Thursday, January 28, 2010

Transplant Meeting Outcome and Other Thoughts

Hi Everyone,

As you know, Greg's case was reviewed by the transplant committee this afternoon and he was accepted as a good transplant candidate.  That was awesome news.  On the heels of that, we found out that at this point, they have him classified as a "Level 2" since his condition has improved alot with the use of high dosages of IV diuretics.  Carolyn, the transplant coordinator, only had a moment to speak to us after the meeting and said that she'll be back tomorrow to discuss status and applying for "exceptions".  Since we only a had a VERY limited conversation with her and Dr. Lefrak (the surgeon), it's hard to anticipate what's going to happen, but it's left us kind of "reeling".  We're caught between feeling grateful that his condition has improved  and disappointed that he's not going to be on a "faster track" toward transplant and return to a more normal life. He's doing a great job of accepting this new turn of direction, but it is another dip on the emotional roller coaster.
Today, he was switched from the high dose IV diuretics to oral diuretics so we'll be anxious to see how he responds in his daily weight tomorrow.  His pacemaker was readjusted today and it is now pacing the top and bottom chambers of his heart.  We're hopeful that this will also aide in his cardiac function.  The surgeon came in this afternoon and removed MORE tape from his chest (OUCH!!!!).  He is beginning to name the faces on his chest and abdomen made from all the surgeries.  He'd probably enjoy any suggestions you might have :)

He was moved from the CTSDU (Cardiothoracic Stepdown Unit) to the Cardiac Telemetry Unit on the third floor.  He will likely spend a bit of time here in the future since they care for alot of the heart failure/ transplant patients.  His new room number is 316.

So... on a totally "mom indulgent" note, I'd like to encourage all of you who have children or really to all of you who have ANYONE you love --- give them a hug right now and tell them that you love them!  Their lives are all so precious and we often take those we love so for granted. My heart breaks sometimes when I look at Greg struggling through all these procedures.  And I must say that I marvel at his attitude and tolerance and courage for all that he's endured.  He is a great patient - sweet and appreciative to all who care for him.

Along those same lines, a tragedy back in Pgh further compels me to say "I love you".  Three of our son's (Tim and Nate's) classmates were killed in an auto accident on Tuesday night.  I keep thinking that we have this HUGE network of people praying for Greg's life because it seems to be so threatened by heart failure.  Yet, those student's families and friends totally expected that they would kiss them goodnight and see them the next day.  Life is so very uncertain and fragile and therefore we are reminded that the only sure place to put our hope is in the Lord.  That is where we are resting right now - trusting that He knows the plans for Greg and the path that we need to walk. We so appreciate your support and care as we walk through this whole thing.

Greg is SO looking forward to a visit from his brothers and Dad this weekend!!!  I feel like I should warn the nurses of the noise that will undoubtedly erupt from  his room, as they launch into their usual enjoyment of each other's humor!  Please pray for Smitty and the boys as they travel down tomorrow and for us all going back on Sunday.  I need to return to work next week and it's going to be hard to leave here, although I look forward to being back with the rest of the kids.

That's it for now! We'll let you know how tomorrow goes.  Don't forget - tell someone that they're important to you and that you love them.


PS  He and Elise are TOTALLY enjoying all your comments, so keep them coming!



  1. Greg & Elise,

    I'm praying for you both! I'm loving reading this blog & receiving e-mails about Greg's progress. God has his hand over Greg in such a unique way throughout all of this. Your trust in Him is inspiring to all of us! I think it's an understatement to say that Nate is extremely excited to see you both this weekend. Today he turned to me multiple times in school or in the car and said "I get to see my brother tomorrow". It is going to be so great for you guys to have the distraction of the boys this weekend and their humor! My heart is with you both. I hope I get to see you again soon!


  2. Greg,

    Your new room number is 316, is that like in John 3:16? I think it is a great room number for you and Elise. We pray for you two many times a day and you are in our thoughts continually.

    Stay strong and tell your mom and dad hi for us.


    Debbie and Greg

  3. Greg,

    Just think of all the man points you're earning from this.

