Saturday, January 31, 2015

Heart failure, liver failure, etc.

Here are the updates that I've posted lately regarding my husband, Isaiah. The most recent updates are at the top.

1/30/15 Update
Today was a day full of waiting. Numerous tests and scans were done today. 

At this point we are waiting for Isaiah to wake up from his sedation. If he has done this by Monday night, he will receive surgery for a LVAD on Tuesday, which is essentially an implanted device on his heart to help it pump. This is a long term solution. He could potentially receive a heart transplant once more time has passed since his cancer surgery this past September. 

If he has not woken up by Monday night, they will put in a temporary version of the LVAD. This would allow extra time for him to wake up. 

The LVAD will likely require about a month in the hospital post op and 3 months living locally in Seattle. 

Thankfully, the time he is spending on the tandem heart, is helping the rest of his body to heal, especially his liver. 

So for now we wait. We do not know what more God has in store for Isaiah... All that we can do is pray. God has a plan and we must do our best to remain patient in the meantime.

1/29/15 Update
Prayers are desperately needed for Isaiah right now. He had a bad night/morning. Some of the medications, while improving part of his condition, caused his heart to begin beating very rapidly. They shocked his heart to get it going properly again. This happened twice last night at which point he did flatline but was brought back via CPR which the doctor described as "very brief" as far as how much CPR was needed. 

A few hours later the doctors called me in to the hospital to discuss a procedure called a tandem heart (not even close to what it sounds like but it was needed). While they were getting this done, his heart decided to go crazy again and needed to be shocked. He did very well and responded properly to the procedure itself. 

He is currently being flown to UWMC in Seattle where they will evaluate him and determine the next step. We (family) are on our way to Seattle today and tomorrow to be with him however he is thankfully sedated to keep giving him time to rest and no time to worry. 

This is going to be a long process and recovery. We will likely be in Seattle for weeks. We know that UWMC is the best place for him right now and he will be in amazing hands there. 

Please continue to keep all of us, particularly Isaiah and his heart, liver, and medical staff in your prayers. He is such a strong man and I know he's just trying to become bionic somehow. Isaiah is an incredible man, husband, and father. I so can't wait to get him healthy and home where he belongs. 

We are truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives. You all mean so much to us and the love and support we've received is overwhelming. I love you all. 

Keep up the prayers!!!! Thank you so much!

1/28/15 Update
Just spent some time in Isaiah's room... He was responding to the nurses commands to open his eyes, squeeze my hand, and wiggle his toes. He was also asked if he was in any pain and he shook his head "no". Which is very exciting since he's not on any pain meds right now.
We got some more results a few minutes ago. His heart and liver have been failing since being admitted and they've really been watching his liver enzyme numbers because if those numbers don't improve, they will have to intervene. Thankfully, we just got some blood test results and his liver enzyme numbers have improved dramatically. The cardiologist was very excited by the results. The levels are still nowhere near normal but if they continue to trend in the right direction, he will be normal in no time! We have to keep praying that those numbers continue to improve. 

Also, they took him off of sedation this morning and he's been doing well so far. Responded to the nurses earlier when they asked him to squeeze their hand and open his eyes. He's just so tired, he doesn't seem to want to wake up just yet. BUT he's still tolerating it well.

Keep those prayers coming because they are working!
Isaiah's doctors are happy to see some of his numbers improving. He's been taken off of one of his heart medications and he is tolerating it well. While he's still intubated, they have taken him off of the ventilator to see how he's breathing on his own and he's been doing well. His liver is not doing well however and he is still in heart failure. 

There are a lot of steps that can be taken if things do not improve but hopefully none of those options will be necessary. Especially since absolute worst case involves sending him to Seattle again. While he loves Seattle... He would be very unhappy to wake up at University of Washington Medical Center. That is one place he swore he never wanted to see again.

1/27/15 Update
Isaiah update: Everyone is heading home to rest for the night per the doctor's orders. Some of his numbers are showing improvement which they find encouraging however he is still in heart failure. I can't thank you all enough for the prayers and reaching out. It truly means so much to all of us. Prayer can do amazing things and I hope that with tomorrow comes some miraculous news. 

