Jody is doing well. Really well. On November 15th he reached the two month mark, and I have to say, his new lungs are downright awesome! Each week at clinic his lung function continues to climb. This past week he was at 81.5%! I can hardly wrap my brain around this considering a few short months ago he was down to 22%. Can you imagine what that must feel like? Recently I looked at my records of Jody’s PFT’s from when we started dating 10 years ago (yes, admittingly I do have 10 years of records in my file cabinet). In 2004 his lung function was hanging around 75%. Through the next ten years he experienced a slow and steady decline until his lungs nearly gave up here in 2014. One night in surgery erased 10 years of damage. It’s crazy!
Pulmonary rehab is going well and Jody is definitely becoming more active. In fact, this past week in clinic he was reminded not to overdo it because he has a very thin wire holding his chest together right now. Jody has a transverse sternotomy incision which means they cut his breastbone in half horizontally instead of up and down. This provides greater access for a lung transplant surgeon than the traditional (vertical) sternotomy. I searched online to find a photo of this to give you a visual and this is the best one I could find (sorry it’s a little blurry). On x-ray you can see the bow tie-like wires holding Jody’s sternum together until it heals. Until that time he continues to have lifting and stretching restrictions.
Speaking of restrictions… two weeks ago his transplant coordinator gave us the impression that he could start driving when he felt up to it, and recently he did. After two months of me, and only me, at the wheel it was great to have him back at it… he could drive himself to rehab. At clinic this week he was given a lecture about having started driving and told that he wouldn’t be cleared to drive until six months out of surgery. The coordinator (who seems to call the shots) did correct the doctor and say that it wouldn’t be that long. It was frustrating to be given this gentle scolding when just two weeks ago Jody was told that he would know when he felt ready to get behind the wheel. Perhaps they should have clarified that just because he felt ready didn’t mean he was ready. So now we’re back to me and only me behind the wheel. This is complicated because I am back to work, Jody has rehab three days a week and our youngest daughter needs to get to and from preschool three days a week. Jody’s clearance to drive couldn’t come soon enough.
One thing Jody’s new lungs allowed us to do recently was to celebrate our youngest daughter’s fourth birthday. We didn’t do anything fancy, just the four of us here at home, in fact, I didn’t even make a cake, I bought one (gasp). Most of you know that one of my favorite things to do is make/decorate fun birthday cakes for our girls but this birthday I decided I didn’t need the added stress. Piper, forgive me, I promise I’ll make it up to you next year. The cake I asked the bakers to make turned out cute and she probably didn’t even care that it wasn’t made by me. Do you remember this post, ‘Thank you, transplant, for waiting two more days?‘ I guess I could have titled this one, ‘Thank you, transplant, for this day.’ I’m so glad our daughter didn’t have to celebrate her birthday without us. The hope of this transplant is that Jody will thrive, beating the statistics of lung transplants just as he beat the odds stacked against him so many years ago when he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Hopefully he will be around to celebrate many more birthdays.
One final note, our family received some sad news this week that Jody’s Mom, Sharon, was diagnosed with colon cancer. She has an appointment with a surgeon in two weeks and until then we are left with very little information on the staging of her cancer and the treatment plan. We know she will have surgery on December 10th and we appreciate your prayers for that. Thankfully I am off work that day so I can be there for her surgery. Pray that God would fill her with hope and minimize the negative thoughts that come with every cancer diagnosis.
Thanks for continuing to follow Jody’s Journey.
‘For I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord…