Sunday, June 24, 2007

One year and counting...

Hi everyone:

Before I discuss the significance of the title for today's entry, Patty and I wanted to share our best wishes for a speedy recovery for Joe, Patty's brother, who underwent an appendectomy last night. I'm pretty sure an entire season of ER could be crafted around the medical travails of the O'Mara clan.

One year ago today, while in the hospital, Patty was added to the UNOS heart transplant list. It seems like so much--both bad and good--has happened since then. It also seems like the wait may continue for a while.

If there's bad news in this, it's that Patty doesn't seem to be any more viable a candidate today than she was at the time she was listed. When Patty's panel reactive antibodies (PRA) were first measured, the results were 65% and 100%. At last measure, they were at 59% and 100%, even after the many interventions that have been undertaken to bring these numbers down. I'm pretty sure the blood of the monster in the film Alien (you know, that burned through flesh and metal?) was borrowed from Patty; she's an antibody machine.

Do you suppose doctors will be able to solve the PRA riddle? Do you think another good heart will come along, in spite of the odds? How will Patty handle the drug regimen after a transplant, when she seems so prone to negative side effects? Are the kids going to continue to keep their chins up? These questions, and several others, remain on our minds. We've long ago resigned ourselves to the likelihood we will always have questions; it just may be that the questions will change from time to time. C'est la vie...

The good news is that Patty seems to have managed surprisingly well for someone whose heart was so severely damaged--as a result, the doctors aren't pushing panic buttons just yet. As long as Patty doesn't have another sudden downturn in her health like she did early last year, and as long as she ultimately does receive a donor heart, this wait may ultimately seem like a blessing, because life after transplant seems like a big scary unknown. Of course, it's easy to adopt the "life is good" mantra right now, because Patty isn't being subjected to chemo at the moment; we'll see if my commentary betrays more anxiety when the next wave of interventions comes along.

Today, we are going to the home of our nephew Sam, who is celebrating his first birthday (Sam is Peter and Rachel's second son). Everyone is waiting on me to wrap this up so we can get going, so...bye.


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