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Monthly Archives: August 2011

First Clinic Appointment @ UCSF and Kelly’s 2nd appointment

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I had my blood drawn on Monday. Might I add that it was done quite brutally… my arms is hurting today from the sharp, fast pokes. Monday night my mom, Coleman and I spent the night at Kelly’s to be a little closer to UCSF for our early morning Tuesday clinic appointment. I was out of my normal element so I totally forgot to take my anti-rejection meds monday night! I woke Coleman up at 4am to help me get out of bed (my first night out of a chair and in a real bed! Granted I had a million pillows) and he remembered about my meds! Well, earlier that night my lab results became available online at kaisers website. My TAC level, which is the level of my anti-rejection med prograf, in my body. I need to be at a certain level… if there is too much prograf in my body, it would be toxic and if there is not enough then I could go into organ rejection. Organ rejection is most common in the first 3 months post transplant! Yikes. And my last 2 TAC levels (prograf) have been too low. They have increased my prograf (which gives me numb lips and hands and makes me shake like a leaf) both times I’ve had blood draws.

So, back to my story! At 4am Tuesday when we realized I missed my Monday 9pm dose of meds, I freaked out because my TAC level was borderline close to the rejection side of things. They didn’t tell me what to do before hand if I missed a dose so I called the 24 hour hotline to talk to the surgeon on call. It was my surgeon, Dr. Roberts who happened to be on call, he called me back in like 1 minute. I love it! He told me to increase my prograf to 5mg twice per day (9am and 9pm) and to take them and just skip my next 9am dose and resume as normal with my Tuesday night 9pm dose. I felt kind of silly for calling.

By the time everything was sorted out it was 5am and we had to leave Kelly’s at 6am to get to UCSF in time for our clinic appointments (both Kelly and I had appointments). So we didn’t get much sleep.

I saw the sweetest transplant fellow at my appointment, Dr. Jennifer. She asked her boss and they didn’t want to remove my staples… so I have them for another week! Thankfully they aren’t bothering me too much. She told me the reason was that they don’t want my wound to “dehiss” and basically in english have my guts fall out. Greeeat. I told her that was a great way to get their patients to stop asking for their staples out, she told me it was actually really nasty if it happened. So I was content with that answer, geez…

Everything else looked good. She was amazed at how great I look. I have lost 24 pounds since surgery. Now only if I could find some clothes that fit me… Woohoo! Now I just need to add some muscle and keep that weight off, granted most of it was water weight. She was super impressed with how good and clean my incision looks, said it is one of the best she has seen. Laying back on that doctor table though was not exactly fun… my stomach muscles, well they played twister with them and then decided to shred them up some and put it all back together, twice. So laying back is not exactly possibly.

Kelly was feeling nauseous for a few days so they took her for an ultrasound and x-ray. Poor thing, they made her go to all kinds of awful positions, I don’t know how she did it! The tests came back clear though and they gave her some meds that helped her! Both hers and my labs look great. We are both healing as expected, bumps here and there but that is the new life of transplant and recovery. I can’t wait until things slow down in a few months. And then yet again, I wake up early tomorrow morning to go get blood drawn. I can see this will get old fast. I am just so thankful that this crazy schedule is only for a month or two!

Yesterday, I overdid it and I have done nothing today trying to recover. I woke up at 4am, had an 8:30am doctor appointment that probably happened sometime after 9. Then after Kelly spent the morning getting tested, I took Coleman shopping for his birthday in San Francisco. Then we all went back to Kelly’s house for the day, my mom went home. I then took Coleman out to dinner for his birthday, which is today, so…

❤╔╗─╔╗
❤║║─║║
❤║╚═╝╠══╦══╦══╦╗─╔╗
❤║╔═╗║╔╗║╔╗║╔╗║║─║║
❤║║─║║╔╗║╚╝║╚╝║╚═╝║
❤╚╝─╚╩╝╚╣╔═╣╔═╩═╗╔╝
❤───────║║─║║─╔═╝║
❤───────╚╝─╚╝─╚══╝
❤╔══╗───╔╗╔╗───╔╗──────╔╗
❤║╔╗║──╔╝╚╣║───║║──────║║
❤║╚╝╚╦╦╩╗╔╣╚═╦═╝╠══╦╗─╔╣║
❤║╔═╗╠╣╔╣║║╔╗║╔╗║╔╗║║─║╠╝
❤║╚═╝║║║║╚╣║║║╚╝║╔╗║╚═╝╠╗
❤╚═══╩╩╝╚═╩╝╚╩══╩╝╚╩═╗╔╩╝
❤──────────────────╔═╝║
❤──────────────────╚══╝

