Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Our Hope Endures

As most of you already know, our transplant was unsuccessful. This was the second time in the history of the transplant program at UK that a renal transplant simply didn't work. Although results of testing are not complete at present, it appears that there were unforeseen and unexplainable issues with blood flow and clotting. So, it wasn't that Mark's body rejected my kidney or that a mistake was made in the process of transplantation. The kidney never started functioning appropriately and as a result was removed from Mark's body within five days of being transplanted.

I cannot begin to express all of the pain (physically and emotionally) that our family has experienced. I went from believing that my husband's health would be restored to seeing him on a ventilator to watching him being wheeled back into surgery to have my "gift of life" removed all in a matter of days. Although words can't express what has happened, I can tell you that we have not given up. We're not giving up on another transplant, on a healthy outcome for Mark, on a successful ending, and most importantly...we're not giving up on our Faith. Although it has taken me quite a while to reach this point, I believe that something good will result from this situation even if we never know what it may be. I remain grounded in my Faith and firmly believe that God had a purpose in mind for why things have happened the way they have. This has been the most difficult time in our lives, but our Hope endures.

Mark and I would like to thank all of you for the thoughts, prayers, cards, gifts, food, and other acts of love that have been showered upon our family. We feel blessed to have such a thoughtful church family and community. We have undoubtedly relied upon prayers and God's strength during these difficult days. We've also found encouragement in the following songs of praise: Mercy Me's "Bring the Rain" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8HgAVenbUU and Natalie Grant's "Our Hope Endures" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xg6b5T7I6VE . We will post more information relative to results of testing and plans for the future as we learn more from the transplant team.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Request for Continued Prayer

Kellie has requested that I update the blog on her behalf and ask for your continued prayer. Initially, the outcome of the surgery seemed successful. Although Kellie and Mark were in a great deal of pain following the surgery, Mark's body was producing urine through Kellie's kidney, his hypertension was decreased without medicine, and he reported feeling much better. He even walked down to Kellie's room for a snuggle this morning. However, during a routine scan of the donated kidney function, results indicated an abnormality with blood flow in the new kidney. Thus he had to go back into surgery to allow the surgeons to view the transplanted kidney to determine the status of the kidney. The kidney appears healthy, but there continues to be concern with blood flow. He is presently in the recovery room. We are asking now more than ever for your prayer as we are fearful his body will reject Kellie's kidney.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

And we're off!!!

It has been a somewhat rough start (i.e. no room available when we arrived, confusion on the time of surgery, confusion in whether or not Mark should be a participant in a research study of a new anti-rejection medication, etc). But, in a few hours this will all be behind us! I will report to the OR at 11:45. Mark will then go back about 45 minutes later. The surgery will officially take place around 1:15. The surgery will last several hours-we think up to 4 hours. At the present, Mark is in Room Number 837. We think he will stay in this room after the surgery. We don't know my room number, but will post it as soon as we know. We are both pretty nervous right now and anxious for the entire ordeal to be over. Please continue to lift us up in prayer as we are relying on the Lord to help us through this difficult time!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Orders from OR received!

Well I am not exactly excited about Harlan County Schools having yet another snow day today, but being home did allow me to receive all of the phone calls from UK today and to spend some extra time with Mark Thomas! We are scheduled to be at the hospital on Wednesday at 12:00. Mark will be admitted so that the Transplant Team can do some final testing to make sure all of his levels (i.e. potassium, blood pressure, etc.) are as low as possible. He may have to complete an EKG as well. I will not report to the hospital until Thursday morning. I have been given instructions of how to prepare for the big day. I can't eat at all on Wednesday and have to use a special kind of soap when showering on Wednesday and Thursday morning. If all goes well, I will be discharged on Saturday or Sunday. Mark will stay in the hospital for seven to ten days depending upon how his body responds to the new kidney. Much to my disappointment, the nurse from UK did not have the report about our final HLA crossmatch when she called this morning. However, she assured me that if we had received bad news (positive crossmatch), she would have already known and would have been calling frantically to let us know what had happened. I really wish I would have heard a definite answer, but I guess this will have to do for now! We will be leaving Harlan on Wednesday morning. We'll be checking our answering machine, but the best way to reach us after Tuesday night will be through our cell phone or email.

At this point, we are in "crunch" mode trying to pack all of our things and make arrangements for Mark Thomas. We have decided to take him with us on Wednesday. Initially, we were going to leave him with Rachel, our babysitter, and have my sister or brother spend nights/evenings with him until I was released from the hospital. Although this would have preserved his day time routine, his night time routine would be drastically different (he has only spent the night away from us on about five occasions and they were always with my mom or Mark's mom). Also, we are a little uneasy with him being so far away from us. So, Mark made the decision for him to come along. Of course, I didn't object. The difficult part now is planning who will take care of him and what they will do with him. At this point, my sister and brother-in-law will be caring for Mark Thomas on the day of the surgery. He is going to have a blast with them (they have plans to take him to Chuckie Cheese or Lexington Athletic Club's Kids Place)! After the surgery, my parents and Mark's parents will take turns caring for him. My brother and Mark's sister and her family will also be in Lexington until Sunday to help with Mark Thomas. I'm sure everyone will keep him occupied! I'm hesitant to let him visit the hospital-it is really germy and I'm afraid he may get upset when Mark and I can't leave with him. But, I can't promise that he won't make at least one trip to see his "DaDa" over the several days Mark will be recovering.

Please continue to pray for us and please forgive us if we haven't returned your call or email. It is a wonderful problem to have when so many people are calling that you can't return all the calls in a timely matter!