Friday – 2:57pm

Sally is in her procedure room for her endoscopy.

On the way here I snapped a picture of Sally riding the gurney. A series of window-lined tunnels connects the different buildings here at UPMC. When we went into the one that led us here it was the first time she had been in the sun in 8 days.

I love this because it’ll show all of you where she is spiritually. Her faith is incredible. All she wants to do is laugh. Her sweetness is real and effortless as it seems.

Even after this week, being stuck in a hospital bed, getting cut open from nave to chops and having not showered or washed her hair, this is her.

I’ll give you all updates as I get them. Please pray through this with me. Please hold hands, read scripture and spend time just sitting with Sally in your heart right now.

Pray that this is a solution-based procedure, that the doctors are able to identify the cause and act with utter precision (like Rafa taking down Roger Federer at the French Open this morning, sorry Keith 😜).

Just As We Were Packing Up A Coyote Entered Our Camp

Please keep praying for Sally. Things were going as planned but this morning she had more blood in her intestines. Dr. Humar has decided to perform an endoscopy this afternoon in order to see if he can identify the spot that’s open and cauterize it if he does.

We pray that this is the case. Sally’s liver functions look and sound good.

Something is going on (an ulcer, a blown connection) that they have to identify.

There has also been an increase in her white blood cell count. This could be from steroids or could also be linked to an infection. Please pray for the former and that they come back down.

This is hard. She is having pain in her abdomen. Please pray for relief for her and that they can find the answer.

The endoscopy is going to take place in a couple of hours. I’ll let you know as soon as it starts/ends.

Good News for People Who Love Good News

It would be another two and a half hours this time last week before we would receive word that Sally’s procedure had ended and she had made it through. We’d just found out that Vince was headed to ICU, and we were all still packed together in a secret spot at the hospital Keith, Mercedes and I had scouted out that morning. A place where we could wait the day out in near privacy and still keep an eye on the all-important digital, color-coded board that told us just where our girl and the man risking his life to save hers were in their respective procedures. It was anybody’s guess as to when the doctors would call and give us the news we’d been praying for all day.

A week has gone by since then, which is hard to understand. It feels like a minute and it feels like a month. As you guys know, Vince is already back at the hotel/apartment and he’s recovering more each day. He sent a text this morning asking if it would be ok to visit and we said of course, but if you wait a day we might be home.

That’s right. Read that last sentence again. This morning Dr. Humar made his rounds and informed Sally that he was going to take her off of the medicine that he’d been using to encourage clotting, he was putting her back on a solid foods diet and that he wanted her to be take a couple of walks and work with PT. He said if she did all those things and her hemoglobin count stayed up he’d be sending her home tomorrow.

We just got a report that her hemoglobin count is 8.9!

She walked the halls today, actually walked up 16 stairs (the amount we have at our little place in Charlotte) and she ate breakfast and I’m assuming lunch (I gave my watch over to Katie and I’ve been making ready here at the homestead).

Now, obviously we might have to stay another night for this or that reason, but the bleeding has stopped and all the team agrees that Sally is on her way to a full recovery.

This is the news we’ve all been waiting for. Sally has a new liver. Done. Check. Over.

There’s a million thoughts going through my head right now but the one I feel most convicted to act on is to try to say thank you to each of you in some way, right here and now. We watched our community come to life when we announced that we were going to do this. There’s literally too many people to name, and there’s no way to name one of you because all of your gestures big and small have meant the world to us. The way everyone showed love to Sally and me will be forever on the tip of my tongue and will always fill my heart to the brim with joy. Each prayer, each dollar, each sweet note and gift, each party and pop up… there’s no way we can ever say thank you, but each one of you has a little stake in that new liver that you can call your own.

On a personal note I hope this blog turns into more of a lifestyle focused thing soon, as I’m very tired of hacking my way through medical lingo. I’d like to type “wood-fired” more often than “hemoglobin” and “sauna” and “bicycle” more than “cholangitis” or “duct.” Well, duct is a crossover, we’ll keep duct but use is sparingly.

