Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Correction on Yesterday's post. The surgery on Sunday was believed to be in order to correct a bile leak. However, on entry they discovered infection instead. So, Victor continues to fight infection. They also did not open him completely, but entered laprascopically -- much easier for him. They did do a liver biopsy yesterday. The liver is still very healthy with no signs of rejection. Praise God!


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Monday, January 30, 2006

It's interesting that as I feel better, life seems to move faster and faster. We had a busy weekend. The usual Friday night music practice and full church activities on Sunday morning. Then, Sunday night we hosted an audition for the third season of Inspiration Sensation. Above, our praise team sings the opening worship numbers. It was exciting to greet friends we hadn't seen in awhile like Rene Bradley and the Rev. Dan Willis as well as meet new ones. The contestants were great. You won't want to miss the first showing on March 11, TLN (comcast) at 8:00 P.M.

Victor had another surgical procedure yesterday to correct yet another bile leak. He is again recovering from fresh surgery. Today they were to do a biopsy on the liver to check for any additional problems. We haven't heard from Marta with the results of that yet. Sunday morning the message brought yet another reminder that God has all things in his hands. Thanks again for your consistent prayers for both of us.

I'm still doing well. After an active weekend, I was sore and tired today. I spent most of the day resting. (This has been my most strenuous activity!) Once again, thanks for your prayer and support.

Phylis Huerta

Friday, January 27, 2006

Last night I went with Rodney and Victor's mom, Juana to the hospital. We were greatly heartened by Victor's condition. He is able to respond to conversation. Since he has a tracheal tube for breathing, and his arms are tied down so as not to pull at tubes, he is limited to mouthing words. Fortunately, Rodney is much better at lip reading than I, so we were able to communicate. He was asking about people and obviously aware of his situation.

They are lowering medications, both sedatives and the blood pressure meds, but he remains stable. He needs continued prayer that this improvement would continue. Also the remaining major medical issue is that his kidneys would begin to work. Doctors plan to begin physical therapy in the next few days to prepare for sitting up, standing, etc. It's been 4 weeks now since the initial surgery, and he's been immobilized for most of that time.

Thanks for your continued prayers.


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Things I've learned
1. Slow is not necessarily bad. Slow is particularly helpful if one takes the time to think things through before moving. I find that thinking things through carefully has not been my forte. For example, if I get up to do three different tasks, it is more efficient if all three tasks are done before I sit down again. (Imagine that!! Isn't that profound?) I've discovered that I regularly waste a lot of motion and energy going back and forth.

2. Just resting is not boring if one needs the rest. My habit is to take things at breakneck speed and I couldn't imagine myself any differently. However, I've rather enjoyed the "just resting" part of recovery. Something I never thought I'd hear myself say. But when I really need rest, even reading becomes hard work.

3. "God has his own timetable" is a lesson learned in layers. It's not that I didn't already know God's timing is his own, and that he doesn't arrive late. I've believed that for as long as I can remember. But waiting for Victor to improve has taken me a level deeper into learning to wait on God. God will not be hurried by my need!


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Tuesday...Victor's condition continues to improve. He's more responsive. I'd like to think the last of his surgeries is over. If I count right, I think he's had 7 surgical procedures in the last 4 weeks...or maybe this last big one is 8. Something like that. Nobody every said a transplant was easy!! The good news is that his liver continues to function; his heart continues in good condition. They're lightening the sedatives and paralytics so that he is able to respond.

I went in to work today to eat lunch and greet everyone. It felt good to be there. But by the time I got home again, I was achey and tired, ready for an afternoon nap!! :) I guess I'm not ready to go back to work yet! Maybe in a couple more weeks I'll have an increase of strength! Need to. Can't stay off forever!!

At the check up yesterday, they said that 90% of my liver has been regenerated. It's not fully functional, but the organ is mostly there. That seems amazing to me. At three months it should be fully functional as well. I'm doing well, though. I can eat almost anything, just in very small amounts. Growing livers create a lot of acid, so a few acidic thing (like coffee and pop) don't taste good. But for the most part I can eat almost anything in small quantities. I guess I'm really doing well. Thank God.

Thanks again for your prayers for both of us!!


Monday, January 23, 2006

I had my 4 week check-up today (3 days early) and I'm healing fine. I left blood for labs and those results will come later, but no bad news is expected. Everything seems to be fine. The Doctors said today that by now about 90% of my liver should be regrown! That's amazing. I knew that within 3 months it would bet totally there and completely functioning. But I guess the early growth is faster. And later growth involves finer points of liver function. Go figure.