╔══╗
╚╗╔╝
╔╝(¯`v´¯)
╚══`.¸.You CP!

And then we finally drove home. It was SUCH a long day and I couldn’t fall asleep until 2am, 22 hours after I woke up Tuesday morning! Whew. No wonder I have sat all day today. And up again tomorrow bright and early to go see my favorite blood stealing vampires! =D

Psalms 107:1-6
GIVE thanks to the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has delivered from the hand of the adversary,
And gathered them out of the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the [Red] Sea in the south.
Some wandered in the wilderness in a solitary desert track; they found no city for habitation.
Hungry and thirsty, they fainted; their lives were near to being extinguished.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses.

No sleep- thank you prednisone!

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It is 4:30am on Monday morning and I cannot sleep. I blame my new steroids. Praise God that today is my last dose at 15mg. Every week I decrease my prednisone by 2.5mg until I am finally down to 5mg. Hopefully one day I will be able to stop prednisone altogether, in good time. I hear that the best thing I can do is be patient with my recovery, that there is an anti-climax and that the point I am at now, a lot of people get frustrated. Which is true…

I made my first non-doctor trip out yesterday! My mom and I went to Lowe’s and Safeway. It was so great to be able to get out for the day, get dressed, put on make-up and feel somewhat normal while shopping! Granted I kind of look like the hunchback of notre dame. And if anyone makes me laugh I kind of want to cry because it hurts more than anything in the world to laugh, which is a huge problem for me because I find joy and pleasure in everything and I constantly have a smile on my face. Especially since Coleman came home from working last night, I haven’t laughed so hard all week, I love and hate it at the same time. I miss him so incredibly much when he is gone!

Coleman is taking me bright and early to Kaiser to get my blood drawn at 9am. Then it is off to Kelly’s for the day where we will spend the night and go to UCSF together in the morning for our clinic appointments at 8:30am and 9:00am.

Yesterday we had to call Dr. Roberts again at our 24 hour hotline. He was the surgeon on call so he called us back. (Can I tell you how great this phone line is!!) I was having trouble breathing, granted I hadn’t taken a pain pill for over 9 hours. I cannot begin to tell you how tight my stomach feels. I get my staples out tomorrow! I have lost 23 pounds since my surgery. It’s great! I love being skinny again. It was all water weight.

I don’t know if I mentioned this but the other day I was covered in water blisters all over my torso. It was the same day that my drainage hole closed up so I think it was just my body’s way of trying to get rid of the excess water. They are gone now.

….I started this post early this morning but my computer crashed, thankfully I had hit save draft (I’ve learned my lesson before). I am now at Kelly’s house and had my blood drawn this morning. It took 3 vicious pokes. However, Manteca Kaiser uses the good tape that sticks to itself, so it prevents me from bruising. Modesto won’t use it because of “allergies”… big hospitals…

I love being with my sister, we are both lazy bums who don’t do anything all day hahah….

Fever, Drain & Emergency Clinic Visit to UCSF

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I mentioned 2 days ago that my JP tube was clogged and leaking. Well, yesterday was quite the exciting day. UCSF has provided us with a 24 hour number we can call to get a hold of a surgeon at any time. It’s amazing! We talked to one of the surgeons while he was in surgery (through a nurse). He called us back yesterday morning and said that we should come in to have my drain pulled, the leaking would continue until the hole closed up but at least I wouldn’t have to carry around a plastic drain that didn’t work. It was very nice of him because, really, I could have lasted until Tuesday with the drain, it would have been a huge inconvenience though!

