The Iron Bowl – The Real BCS Championship!

Auburn Wins 2013

What an amazing game!  Words can’t even begin to describe the excitement level of this years Iron Bowl.  I do believe that is the mo

st exciting ending to a football game I have ever seen that had significance to the National Championship.

Who needs a playoff system?  Just make the Iron Bowl the new National Championship game, and you will have an instant classic year after year.  Sorry Florida State…sorry Ohio State and Missouri, you just can’t compete with the likes and the intensity of the Auburn vs. Alabama game.  Nothing can, and never will!

War Eagle!

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Post Transplant Update # 7:

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Bethany’s liver numbers continue to look really good!  Everything is trending down, and prayerfully soon, her numbers will be normal.  We have been able to remove all of Bethany’s iv’s except her main port.  The surgeon just left a few moments ago after removing Bethany’s last drain.  We are also lowering Bethany’s pain medicine today.  Praise God for new life and 2nd chances!  We are all so thankful!

I think we are still adjusting to a new healthy Bethany.  After 11 1/2 years of sickness, we all need to do a reset on what is ahead.  Bethany still has a long recovery ahead, but the prognosis is very good!

Right now, her biggest obstacle is pain.  If she had come to transplant with no pain, then pain would not be a big issue.  But since she’s had pain since July, we now have the task of calming down those pain receptors and weening her off heavy pain medication.

The illustration I use when describing why Bethany continues to have intense pain is a hammer.  If someone came to you and started hitting you with a hammer on the head for say 7 months, this would hurt, and maybe you could learn to tolerate it.  Now let’s say that the hammer is taken away and the person is not allowed to hit you anymore on the head.  The cause of the pain has been removed, but you’ll still have pain because your head still needs to recover.

Now let’s say that same person gets the hammer back and begins hitting you on the foot.  You still have pain from the blows to your head, but now you also have a new source of pain.  Even though you might have built up a high tolerance to the head pain, the added pain from the blows to your foot begins to overwhelm you and your nervous system.  Basically, your body just says, “I can’t handle anymore!”

This is where Bethany is now.  She is making good progress, but at the same time she still hurts a lot and we are trying to ween her off her pain meds.  We have started Bethany’s rehab (walking and moving) and the reduction her of pain medication.  This next week will be very busy for her.  Her pain will be reducing, but it will also increase because of all the activity.

How to pray:

  1. Pray for no infections from stitches or where her drains were located.
  2. Pray for continued improvements in Bethany’s liver numbers.
  3. Pray for pain management especially as we begin to lower Bethany’s pain medications.
  4. Bethany has set a goal of being home in Birmingham by Wednesday, Dec. 18th.  Please pray that Bethany will make continued progress in her recovery so we can make this goal or beat it.
  5. Continue to remember the donor’s family during the holiday season, and give God praise for His provision of new life to so many people.

We give great thanks to our great God who supplies all our needs!  Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

Blessings to you during this great season of Joy and Thanksgiving!
Taylor, Angela, Bethany, and Jonathan

2 Cor. “Now is the Time!”

Thanksgiving and God

Is it possible to express true thankfulness without a belief in God?  I don’t think so.

How can we express thanksgiving if we don’t believe in the existence of God who created and provided us everything we have?  Thanksgiving begins with an acknowledgement of thankfulness and appreciation.  It reveals our indebtedness to another.

To truly be thankful, we must comprehend the root of our essence and the magnitude of our need.  The genesis of our being is rooted with God, and the vastness of our poverty is found in our sin.  Therefore, though we attempt to conceal our privations, we play a dangerous game.  Only in acknowledgement and appreciation of God is anyone able to express real thanksgiving because it is only when we know God that we encounter the source of all we have to be thankful for.

True thanksgiving finds its source in a

knowledge and appreciation for a great God

who has done great things on our behalf.  

Where freely expressed thankfulness is lacking, true knowledge and worship of God will also be found to be uncommon.  If the creatures created to be the praise of His glory fail to acknowledge even the existence of God, how can we expect to find thankfulness on earth?

Today is Thanksgiving.  What are you thankful for?  A good job…your family…health…a home?  Today, I am thankful for a great God and my great Savior.  Oh yes, I am thankful for many things other than this.  I’m thankful for a new liver for my beautiful daughter.  I’m thankful for a wonderful family, friends, and co-workers who have loved and supported us in so many ways I can’t count.  I’m thankful second chances.  But more than any of these, I’m thankful for the one who provided all of these and more.  Thankfulness begins with the source knowledge that there is A One True God, Creator of all, King, and Lord of all.  Thankfulness begins with not just knowing that God is Creator but that He is Savior too.

What is He Savior of you might ask?  He is our Savior.  Why do I need a Savior?  Because our loving God gave us life and in our independence and rebellion we decided we knew better than Him, and we made Him our enemy.  And yet, even while we were enemies of God, He sent His son Jesus to die in our place for our sins.  Jesus said before He died, “Greater love have no one than this that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Jesus laid down His life for us in order that we could live.  Now that is something to be thankful for.  What are you thankful for today?  Where does your thankfulness come from?  Look to the source of every good and precious gift coming down from the Father of Light.

