Monday, September 10, 2012

Chip's Head Angel in Heaven (Mom) definitely works Overtime!

If one other family could experience what we have during this LIVER TRANSPLANT we would be so happy.  We know that our experience is far from typical and we do not take any of it for granted.  We also know that we still have a long road ahead of us and that things can change any day or moment. 
Miracles on top of miracles.... that's our theme for the year.... and we can only hope to pass this on to other families who are waiting. 
May you have a MOMMA B in heaven that is the best HEAD ANGEL ever. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Chip has been going back for blood tests about every day.  After our scare from last weekend they want to be really sure.  Turns out that they were maybe being a little 'too cautious' with our call to "GET TO THE HOSPITAL NOW" but we are fine with that.  Always better to be extra safe than not  -- especially when it is pertaining to a liver.

He went on Friday to give blood again and was greeted by his surgeons and many of the associates he had been dealing with the past number of months.  I wish I had been there to see it.  What a KODAK moment it was.  He found out that once you are placed on the list that you are number 1 on the list for 30 days.  I am not sure if it works like this for all hospitals that do transplants but this is what we were told for Duke.  His 30 days were close to expiring when our "LARGE" liver showed up.  His coordinator told him that she was getting ready to have to to tell him that she didn't know when he would get a liver and that it could be as long as a year for him to wait.  YET ANOTHER MIRACLE.  The day before we got the call about the liver Chip was talking to our cousin and Tim said to him "You may just get a liver in the next 24 hours.  They have done over 40 transplants this year and they do about 80 a year so you never know".  Uncanny just 16 hours later he got the call. 

So.... here we are day 17 after surgery and we are doing as good as can be expected.  Doctors are still tweaking the prograf (Anti-rejection medicine) and the Prednisone (Steroid) medicine.  This steroid is not the typical steroid that we think of as the illegal substance that body builders may use it is the one that controls some inflammation and works in conjunction with the other meds.  It makes him very emotional and tearful.  This drives him crazy.  He is laughing one minute and extremely emotional the next.  Who wouldn't be?  Who wouldn't be even without the drug and having just gone through a liver transplant?  We take each day as it comes and we take the tears and the good news gladly.  We are even getting used to the the insulin shots.  So if insulin is a part of our every day life from here on out... so be it.  We will do what we need to in order to keep "STEWIE" happy.
Thanking you for your continued prayers and thoughts!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Second Hospital VIsit comes at a BAD TIME

There is NO CONVENIENT time to go to the hospital but this was not the weekend we had expected.  We gathered in Durham for Heath's birthday (Chip's son).  We catered with MAC'S BBQ and it was fabulous.  Well, what we got to enjoy was.  We sat down for lunch and Chip's phone rang.  He had gone for blood work the day before and they said that the 'numbers' weren't there.  OK so we took more of this drug and less of that and tweaked as we were told to do.   Then they wanted him to come back on Saturday for more blood work.  When the phone rang that afternoon it was the results of the early morning blood work.  The lady said "I don't have good news, you need to return to the hospital.  Your numbers are off the charts".  She then told me (as Chip had to give me the phone since he was so upset) that we needed to get ready to bring him in.  We were to expect a call within the hour to tell us that a bed was ready.  Two hours later we get a call asking us when we will be there.  I explained we were waiting for a call making sure there was a bed ready for him.  So we head for Duke and we are there within 10 minutes.  I take him in and they are waiting for him.  I wheel him up to his room and it is the SAME room that he had before.  IT WAS WEIRD! 
We were told that the issue was unknown.  It was either infection or rejection.  So, our near perfect (if you can imagine that) journey so far has been disrupted.  I am scared to death.  It is Chip and I there by ourselves.  Donna stayed back at the hotel since it was Heath's birthday.  I fled the hotel so fast I didn't even think about leaving David and the kids there without any transportation since I was taking Chip in my car.  We arrive at 4:20 pm and finally at 9:10 pm they take him for an ultrasound.  They need to find out what is going on and why it looks like something is "WRONG" with Stewie. He gets back from the ultrasound around 11:10 pm.  I know then that I am staying with him.  I knew that  we were going to have a slumber party.  He was scared and so was I.  Not knowing what was going on was the worst.  He kept telling everyone how 'GREAT HE FELT".  He continued to joke with the nurses  and we just couldn't imagine what was going so wrong. 

