About two months after transplant we found some abcesses in my liver that contained infected fluid and caused me a few problems. We figured the infections originated with the complex surgery and how transplant livers shouldn't be on ice for the 25+ hours that mine was, so with the difficult placement of the new liver, or graft, some infections likely developed.
Two days later, I went in to surgery, joking with the anesthesiologist as I drifted off to sleep. I awoke in a recovery room that I had been in several times before but never remembered. After being wheeled to my room, I saw my dad waiting in the recliner by the window. The surgery had gone better and more smoothly than expected. No skin graft was needed. They merely pulled the lower flap of skin over the top and sewed it shut. I was finally freed of the wound vac! I sat talking with my dad for a few minutes, and after he had left my hunger started to consume me. I hadn't eaten for over 24 hours. Prior to that I had been eating almost non-stop throughout the day, every day. I was needing to take in at least 4,000 to 5,000 calories per day, just to maintain my weight and aid in my recovery. I remembered that the ICU docs really push post-op patients to get up and move as soon as they can after surgery, as it speeds the recovery process immensely. Since the surgery to close my wound hadn't been too big of a deal, I decided that I needed to eat. Thanks heavens for the hospital cafeteria and their being open 24/7! As soon as I decided that the anesthesia had worn off enough, I made my way down to the hospital's main floor, grabbed a sandwich, chips, some candy, and my staple yogurt parfait, and stumbled back up to my room to indulge. I did it all a free man! No drainage tubes dangling between my knees, no man-purse attached with long tubes to a wound vac slung over my shoulder, no picc line running from my bicep. I honestly didn't know what to do with myself.
Now, the recovery continues. I am still on a fairly hefty dose of anti-rejection meds and other treats that suppress my immune system. I have no timetable yet as to when this will end. My docs are being very cautious, and taking things very slowly, and understandbly so. So far my blood test look perfect, and the liver is happy where it is. So we are moving forward, happy to be alive, and grateful for the many miracles we have been a part of. God truly does love each of us. I understand that it can be very difficult to see His love working in our lives sometimes. I have days where I struggle to get out of bed, because I don't know what the day has to offer me. I forget to realize what the Lord may have to offer others, through me. We each fight so many battles on any given day. I look around at people in public places and think how each one has trials and difficulties in life that nobody knows, or will ever know about. But I know that through faith in God, and trusting in His plan that is individually tailored for each of us, we can conquer every one of those trials, and find true happiness every day. It is not easy, and nobody says that it's easy. But how can we expect the greatest of all gifts to not come with a price?
I was thinking the other day that I really haven't needed my experiences with health issues to solidify my testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel. I have always known that I can live with Him and God again by following His teachings and doing what is right. I haven't required near-death experiences to gain this testimony. But it has taught me so much more, and continues to teach me everyday. I have learned more about compassion and understanding our brothers and sisters here in this life. I have learned the importance of not sweating the small, trivial matters in life. I have learned the invaluable power of a positive attitude as I have been surrounded by positive, happy people who want what's best for others. I have learned and know, without a doubt, that no matter how difficult or hard or painful life is at times, there is always someone who knows exactly what we may be going through, and that is Jesus Christ. And why does that knowledge bring me comfort? Because when you are lying there with your hands tied to your bed in the dark ICU room, unable to sleep, drink or eat; listening to the unending hums and beeps of the medical equipment around you; unable to speak because of a breathing tube shoved down your throat that feels like you've swallowed a No. 2 pencil; and the only rational thought you can come up with is just how alone you feel at that moment, it's eternally comforting to know that you are not.
Well I've said a lot. That basically catches you up on my situation over the past few months. Megan has been going back to work more, which has been fun for her. Miles is busy with school, gymnastics, swimming, and soccer up until about a week ago. He scored his first goal in the last game of the season so we were pretty stoked about that. Bode is still here. We bid farewell to our Subaru which was bittersweet. Miles was pretty shook up about it. After all, it was the car we brought him home from the hospital in! She was a great car but just had some recurring issues, very uncharacteristic of a Subaru, that we got sick of dumping money that we didn't have into.
Thank you for your prayers and support! Peace out for now!