An addendum to Friday night. Sammy did not go see his father. Rodney didn't want to take him out that late and into the snow storm of the season. Although Victor was stabilized by the time we got there, I really don't think it would have been good for Sammy. Victor still looked bad. God knows all thing!

Saturday and Sunday Victor remained stable. They lowered sedatives and paralytics, and he was able to move his arms and to respond some. Today his blood pressure dipped a bit. They went in laparoscopically to change the stint in the bile duct and discovered bile leakage. Then they had to open him again to fix the leak. Another surgery. The good thing is that Victor is so sedated that most of this experience, he won't even remember.

Marta called today about the laparoscopic surgery and then later when they had to operate asking for prayer. Although a bile leak is a fairly common complication for liver transplants and re-sections, Victor's condition is critical so the procedure is fairly high risk. Please keep praying. We so much appreciate you prayer coverning.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

THANKS FOR YOUR PRAYERS! By 11:15 when we actually got on the tollway to head for the hospital, Victor's blood pressure had stabilized. Thanks for your prayers. He's still in critical condition, but once again is stable. Doctors say that healing will come in very small increments. They've done an EKG and his heart is working well; his liver is working well; the kidneys continue to be a problem. I'm not sure I really understand, but the destabilization had something to do with the volume of fluid going into his body and the volume of fluid coming out of his body not being balanced. The heart was simply surrounded by too much fluid in the body cavity (not enough coming out) to maintain a steady flow of blood supplied by fluid going into the veins.

It's really difficult to see him this way. But...I don't believe that God has brought us this far to leave us now!!

The good news is that I was up all day and most of the night (we got back here about 3:30 AM) and have suffered no ill effects. My recovery is progressing well.

Please keep praying!

Friday, January 20, 2006

CALLING ALL PRAYER WARRIERS! Victor remains critical with blood pressure fluctuating. Doctors say they've done all they can; it's just wait and see. The family is going to Chicago tonight in the middle of this snow storm (It's 8:20 PM CST and about 6 inches of snow on the ground here). Doctors have given permission for Sammy to go up and see his Daddy. They're stopping by here for me and I'll be at the hospital too.

Please pray. God is a God of miracles. By definition a miracle is divine intervention in human affairs. It's time for divine intervention. We need a miracle!


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Victor's condition remains stable, but critical. Please keep praying. He did well for the surgical procedure. He now has a breathing tube in his trachea which is much more comfortable than down the throat. His blood pressure is responding and rising somewhat. The main difficulty at this point is that in his struggle to overcome the infection, his kidneys are still not functioning. The doctors believe that it is temporary since the kidneys have never been an issue before. He needs continued prayer. His mind is fine. They bring him to consciousness from time to time; sometimes he is lightly sedated. He is able to respond and knows where he is and what's happening. That's good.

As for me, my recooperation is going well. I have a bit more "up" time each day and am able to accomplish a few things. Yesterday I spend a few hours with my 4 year old granddaughter. She kept me well entertained! I still like my afternoon nap and usually sleep 10-12 hours a day. For me, that's high abnormal. My usual sleep time is 6-7 hours with an occasion 8 hour night. I never take naps unless I get less than the 6 hours sleep. But I guess my growing liver needs rest. Speaking of which, I think it's time to go rest!! :)

God Bless you all. Thanks for your prayers. Please remember Victor.


Monday, January 16, 2006

Keep praying for Victor. For the last three days, he's been struggling with an infection of one of the bile ducts. Today they're taking him for surgery to remove the infected tissue. It breaks my heart to know he's still coping with surgeries...but the doctors say that it is all part of the expected course of transplants. It may take several months for him to be restored to health. And...I know that God is able to sustain Victor and give him peace. He's been sedated for these days and only occasionally is able to speak and know what's happening. Just keep praying.

As for me, I'm steadily recooperating. I'm still sleeping a lot, probably 12-14 hours a day. I guess that is good. My body is healing. I did sing Sunday morning and was exhausted afterward, but it was good exercise for my lungs. It really only hurts when I cough, or laugh! Otherwise, I'm comfortable, just low energy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

How can I say thanks for your care and concern, your prayers and well wishes? Just, "Thanks" doesn't seem enough. Tomorrow will be two weeks since surgery; a week ago today I came home from the hospital. I'm moving slowly, but moving. God has been good! I now sleep most of the night, less during the day. What is it about hospitals? They mix up your days and nights! I went for a check up on Monday and everything is healing fine. My liver is working and everything else seems good as well. The incision, of course, is large, but healing well.

