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.

Bad drawings and good explanations

We’re still praying our way to the 11 o’clock hour (and each hour after that, tbh).

But we were able to hear directly from Dr Hughes this morning and he was able to give us a very good explanation for what’s going on.

The old liver (who we’ve taken to calling creature #7) had created a condition in Sally’s entire body called portal hyper tension. This is different than high blood pressure. Basically what it means is that because her old liver had lost a lobe it wasn’t allowing blood to flow through it at all. Our livers pump blood like crazy. Since Creature #7 had a limited capacity to do its job the blood essentially back flows and finds other places in the body to hang out. Some of you may remember Sally having to have had her esophageal varices banded and removed last year. That’s one of the first places blood goes to hang out because the lining of the wall of our esophagus is so thin it can squeeze through and pool up.

All this to say that all areas of Sally’s body were inflamed. Including her intestinal tract. When they hook up the new liver they actually slice a portion of the tract in two, pull up the side closest to the liver and directly route the bile duct out of the liver into the intestines. This allows the liver to function more efficiently at dumping the bile into the flow so it can keep on doing its job. The other half of the intestine gets reconnected down river and just like that everything is back in place.

Because her intestine was inflamed it means that where that down river reconnect took place the sutures eventually got a little baggy. Therefore allowing a leak. The leak let blood into the digestive tract and well, yeah…

Dr Hughes has taken a series of steps with medications to allow Sally’s body to form clots easier. We need that little connection to start building up a wall and healing where the little leaks are taking place. Sally is going to rest all day, is back on a clear liquid diet and again, if we see the hemoglobin holding strong at 11am we’ll know that there is enough of it to start doing its job and plugging the hole in the dam.

So that’s what we need. Some hefty hemoglobin. We need the Harlem globetrotters of hemoglobin showing off right now. Heavy hittin’ hemoglobin. Because if we can get that leak plugged Sally might be hemoglobin home very soon.

Also, I’m including a diagram that was drawn for us last night (which feels like last week) that did not help us understand what was going on at all.

Tuesday – 7:45am

Sallys 2 hemoglobin scores have increased enough to be considered stable. The nurse staff will monitor them until 11am and make a determination then if they’ve stabilized enough or if the team needs to conduct further imaging.

Please know how much it means to us to get all these messages of encouragement and love from all of you and thank you to each of you keeping us lifted up in prayer.

Pray that the hemoglobin hangs tight and stays put and that this is in the rear view mirror by 11am.

11:20 – from Sally

I know a few of you are probably refreshing like crazy looking for an update so I wanted to give you peace and tell you to get some rest as we probably won’t know anything until the morning. They actually just finished the transfusion so they’ll be drawing some samples and getting results in over the night. Doubt we’ll catch wind of what anything means until the sun comes up. I got some color back in my cheeks and actually passed out harder than I have since I went under anesthesia on Thursday. I was our cold for about an hour most recently but it was a goooood hour. They’re dialing back the steroids a little (praise) and I’m accepting my full pain med allotment tonight (!), which should mean I’ll drift back off here after the next blood draw and vital check.

Please excuse any typos. Thank you all for your prayers. I actually feel them in my bones. It is Katie’s night to stay beside me in the awful hospital recliner by the bed. She’s watching a movie on her phone and just seeing her little adorable hand pop out from under the blanket holding her phone up is bringing me so much comfort. I’m praying J is sleeping. I’m off to la la land myself. Keep the prayers coming. My scar is healing very nicely and I don’t want them to have to open the wound again.

Call to Prayer

Sally is currently receiving her blood transfusion. It should take 4 hours, so that would make it 9/9:30 when it wraps up.

Her hemoglobin has declined all day. This combined with other evidence (which shall remain nameless in the spirit of TMI) has led the doctor to believe that there could be some place that is bleeding internally. Specifically it would be where they made the connection of Sallys bile duct to her intestine.

Best case scenario is that there is a small tear that will heal itself (which is possible). Worst case scenario is that there is a bleed going on that would need to be fixed on the operating table.

We obviously don’t want this to happen, however, if it’s the necessary step we’d have to go through with it in order to fix this problem.

Please do these two things if you’re willing:

• pray that Sally’s hemoglobin count stays up through the night

• share this post and ask someone to do the same

Sally is tired, over this and not necessarily feeling like she’s at a rhubarb and brie cheese toast pop up. But she’s the smartest, most determined and intuitive person I’ve ever met and she’s handling this part with grace and wisdom.

Monday – 3:06

Pardon the quick update but I know a lot of you are dying to know what’s going on so here’s the low down.

Vince is being discharged. Honorably. He will be sitting in our nice little apartment building thing by sometime early this evening. He had a rough go for a second on day three and then turned a corner and is ready to roll. His attitude has remained the same; determined, confident and a lovely touch of irreverence.

Sally is doing great, too! She had a rough ride last night with some nausea and dizziness but all of her IVs are out and she’s been walking. She actually did some stairs today but that wound up getting her pushed back to her room in a chair.

We would like to ask for prayer for her from all of you warriors and believers and second guessers as well. She is going to have a blood transfusion here in the next hour or two.

She needs this because her hemoglobin has been steadily reducing over the last few days. It’s gotten very low (down to 7) and they are going to give her a big dose of fresh new blood.

Obviously this is an unwanted section of trail to navigate, but that’s why we do it with the words of our Father as a lamp to our feet. Please pray for Sally right now, specifically that she is able to muster strength and endurance have peace. Pray that her mind and heart not be anxious.

It’s incredible to be surrounded by so many people who are fantastic problem solvers. We’re hoping that this may be one of the last little hiccups we face before Sally can hop on Vince’s heels and get home to see SalTak and her silk pajamas!