YES... you read it correctly... Greg is home from the hospital as of Friday at about 3PM!!!
This caught us all kind of off guard, but the doctors felt that he had reached a "status quo" with his fluid status and that he could manage his condition from home at this point. He will be seen in the heart failure/ transplant clinic weekly, with the first visit this Wednesday. They will do lab work, interrogate his ICD (i.e. download all the information that the device in chest has recorded about arrhythmias and paced rhythms, etc), and evaluate his general condition. Additionally, within about three weeks, he will have another cardiac catheterization to more closely look at his heart function. He's also going to be having a specialized stress test while having the pressures measured inside his heart.
At home, he's going to be working on just getting his strength back, exercising as tolerated, making huge changes in his diet (following a heart healthy, low sodium, fluid restriction diet) and he and Elise will be figuring out a new "normal" for their lives at this point. As you might imagine, that's a pretty challenging thing to do.
At the time of his surgery last week, his heart was functioning SO poorly and was SO overloaded with fluid that the doctors believed he was going to need to have a transplant ASAP. That's why they wanted to apply for the 1B exception status on the transplant list that I told you about in an earlier email. At this point, the good news is that he responded REALLY well to the extreme diuretic therapy that he was given in the hospital. As a result, he is listed as a Level 2 on the list, which means that he will definitely need a transplant in the future, but at this moment, he is stable on oral meds. Additionally, the changes made to his pacemaker are probably contributing to his improved status. Just for clarity -- he is ON THE LIST - for sure- as of Friday morning. It was voted unanimously by the review board on Thursday that he will need a heart transplant.
It's a huge blessing that his condition has improved so much and he and Elise are grateful, as we all are. But it is again a huge adjustment, since they had just wrapped their heads around the fact that he would be having a transplant in the near future. It now is something looming out there in the future, with no real defined timetable on it. The doctors have explained that the longer Greg has his own heart in his chest, the better it is since the transplant brings with it real risks and we all understand that, but delaying it also brings with it a sense of life being "on hold". Please pray for them as they work their way through this time of uncertainty.
He and Elise will be returning to their jobs when they can, as dictated by how he is progressing. They are anxious to return to life and continue their ministry.
My husband and other sons arrived on Friday evening and we've had a GREAT time all being together. As I type this, they are all sitting behind me at the table, playing a board game and it's so good to hear them laughing together at their own humor that is not QUITE as funny to anyone else but them :) Elise got a chance to go and ride her horse this morning and we're so glad that she is getting a little break. She continues to be an amazing, loving support to Greg.
We will all be leaving to head back home this afternoon and resume life. I'd ask for prayers for all of us as we leave - it will be hard to be apart again. We are SO grateful to their community here and how they have shown love and support to Greg and Elise. They will continue to love and care for our kids in our absence and we are so grateful for that.
I'd like to especially thank Randy and Pam Newman for hosting us in their home for almost two weeks. What a huge blessing to not have the additional financial burden of a hotel and even more importantly the love and care they showed to us and Elise during some really tough days was an immeasurable blessing. Randy even came to the hospital to watch football with Greg and he enjoyed that SO much! Also thanks to their staff and students who visited, made banners, sent cards, letters, gifts and left messages on this blog -- you made Greg and Elise feel SO loved! I've also been amazed at all the support shown to them from the regional ministry community - this organization is truly a living example of the body of Christ caring for each other. And again, thanks to Tim Henderson for designing this blog and all the other forms of assistance he has given us.
Finally, thank you to our families, friends and our church community who provided support, meals and financial assistance for our family -- you are too amazing!! I know that my family has been eating a lot better in my absence than when I'm home! Sincerely, thank you for helping us get through these two weeks. .. we love and appreciate you so much!
This blog will continue to stay in existence and we will update as new developments/ updates emerge. Please continue to leave your comments/ greetings/ prayers. It really helps to know how many people care and are praying!
Have a wonderful day!
Love, Greg's mom