Victor is progressing slowly, but steadily. There is no sign of organ rejection; the liver is working. He still has a long way to go for good health, but it's closer every day. According to the surgeon, the transplant was just in the nick of time. The small piece of liver he had left from the resection almost a year ago was reinfested with tumors. He had a matter of weeks left to live. God is SOOOOO good!

I still tire easily, so these updates will be brief. But...thank you again for your prayers. Keep praying for Victor. He needs God's grace daily, as do we all.

God Bless you everyone.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Here are my sister and I after her all night vigil. (She'll shoot me for publishing this one!)

At Last, my body will sit in a chair in an upright position, and I think my mind can stay focused long enought to write this. I shall post no matter what, although if I don't finish, it will mean things are out of order. I'll try to put dates inside the blog.

Day 0: Wednesday: Arrival at Hospital
My sister and daughter-in-law accompanied me to the hospital. I decided to go in joy. I wore hot pink with hot pink suitcase and my orange furry coat. It actually felt a bit like a baby delivery. Somehow the idea of life coming was there. The advantage was, at that moment in time, I felt wonderful (No labor pains!)

Day 1: Thursday: Surgery
I woke up a bit late in the evening. I'm barely conscious of faces I was and I remember waving. The surgery took longer than expected. A four hour surgery turned into a long 8 hours for my family anxiously waiting. They opened me up had my liver ready to move, but it to much longer to prep Victor. He had had a previous resection to remove tumors and additional work had to be done. My liver had to remain connected to me to remain viable. But...8 hours later I was back upstairs. Victor still had some hours to go. Because I haven't asked Marta about giving more details with Victor, I'll need to keep that to the essentials.

During the night, My sister sat by my side. I have no idea how often I opened my eyes and whisperered "ice, please" or some other small request, but every time she was alert and awake. I don't think she closed her eyes all night.

Day 2 - Friday: Medication sets in. I can't tolerate codeine, and we now know I don't tolerate morphine either.

Days 3-4- Saturday, Sunday: I remember headaches and my loving family by my side. My head hurt far worse than my stomache. More morphine gave more headaches. So did other meds. Those days were a blur of changing nurses (Most of whom were THE most wonderful people on earth!), headaches, and backaches. But...I was getting up with assistance and eating a liquid diet by Sunday. I should say, they allowed me to eat a liquid diet. I would take only a sip of this or that. Mostly I ate ice.

By Sunday night (Day 4) The medication issue came to crisis for me. Morphine was removed and after that, the headaches were better. My back spasms came into full play. I had only three minor (per doctors) medical issues going in: myofacial disorder which causes muscle spasms, sinus difficulties with post nasal drip which makes me cough (Not good after major sugery) and migraine headaches which usually occur only one or twice a month. After the morphine was discontinued I had a bit more pain from surgery, but the headaches lessened in intensity and with walking, back pain subsided.

There were a couple of days there when I wondered if I had really heard from God. The usual depressive thoughts when one is very ill and in pain. But at the last prayer meeting before surgery God had given me the 23rd Psalm to hold on to, specifically: "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me." I'd say that to myself over and over. God never left my side. And...he sent human angels to minister to me, sometimes nurses, sometimes friends and family.

Day 5-Monday: The Doctor shocked me my asking if I was ready to go home tomorrow. I responded with something like, "If you think I'm ready". But I was stunned. I decided I had better practice getting around on my own, maybe try to eat something (They started solid foods that morning...eggs and turkey bacon -- and see how much mobility I could gain.

Day 6 - Tuesday: On the am visit, he said we'd try for discharge the next day. I was both relieved and disappointed. However, with God's help I continued my regimen of improving mobility. I did discover that the more I moved, walked, etc., the better the back pains were and it did not cause additional pain from the incision site. Onward and Upward.

Day 7 - Wednesday: I was more than ready to go when the doctor arrived on morning rounds. Thank God. Arrival home was quiet, but in the evening the kids and grandkids came over. The Daily Herald took some pictures and issued the third story the next day.

For now, I'm going to stop. This is as long as I can sit. I'm going to try to go to church tomorrow for at least worship time. It will be so refreshing. Everyone has been so kind. Thank you for all the flowers, cards, emails and prayers.

Please keep praying for Victor. As of today he continues to progress with no setbacks. Every day is a victory of life. His is the greater struggle. He is drinking water, is no longer on a respirator, but breathing on his own with an oxygen mask. God is good! He's giving Sammy back his Papi!

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