I also woke up yesterday with a fever. My fever had climbed the last 3 days. 3 days ago it was 97.8, the day before it was 98.6 and then yesterday it was 99.6 and 100 a few hours later. This is a pretty good fever for me because my temperature is always around 97 degrees. I knew instantly, from the back pain, that it was a kidney infection. I am prone to kidney infections. I also just heard that prograf, one of my anti-rejection medications is hard on the kidneys.

We stopped at Kaiser on our way to UCSF to get a urine test for kidney infection and for my normal Thursday blood draw. She said we would have the results from the UA (urine analysis) as soon as we got to UCSF (2 hours). It took them 3 pokes to get my blood drawn, they were pretty intimidated by how bruised my arms are. I will have to post a picture, it is quite horrifying. However, the ladies that did the poking were incredibly sweet so it made up for it a little.

We get to UCSF and I meet Caroline. She is my post-transplant nurse practitioner. I will be seeing her a lot. She was so sweet and we talked weddings! (She just had a destination wedding in Hawaii, which Coleman and I have tossed the idea around). She was getting ready to cut the stitch (they stitched the tube inside me) and pull the tube/drain out and I asked if it would hurt. She said that it was different for everyone, I hadn’t had mine in very long and that some people developed scar tissue around their tubes. I wasn’t expecting much pain… boy was I wrong! It felt like she was trying to pull my liver through that tiny hole. And I expected maybe an inch or two of tube to come out… not 15 inches of tube with tiny holes throughout the whole thing! My mom said it just kept coming and coming… (I couldn’t bring myself to watch her pull it). She did it fast but my right shoulder felt like it was going to fall to pieces from the pain. That wonderful referred shoulder pain. Then she put a bag over it that had sticky all around, that was supposed to catch the never ending river that was flowing out of that small hole. The pain stopped about 5 minutes after she pulled the drain thankfully, then it was back to kidney pain.

She also got my UA results, of course, I did have a kidney infection. So she just wrote me a prescription for cipro and told us to pick it up on our way home. Awesome! I was terrified that they were going to admit me and give me IV antibiotics. I was very thankful for a prescription. We were in and out of UCSF in 20 minutes! It was better than going to the ER!

This is where my day took a turn for the worse. I can look back now and laugh but at the time… I was so distraught! So because I am on diuretics and have a kidney infection, I had to pee and I needed to pee right then and there. We were in Oakland (for those of you out of state, Oakland is the most dangerous and scary city in California). And we stopped in the ghetto! I had to… we found a Rite Aid. When I was walking into Rite Aid, I realized that my bag, catching my fluid, had failed. I was soaked, my shirt, my pants, everything. I was so disgusted. Then the women’s bathroom was taken and I couldn’t wait. I went into the men’s bathroom. As soon as I went in a black man was waiting at the door, very impatiently might I add. The men’s bathroom had no toilet seat covers (of course not) and no toilet paper. Here I am, soaked and needing to pee. So I did what I could, thankfully there were paper towels. I walked out, in tears, apologized to the man, who rolled his eyes at me and waited for my mom to get out of the women’s bathroom. I was a crying mess. And there was a woman also waiting for the women’s bathroom so she was staring at me. My mom had to buy me pads to soak up the leaking from the hole. It was the most awful experience!

My back was killing me too and I knew that my sister had been needing a heating pad for her pain and I wanted one because we were planning on spending the afternoon with her and my kidneys needed a heating pad for the afternoon. So I bought her one and called it a selfish gift because I used it first haha! But she loves it and it has really helped her shoulder pain, so that is good news. She was like a zombie yesterday when we went to see her, she was in so much pain but she didn’t let us know, I thought she was just acting crazy from her drugs, turns out she was in excruciating pain that the pain killers won’t touch but thankfully, she has learned advil does. Advil and a heating pad so she is doing much better today. We both took morning naps this morning. I told her she needs to rest (she keeps overdoing it) that she is incubating a liver. =P

I had never been so thankful to get to my sisters, thankfully I had extra clothes in case we were admitted to the hospital for the kidney infection. I was able to clean up and then just hang out with my liver giver, my best friend, my sissy. Then last night I asked other transplant patients how long their holes took to close. I got anywhere from 4 days to 3 weeks. Ok, that was doable. I could handle having to use a pad on my stomach for a few days. Now I can also laugh at my Rite Aid experience too! It was so dramatic at the time but if anything else had gone wrong, I don’t think it was possible…

Well, the great news is that this morning I realized that I had stopped leaking and a scab had started to form! That is 12 hours my friends, not 4 days! That speaks of my body’s ability to heal fast! I am so excited! We put a tegaderm band-aid on it and hopefully, it will work. It may still ooze some but that is better than the river that was happening yesterday! Praie God for quick healing time!

