MeUandMaddy's Blog

Welcome to our daily adventures with Maddy…

Category: Health

Vomits at the racetrack, giraffe feeding, and some great news.

When my sister and I were growing up, our parents would take us to Belmont Racetrack almost every Sunday during the summer. Since my SIL interns there, we decided to take M so she can get sort of an inside scoop of the place. It was a ton of fun. She got to go the the press-box, in the paddocks where the horses were prepped for the races, she had a blast. But before she got to do all that, she was hungry and ate a greasy pepperoni pizza at their concession stand, plus the heat and humidity AND the excitement, she was just on overdrive…so when SIL took her to the paddocks to look at the horses and then I get a text asking me to meet her downstairs because she threw up. Yes, threw up, everything she ate.
Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.09.39 AM
Pre-vomit shot. She was so excited to be here!

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 12.09.26 AM
Post-vomit and $20 lighter (for that foxy looking t-shirt) shot. She was still as excited to be here! After the whole vomit ordeal, she was totally fine, as of nothing happened.That’s my girl. And no, we didn’t win a thing…but it was a fun experience, vomit and all.

We spent our 4th of July in Baltimore. We love Baltimore, it’s a great place for kiddos and it’s not too far from us. J took Friday off and we headed down Wednesday afternoon. During the 2.5 hour drive, all we did was LAUGH, OMG – if you can hear our conversations, we would probably burn in Hell for all eternity but you know what, laughing beats the shit out of crying. We will laugh over anything, any day.

We had a mega fun time. M got to feed a giraffe! What a neat idea! We were bummed when we got to the exhibit and the zookeeper told us, they can only sell us the leaves to feed IF they were in the feeding area…and of course, no giraffes were in sight. So we walked around and came back, and viola – the hungry giraffe was there! Woo hoo! We happily paid our $2. for a sprig of what looks like eucalyptus leaf and she was a happy camper!

Feeding the giraffe was SO fun!

Feeding the giraffe was SO fun!

Best $2 spent during the whole trip. We also went to the aquarium and I have to say, for the amount we paid, it was really meh. Adventure Aquarium by us is better, M can pet baby sand sharks, and sting rays at our aquarium. This one was behemoth, but just not a lot of hands on exhibits. But it was an experience we had to try. During our final day, we went to the Walters Art Museum. By far, one of the best art museums, ever! We really enjoyed it. The art were amazing, M loved the Egyptian exhibit as usual (she is infatuated with mummification…don’t ask)…and I loved their Medieval World exhibit (all the Romanesque and Gothic art). It was just an amazing visit.

AND, I’d like to end this post on a good note. Last week, I went with my dad to Mt. Sinai for his follow up. I was really nervous about this visit because the last time he went in for the chest CT and liver MRI, they scared the shit out of us. They literally ordered his meds to “keep him comfortable”, basically, the death sentence. Of course, they made a mistake and after further examination, they said there were no tumors and the spot was in fact a small clot and residual from the RFA. So, I felt like, wow – we were blessed with such wonderful news, this time around, we must not be so lucky. I was a damned nervous wreck. As they did the MRI, the technician asked me to stay with her so I can talk my dad through the procedure in the machine (that MRI machine is a miracle of science!) and I was beyond tempted to ask her, do we see anything on the liver? But my better judgement told me that, she may not be correct in her reading. Why stress over it. So I kept my mouth shut and waited the 3 hours until seeing Dr. S. When we walked in, we see two other doctors in the office and of course, my heart drops. I’ve been to a few appointments with my dad, but I’ve never gone with him to see the oncologist. It was either my mom or my sister who brought him before. I’ve spoken with Dr. S. plenty of times but this was our first meeting. So, me being the ever pessimist, the first thing I say is, Should I be nervous? And suave as he is, Dr. S. says, No, why should you be? He proceeds to tell us to sit down and he turns to my dad and in very plain mandarin (I shouldn’t be shocked that he speaks Mandarin, his wife is Asian), that the scans were good, all is well. My dad was so nervous, he didn’t hear him! I had to ask Dr. S. (sadly, in English because I don’t speak Mandarin), So….everything is ok? Yes! All is well, and he is just like the last time, no new growth and in fact, the spot we suspected last time was truly just a clot. He is still on the transplant list.

We talked for a few more minutes and when he asked the famous, do you have any other questions for me, I wanted to say, you gave us great news, I have no questions. But I remembered my manners and politely thanked him for his time and went on our way.

SO, there you have it. The good news is my dad is tumor free, thank God. We will head back there in three months for another scan. As much as we hold our breaths each time, we can’t let it hinder our lives. We have to shift it to the back burner and just be happy and positive. We continue to pray and thank God for all we have been blessed with.

Ok, I will get off my holy pew now. I’ve been slacking on the blogging…but it’s just been mega busy with the research lab and working part time for the Alumnae project. But, it’ll give me the experience I need for grad school…I hope. Until soon, peace, love, and happiness to ya!

Another roller coaster ride.

