Thanks to @Wenders for the link:
I am working on getting Heidi set up one the blog so that she can start blogging herself to keep everyone informed as to how her recovery is going. From my perspective, she seems like she is almost 100% back to normal, but there are some major changes to her lifestyle after a major transplant. We are all very thankful for everyone’s continued support.
As a treat, here is a picture of my mother and father on her birthday at her Favorite restaurant, Casa Orinda.
I am going to start this post with a quote from someone I very much admire: Éric Abidal, A professional football (soccer) player who himself had to undergo a full liver transplant.
The good news is that Heidi and her new liver are still in great condition. The unfortunate news is that she has been suffering a bit more than usual recently. Her pain is increasing, because the doctors are tapering down her steroids, which is normal at this stage after a transplant. This unfortunately causes pain around the incision, which makes her recovery a bit more tricky. As a direct result of the increased pain, she is having more difficulty sleeping, which makes the recovery difficult.
Heidi has also been suffering from intense muscle spasms in her mid-back, which have kept her prone for the last couple of days. She is already in contact with her Nurse coordinator who recommended that she get into Kaiser urgent care for treatment. Steve was able to get her to Urgent care and they prescribed a muscle relaxer to help stop the spasms. After waiting in the pharmacy for about 15-20 minutes, the pharmacist called Heidi’s name, only to tell us that the script was flagged because the muscle relaxer would conflict with another drug that Heidi had already taken as part of her normal regiment.
So my parents left urgent care empty handed and waited for a call from the pharmacist/doctor. Luckily a few hours later, Kaiser called and they were able to give the okay for the prescription. We are now waiting to see if the medication stops the spasms. Heidi would very much like a comfortable, good, night’s sleep.
Keep sending good vibes, Heidi needs all the help she gets. Let us all hope she gets a good night’s rest tonight.
It has been a full month since the surgery, and it has been a few weeks since I have added any updates about our recovery, so I thought I would draft a quick post to inform everyone of how we are all doing. Both Heidi and Chris have had numerous visitors stopping by with get well wishes, cards, food, and flowers. There have been too many to list, so I will just say a “Thank You” to everyone who has stopped by. Some benevolent Pixarites have been kind enough to set up a Dinner Delivery calendar through an online forum called Lotsa Helping Hands. If you would like to schedule a Monday or Wednesday to drop off food and visit with us, please register for the site and select green day on the calendar.
About 2 weeks ago, Heidi and Chris had their 2nd follow-up at UCSF post-surgery, and everything is healing at a nominal rate. I have been recovering well, Blood tests show that there is still some damage to the liver, which is totally normal, but the trend is that the liver is healing quickly. I have also managed to pull apart the sutures at the top of my scar, which means there is a big hole in the center of my chest. The good news is that it is healing from the inside out, and should be fully closed within the next 2-3 weeks. I am finally off the intense pain medication and on regular tylenol as needed for pain, which is quite a relief. I can still feel some slight pains in my liver region but I have a feeling that the sensations will go away within the next few weeks.
Heidi had her JP Drain removed, as well as 62 staples. Heidi said that the 62 staples were not nearly painful/uncomfortable as the JP tube, as it was so deep inside that it felt very uncomfortable as it was being pulled out. The picture below shows the tube and staples before removal. After a few days, the drain and staples had healed, and things were back to normal. Heidi has been recovering steadily, and she is looking fantastic.
Overall, we are all doing extremely well. We have been taking walks when we have the energy. We have been eating much healthier and more than before the surgery, and most importantly, everyone’s spirits are at their peaks. As we progress, I will update everyone through the blog.
Thanks for reading!
Good news from the Parmelee Household. We are all home, resting, doing well to recover as quickly as possible. Heidi and Chris had their first round of blood tests done at Kaiser in preparation for our first post-surgery visit to UCSF on Tuesday morning. Heidi, Chris, and Kevan all took a walk around the neighborhood this afternoon, and spent some time chatting with visitors.
If you feel inclined to view the photos from the surgery, I have posted photos from both my liver donation, and my mother’s receipt of the donor liver on the following pages. Please take a look:
Thank You again to everyone for their continued Love, Prayers, and Support.
I have great news to report:
Heidi has left the Hospital!
Not even a full week has passed since the her original liver was removed, replaced with a healthy piece of my own, my mother is out of the hospital, home, and sleeping in her own bed.
We are extremely thankful to everyone who took time to visit, pray, well-wish, think-about, even ponder their own choices in life, as that energy has been channeled into a speedy, so-far-successful recovery.
Please hold back the deluge of calls to the house at least until tomorrow. Give us some time to acclimate and give her some deserved rest in her own home.
I promise to update the blog with more photos, details, and stories about our recovery, but right now, we both need to focus on our health, as we both are still months from being whole again. The great news is that our recoveries seem to be going much smoother than anyone could possibly have anticipated.
It is a glorious day. I have left UCSF medical care, and am under the care and supervisory of my father at home. It was a rough weekend, and I will be sure to post more details of the ordeal after a good night’s rest at home.
Heidi is doing extremely well also, and should be discharged as early as tomorrow. Thanks again for everyone’s prayers, positive energy, and well wishes. It has most certainly helped with the recovery process.
This is my first post since before the surgery. I have some very big thank yous to give out.
Most importantly, to Wendy for being at my side at nearly every hour. When she was not at my side, she was usually visiting my mother, clipping her nails, gossiping, or generally keeping her spirits up. You are my biggest hero right now.
Also Thank Yous to Steve, Kevan, and Connie for subbing in and giving Wendy a much deserved break. Thank you to Ryan, Brian, Mark, and Mio for stopping by to check in on me.
And also equally important, a huge Thank you to the surgeons, doctors, nurses, assistants, staff, even the janitors at UCSF for helping make my mother’s and my Surgeries successful.
Thank you to all of you out there wishing us better, praying, sacrificing large and small animals… It seems to have been working, so keep it up.
I am still on my journey, and today they have been transitioning me off my epidural, which means pain, and lots of it. Please keep sending the healing juju in the general direction of UCSF, and I am sure some of it will make my transition much better.
Heidi and I have been admitted to 9-Long, the transplant wing at UCSF Parnassus. We have separate rooms, but we both have private rooms which means that someone could spend the night in the room with us.
The hospital beds are extremely comfortable, and must have some form of AI, as they self adjust shortly after I have settled. The menu for hospital food is surprisingly diverse, with attention paid to local produce and pasture-raised beef, and free range chickens. The bad news is that I won’t be able to eat anything for a while, most likely a few days.
I have had about 5 tubes of blood drawn and had an EKG. I am also about to have another chest X-Ray. The view from my room would be wonderful if it wasn’t such a dreary day outside. I will try to attach a photo to share (first time posting from my iPhone).
5:30pm, 6/25, T-14 hours until surgery…
Mom looking fashionable in her shawl:
On Thursday June 26th, 2014, I will be donating the left lobe of my liver to my mother. This was an easy decision for me to make. My mother gave me the opportunity of life, and I am in a very unique position to be able to repay her with the same thing she gave to me. I want her to be able to enjoy her retirement. I want her to see her grandkids. I want her to have a chance; the same chance she gave me.