It will feel so good for Sally to be home, out of the hospital (in a little over a week!) with a new liver and a heck of a story to tell.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And all God’s people said:

AMEN!

Wednesday – 7:08pm

That’s an 8!

Earlier, since Sally was asking for prayer and we were giving it, she’s walked a quarter of a mile in the hospital ward and her hemoglobin is up to an 8!

Stay in prayer with us, stay humbled and in awe with us. Let’s ask for a normalization of her liver function, her hemoglobin count and her healing.

Let’s ask that Vince be comfortable, that he’s well and that he’s an example to many people who can help save other people’s lives, too.

Let’s just rejoice. That’s an 8!

A Prayer for Sally

Father,

We come to you as a community under one banner right now and that’s to ask that your healing power eases Sally’s pain, stops her bleeding and restores her strength.

Lord, she’s been so brave, she woke up rejoicing and she’s knows you led us down this path to these very surgeons and this city and this hospital. She’s smiled bright even in great pain, and she’s encouraged Vince, her father, her sister, her mother, my parents and me. She’s not doubted for a second your love for her, and she has asked us to pray right now.

So we are. We praise you for redefining our view of you, for letting us call you Father, for letting us fear your power and know your goodness at once. We praise you because you redefined our sin when you said that all had fallen short of your glory, and you removed the burden of becoming mindless, religious people. We praise you because you’ve redefined redemption, come into our hearts and shared a vision of abundance, healing and feasting. We praise you because you’ve freed us from our former masters: greed, pain, power and fear.

We see your glory in your creation and we still don’t know when you’ll whisper to us, we see miracles in our lives everyday and we still forget to offer our praise.

We offer that praise now. We remember how you didn’t come to conquer while you walked this earth, but you came to heal. You soothed old pains and diseases just because people asked. You said we could all ask you, and we do right now. We ask in your Son’s name for healing for Sally.

Father please let her have rest, please let her quit bleeding in her intestines, please let her have peace, please give the doctors the answers they need to get her feeling completely restored. Completely free of any more complications.

Father, we call on you because you’re good, you’re true and you’re here with us as we go through these trials.

We ask this all for Sally, one of your sweetest souls you ever made, that she turns a corner and walks out of that hospital room healed, whole and ready to start building your kingdom. One bolognese at a time.

In Christ name we pray, Lord,

And all God’s people said:

Amen

Wednesday- 7:35am

Sally’s hemoglobin level dipped back down to around 7.8 last night but is holding steady. We’d like to see it at a 12 but will take anything over 7.1, that’s where the doctors get worried.

She’s still as cute as a button.

Please continue to pray for her healing, specifically that the little connection heals ok and that her body starts to build up a blood reserve of it’s own making.

I ran into Vince and Mercedes out in the hall of our place last night, you know, just out taking a stroll. We all just scratch our heads, marveling the two of them, in awe of each of their collective strengths; Vince with his determination and drive and Mercedes with this unlimited spirit of care and attention. She hasn’t left his side. I can’t make the same claim (but we’re “need sleep” people in my fam and know that it’s better for all parties if I’m rested up). Mercedes seems to just need a cozy blanket and a small chair and she’s fine to sit by Vince for a month straight. It’s beautiful for us to have a front row seat to their love.

That’s about it for the morning other than the fact that the weather keeps holding and there have been some wonderfully gorgeous days. Pittsburgh is rich with architecture and history, hills and windy mountain roads that connect trendy neighborhoods. It’s been surprising and refreshing to be here and I’m counting the days until we can have Sally out of the North Tower of UPMC and out enjoying this with me.

SalTak is better than ever, she’s been going to Camp Bow Wow and seems to have turned a corner with her nervousness.

Please keep praying for health and healing for Sally, she’s been so encouraged by all the wonderful sentiments you all have shared with her and she knows in her bones when you are lifting her up to our Father so please keep doing that.