August 21, 2016

Luke's Heart & Liver Checkup at the Mayo Clinic

Luke's Heart & Liver Checkup at the Mayo Clinic
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 21, 2016

On Tuesday night, we went to the Mall of America to meet our friends, Ron & Kristie Myers, along with their kids.  They have such a beautiful family.

We went to Benihana together because we hadn't gorged ourselves for awhile.  Mission accomplished.

I don't think they'd been to this restaurant before, but they seemed to enjoy it.

On Wednesday night, we went to Outback to hook up with Miss Sheri's Aunt Mary and cousin Mary along with her husband Michael.  They were in town from California so we decided to enjoy a little down under no rules cuisine.  It felt just right.

It has been two years since we had to go through the evaluation for Luke's heart and liver transplant.  We decided to switch his care to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester because it's much closer to home from where we'd been going the past couple of years which was Lurie's Children's Hospital in Chicago.

Things are looking really good for Luke currently.  He received a pacemaker a year and a half ago and went on growth hormones.  He has grown more than 4 inches in the past year.

If you’re interested in seeing some info about his ordeal, here’s a few posts from my site that show what we went through a couple of years ago:

Focus on the Sunshine and Not on the Clouds. Update on Luke Swank for October 11, 2014

We're very glad we made the switch.  We'd always considered going to Mayo Clinic since it's only an hour and a half drive for us, but we hadn't done it until now.  Seeing that they were recently named the #1 hospital in the nation by U.S.News helped reinforce our decision. 

Miss Sheri has always been Luke's greatest advocate and carries his medical records with her to all of his appointments.   Believe it or not, this is the very condensed version.

Luke and Sheri came down on Thursday to go through a day of tests.  I came down with them on Friday to meet with the liver transplant specialist and the heart transplant specialist.

We were so impressed with the doctors.  This is Dr. Driscoll and he is the cardiologist.  He explained to us that they recently published a paper where they studied 1052 patients who they had performed the exact same Fontan heart procedure that Luke had when he was little and the associated effects that procedure has had on those patients' livers.  It was so awesome to hear that they had so much experience with the exact situation as Luke.   Dr. Driscoll told us he thought Luke's heart was still performing very well and we don't need to see him for another year.  That's like music to our ears!

We were hoping to get as good of news from the liver doctor, Dr. El-Youssef, and we were not disappointed.  He was so smart and did such an excellent job of explaining what they know about cases like Luke and how there's still a lot that we don't know about Luke's particular situation.  He did tell us that the liver is an amazing organ though and has the ability to re-generate itself which it appears may be happening with Luke.  He said he couldn't even see the liver damage that the doctors saw in Luke two years ago and downgraded his diagnosis of cirrhosis of the liver down to liver fibrosis.  We didn't even know this was possible.  We were only hoping Luke's liver wouldn't get worse, but we didn't realize it could actually get better.  

We feel so incredibly blessed!!  

We credit his success to great doctors, a new medicine routine, positive living, and a whole bunch of prayers.   We will never take his status for granted and recognize that we need to be grateful for every single day that he is healthy, but this is just such great news and we are so happy to be where we are at today.

Thanks be to God!

Miss Sheri also happened to have her birthday on Friday.  This is the third year in a row that she has had to spend her birthday in hospitals and we are very hopeful that we can schedule next year's check-up on a different weekend.

Happy Birthday, Sheri!!!

Our friends, The Brown Family, came over to help us celebrate Sheri's birthday.  They're such nice people.

We had a Vive party and gave Rhonda her first taste of Virtual Reality.  I think she enjoyed it.

On Saturday, we spent a couple of hours helping with another Eagle project.

Braeden Malotky is in the same grade and same troop as Luke and Avery and it is his project.  He and his dad, John, were very helpful with the boys projects so we were glad to have the opportunity to repay the favor.

His project is a pretty big one that should be enjoyed by many people in the years to come.  There's a Frisbee golf course at the high school that was built and never utilized so it was pretty inaccessible.  Braeden is cleaning up all the holes to give players access and building cement tee boxes for every hole.   It's going to be really cool to see it when it's all done.

We had fun helping them move sticks and spreading mulch.  I gotta get me one of these Kubotas!

Of course, Miss Sheri crushed me in the productivity department as usual.  She can just shovel way better than I can.  It's tough being married to a Farm Girl.  

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