Also, I have been on His favorite list. Two days ago I realized I didn’t have an i-pod charger and that I needed one. Coleman told me to get one from Wal-Mart. Yeah, ok, whenever I have time to do that… Well, before I had my transplant I would always sign up for freebies. Yesterday, a freebie came in the mail… an i-pod charger! I couldn’t believe it. I was like wow, thank you God for saving me a trip to Wal-Mart and some money!

Then yesterday I ordered my sister a shirt that says “What Am I, Chopped Liver? Yep, I Am! Proud to be a liver giver for my sister!” from zazzle. Today I get an email that zazzle is having a 50% off sale. We call them up and ask for a refund of the difference, in less than a minute they say sure, no problem, we will do that for you! So I got the sale price! I was pretty excited about that too. All these little things that God keeps doing for me, He continually blows my mind! He is good all the time. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

I got all my labs back yesterday. They are better than ever. My liver function labs are normal, my platelets are normal for the first time EVER, everything is normal! It boggles my mind to have normal labs haha. The only thing that wasn’t normal was my white blood cells… but that is because I have a kidney infection that they were so high. And I am finally starting to feel a little bit better, the horrible back pain is starting to subside (after 4 days of back pain…).

All in all, yesterday, although rough at times, was a great day. I got my drain out, my hole has closed up, I didn’t get admitted for the kidney infection and it is started to clear up on its own (my temp was 97.4 today). My blood pressure is normal (it was crazy high in the hospital, like 190/87 for days). My heartburn has disappeared (thank you Jesus! that was miserable). So, right now, besides the difficulty and pain of surgery itself, I have no other side-effects. I am taking vitamin D and magnesium in the middle of the day (with permission from my transplant team) and I really feel like it has helped my healing along. Along with everyone’s prayers and God’s love.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:2-5

Coleman shared this with me yesterday when I called him crying after my Rite Aid experience. I love my man of God. And I do count it pure joy to endure trials because they do make me stronger… and they give me funny stories to tell!

Kelly’s Appointment & JP Mishap

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Kelly had her first follow-up clinic appointment yesterday with her surgeon. As she arrived the head of transplant went up to her, in a room full of about 30 other patients, and gave her this big speech on how Kelly is a hero for saving my life and how UCSF just wanted to thank her and that even though Kelly’s liver didn’t work for me, she is still the reason why I am alive. They gave her a thank you card and a blanket that says “UCSF Transplant” that was wrapped up all nice with a cute buckle. Kelly said she got bright red because she went on for a few minutes and everyone was staring. I think it’s awesome because Kelly is MY HERO!! As is the young man who lost his life and gave me the gift of life with a 2nd liver!

The rest of Kelly’s appointment went well, her surgeon says she is doing great. She can walk as much as she wants to and can even start lifting 3 pound arm weights if she wants (Kelly likes to work-out, she could probably kick my butt).

Kelly got her labs back and they are all normal, with the exception of one of her liver function labs, its maybe 10 points elevated, which is to be expected considering half of her liver was removed and she is working on growing it back! So that is good news.

I get my labs drawn tomorrow, I can’t wait to see what they are. That is the most exciting part for me, watching my labs, because for so many years I was always hopeful every time I had labs drawn but was always let down. Now, the proof is in the pudding! I have normal liver function labs! That is what makes it real for me, because I am still having pain and recovery can be rough but when I look at my labs, that is when it becomes real. And so very exciting!