    Also, I vote that one of your faces should be named "Mr. Giggles." Extra man points if you do that. It's all about the man points.

    Love you and praying for you buddy,


  4. Hello Greg and Elise,

    My name is Cim Abernathy. My husband and I, by God's ordaining timimg, received an email prayer request about you last week. I have spent the last few days trying to get word on you and find out more. December 2008, my husband received a heart and double lung transplant at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is doing great- plays racquestball, golf, horses around with our five year old son, and works 40 hours a week. We would love to come visit, give you any information, whatever... really, please call us or email me. I don't want to post my phone number but I will be happy to give it to you if you email me. We are praying for you and I have sent many emails to friends and family all over the country. May God give you special peace these days- His timing is perfect!!

  5. Greg and Elise!
    We are thinking of and praying for you tons! We miss you guys like crazy... things aren't the same here without you.
    I challenge you to another game of Power Grid! :-) Looking forward to seeing more of you very soon.

  6. Hey Greg,
    I thought I would interest you with the food I had today for dinner.
    I had Korean style Ramen Noodle (hot & spicy) w/ rice as my main dish. On the side, there was kimchee (food that defines the nation of Korea), anchovies (sweetened), and fried tofu w/ soy sauce on it.
    Greg, I miss you commenting on my food.

    Your Bro,
    Andrew Kim

  7. The name Ferdinand keeps surfacing in my brain... take it or leave it.

    Be on the lookout for something in the mail from Jeremiah and me. We sent it Wednesday, but sent it to your old room (and dumb me just put the rm number, not your name). So if you don't get it by today, chances are there is a very confused patient in 267. You might want to take a field trip and go retrieve it, for everyone's benefit. Ha!

  8. And we can't say it enough, we LOVE you both!

  9. Greg and Elise ...
    You don't know me ... but I certinaly know much about you two. My name is Pastor Jim Bertoti and I pastor St. Peter's Reformed Church in Zelienople, where we have been praying for you guys! Tammie Carroll, Pam North and the Armstrongs, to name a few, have been keeping me up to date on your progress. Please know that we are here for you should you need anything. We serve and worship a mighty and powerful God who is capable of doing mighty and powerful things. It is our prayer that you receive the heart quickly and in the meantime that you rely on the strength of the love of God and the strength of the love from each other, family and friends. We are a church that 'believes' and we believe that HE will send healing your way very soon. Peace, hope and love my freinds ... God's blessings - PJ

  10. Greg -
    I sent something your way with room number 267 and no name on it as well. I was actually smart enough to write your name and then dumb enough to cross it out. So hopefully that makes it your way at some point. I guess this hospital mail stupidity runs in the family. You have been and will be in my prayers. I love you man.


  11. Greg and Elise-

    Staff team meetings have definitely not been the same without you. Your wit, ideas, and gentleness are seriously missed!!! You are in my prayers. Looking forward to visiting sometime and perhaps learning a new game!


  12. Lori and Dustin ButlerJanuary 30, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    Wow! Greg and Elise, we are definitely praying for you! We are so amazed by you and your perserverance. We are praying for Greg for this serious heart condition. May the Lord encourage you and let you feel His closeness during this time. We love you!

    Lori and Dustin Butler

  13. Hi Greg and Elise,

    I've been following the information and have been praying for both of you and your families. I remember when I was a freshman (Greg, I think you were a junior?), and you read a portion from a book describing Jesus being hung on the cross. Part of it elaborates on how the design for the nerve that was pierced in His hand was perfect, just as He and the Father made it... and I keep thinking that He designed your heart, too. Just thought I'd share that bit.

    When it comes to names, I thought I'd give you the options that came to mind:

    1. Proof (because it's a scar that proves [get it?] that you live by the grace of God)
    2. Colonel Sanders (or maybe just The Colonel)
    3. Alowicious Twinkletoes (even though I'm a girl, I think that would be worth some Man points)
    4. Bruce Willis (...why not?)

    Hope that gave you a chortle, and that I'll see you both soon. :-)