Monday, September 16, 2013

AVN and Hip Replacement

As many of you know, Mark is scheduled for his first hip replacement tomorrow. Since Easter, Mark has had significant pain in his hip and thigh. A few months ago, he was diagnosed with avascular necrosis (AVN) of both hips. The AVN was caused by use of steroids used for immunosuppression in the transplant process. While both hips are impacted by AVN, the left hip has much more deterioration. Over the past several months, Mark's ortho team has attempted different methods to improve Mark's hip functioning (physical therapy, cortisone injection, MRI guided injection, etc.). Unfortunately, none have been successful. So, tomorrow, Mark will have his left hip replaced.  While we are not looking forward to the surgery or recovery, we are hopeful the surgery will help diminish the pain and will help Mark regain his ability to walk without difficulty. Please keep us in your prayers! 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Discharged 1 hour before Mark Thomas' party!

Mark was discharged yesterday with a PICC line in place in order to administer the remaining doses of steroids. He will have Home Health come and assist with changing the dressing on his line. He is scheduled to see the Transplant Team at UK tomorrow. Upon his discharge, his creatinine was back down to 1.2. We are thankful that all seems to be well with the kidney and are extremely thankful that Mark was discharged and returned home about an hour before Mark Thomas' birthday party! We are blessed with a wonderful family who all pitched in Friday night to take care of Mark Thomas and finish all the party preparation. Thanks to our family, Mark Thomas' party was a huge success! Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Admitted but hoping to be discharged soon!

Mark was admitted to UK yesterday due to an increase in creatinine. His creatinine baseline post transplant has fluctuated from 1.1 to 1.3. On Thursday, it was 1.5. UK is following Hopkins' protocol for treatment which includes 5 days of IV steroids. Yesterday, they placed a PICC line (IV access that can be used for an extended period of time) in Mark's forearm in hopes that he will not have to stay hospitalized for 5 days and can administer the steroid at home. They also gave Mark the first day of steroids. This morning, Mark's creatinine was back down to 1.2. We are thankful that the steroids appear to be combating any rejection. We are hopeful Mark may be discharged soon as Mark Thomas' 5th birthday party is planned for today at 2:00pm!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Back in the Bluegrass at last!

We are happy to report that we are back in Kentucky! After a final visit with the Transplant Team Wednesday morning, we left Baltimore and headed home to the Bluegrass! When we arrived at my parents' home on Wednesday night, we were greeted outside by my family. My sister had decorated the patio with blue and white balloons and a "Welcome to KY" sign. When Mark got out of the car, my family played the "Rocky" theme song. Mark, of course, had to assume the classic Rocky pose with his hands in the air. Mark Thomas, my nephew-Landon, and my nieces-Kate and Madelyn all began dancing. It was a wonderful moment!

Mark will continue to complete blood work two times weekly from Kentucky. We will fax all of his reports to Hopkins to allow them to closely monitor Mark's kidney function. Mark will also see Dr. Waid, the Nephrologist/Renal-Pancreas Transplant Director at UK, every other week. Dr. Waid, who initiated Mark's referral to Hopkins, will work in collaboration with Dr. Montgomery (Mark's physician at Hopkins). We will also be followed by a Cardiologist at UK who will monitor Mark's coumadin (blood thinner) use.

We will return to Baltimore this summer for Mark's 6 month check up at Hopkins. In addition, Mark will have a surgery to repair a surgical hernia. This is the same hernia he has had since his second transplant. We will stay in Baltimore for about 2 weeks. The usual post transplant protocol at Hopkins entails completion of a biopsy at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after transplant. The biopsy is a way of ensuring there is no presence of rejection at the cellular level. However, the Team decided not to biopsy Mark's kidney as he is on the blood thinner.

We have requested information about Mark's donor several times. Mark's nurse coordinator feels confident that Mark's donor will release her information to us. We are eager to correspond with Mark's donor! Mom has been in in touch with her recipient, Ms. Smith. Mom sent her a card and they have spoken on the phone. Mom and Ms. Smith are hoping to exchange pictures of their families sometime soon.

The picture of Mark to the left was taken in the
Administrative Building at Hopkins (depicted in the photograph on the right). One of Mom's physicians told us that although Hopkins is not a faith based institution, the statue of Christ is cornerstone of the facility. It is often visited by patients and staff. Mark and I were eager to see the statue. We remain so incredibly thankful for what Our God has done for our family!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Today's Update

Mark's visit with the Transplant Follow Up Team went well today. His creatinine was 1.3. It has been fluctuating a bit...was 1.0, 1.2, 1.1, and now 1.3. All of the numbers are within normal limits. The Team says this fluctuation is common. Mark is scheduled to have the stent that was placed in the ureter of the new transplanted kidney removed on Monday. He will have a final visit with the Transplant Team on Wednesday and then we are heading home! We have enjoyed Baltimore and are beyond blessed with the outcome of the transplant, but are eager to return to Kentucky! Thanks for the continued prayers and support!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Home away from home

At last, here are some pictures of the town home we are renting in Baltimore. The town home is in a wonderful location in Baltimore...we would recommend it to anyone coming to the area. We have enjoyed staying in Baltimore, but are eager to return to Kentucky next week! We are keeping our fingers crossed that we can leave Baltimore next Tuesday! Mark is doing great. We will post information from our next appointment with the Transplant Team on Wednesday.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Transplant Clinic Appointment

Mark had a clinic appointment today with the Transplant Team. His blood work continues to show that everything is in normal limits. We are thrilled that the transplanted kidney appears to continue to be functioning well! Thanks for the continued prayers!