond a shadow of a doubt the my family in Ottawa are doing all they can for dad. That includes regular visits, keeping his spirits up, reminding him of the promises God has for his life, and, most importantly, keeping up with dad's medical condition. I'm convinced that no-one is paying attention to what the doctors are doing. At one point, the doctors in Ottawa reduced my dad's anit-rejection drugs by 50%. I'm sure they know what they are doing - but no one knows why they did it... and no one is asking questions. Is it so difficult?

I'd love to be the one who jumps in and saves the day... again. But frig - I feel like I'm at the end of my rope here. I can only handle so much of this. And I feel like I've already given so much. Man - I thought the transplant decision was heavy... this whole thing is way over my head.

Lord - restore my peace. Restore my faith. Be my rest.

You know what - the reality is is that God will take care of this situation. I have no idea why its going down like this. But I only get one shot at loving Dad. I only get one shot at this. And I'm not going to spend the rest of my life regretting that I was ridiculously selfish while my dad was dying... too selfish to care about how much anit-rejection drugs he's on... or how the cuts on his legs or his bed soars will be affected by his diabetes. I gotta find time to be the person I'm expecting everyone else to be. I don't want to - and maybe I shouldn't have to - but neither of those arguments will bring any peace if the unthinkable happens.

No regrets.

What did Jesus do when he was hanging on Earth? He served. He selfless gave himself every day for the poor, the sick, the hungry... and never complained. He found his strength in God the Father. Even when he had a perfect excuse not to serve (while he was dying on the cross), he still took time and ministered to both men on the crosses beside him.

I want to serve regardless of my circumstances.

God - I'm so weak. But that's awesome! Because your word says that in my weakness, you are strong! So make me weaker! Less of me and more of your strength!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Family day blues

Heads up - this is a very candid blog about my frustration regarding dad's recovery and his attitude... if I you don't think you can handle it, just skip over it.

What a freakin crappy day.

I woke up to a pretty depressing call from my mom saying that dad had taken another bad turn. Last I heard, he was overcoming this bug and on his way back to recovering. But now dad's started throwing up again and having bowel issues.

My mom told me that at this point, my dad is ready to give up. He's already planned his funeral and crap like that. I don't know why he gets down so damn easily. And you'd think that if your son gave you a piece of his liver for you, you would try everything in your power not to get down - not to give up - but to keep a positive attitude till the bitter end.

If someone gave me their liver, I'd think that I don't have the right to feel defeated... I'd have to fight - for the donors sake... for my sake!

Sorry for the rando vent - but its whats on my heart.

Anyhow, dad had his stomach and bowels drained and the fluid in his abdomen is scheduled to be drained soon.

The good news is that both his Liver and Kidney's are working incredibly well. Nothing that is happening to my dad right now is a result of Hep-C or the transplant. This means that its overcomeable.

Lord - Give dad a freakin supernatural boast of holy spirit encouragement. Renew his strength. Renew his will to get better and live out his life dreams and your will for his life!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Update

Dad's ok. He's not going to die. But his condition is getting worse.

Apparently its all because of this bug he came back with from Toronto. He's in isolation now being treated for the bug. This bug will bring my dad back to the point he was at when he got out of surgery. Any progress he had made is out the window. He's back to square one.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hospital

Sorry for the delay, everyone.

Dad got home safely last Thursday (February 5). More info on that later.

Just got a call from mom. She's called an ambulance because she thinks something is wrong with dad. Please pray.

Chelsea and I have been scepticle that it was too early for dad to leave Toronto. But my parents insist that the doctors were ok with it.

I'll keep you all posted.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

All my liver levels are good

Blasted flu. I didn't sleep at all last night. Just puked every hour on the hour.

I feel a bit better today. Still queezy. And I woke up with some killer pain in my abs. I think I pulled a muscle or something. The doctor warned me that my healing muscles are more susceptible to pulls.

Just heard from dad. He has an appointment at the Toronto General today. Doctors say that all his liver levels are above average! So my liver is doing very well in dad.

The swelling is still an issue. But the doctors say that its normal. It will take a few months before dad's eating, sleeping, and exercise routines get back to normal. At that point, the swelling should be gone.