It’s been a while, I know. To recap real quickly, I finished my semester! Woohoo! I checked for my grade everyday like a nutty obsessive fool. I knew my grades were not going to be as great as my first semester…but not too bad overall. I got two A’s, a B, and a C+. I know, the C+ killed me, I wanted to cry…but considering that it was my toughest class, I will take it with a smile and much gratitude. I am ashamed to say, my GPA of 3.75 dropped to 3.53…but as J said, considering my environment and all I had going on, it is a really good GPA.

So after my semester, I read like a mad woman. I’ve been reading one book in a day and a half. For my book club, we’re doing Lori Foster’s SBC fighters series (my favorite, Sublime). OMG. I LOVE my SBC fighters (don’t judge me, I don’t drink or do drugs or go on *irrational* shopping binges…romance novels are my guilty pleasure)…I’ve read the series a few years ago, and when I suggested it at book club (because we LOVE Lori), we agreed to give it a go. And re-reading it now still gives me heart palpitations. What is it about MMA fighters that makes me swoon…I am really looking forward to our next meeting!

M & I joined our friends and did a 5k run called Color Me Rad. It was A TON of fun. We got sprayed and pelted with colorful cornstarch every 1k or so, by the time we got to the finish line, we were a colorful, beautiful mess! This is M’s second 5k run, and I’m SO uber proud of my little baby. She actually ran it and really had fun!

Color Me Rad

Color Me Rad – the AFTER

Ok, that brings us the this week. On Thursday, after I picked up M from school, on our way home I get a phone call from J. The first words out of his mouth were, “The hospital called me.” And of course, I go into panic mode, “Why?! What’s wrong?!” and a million scenarios run through my head in that split second. It turns out that the hospital had a liver for my dad. It was from an 86 year old gentleman. They would run the biopsy and as they await the results, they want to know if we want it.

SO. Of course, my emotions kick in. As I’m talk to J getting the info., I’m in tears sitting in CVS’s parking lot with M asking me if I was ok. I don’t hide from Madison when I cry, we are all human and if we feel like crying, there is no shame in it. I don’t want her to think Mommy is a robot or that since Mommy doesn’t cry, maybe it’s not ok for me to cry. No. It is ok to f’ing cry…I cry all the time…ok, no I don’t, but I do cry. Anyway, I said yes, I’m ok and bless my baby’s little heart, she waited so patiently until I got off the phone to ask me what’s wrong. Granted, she could hear what J is saying through the BlueTooth in the car, but she doesn’t interrupt.

Back to the story. *Sorry, I tend to get off topic* My initial reaction after emotions kick in is YES, WE’LL TAKE IT! But the slightly more rational side of me demands that I make some quick phone calls. One, call my parents. Two, ask J to call my friend who is a geriatric doctor and ask for her opinion. Three, call my dad’s oncologist and ask for his opinion. I get off the phone with J and then M comes out with the inquisition:

Why are you crying? Because I’m really emotional right now. The hospital called Daddy and told him, there is a donor liver available for grandpa. So he can get a transplant. Remember I told you grandpa has an unhealthy liver because of the caner tumors? Well, the doctors wanted him to have a liver transplant to make him healthier.

What’s a transplant?  It is when they take a body part, an organ, from one person and put it in another person to help them.

What’s a donor? A person who donates. In this case, the liver donor is a gentleman.

Where is the gentleman now? *SIGH* The donor past away, baby…he’s in Heaven now.

I feel like I’ve said too much. But I don’t want to lie, and M sometimes can be either very detached and unaffected (not insensitive but just like, Oh…ok and moves on), or very inquisitive and concerned. This was not the latter. I will talk to her more about it later on, but for now, she seems ok. I’ve answered her questions to her satisfaction.

Anyway, J rushed home, thankfully it was 2:30 in the afternoon so there wasn’t much traffic. We also had the HVAC guys here installing our new unit since 9am! Luckily, my sister and my baby niece came down to hang out with us. So she had to stay with the HVAC guys until they were done and took M to her house to spend the night. While J & I took my parents and rushed to the hospital…poor J just rushed home from the city and to now literally turn back around and head BACK out in rush hour traffic. My anxiety was killing me. We had to be at the hospital at a certain time frame, it’s not like they can keep the liver or OR waiting.

We get off the GWB and were FIVE, FIVE…1, 2, 3, 4, FIVE miles from the hospital and the f’ing GPS said 25 minutes. The hospital is calling us every few minutes, Jay’s phone, my dad’s phone to ask us how far we were. It was bananas. I never hated traffic more. To know that we were so f’ing close and all this traffic stood between us and a liver transplant.

We get to the hospital and J drops us off so he can go park. We rush upstairs and like droves, the transplant team was on him. We walked in and it was non-stop.

*Mr. C? *Yes! We made it! Sorry we’re so late, the traffic was terrible. *Come with us. We have 40 mins until the OR.

