It's amazing that we have been gone from our home since April 17th, AND tomorrow marks the 2 month "anniversary" of Cayden's liver transplant. I was talking to Dan about the surgery on Wednesday as we did our 4 mile walk. It still blows me away that the surgery even happened. Everything seems like such a surreal, distant memory in my mind. The only reminders I still have from the surgery are this incredibly huge scar and sore muscles under my rib cage and in my side where the drain used to be.
We are so grateful to Dan's sister Kristi, and our brother-in-law Paul for having the 3 of us in their home for so long. Eight people under one roof is a lot, and another "little" guy will reside here pretty darn soon. We are very much hoping baby Nathan makes the scene before the end of the weekend, as we have our tickets booked and are getting packed to come home on Monday the 28th!
The doctors have been extremely pleased with Cayden's recovery. We were shocked Monday when the transplant cordinator and doctors said we were released to go home! We didn't expect that news for another week or so. Medications have been adjusted, and ironically, Cayden has no more pain from the surgery (yes, it's the pits being old). Also on Monday, we ran into Dr. Khan at the clinic, who happens to be one of the GI doctors we saw back in February on our emergency trip to Stanford. We hadn't seen him since our first trip even though we've been here so long. He had been keeping tabs on Cayden and was happy to hear about his recovery. When I mentioned that he was feeling good and I still had some pain, he said "Well, it will go away - after a long time. The kids bounce back quickly. Surgery is always much harder on the donor." Great! That's encouraging. :) I guess that's the price you pay for loving your kid and being willing to do anything to make sure that he is well and healthy!
So for now, Cayden continues to take a zillion pills each day. I've finally gotten really good at filling the pill box, recognizing each kind of medication and remembering what each one is for. Some of the pills he will take forever, and some he needs just for the next year to two years. The key for him will be to begin taking over responsibility for remembering to take his meds, as the time frame for the anti-rejection medication is so strict.
Last Sunday we celebrated Father's Day with not only a special breakfast and dinner (mmmmm.....baby back ribs - hickory smoked with homemade rub), but Kristi was the hero of the day when she whipped out a huge bag of water guns for everyone (including the adults) to have a waterfight in the back yard. Poor Grandpa Jim couldn't get away, so he was at the mercy of the grandkids! In addition, Cayden's birthday is coming up on the 29th - the day after we get home, so we'll have one last family celebration together here to celebrate his 17th birthday.
And so as this chapter of our lives comes to a close and we head back to Washington, we constantly remind ourselves of how blessed we are to have had so many friends, family, and people we don't even know praying for us throughout the transplant and recovery. The power of prayer is amazing, and we know that our God is a merciful and loving God. Our recovery and positive news is bittersweet, however. Just two days ago, I found out that my step-dad's daughter Kary, who is just 49 years old and lives in Arizona, is losing her year-long battle with an aggressive form of leukemia. Shortly after our surgeries, she received a long-awaited bone marrow transplant from her sister Kati, who was a perfect tissue match. Things were going well and her white cell count had increased through the month. But on Tuesday, she found out that the leukemia is back and there is nothing further that they can do. We are the fortunate ones who lived through a successful liver transplant. Kary has maintained a positive, strong attitude for an entire year, despite the fact that she has spent most of that year in hospitals. If you feel so inclined, please help our family pray for a miracle for Kary. The doctors have given her weeks to months at this point.
There is still so much that we have to do in our lives. We have a purpose that is yet unfullfilled. I am unsure of that purpose right now, but I continue to pray for clarity and for God to reveal his divine purpose, so that my life will glorify Him. To all of our friends in Washington - thank you. Thank you for your prayers, for your love, for your encouraging words, and for your support of our family. We couldn't have asked for a better support system. We will see you all very soon!