All-in-all, the doctors think my dad is doing great. He could be back in Ottawa as early as next week. I'm not sure if that's perma, or just for a visit. If he does come home, he will still have rehab here in Ottawa for a few months.

He has another appointment next week where he will find out if he can come home.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

First Puke

Chelsea here.

Josh wanted me to let you all know he is over the toilet puking his liver out.

Don't worry, just the flu!

My brother and his family all had it a few days ago, then on Saturday his wife Ali(who is seriously super woman!) went into labour! While they were at the hospital for a few days all the family members took turns looking after their son Sawyer...and we all left with their flu.

When it first hit Josh this morning, he was really worried about his liver area hurting if he puked. He tried really hard to hold it in all afternoon, but the flu ended up winning. Good thing is he says it doesn't hurt. With yesterday being his last injection, wasn't the suffering for Josh supposed to finally be over?!

He just told me though that being there all weekend with Sawyer and the fam was definitly worth it!

Welcome Levi Victor Benjamin Hebbs! born January 24, 2009 weighing 7lb 9oz.Look how cute he is! I think he's totally worth it!

I must go tend to my hubby now.
There are some nasty things happening while I write...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Last injection

So - not only did the doctor say that I'm 100% back to my normal self (last Thursday), I took my last injection today.

You'd think I'd be happy about this... and 95% of me is. But theres a small part that's sad that its all over. The injection was a daily reminder of what I did for dad... and I don't ever want to forget. Ever.

So, now I'm really back to life as it was before the transplant. I'm even walking straight again, sleeping any which way I like, and eating whatever. Just like that.

I still can't believe I did it.

I didn't think I was going to do it. I honestly thought, "Well, the right thing to do is to tell my dad that I'll donate my liver... because I'm his son... but I know God will protect me! ...by somehow making sure I actually don't have to do it because he knows how scared I'd be to actually do it."

Seriously... as each day passed and I began to realize, "Wait a tick... this operation looks like its going to be a go!". I (and I'm sure Chel) still had hope that my dad would somehow receive a deceased liver or that some medical complication on my end would prevent me from being a candidate. In fact, when Chel and I found out about my heart murmur, we didn't admit it to each other but I know we were both hoping it would make me ineligible for the operation. We were both so scared.

But this whole story has turned out to be a testament of God's amazing grace and goodness.

Let me ask you something... how can you be a true believer in God if you've never tested your faith in his existence? I mean - you can't believe in someone you don't actually think exists, right?

And for those of you who think you believe in God... how can you know his love and promises are true until you've believed them to the core of your being... enough so to test them in your every day life?

I put my faith to the test.

Christ! I know your with me! You've always been with me. But now, I need you more than ever. I'm so scared. Please Lord - be with me... protect me...

I prayed that prayer as soon as they rolled me into the operating room.

Never did I feel any pain. Never did I feel scared. In fact, during my time in the recovery room, I asked Chelsea, "Who is that black woman in the room?" But Chel didn't see anyone. This is going to sound super retarded to a few of you but I don't care... I felt an overwhelming sense of love and peace from that person. Judge for yourself who/what it may have been.

It doesn't take a liver transplant to have faith. Maybe just an overdue bill... a broken family relationship... a stressful job.

Anyway - that was a rando tangent. Point is... I'm so glad I overcame my fear. And those morning injections were a reminder of how this whole thing has impacted my love for God and my love for you all. And I don't ever want to lose what I gained.

Weird to say that I gained something when I physically lost something pretty major.

Love is the way of the future. True love at any cost. Love and transparency. Transparency - that's a topic for another time.

I'll post more down the road about the impact this has had on my life. I also never posted the details of my time in the hospital from my point of view. I'll get around to that as well.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Visit with the family

I received an email today from my cousin Paul in Toronto. He, his wife and his kids paid my dad a visit.

I'm always so blessed when family/friends visit dad. Its really hard for Becky, James and I to be seperated from mom and dad during such a difficult time. But its great to know that there are friends and family holding the line for us.

Here's what my cousin Paul wrote...