The next morning he is taken for a biopsy.  He was NOT happy about that.  His lead surgeon has said "Don't worry about this.  You have a good liver now and we just need to figure out what is going on".  We had already been told that rejection is better than infection as infection can be quite nasty to figure out.  Since it was Labor Day weekend we were unsure of what we would find out.  They called in a senior pathologist to do some emergency cultures on the liver.  They start giving Chip STEROIDS again which makes him very emotional.  I had to leave and come back home to Charlotte and felt so bad for doing so.  Finally today (Tuesday) we get some news.  We have been basically idle since Saturday.  We did keep getting the words "YOUR LIVER IS GOOD and it is doing well".  We could only measure that he felt so well and that things were moving along so great yet we were back in the hospital and noone knew why. 
So to wrap up the many details that are interesting but maybe not needed Owner # 1 of the liver apparently at one point in time had a staff infection. Well Chip has had that too.  From what I understand once you have had staff the infection is always present in your body to a certain extent.  The liver was strong, there was no additional bacteria in it or infection.  Apparently something was going on with the steroids, the prograph (a anti-rejection medication) and the liver being in a 'new body',  So Stewie is not unhappy with Owner # 2.
Tonight Chip is at his hotel and resting peacefully.  After his turmoil for 24 hours with his blood  sugar being as high as 390 he is calm and getting things back on track.  We have been informed that this may happen again.  We have been told that 'over-reacting' due to the unknown is expected and will occur.  These Doctors are NOT messing around and we are glad about that.  We have had the best care that we could ever imagine at DUKE and not one waking moment goes by that we are not totally thankful for it.
The road to recovery is still long but it looks good.  So to the bumps that will show up we will fasten our seat belts for you and we will be a little more prepared for you when you want to pop up.  It's not that we weren't told that this wouldn't be a possibility it was just so down played.  Our miracles keep on giving.  The Angels are dancing and singing and sending many graces to us and we appreciate every single one of them. 
Thank you to our family and friends who without fail coupled with faith keep us going.  It is greatly appreciated!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Awwww....MAN...Back at DUKE

Today is Heath's birthday (Chip's son).  We all came to Durham to see Chip and to get together for Heath's day.  We got a call just as we sat down for lunch telling us to be prepared to bring Chip back to the hospital.  What?  It is all going well...after all they are still calling him the "POSTER CHILD".   Turns out the blood levels are not what they want them to be.  I brought him in around 4 and I am now waiting for him to get back from his ultrasound.  Ultrasound and then possibly a biopsy.  I am scared and nervous but trying to be strong for him.  Everyone else is at the hotel waiting.  Its just big bro' and me.  I know that sometimes you have set backs and I am hopeful that this is just a small hurdle but....... THE MIND TAKES OVER.....

So we appreciate the continued prayers and support and appreciate the EXTRA ones now!

Hugs to all........

FROM LET"s make STEWIE Happy Land....


Friday, August 31, 2012


Thank you to everyone for their continued inquiries about my brother Chip.  He has had a great couple of days and nights.  He sounds like he did 20 years ago... young, effervescent and FULL OF LIFE.  Amazing what a lil' ole liver can do for you. 

His Doctor's visit this morning went well. Blood sugar at a good level.  Medicines are staying the same (But always subject to change any day).  He goes to the Dr. about every other day.  The kind folks at the hotel took him in the hotel van this morning and waited for him.  We still could not have asked for any better treatment from any of the places he has been.  From all the surgeons to our sweet little house cleaning lady named Agnes we have encountered simply some of the nicest people ever.  Of course, it's kind of easy for my brother to work his way into your heart.  He's just a big ole' guy who looks like the ex-football that he is and who is just as nice and friendly as can be.  He is so appreciative of all that has happened to him and knows that the Angels have worked overtime on his behalf.  (I do say he is friendlier now than the past few years but being gravely ill I can only imagine will do that to you). 
We move on minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day ..... doing what we are told by the Doctor's and LOVING every second that we have. 
Have a GREAT Labor Day Weekend and be Safe.  We have a family get together tomorrow at his hotel which we are all very excited about!
From Stewie and all the Bryant's.....thank you for your continued prayers, love and support.
Hugs to ALL!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Night Solo @ the Hotel

