August 6, 2017

Suddenly Planning for a Heart & Liver Transplant

Suddenly Planning for a Heart & Liver Transplant
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 6, 2017

We learned some devastating news this week.  During Luke's annual checkup, there were some new "nodules" discovered during an ultrasound of Luke's liver.  They decided to take a closer look and he had a CT scan on Thursday.  On Friday, we received a call where the doctor told us the results of Luke's CT scan were very concerning. They discovered more nodules in his liver and they look "highly suspicious". The doctor said he was going to recommend Luke receive a heart & liver transplant as soon as possible. We go back to Mayo Clinic on Monday morning to start discussing the plan.  Luke is being incredibly brave as we now face a very uncertain future. We appreciate all the prayers and positive thoughts that have been given to us so far and ask that you please keep them coming.

We thought this week's visit to Mayo Clinic was going to be just for Luke's annual check-up.  Last year when he went to the Mayo Clinic, we were so encouraged by the progress he's been making.  Here's the post from that visit.  

If you're not familiar with Luke's medical history,  here's a few posts that show what he's been through in the past:

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

This is Dr. El-Youssef and he has been Luke's hepatologist the past couple of years.  He's the one we met with to discuss Luke's prognosis on the liver.  He seemed pretty shocked when he had to deliver us the news on Friday because Luke has been appearing to be doing so well.

This is Dr. Johnson and he was going to be Luke's transplant cardiologist, but apparently we will have to transition to adult doctors now since Luke recently turned 18.  I'm guessing we'll be meeting a lot of new doctors in the coming weeks.

We cried a lot on Friday, but as Saturday rolled around we asked Luke if he was feeling like being around friends.  We were thankful when he agreed to go to a party he was scheduled to attend.  It's so hard dealing with his situation, but it makes him so much happier when we can just get back to being normal as quickly as possible.

It was the year end party for the robotics team and the kids had a lot of fun playing in the lake.

We connected with our good friends, Ron & Sue Korkowski, and went boating.  We even crashed the party for awhile which was fun.

Sue told me her dream was to win a pageant of some kind and then be paraded around a lake on the back of a boat.  We couldn't find an actual pageant being held anywhere on the lake on Saturday so we just had to make due the best we could with what we had handy.

On Saturday night, there was a celebration at Mystic Lake Casino for the birthday of our old buddy, Mike Bailey.  There were a bunch of Hornbuckles there which always makes for a great evening of fun!!

I didn't catch how old Mike was turning, but I can only think it's gotta be up there.

We had a special treat seeing Alyssa Hornbuckle.  It's been quite awhile since we've had the chance to see her.  She was there with her friend, Junie, and they are college girls so they answered a bunch of questions for Luke and Avery of what they should expect when they get there in a few weeks.  

Since Luke & Avery turned 18 a few weeks ago, they are now legally old enough to gamble.  So Jason and I staked them and gave them a chance to play some blackjack for us.  Luke got a blackjack on his very first hand ever and ended up with three of them in the short time he played.  Avery ended up doing pretty well also.  I tried to explain to them that this is not a common result of gambling at the casino, but I'm not sure if they believed me.

Luke wasn't our only medical visit this week.  Although Avery's heart condition hasn't caused him any issues in many years, he also has an annual check-up coming up next week.  He had an MRI on Tuesday to prepare for it.  I thought he looked pretty good in his gown.

When I get home from work, Blue sometimes likes to jump up in my lap after I sit on the couch.  Luke thought that was pretty cute and took this photo.

On Sunday, our good friends, The Castor Family, came over for a visit.  Ken is a local pastor and he offered to come over and pray with us for Luke's situation.  We were very grateful for the opportunity and it helped us all feel a little better after we were through.  

We all know we have a long and uncertain road in front of us.  But we don't have any choice but to face it head on, have faith in the doctors and believe that Luke is a warrior and he will get through this situation.  We are so blessed to have such great sons and we know God has a very special plan for both of them.

 We appreciate everyone's prayers to give Luke the strength to face this battle, give the doctors the wisdom to make the right decisions, and for all of us to be able to support him to help lessen his fears and to heal through the process until one day he can be the healthiest he's ever been in his entire life.  

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