Saturday – 10:28am

Sally’s had an IV line going into her neck since 7:30am last Thursday. Initially it ran all the way through her heart, doing something important. They removed that after surgery in the ICU and I was amazed at how long the cord was, it was every bit of four feet.

Three lines have remained in her neck since then and have been used to inject medicine, draw blood and keep Sally from getting poked by a needle again (I’ll include a photo of her wrists that will show you just how hard of a beat down she’s been through).

To say that these neck IV lines are important would be an understatement, they’ve been her lifeline, her security blanket and the portal in which the nurses and doctors can work in seconds if they’ve needed to help her, and they have.

But they are out. Just a few minutes ago two nurses came in and carefully removed them. She has a few stitches in her neck and a dressing, but the IV is gone.

In case you haven’t put two and two together… this means Sally is being discharged!

We’re still waiting for Dr. Humar to come put his eyeballs on her and give the green light. All the nurses are coming to say goodbye to their favorite patient, and I’ve practiced changing a dressing that we’ll have to keep up with over the next two to three months.

It’s actually a bit unnerving. It’s hard to leave the safety of having a full team watching Sally’s every move and vital sign, knowing that there’s an operating room and incredible surgeons just a few floors away. But that’s why we did this. That’s why Sally made this choice and went through all this torture.

To get better.

It’s hard to even imagine that’s what’s going to happen because you kind of get used to getting your butt kicked once it starts happening nonstop. But we’ve been saying that there’s light at the edge of this storm, and the Lord has made his promise to not give us more than we can handle, and we’ve dreamed of a life without managing an incredibly difficult, hard to understand autoimmune disease.

So here we are, looking down the road. The old liver in the rear view mirror, a new life ahead.

And it’s never felt more like anything is possible than it does right now.

She made it, she made it, she made it, she made it, she made it!

Friday – 4:07

I’m with Sally now. We’re waiting to get back up to her room in 11 North, as the place that she’s in right now feels like the party basement of some weird guys mom’s house.

Nevertheless, the doctor who performed her endoscopy came out and talked to us. He located an ulcer at the intestinal reconnection point we mentioned the other day (or was that last month?).

He had a tool that he used to apply a clamp to the ulcer. The ulcer has all types of blood vessels running through it and that’s how blood was getting into her digestive tract. We’re 99.9% that this ulcer was the source of this kerfuffle and most likely the cause of the elevated white blood cells as well.

We shall wait and see. Chances are we’re in the North Tower one more night. Let’s all start praying that tomorrow’s the day Sally gets to go home and slip into her silk jammies and a clean set of sheets.

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:


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!