Happy Thanksgiving, and use every opportunity to spread God’s light while it is still light!

Blessings,
Taylor

Post Transplant Update # 6:

The last 36 hours Bethany has made some great advances.  She has started walking, her central line is coming out as I write this, and we will be moving out of picu in a couple of hours.  Bethany has also been released to eat.  Yeah!  She hasn’t eaten since last Tuesday.

Bethany 2nd surgery she had on Monday went very well.  At the time, we did not find out much.  The surgeon redid some of the liver connections, but he was unable to find any visual reasons for her elevated GGT.  He did take tissue samples of her liver.  These samples showed some of the bile was getting stuck in the liver.  It also showed that Bethany is not in rejection!  Her liver is doing great!

Yesterday, Bethany’s GGT began coming down.  It is still very elevated, but it continued to drop today.  Her surgeon believes by relocating one of her liver connections that it helped to open up the bile duct to allow the bile to flow through.  This seems to be the case since her GGT and the rest of her liver numbers are improving.

Bethany still has a lot of pain associated with her surgery.  Each day she seems to be making improvements.  Today she walked to the nurse’s station and back, and she has also been able to make it to the restroom on her own twice!

Our next big milestone will be eating.  Bethany is ordering her food now.  She has asked for Frosted Flakes, blueberry muffin, and a cinnamon bagel with strawberry cream cheese.  These are all great signs of healing.

We are so thankful for all these improvements, and ask that you continue to pray for Bethany’s recovery.  Please continue to pray especially for Bethany’s pain management, sleep, and titrating Bethany off all her pain medications.  She’s been on pain meds since July.  

We are also so thankful for the donor and their family.  They have given Bethany this wonderful opportunity to have a healthy life.  Please remember them too during this time of their grieving.  Pray they can give God praise for the lives their loved one has been able to save by donating their organs.

Thank you again for everyone’s continued prayers.  God is faithful all the time!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Taylor, Angela, Bethany, and Jonathan

Post Transplant Update # 5:

Bethany is out of surgery.  She did well.  We are back in her picu room, but they have not brought her back to the room yet.

We talked with her doctor.  In his words, he wasn’t real satisfied with what he found.  Everything looked good.  The liver looked good, the bile ducts looked good, and everywhere they had attached the new liver looked good.

He did put a stint in and shot dye up into all the bile ducts to ensure that everything was open.  Everything looked good.  No bile leakage or collected in the liver, intestines or bowels.

The doctor did take a tissue sample of her new liver to check for infection, inflammation, or rejection.  Right now Bethany has him scratching his head, but he hopes the biopsy will reveal something.

Right now, what is going on with Bethany doesn’t really match up with normal circumstances.  It doesn’t match rejection nor bile leakage or bile being stunk in the liver.

We won’t hear back from the tissue sample for 24 hours.  Until then, please pray for revelation as to what is going on with Bethany.  If it is an infection of cholangitis or rejection, they have great medications to deal with this.  What we don’t want to hear is that Bethany’s new liver has begun to re-infect with primary sclerosing cholangitis.  That is possible, but not likely.  In fact, her surgeon has never seen that happen before, but it is a concern.

That is about all I know now.  Please continue to pray for her recovery.  Bethany was very anxious about having to go back to surgery because her recovery has been so hard.  She continues to be in a lot of pain, but before this surgery she was starting to really move around very well.

We continue to have so many people reach out to us in prayers, notes, and calls!  Thank you!  It means so much.  We have a calmness and comfort knowing that God is in control.  Keep up the good work, and I’ll keep everyone up-to-date.

We love y’all!  Happy Thanksgiving, and God bless,
Taylor, Angela, Bethany, & Jonathan

Post Transplant Update # 3:

Bethany slept well last night.  She’s been having trouble with her blood pressure, so we gave her something different for pain and her anxiousness.  This helped her blood pressure to come down.  It also helped her to sleep.

This morning the P’T came by and helped Bethany get into a chair.  She’s been sitting in her chair for about an hour and half.  She has slept most of the morning away in bed and her chair which is good because her pain is still very intense.

Please continue to pray for pain relief, more movement, and rest.  Please also pray for her GGT levels.  This is a liver enzyme which has been rising the last two days.  It usually indicates inflammation.  Please pray that this number will go down.

All of Bethany’s other numbers continue to improve.  Her doctors believe the GGT elevation has risen because we haven’t gotten her anti-rejection medications levels high enough yet.  We’ll continue adjusting these meds until we get a fix on what Bethany needs to keep her new liver stable.

Thank you again for your notes and prayers!  I’ve been reading your notes to Bethany.  These have had a calming effect on her which has helped her not be as anxious about her pain.

In His grace,
Taylor, Angela, Bethany, and Joanthan