~

We decided to see how many people we could fit in your dad's room... Gail, Julia, Jill, Alex and I... along with Bill (his roomy). We had a great visit and he's getting around really well. Jilly decided your dad needed something to keep his mind busy so she brought her Gameboy Advance and left it with him along with a couple of games. Apparently he loves Tetris ..so we will make sure that is dropped off as well.

Just thought you might enjoy a couple of the pics we took.



Thursday, January 22, 2009

The picture made it all worth while

What a day. My first appointment was at 1pm so we left with plenty of time to spare - 7am. We used the parents SUV because I haven't had a chance to put the winter tires on my civic.

Great ride there. We arrived around 11am. Instead of waiting for my 1pm appointment time, I thought I'd just pop in and see if I could get my tests done earlier... and I did.

It was done my first appointment by noonish and my next appointment wasn't 'till 2:20pm. So, we figured that it would be a great time to visit dad. He was supposed to only be 24min away (said Google Maps).

I'm not sure if I should be mad at Google Maps for saying it was going to only take 24min... or if I'm mad at Toronto because it was only supposed to take 24min. Either way - it took 1 hour and change to get there. We arrive around 1:20. And all Chelsea could think about was how we'd miss our 2:20pm appointment if we didn't turn back asap. But we had to visit dad. So - we threw caution to the wind.

Boy... all this time I've been telling you guys how great dad is doing. But, these pictures tell a different story. He is doing well - he's in good spirits most of the time, he can walk and he has a bit of energy.

But I have no idea whats up with all this bloating. He's HUGE from the diaphragm down, but skin and bone from the diaphragm up.

So whats his prognosis? I'm not to sure to be honest. The doctors say that the bloating will come down in time. My dad needs to exercises and eat more. He's prepared to be in Toronto for another 2-3 months.

Click for more pics of our visit with dad.

My uncle Paul got him a Sens jersey. My dad was so surprised. He loved it! None of us have any idea who its signed by - but its still boss! Thanks a million, Uncle Paul!

Our visit was very short - like 11min. We had to jet back to the hospital if we were going to make it back for 2:20pm.

We arrived at the Toronto general at 2:35pm... 15min late. I rushed to the appointment. When I told the receptionist I was late, she said, "Don't worry... Dr Greig is running late today." Sweet...

It felt like we were sitting in that waiting room for hours. The doctor didn't see us 'till 4:20pm. To pass the time, we played a Marital Quiz... we'd think up questions that we didn't think the other would know the answer to. I lost.

When the doctor arrived, he was really nice. To be honest - the dude saved my dad's life. He can be as late as he wants.

He asked a bunch of questions - 'How's your eating?' 'Are you gaining wait back?' All my answers were standard issue. He was really pleased with my recovery. He took a look at my scar - felt around. He was happy. My scar is very stiff when you touch it - apparently this means its healing very well.

Then he said, "Your 90% healed. The last 10% will take place over the next year. The scar will soften, the pink will fade, and the muscles will regain their strength. At this point, I'm saying that you no longer have any diet restrictions or activity restrictions. Your officially back to life as it was before the surgery."

He said that IN FRONT of Chelsea... and now I'm saying it on the blog... for the whole world to read... BLAST! So - I guess the sympathy dinners/baked-goods/laneway shovelling has come to an end. Chel won't even pass me a towel from across the room... she tells me to get it myself.

Even on my way out of the appointment, Dr Greig saw me slouching slightly. He barked at me, with a smile, "Hey now! Straighten up!"

After explaining that I have no reason to be a big-baby anymore, he pulled up a report on his computer of all my blood work since my assessments in November. It was so cool! You could see all my blood/liver levels were totally normal until the week of the operation. All the numbers that were supposed to read low were reading high and vice-versa. It was insane. Numbers that were supposed to be 5 were reading 58. Included in the tests were the results from my blood work that morning. It was so cool to see EVERY SINGLE TEST (except 2) were COMPLETELY back to normal. The two that weren't normal are very close to normal and its very obvious that they're on their way back to being normal.

Just before we left, I asked, "SO - you have any pictures for me?"