This poor guy's body has been through so much this past year and I had truly hoped that 2015 would be a year of recovery and health... Guess that just has to start in February. Let's get this guy healthy and home ASAP.
Another update. Isaiah is in the ICU and his heart is not doing well. We are waiting for more test results but we don't know much. Please continue prayers as he needs all of the strength he can get.
As quickly as I posted the last update, we have another update. The doctors are moving quickly with him. Apparently Isaiah has deteriorated just since being admitted this morning. They are going to be sedating and intubating him in order to force him to get some rest and breathe properly. While he's in the ICU they will be doing some additional tests to see what exactly is going on with his lungs in addition to the pneumonia. 

It is a terrible feeling to get the call with this kind of information, but thankfully Isaiah's parents are with him at the hospital right now. After answering all of the doctor's questions and getting all paperwork filled out, I left the hospital to take care of Audrey. The ER and the ICU are not the best places for a healthy newborn. 

Isaiah's body so desperately needs some rest. Hopefully, they will get everything figured out and by the time he wakes up, he will be feeling like a new person.

In December we noticed that he was having more and more difficulty with sleeping and had started to have more difficulty with breathing. After this was clearly not going away on its own, Isaiah mentioned it at one of his doctor appointments. A CT scan of his chest and an ultrasound of his right leg were ordered. They wanted to see what was going on with his lungs and also make sure there were no blood clots. 

Unfortunately the tests showed that he did have a few clots in his right leg, for which he was put on blood thinners... not too bad. While his CT scan showed no signs of blood clots in his chest, they did see that he had something going on with his lungs... most likely double pneumonia (according to the radiologist, this is very common in radiation patients and patients who have had such a major surgery and kept very immobile post op). 

The one good thing that came out of this appointment was the fact that he was finally cleared to start putting up to 25% of his weight on his right leg. FINALLY! 

After his antibiotics had run their course, we noticed that his breathing was not getting any better. 

On January 16th, we welcomed our beautiful baby girl, Audrey, into the world, but Isaiah's condition seemed to only be getting worse. He was insistent that he was fine and tried to keep focus on me and the baby even though I offered to get him admitted and ask to share a room haha. He did finally call his doctor and get an inhaler to hopefully help with his breathing while I was admitted to the hospital, but this brought no change to his breathing. 

After a week of continued deterioration, we went back to the doctor with additional symptoms. Not only was he having a very hard time breathing, not sleeping, but he was also coughing like you wouldn't believe and throwing up so often that he was unable to keep down food, water, or even his medications and vitamins. Blood work was done and another CT scan was ordered. 

Yesterday we received the results from the CT scan. His lungs are looking worse than before. The doctor consulted with a lung specialist who wanted additional blood tests and to see Isaiah in his office today. Off we went for more blood work in the below zero weather. 

All night he was coughing and throwing up. He continued to have difficulty breathing and didn't sleep. This morning we made our way to the hospital instead of waiting for the results from the additional blood tests and the appointment with the specialist. He was in too rough of shape to wait any longer. 

Sure enough, he is extremely dehydrated (big surprise) and after looking at some chest X rays, the doctors are thinking it is definitely pneumonia. Unfortunately, he will have to stay in the hospital... they are just waiting to determine if he should be put in a regular room or the ICU. 

Thankfully, Isaiah is fully aware that this is the only way that he is going to get better, and he isn't fighting the process. Anyone who knows him knows how much he just looooooves hospitals :/ 

While we are very happy that he is being taken care of, it is so hard to watch him be in such bad shape that he has to go through another hospital stay. 

Hopefully the doctors are able to get him on the perfect combination of medications so that we can get him healthy and out of the hospital as soon as possible. 

Please continue to keep Isaiah in your thoughts and prayers... the poor guy most definitely needs it.


  1. Oh Shelby. It just hurts my heart to know what you all are enduring and have endured in the last year. Thankful to hear of your baby girl's birth. But I'm guessing this time is not at all what envisioned.

    Praying for you...

  2. praying for you!! don't ever lose your faith.

  3. I am so sorry your husband, you and your family have to go through this. Sending you many wishes for strength and light during this difficult time.