OMG. Deep breathes. He couldn’t even go pee, poor guy had to hold it until they got his blood work. EKG, lab work, X-Rays, etc. As one of the doctors said, this may seem chaotic and scary, but it’s organized chaos. While I spoke with the doctors, trying to grasp this, my dad is cool as a cucumber! Dr. L kept asking if we had any questions but at the time, I really didn’t. Dr. L (I must say, he is one good looking surgeon! Ok, ok, I’m sorry, back to the event) tells us, It will be a 6-8 hour surgery. He will be here for about 7-10 days depending on his recovery. After surgery, he will be moved to Surgical ICU and we will not wake him until later on the evening since we will be going in tonight and won’t be done until tomorrow morning. We might even wait to wake him the following day. There is a chance of an infection and even a chance of death.

Wow, party pooper, huh?

My dad gets changed, goes with Dr. L down to Xray and we walk with the nurse to the holding area. Our nurse is awesome, very straight forward and kind lady…funny as heck, too. She shows us where to wait for him from Xray and where to wait for him while he’s in surgery. Told us to go get food while he’s in surgery since it’ll be a long night, and then bid us goodnight and told us she’ll see us in the morning. It made my heart warm and fuzzy because she said, don’t worry, he’s in good hands, he’ll be fine…I’ll see you in the morning. Something about her simple (perhaps even automatic) statement had some calming effects.

My dad comes back, the anesthesiologist comes to chat with us. She gives him his IV fluids. Explained that he will get two IVs, one for fluids, one for anesthesia and once he’s under, they will put a catheter in his neck for the full effect. He will also have a breathing tube fed in because it is such a long surgery. And they will not remove it until he is awake and they see that he is strong enough to breathe on his own. So they don’t want him to panic when he wakes up and sees/feels a tube in his throat and tubes/IVs in him, etc. Even after all this, he is still so calm. My God, I would be a damn hot mess.

We wait and wait in this holding area. It looks like a less restrictive ICU. Many beds with a central command center. Once in a while, the automatic doors will open in the end and if the timing is right, if the other door opens when someone is exiting or entering, I can look in and see the actual OR where they were ACTUALLY performing surgery! I nearly passed out. Bright light and people in paper scrubs & blue bouffants (as it is so oddly called as per the box of them staring at me next to my dad’s bed for 3 hours) looking down at something.

So…we met with two of the surgeons and the anesthesiologist. Dr. L comes back and explains that it may be another 40 mins. because while the liver is here, Dr. R who would perform the actual surgery (Dr. L is the fellow doctor who will assist in the transplant) is looking over the liver to be sure. The doctor who removed the liver was a little concerned with the vein but Dr. R wants to look at it now that it is here. We wait.

11PMish, Dr. L comes back and breaks the news. We are not going to use the liver. I thought for a second that I had dozed off and was dreaming. So I come to full attention and for some reason, for the first time tonight, he doesn’t look at me when he’s talking. He looks at J. From the moment I met him when we walked in, he looked me in the eyes and talked to me…even after J showed up and introduced himself. Dr. L always looked at me and spoke while looking in my eyes. And when he made this declaration, I almost wanted to hug him and say, it’s ok…

So there you have it. The doctors rejected the liver. Dr. R came out and talked to us for a while, explained that while age doesn’t effect the liver, it was a healthy liver…the vein was a different story. It was too fragile and would not have made it through the transplant. Did I want to cry, yes. Were we devastated…no. When my dad happily shook Dr. R’s hand, I saw he was ok. He wasn’t torn up or angry or upset.

Words cannot express how grateful I am to the donor. To his family. To my dad’s transplant team. I am humbled. Even though the transplant didn’t happen and we left the hospital without a new liver, I still feel we are truly blessed. All the emotions just sort of froze. I didn’t know how to react. My parents were fine. And surprisingly, I feel ok. I was worried that I would crack, but I’m humbled and I am grateful. For the blessings of the donor and his amazingly altruistic intentions, I would never be able to thank him or his family even though it didn’t work out as planned…but I do pray that he and his family knows how grateful we are. I can only pray that his family receives the strength they need for his passing and I wish I could tell them and the donor, thank you. It’s all I can say because there is no word, just no word strong enough.

To be an organ donor is such an unselfish deed. While I know there are hundreds of thousands of people on a wait list, a list that holds the power of their well being…I cannot imagine the fear, and the angst. My dad may or may not get another phone call with a donor. If I was a match, I’d do it. Scared and chicken-shit as I am…I would. While he may or may not get another call, I can only continue to pray. Pray that his MRI scans come back negative. Pray for his continued positive spirit. I continue to pray for guidence and strength. I know I can’t control everything…the more I try to control things, the more I realize just how little control I have.

I’m exhausted. I’ve cried enough writing this post. I thank God for my amazing family and friends. Without them, I would crumble. Even the most random text or email, just to say something silly, not related to my dad, it makes me smile. It reminds me just how truly blessed I am. For now, all I can say is, truly…thank you.

Until next post, I am going to plant myself into my next delicious book (hey, it keeps me sane).  Peace and love.