Monday, November 30, 2009

Opened Doors

To try to sum up the recent events, our lives have been a roller coaster ride these past few months. We know for certain that God works in mysterious ways. He’s opened doors that only He could have for us. We are living proof of this.

Eric’s health has steadily been getting worse over time and his physicians told us in January 2009 they believed because of the stage of his disease he had approximately 18 months left to live and the clock was ticking.

We knew that at our hospital in Philadelphia, Pa there were over 500 patients on their transplant list and over 250 patients with Eric’s O+ blood type ahead of him. And his specialist explained they would never be able to get him a transplant in time, and for us to consider options of other hospitals as they did less than 100 transplants a year.

I was not going to give up on my husband’s life that easily. We prayed about it asking God for guidance and to show us what to do. We were clueless how to do this. There were so many questions that we were concerned about, like what would we do with our home, Eric’s work, our children, and grandsons who lived nearby.

After discussing it I contacted Aetna and found other transplant hospitals they were contracted with and I began my intense homework of delving into each transplant center’s statistics, reputations, and best patient survival rates.

It was during this research I found out about the Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis. I found it was nationally recognized for its outstanding work and was listed as a center of excellence with Aetna. Once again I started making numerous phone calls to our insurance company, the doctors, and finance department and made the arrangements for Eric to be evaluated in Memphis.

If this hospital was good enough for Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs then it would be good enough for us. So I made an appointment for Eric to be seen by Steve Job's surgeon.

Immediately his current specialist helped by staying on the phone all day making phone calls personally. We made the 10 day trip down to Memphis to meet with the specialist and after tons of tests each day, the doctors gave us the thumbs up that they could help. This was sweet music to our ears, such a huge blessing!

His physician in PA has since transferred Eric's health care to the transplant center in Memphis where we’re expecting for him to get listed soon for a liver transplant hopefully within the next few months if all goes well. His MELD score (blood tests) have took a huge jump in the past two weeks, and this isn’t good news. It is good in the one sense that it moves him higher up the transplant list, --- but it also means he’s getting worse. Time will only tell. But we have faith.

Once again God has answered prayers, and opened a lot of doors for us that we could not have done on our own. Within one months time Eric has officially retired, we have put our home on the market for sale and had numerous friends and family helped us packed up our belongings, rented a 26’ moving truck and moved 1,000 miles way on Thanksgiving Day from Pennsylvania to Mississippi. The best part is that we’re now living only three short hours away from my whole family instead of 18 long hours away and can see them often.

Moving was bittersweet, saying many tearful goodbyes to all of our friends, church family, and leaving our other family members was heart wrenching, especially to leave our two grandsons five-year old Zachary and six -month old Owen. That broke our hearts leaving those two boys.

There have been so many highs and lows we’ve experienced this past year, and it’s brought us closer together and we are celebrating every day we are given. We have so much to be thankful for, and I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.