Wednesday, October 20, 2010

All's quiet on the Ellwood front

Well folks, I thought I should come in since it has been a while.  I've been back at work for just over a week.  Things are going well as we jump into fall event season.

I had my last follow-up doctor's appointment Monday and all went well.  My labs were "perfect" and my scars are starting to heal.

Noah continues to do well and will soon be allowed out of the house! 

I hope eveyone is having a great fall.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Plugging along

Hello all.  I realize my updates are fewer and farther between but there hasn't been much to tell. 

Noah is doing well.  He did have one issue but some steroids seem to have cleared that up. 

I am getting better and better. I am still quite stiff and have a bit of discomfort around the largest incision due to fluid retention in the area.  Apparently this is a rare side effect.  Lucky me.  All in all it's not too bad as long as i wear loose comfy pants and don't sit straight up for too long and it's getting better day by day.  I am hoping to go back to work either at the end of this week of the beginning of next week.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Check up

Went to UVA for my first post-op check up and all went well.  I am now cleared to drive and take my dog home!  I'm sure I will still send plenty of time with Jen and Tina but at least now I have options. :)

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Just a note to let everyone know that I came home yesterday.  So far so good.  I still get tired pretty quickly but am relatively pain free.  I am taking walks everyday and hopefully on Wednesday they will clear me to drive and Bo will come home too.  He is still at Jen and Tina's until I have a couple of days under my belt.  The cat is thrilled by this arrangement as she got to go from a house with three dogs to a house with none. 

I want to give a big shout out to Tina and Jen for taking such excellent care of me.  I now realize this would not have been remotely possible without them.  The first few days home from the hospital I was pretty much useless.  


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Progress Update

Hello all.  Things conitnue to go smoothly for me.  I am up and about more and more.  Yesterday we even went out for lunch!  I am hoping to head home this weekend.  Next Wednesday I have my follow up appointment at which point I will hopefully be cleared to drive.

Noah is also doing well.  Today he was at UVA to have his dialysis catheter removed and all went smoothly.  One more small procedure and he will be tube free!!

Thanks again for all of the care and concern!


Friday, September 10, 2010

Noah Home

Well, Noah is at home and doing well.  I am getting better and better day by day.  I had blood work done yesteday and the results came in today.  My iron level is up by four points.  It's still low but on the rise.  My nurse seemed very pleased.

I have even been out to run errands twice now.  The weather is lovely so I am trying to get plenty of outside time.  But I do still get tired pretty quickly.

All and all things are going well.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Noah's Headed Home

Just though I'd let everyone know that Noah is doing great and is scheduled to go home tomorrow. I continue to be pooped but feel a little bit better each day.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Noah update

So I have definitely had a reality check today on how this recovery will be. I have learned two very important lessons; schedule naps even when I'm nit tired and schedule meals or snacks even if I'm not totally hungry. This definitely gives me a great deal of respect and empathy for anyone who suffers from chronic illness.

What keeps me chipper are the updates on Noah. Tonight he took a walk, had a ride in the wagon and ate a freeze pop. Makes every bit of this worth it!!

Home from the hospital

k, so technically it's Jen and Tina's home but it's still nice to be out of the hospital.  I slept so much better last night without all the noise and being woken up for vitals. 

I am pretty sore.  I don't think I quite had a full understanding of what recovery would be like. But it's all good.  Melissa just sent me a picture of Noah sitting up in bed relatively tube free.  Totally makes all of this worth it.

Thanks again for all the good thoughts and positive energy it totally helped!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

waaaay better than yesterday

This am I am feeling much, much better.  The blood helpd tremendously.  I was able to walk a full lap aeounf the floor last night.  They took some more tubes a few minutes ago.  Hopefully my blood count will be appraochung normal.

With luck I'll go home tomorrow! 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Deja Vu all over again

Well, here we are in C-ville once more.  Here's hoping tomorrow is the time!  Thanks again to everyone for the good vibes and prayers!

Monday, August 30, 2010

once again....

Ok, so we are rescheduled for this thursday.  I don't think I'll really believe it until I wake up with a scar, but I am hopeful!

As much of a roller coaster as this has been for me I know it's nothing compared to what Melissa, Mike, Haley and the rest of their family are going through. 

Even though Noah is too young to really understand there are still little things that show the toll this takes on him.  As Tina and I were waiting in my little room last week we heard them checking him out.  They put him on the scale and as soon as they were done he turned to the nurse and asked, "pressure?"

How many 3-year-olds even know what blood pressure is, never mind the fact that after you get your weight checked blood pressure follows? 

Stuff like that reminds me of why I'm doing this and why I can be patient.

And as I've told Melissa, if the Army taught me anything it was how to hurry up and wait.  When we left for Iraq it took us an extra month to actually leave.  Really, I should have expected this.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

The third time, apparently not always the charm...

