Update from Ron!Posted: February 14, 2013
Ron, the church consultant who helped us during our SLT process a few years back, recently wrote Vince with an update about what’s been going on with him these days; here’s an excerpt from the email!
In April I was able to get in to see the new cardiologist. During this hospital visit we began the long and difficult transplant evaluation. This testing and multiple evaluations took almost 2 months, of which one week was in the hospital. On June 5th, 2012 we learned I had been accepted to the national transplant list. The doctors said with my blood type, tissue type and body size that a new heart could take 12-24 months. In the meantime, the medicine and pump allowed me to have a quality life. I was able to work, play golf and enjoy life. The negative of the pump and being on the transplant list meant that I could not travel and had to remain within a 50 mile radius of the Dallas area. This was because if a donor heart became available you only have 2 hours to be at the hospital. This made a difference in the amount of work that I could do for TMG.
So we waited never knowing when or how a heart would become available. In August, I woke up with extreme pain in my right foot. The doctors thought it was cellulitis – an infection. They hospitalized me to try to slow the infection and kill it. They did all kinds of tests during this one week stay in the hospital. They learned it was an infection in the bones of my feet and caused a stress fracture. I received 2 different infused antibiotics at home for 8 weeks. I also had issues with the left foot as it got inflamed. During this time, I was suspended on the transplant list. You cannot have an active infection and receive a transplant. In October, the infection was gone and I was placed back on the active list.
After having a dinner with our niece for her birthday on January 5th we came home to settle in for the night. At 8:32pm we received a call from Baylor Dallas saying they had a donor heart for me. We were shocked, elated and overwhelmed to hear this news – so unexpected. We got to Baylor at 10pm and they began to prep me for the surgery. Then the wait began. By 11pm there were 18 people in my room – my pastor, family, friends, community group members, home group members, etc. We talked and prayed and laughed – but waited. It was not until the following evening (11pm) that we finally were told the heart had arrived and the surgery would begin. The surgery took about 3 hours and my official “new heart birth date” is January 7, 2013.
There has been no pain of any kind the entire time after surgery. I have not had to take any pain medicine since the ICU. I have been walking and exercising. I have had some side effects from the medications and they have caused some weakness and puny days. They seem to have moderated now and are in the desired therapeutic ranges. I am gaining energy each and every day. There is much for which to be thankful!!
Through all these challenges this year the one thing that has stood out in my mind – is the sovereignty of God. His timing, His care, His knowledge of what is best – is overwhelming and perfect! He cares about every little detail in our lives, just as He talks about in scripture. In eternity past he designated the exact time that I would receive this new heart. It is a gift – someone checked a box on his driver’s license that said he/she would be an organ donor. Tragically they were in an accident, yet many people received a gift from them – kidneys, lungs, skin tissue, etc. We pray each day for the family of this donor and the grief that they have endured losing a child, yet others are now living as a result of this gift.
Our hope is that someday we might get to meet this family and tell them our story.
We look forward to what God is going to do with this new heart and new perspective. We know that we will continue to serve Him as opportunities become apparent. In the meantime, we will tell the story of what our incredible, gracious God has done. He is worthy of our praise!