"Follow me", he replied.

Boooo yah!




You can click to see the bigger version.

These pictures are so boss! Now, there were supposed to be 5 pictures taken: 1-my liver before the operation; 2-my liver cut in half; 3-the remaining part of my liver before I was sown up; 4-my dads liver before the transplant; 5-my liver in dad. Unfortunately, only 3 pictures were taken - and all of them are of my liver before the operation. Oh well.

I've included a nice little diagram so I can explain all the details.



We'll start with the diaphragm and go clock wise.

Diaphragm is immediately below your rib cage. Its the muscle thingy that expands your lungs so you can breath. During the operation, that was expanding and contracting with the ventilator.

That white piece of whatever is a tendon that held my liver in place. It makes it look like my liver is two separate organs. The tendon connected to my chest, near my ribs and held my liver close to my ribs. Its been cut before this picture was taken. As a result, my liver is resting on the organs in my abdomen (just for the picture).

Awesome is the wicked incision... no blood... just a cross section of my skin. So cool.

Stomach - that's were the pizza goes.

Gallbladder - I don't have this anymore. It was removed during the operation. If you were to turn the liver upside down, you'd see all the 'wires' that connect the liver to my body... a network of veins/arteries supplying the blood, and a network of ducts (look like veins) that carry bile away from my liver. The ducts meet in a central duct (a really big vein) which transports the bile to my intestines to help digest certain fats. Just as that big central bile duct is leaving my liver, there's this little room to the left that stores up extra bile... the gallbladder. I'm not sure why it has to be removed... but its gone and I'm still here.

Colon.

Iodine to sterilize my skin before the incision.

Muscle - that's the underside of my 8 pack. Yah that's right - 8.

"Josh - its so clean!"

I know! I think my liver showers more often then I do.

"There's no blood!"

Crazy eh! They said that I barely bled at all... above average.

I sent an email with the picture in it to a few close friends as soon as I got home because I knew they were curious. My buddy Jeremy replied with this attachment and the caption, "Listeria?"



~

I can't believe its over! Woooooow!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Trip to Toronto

Dad's been shipped back to rehab as of yesterday. His new digits are:

416-226-6780 ext 1241

He's doing better than he was when he left rehab for the hospital. But he's generally in low spirits because he misses his family and he's frustrated at the length of his recovery.

Chelsea and I are off to Toronto tomorrow morning headed for the Toronto General hospital. I have my 1 month checkup appointment with my surgeon. I'm hoping to get the photos of the surgery from him as well. CRAZY!

Pray for a safe trip.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Family Night

Tonight was great.

The weekend before my dad took ill in late November, we as a family decided to start a tradition that was long overdue - family night. We agreed that every Sunday afternoon or night would be dinner, games and a movie at our place.

The first weekend we did it was amazing. So therapeutic. Chelsea says that she's never seen a family laugh so much together. I'm not sure why we laugh so much - but we do.

Since the operation, Becky, James and I haven't seen much of each other. So we decided to get together today and continue the family night tradition even though mom and dad aren't here to share it with us.

We picked up some fajita making supplies and a movie.

Just before dinner, we thought we'd get mom and dad on speaker phone and see how their doing. Mom and dad weren't together at the time so we had to make to separate calls. First was dad.

He was soooo happy to hear from his kids. He said, "I miss you guys so much. I try not to think about you guys to much because if I do, I'm afraid I'll fall apart." THAT was so hard to hear. We miss dad so much!

So - Chel and I have an appointment this Thursday in Toronto. We're trying to convince James and Becky into taking the day off and surprising mom and dad in Toronto. It would be so amazing! It would really lift dad's spirits.

Dad's doing well. He's realized that he's still very sick and he's willing to be more patient and realistic about his recovery. Whatever was wrong with him when he left St Johns Rehab has corrected itself and the plan is for dad to head back to rehab tomorrow.

After the call with dad, we called mom. She's doing great. She was so happy to hear that her kids were getting together and continuing the family night tradition. "It brings joy to my heart!" were her words.

Family night - so key. So important to remember what's most important in life. Love. Love God and Love People.