Well, once again we are on hold.  We got to the hospital at 5:30 am.  Tina and I headed up to the pre-op room.  They got me situated and started the IV.  Noah and company arrived.  We were ready to roll.  The nurse anesthatist was seconds away from knocking me out when we got word to stop. 

Noah had a slight fever last night.  Even though he was feeling fine this morning the doctor wasn't comfortable with moving ahead.  Because the fever could have been caused by an infection it wasn't safe to put him on imuno-suppressants and perform major surgery.

Of course, we all understand we need to do what's best for noah there was dissapointment all around.  Needless to say my brother and Jen were surprised to see me walk back into the waiting room.

So, we are on hold again.  There's a chance we might reschedule for next week.  I will continue to update.

Thanks to everyone for all the thoughts and prayers, we'll get there.  I know we will.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Here we go!

Well, it's about that time.  Getting ready to head to C-ville.  I have to be at UVA at 5:30 am and I think we all know how much of a morning person I am so we'll be spending the night.  Tina and Jen are taking my and my brother is meeting us there.  I will get one of them to post updates on my progress tomorrow.

I'm still not really nervous.  After two days of a liquid diet I'm actually pretty ready for them to put me to sleep so I can eat when I get up :)

Thanks to everyone for all the well wishes! 

See you on the other side.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

The big question

So one week from today is the big day. As we get closer and I talk to more people a lot have asked why I am doing this. The simple answer is that there is a small child that needs help and I am in a position to give it to him. But of course the simple answer is never the complete answer. A lot of things have brought me to this point. There are a few big ones.

First of all I have had a lucky life. I was raised in a loving middle class family. There was never a question as to whether or not I would go to college only a question of where. I've always had my health, not everyone does. I spent an entire year in Iraq and came home without a scratch. So many others didn't. That's a lot to be thankful for. All of these things have always led me to know that I should give something back.

So, why this specific something?

A little more than three years ago I got a call from my dad telling me that my brother had appendicitis. A bit of a bummer especially considering my sister-in-law was 8 months pregnant. But, what's an appendectomy?
A couple of days later I got a call from my mom. When she said Chris needed a liver transplant my brain had a hard time understanding the words. As far as we knew he was a healthy guy. Liver cancer, a transplant? Incomprehensible.

Over the next few months we welcomed Lauren into the world and waited. More than once he got a call and headed to the hospital only to be told that it wasn't a go.

Then, in September, the real call came. An 18-year-old boy had died and, at what had to be the worst moment of their lives, his parents made the choice to save others.

Out of their family's tragedy came our family's salvation. A son, a brother, a husband and a father got a second chance at life all because strangers made a courageous and selfless decision.

Shortly after all of this I started working at the Kidney Foundation. As I met others waiting for organ donations I discovered just how lucky my brother, and our family, had been. I met people who have waited year after year for a call that still hasn't come. I learned of the draining and painful process that is dialysis.

Then I met Noah. Just a few months younger than my own niece, his whole life had been spent in and out of hospitals, and back and forth to the doctor. I looked at Lauren and could only think that every child should be as lucky.

I may never know who it was that saved my brother's life. And even if I do, no amount of thank yous could ever be enough. I have my brother. My parents have their son. Courtney has a husband and Lauren a father. And on top of all that, our entire family has Emily, whose birth wouldn't have been possible without the donor and his family.

This is my way to pay it forward. It is them that I honor next Thursday.

And, I feel incredibly lucky to know that by my small sacrifice, Noah may be able to have a childhood less encumbered by medical problems. That he will be free to swim, learn to ride a bike and go to school. That he could have all the chances that my own nieces have.

So, yeah... that's why.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The results are in

Well, it looks like we are finally a go.  I got a call late this afternoon from Melissa(Noah's mom) letting me know that the test came back as we had hoped.  So barring any really odd circumstances is it looks like the 26th is the day.  I'm both excited and a little nervous.  Time to get all my ducks in a row before next week.

For those of you who want to know more about Noah check out his blog at

Monday I head back to UVA for my final bloodwork.  Noah also has dialysis that day so I'm going to sopt by to visit and get some pictures as we don't have  any of the two of us together.

let the countdown begin.  8 days and a wake up!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Blood Test Tomorrow

So, due to the fact that many i know are not on facebook I decided to start a blog to update everyone on transplant news. 

Tomorrow is a huge day.  We draw my blood once again to test with Noah's to make sure that he hasn't developed any antibodies to my blood.  By Wedesday we should know if we are good to go.

Then next  monday i make another trip to UVA to get my pre-op bloodwork done.  As long as that all looks good then we should be all systems go for transplant Thursday. 

At this point, after two delays it seems a bit unreal that we could be this close.  Here's hoping the third time is the charm!