I’m not sure if I have mentioned this but I was sent home with a drainage tube that they stitched into the side of my stomach. I will make a very long story short and just say that the drain is clogged and it is creating quite the mess of leakage to the tune of 150ml/day. I have a doctors appointment in the morning, hopefully my Kaiser doctor can help me with this issue. I also hope I am able to get some sleep tonight with this going on…

Other than that I am doing pretty good I think. I am still struggling with pain though. I am also working on getting the rest of the pictures uploaded! I have found that a lot of times my day may have a bad beginning but that doesn’t mean it stays bad, often times it can be a great day with just a bad start. This reminds me of a quote on the wall on the transplant floor that I saw…

“Just because it is a misty morning, doesn’t mean it will be a rainy day!”

Home Sweet Home

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I am home! We got discharged today around 2:30pm. I was bummed, I was hoping to get to see just how bad my old cirrhotic liver was from pathology lab but they couldn’t get it for me. They told me they would take pictures for me and send them to one of my surgeons. The ride home wasn’t too bad, it was easier than I thought it was going to be. The best part of the day? Seeing my liver giver! Yeah, we stopped by Kelly’s on our way home, compared battle wounds/scars and I shared with her my amazing set of new NORMAL liver labs! Almost every liver lab is back within normal range, I’ve always hoped for this day… and it is here now! Those are what make it real for me, seeing the proof in the pudding. I loved seeing my labs today!

For the next 2-3 months I go to UCSF every Tuesday for an appointment and to get blood drawn every Monday and Thursday from Kaiser. It will be crazy but… umm I have a NEW LIVER! I am just so excited all the time. I am still really overwhelmed by my new protcocol, we stopped by Kaiser on our way home and picked up my entire new protocol of anti-rejection meds plus all the other stuff they have me on. I will be quite immune-compromised for the next 6 months-1 year. So, as much as I would love to have you come visit, and please do! just don’t come if have or think you might have a cold. Thank you and sorry =)

I think I pet Delaney (my dog) for an hour when I got home tonight. She was so happy to see us! And I was so happy to see her. It’s so nice to be home. I may be sleeping in the chair for the next few nights, especially with this heartburn I’ve been having from my cellcept anti-rejection meds. I had to say bye to all my favorite doctors and nurses today, I was so sad (Bye Dr. J!)…. the nurses (with only like 2-3 exceptions in 11 days) were absolutely amazing! They truly make your hospital stay what it is, and almost all of my nurses were phenomenal.

Well, I am truly exhausted, somehow I always find a way to manage to get a few words out for a blog late at night, but then I end up going back and finding like 100 mistakes that I make. I will try to stop while I am ahead haha… When you fight the sleep too much when your body is falling asleep typing sentences, that is when you start to think really crazy like hallucinations. I just woke up to someone yelling “taylor swift: you’re on” like we were on set. Yep, goodnight!

Can’t wait!

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Tonight is my tenth night in the hospital! Wow. Time has flown by and gone by so slow at the same time. They are hoping to send me home tomorrow. Today was a really rough day gain for me. I was just having a lot of small issues… heartburn, my bruised arm hurts so bad they have to take my blood praessure on my calf (can’t use the other arm because of the the PICC line). My blood pressure was running pretty high today, 190/68 and 4 hours later it was 185/79. They put me on only oral dilaudid today, no more IV painkillers for me, to see if I can make it without the IVS so they can hopefully send me home tomorrow. I have been struggling today with just being sad, overwhelmed, frustrated… so many emotions. There are so many new things going on and my head is just spinning. I have only walked 1 lap today, yesterday I walked 7! I did have a bright spot in my day when a really good friend that I had met online came to meet me for the first time. She donated her liver to her niece 2 years ago and Dr. Roberts and Dr. Ascher were their surgeons too. She has been talking to Kelly and I for the last few months, helping us to prepare for what to expect, etc. She met Kelly last week but I was in surgery getting my 2nd transplant when she came last week so I didn’t get to meet her, so she came back… bearing gifts! She lives near my favorite castle/vineyard in the world, castello di amorosa in Napa! Coleman and I went there two years ago and he tasted wine and I had their fresh squeezed grape juice and chocolates! She brought me more of that amazing fresh pressed grape juice. Coleman reminded me today that I have expensive tastes hahaah.. This puts Welch’s grape juice to shame though! Anyways, it was so wonderful to spend the afternoon with her, her super sweet husband Dana and her really mature, cute 15 year old son Adam. They are such a cute family, Coleman and I are going to go spend a weekend in Napa and hang out with them when I am feeling better! It is exciting to be able to make NORMAL life plans. That is one really positive aspect. There is NOTHING holding me back anymore! I have a new happy liver!!! Ahhh praise God! He is soo good to me!