So "STEWIE" was on his own last night (of course with Donna).  It was overall a good night.  We have had a few interesting things occur.   Another person who has the EXACT SAME names  meds were delivered to Chip's room.  (In error).   Thankfully my Aunt Jean was there, along with Donna, Alesia and Matt,  to figure out that Chip was not 8 years or so older than the birthdate said on the large drug box that was delivered on Dry Ice that took up almost the entire space in the refrigerator.  Even more interesting is that again this morning the SAME delivery was made with the same WRONG meds.  (Well the meds weren't wrong they were just sent to the WRONG person).  Apparently the 'other same name man' had a lung transplant.  Not sure if he is in the same extended stay hotel but if he is then that is uncanny. However, I think this kink has been handled. (WE HOPE).  This could have turned out bad!!
We have had SUCH INCREDIBLE service and have had no hiccups at all so far.  The hotel has been INCREDIBLE.  They offered to take him to his Dr.'s appointment this morning and to drive them wherever they want to go. Turns out that not only is a hot breakfast available every morning but dinners are offered Monday through Thursday.  Now we find out that lunch is served Monday through Thursday.  This place just keeps getting better!! We are so incredibly blessed with the service and abundance of friends that we have met so far.  Definitely people that we will remember for life. 
I am in awe of medical workers.  At times I can only imagine what an underrated job it can be.  You are dealing clearly with people who are sick or have issues.  After all, the medical field is full of SICK PEOPLE which is what it is all about.  Yes there are NOT SICK people as well but all those whom we have encountered deal with sick to the gravely ill type.  It takes a special person to be able to deal with those whom you know will not make it.  On the same hand dealing with those who are very ill and do make it must be a feeling of what I can imagine as being beyond pure joy.  Knowing that you have helped someone to keep their life .... it is impossible to fathom for me.
To all the MEDICAL WORKERS who are often on the receiving end of nasty words from sick patients and those who have lost their enthusiasm about life THANK YOU.  Because of the many doctors and the donor  my brother has been given a second chance. I am a strong believer in second chances and in many cases third ones.   Although there is still a long road of recovery he has life because of  the hard work of others.  The THOUGHTLESS acts of the organ donor is the reason that my brother is still alive.  I will forever be a cheerleader for organ donation.  I wish the donor family knew how well their loved ones liver is doing.  I don't know if knowing that someone else has life and has benefited because of your loved one is a settling thing or not.  Seems weird... one looses their life and another has a chance at it.  Kind of oxy-moronish.   Our hearts are with those who are still waiting for an organ transplant and their families.  We can only hope that they have the "MIRACLE EXPERIENCE" that we have. 
So that being said, we continue to be thankful and appreciative of what we have.  From friends who have reached out to give us their thoughts to the sweet lady named Agnes who mopped his hospital room floor and the newspaper lady in the ICU waiting room who said   "The Angels are here" our hearts are warm with joy, love and HOPE.
Here's to Angels continuing to Surround  You!

Released from HOSPITAL!

Today Chip was released from the hospital.  Since he is doing so "WELL" they wanted to move him so that he could continue to 'heal' and to have less risk for the possibility of  hospital infection.  I dropped the children off at their first day of Kindergarten and then headed for Durham.  I had to be back by 4:15 this afternoon.  That meant when I finally got there I had about one hour and ten minutes to get the extended stay place checked out and make sure that every possible thing was handled that I could do.
After falling in love with the front desk people and checking out his actual room I bolted over to the hospital where no less than five Doctor's were in his room and many were lined up at the door.  So many discharge papers and so many lists of "DO THIS" and "Don't Do That's".
We are still amazed, happy, blessed, surprised, giddy and all other "GOOD" words that this has happened so fast and gone so well.   Normally a minimum stay for a liver transplant patient is "9" days.  The 29th marks the 7th day (which was the day he went in and surgery didn't technically start until the 30th in the wee hours of the morning). we do what the Doctors (emphasis on PLURAL)  say and we take the anti-rejection meds RELIGIOUSLY.  We don't mess with the blood sugar levels and insulin is our new best buddy... well besides "STEWIE".  Nothing else matters if we don't keep Stewie happy.
The extended stay facility is in the middle of everything.  Shops, restaurants, you name it... it is near.  We couldn't have lucked out more on this.
As of right now (12:34 am) on August 29th I can only hope that he is sound asleep and getting some of that rest that he never got in the hospital.  I get to get out of bed and make new rounds of banana breads and baked goodies for the hotel staff and the housekeepers who will be taking care of them while they are there.  You just have to make sure everyone "FEELS THE LOVE".  We have certainly felt it with all the outcome of support and love.  What a joy it has been to receive messages, texts and notes during this time.
Thank you for 'SHARING THE LOVE".
Angels on your pillow ----- 

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