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.


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.


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.


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.