I hope I can get some sleep tonight, see my old liver tomorrow (pathology will be sending it up hahaha) and then GO HOME! Oh, I will get a shirt for walking 12 laps, 1 mile, around the transplant floor. I am on 10 laps now so that just means 2 more tomorrow and I get a t-shirt! Fun, fun!

Miracles & Updates

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All week I have been wanting to write about how much God has been involved in not only the big decisions (will I live or die, will I get a new liver, etc) but the every single day little things. God knows I am a person that is very easily delighted and pleased. A good cup of tea or a nice rich fancy chocolate can make me smile for hours. A spray of lavender spray and I am happy girl. Simple things. Good people. Good food. Good family. Great God. That is my life.

First, I am not sure if it was thoroughly explained what exactly went wrong in the transplant of Kelly’s liver to me. If not, I am here to clarify… well, at least what I remember through drug-filled, emotionally plastered memories! I remember waking up from the first transplant and someone telling me that it hadn’t worked, that I was status #1 in 5 western states! That means all possible liver transplants went to my case first… they told me that because of what happened they were going to be very picky. The surgeons felt so bad, you could see it on their face, and these are the most awesome, kindest men I’ve ever met. I absolutely love Dr. Roberts, Dr. Mark, Dr. Kang, Dr. Trevor, Dr Tascae, Dr. J, Dr. Bian, Dr. Fix, Dr. FINER (there is no other finer anesthesiologist in the country, literally hahah), etc…

So basically, in taking Kelly’s smaller, left lobe of her liver, she had two arteries instead of the typical one. They tried to take these two and make them into one, to match/fit the piece of artery that I had left in me. This didn’t work. It just kept pulsing blood everywhere. Then they called in plastic surgery, took a vein from my leg (I am thinking plastic surgery probably didn’t take it out, because it doesn’t look so great)… but of course, that wasn’t the concern, making the liver work was! They tried to work my vein into the two, to make it strong enough to support the blood flow of the liver, it just wasn’t working. They said I basically had 3 weeks to live before my bile ducts would die off from the lack of blood flow. So I had Kelly’s awesome piece of liver, the arterial connection failed and wouldn’t carry the oxygenated, cleaned blood that I needed from the liver to the rest of my body.

That is when they put me on status #1. I woke up from that surgery feeling pretty dang amazing. I had a liver in me that was kind of working a lot better than the one I had before so I did feel a little better, even though it was killing me. That is when God started to come into every part of the picture…

Let me first say, the worst part of this process, was the IV sticks, I am black and purple from the tops of my arms down to my fingertips. They had to start a central line in my neck for IVs, etc. It took them QUITE a long time and I needed a few breaks to breathe. I actually had a really awesome CD of guided imagery, breathing techniques, positive affirmations, if you are a skeptic of these things, just trust me, it helps so much, it is one of my biggest tips if you are having any type of surgery.
http://www.healthjourneys.com/product_detail.aspx?id=29

Anyways, so my veins sucked, I woke up from the first surgery with 2 IVS in each arms, a central line coming out of my neck, which let me tell you, before surgery, the idea freaked the heck out of me. It actually became my favorite place to get an IV into because all the other ones burned too bad. Central line… that is the real deal! Granted, they still didn’t know how long it was going to take to find me a new 2nd liver and there is a risk of infection with an IV in your neck, so the nurse had planned to take it out 4pm that day. It was kind of going to be a big deal, they needed to lie me flat so that air/infection didn’t get into my heart, it was actually sutured in place… so it wasn’t very fun in coming out. I was NOT looking forward to it, besides then I was also left with only painful arm IVs. This was on Tuesday, August 16th. My nurse took her break around 3. This is where it gets good people… =)

