Monday, January 24, 2011

Another good biopsy!

We just heard from the transplant coordinator that Greg's biopsy on Friday came back with a level 1 rejection!  We are so glad to have this good news because Greg was pretty sick over the past two weeks.  Last Monday we went to the hospital for him to have multiple blood tests and an abdominal x-ray because the doctors were concerned that he may have developed an infection.  Thankfully, all the tests came back negative and the doctors determined that he must have been dealing with one of the stomach bugs going around our area.  Since he's immunosuppressed, any thing that he catches will make him sicker and keep him sicker longer than it would for most people.

He's feeling much better now though, and he's glad that Friday's biopsy results mean another decrease in the amount of prednisone he takes each day.  The trouble he was having with seeing things and confusion at night has completely gone away - a huge answer to prayer!  On Thursday we'll go back to the hospital for more blood work and for an echocardiogram and EKG (standard procedures that are done at 8 weeks past transplant).

We'll keep you posted as things develop, but for the most part no news is good news!  We're at a point in his recovery where we'll be going to the hospital less and having less tests done, but he's not yet ready to start rehab, so it's mostly a waiting game - waiting on his strength to return and his immune system to build up so that its safe for him to spend time outside of our home (something that he is increasingly eager for!).

Thanks for continuing to pray for us during his recovery!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Biopsy result

Hi everyone,

We got good news on Greg's latest biopsy!  He had level 1 rejection which doesn't require any additional treatment and the doctors were able to decrease his prednisone dose again.  Thank you for praying for this!

Unfortunately, we've both been feeling pretty crummy and exhausted over the past few days.  We think we might've caught some sort of stomach bug (or rather I must've caught it while grocery shopping and passed it to him).  We're watching Greg carefully to make sure he doesn't develop a fever and so far so good.  On Thursday he has a clinic appointment so they will be able to check him out thoroughly to make sure he doesn't need any treatment.  In the meantime we're resting and staying hydrated as best as we can.

Greg will be having a stress test the last week of February, the results of which they'll use to determine if he's ready to begin cardiac rehab.  Once he starts he'll have rehab a few times each week for 3 months.  The physical therapy he had at home was just to get him to the point where he was able to be safe and independent at home - strengthening his legs so that he could climb stairs and get in and out of chairs on his own.  Due to the fact that the nerves still need to grow back from his body to his new heart (which typically begins by 3 months post transplant), the doctors don't want him getting his heart rate elevated from exercise until he learns to work with his new heart in rehab.

In the meantime, the biggest concerns continue to be if he will develop rejection or an infection.  The first year, but especially the first three months, is the most dangerous time for rejection.  Its awesome that he hasn't had any significant rejection yet, we are praising God for that, but it doesn't necessarily mean he won't have any in the future.  Almost every patient develops some rejection - some people have lots and some people only have a small amount.  Even if he does have rejection, its not something to panic about.  As long as it is treated promptly (and they do the biopsies to catch it early on) it should not damage the heart.

Would you please pray that our stomach-related symptoms would go away and that we'd have some energy?  I (Elise) am trying to incorporate some normalcy into our lives again (For example, I went to the dentist today!  It sounds silly but it was a big step towards normal life for me.) but feeling sick makes taking care of Greg more tiring and I don't feel like I have anything left over.

Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement!


Friday, January 7, 2011


Hi Everyone!

I'm excited to share with you that as of this week Greg has officially "graduated" from at-home nursing and physical therapy!  He reached the goals that they had set for his recovery and did so much sooner than they expected!  It is truly amazing to see how much stronger he is now than when he first came home - its like he is a totally different person.

This morning we went to the hospital for another biopsy.  We don't know the results yet and won't hear from the doctor until Monday unless there is an emergency issue (such as severe rejection- level 3) that they need to treat immediately.  However we would be surprised if that was the case because Greg is doing so well.  His incisions have healed very nicely, his swelling is significantly less everywhere, his heart sounds great and his blood pressure and temperature continue to stay within the safe zone.  All in all his recovery is going so well.  Depending on his blood work and biopsy results they may decrease his steroid doses again which would be wonderful.  He is still having the same mental side effects each night from the steroids so another decrease would be really helpful.

One of our favorite nurses, Bernadette, took care of Greg this morning and she couldn't believe how strong he is.  It wasn't too long ago that she and 3 other nurses had to help Greg get from the wheelchair into our car - but today he walked right in and out of the hospital on his own power!

I'll let you know when we hear the results from today's hospital visit - but I wanted to share with you the exciting news of Greg's progress!

Happy New Year,