A new transplant surgeon that would be joining the team that would be giving me my 2nd liver, came and introduced himself at 3:10. He said they had found an absolute perfect match of a liver for me! A young 20-something year old man had tragically lost his life and left a very, healthy and happy liver behind to save someone elses life… that life would be me! Handpicked by God! And he said they would be getting the liver around 4am! So that meant I was keeping the line in my neck, no need to start another hole! I was so happy! Actually, I was in quite a bit of shock. The last 2 days, which had been fairly easy on me, comparatively speaking to the 2nd transplant, we had been talking about these chocolates we had found a few weeks before at The Ferry Market Place in San Francisco (I am a fan of the cooking show Giada, she inspired me to go here after watching her visit the ferry market place). A few weeks ago, Coleman and I had a nice date to the Ferry Marketplace where we discovered the most divine thing I’ve ever tasted. Recchiuti Confections has the world’s most amazing french sea salt chocolate dipped caramels! It’s like liquid heaven. Seriously, crazy expensive at $24 for a 16 piece box of chocolates, but you just can’t put a price on liquid gold, just too hard I tell you :p

http://www.recchiuti.com/108.html

http://www.recchiuti.com/268.html?area=03

So, I had sent Coleman and his mom (who flew all the way here from Georgia to come be with me!! She is so sweet) to go get me a box of these chocolates because I didn’t think I could go into another surgery without the strength of my liquid gold. Even if it was just one piece. I know, I’m ridiculous. It’s perfectly ok with me! And apparently, God is a fan too because he let the phone call come in about the liver late enough in the day, that they doctor let me wait until I got my chocolates to be NPO (no food/drink for surgery) at 8pm. So Coleman got back and before my surgery, I got to have my liquid gold. I call this my 3 fold miracle. Perfectly healthy, awesome liver match (so blessed!), I got to keep my central line and I got to eat my chocolate. August 16, 2011 was a great day. Unfortunatley, it was also a tragic day for a family of a young man and I pray that God would comfort them and bless them incredibly, I just want them to know I will live every part of life to its fullest, not only for him but for my sister, who selflessly went through this crazy process. I am still taking time to process that whole situation, please pray for me, Kelly and that young man’s family, that everything would be easy and God would heal all wounds (including a broken heart, losing a son, a brother, whoever this man was that was selfless enough to give his liver to me, giving me a 2nd chance).

My oldest sister, Kristin, had been trying to come see Kelly and I since the day of surgery. Things just kept happening that stopped her from coming though. One day she was way too exhausted, another she couldn’t get a baby-sitter, another they tried to come but the car broke down! When I called to tell her I was getting a new liver that night, she decided to come…. and you know what! I got what I wanted again. Ok, when you are in the hospital, with pretty much no dignity left, its the little things that make you feel better. A gel pedicure that lasts 3 weeks, that happened the day of surgery before we came to the hospital on Thursday. It’s pretty. I also had wanted my hair french-braided because I knew I would be in bed for a few days after transplant. Well… I got it braided for my 2nd transplant! That night when Kristin was finally able to make it, I got my hair braided. Simple things make me happy. It was funny because Billy had also told Kelly that he wasn’t coming that day either, but he took bart to SF and had tried waving down 2 taxis with no hope. So he was walking the long 3 mile walk towards the hospital from bart station. As Toby, Kristin and Bella were on there way up Toby kept saying Kristen look at this and look at that but Kristin kept saying I need to focus on driving and then minutes later she goes look there’s Billy. They picked up Billy and took him to the hospital. I have also been able to share my “liquid gold” with most of my liver team. I have got some pretty funny reactions, Dr. Mark had the same exact reaction as I did (OMG THATS AWESOME Mmmmmmm cloud 9 in my mouth). Dr. Finer told us about a journey that he went on to a chocolate farm in Peru and how amazing the chocolate was, he really enjoyed it as well.

Thank you so much for your prayers obviously God has been listening and been on this journey with me every step of the way. I don’t know what I would have done without his presence to keep me sane during this insane time. I will update again soon with pictures and an update on Kortni.