Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Love Quotes...

Once in awhile,
Right in the middle of an ordinary life,
Love gives us a fairy tale.
~ by Anonymous ~

Love is not a matter of counting the years...
But making the years count.
~ by Michelle St. Amand ~

You can give without loving,
But you cannot love without giving.
~ by Amy Carmichael ~

Love doesn't make the world go round,
Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.
~ by Elizabeth Browning ~

 My love, you know you are my best friend.
You know that I'd do anything for you
And my love, let nothing come between us.
My love for you is strong and true.
~ by Sarah McLachlan ~

If your Having Heart problems.. Don't Settle for the B Team..Get the A Team!

First off, to those of you that don't know Jason, he is a very laid back, go with the flow type a guy. He thinks EVERYONE has his best interest at heart. In an earlier post I mention that Jason had a doctor, that I didn't care for too much. He was the doctor that told him that he only had 3 to 5 years ( in 2009)  left and did not want him to working,because he wanted him to enjoy the rest of his time here.

When I met this doctor myself in 2010, I wasn't impressed. He seemed very irritated with all the questions I was asking and always seemed like he was in a hurry. When I always at the hospital with Jason in May 2010, I have no doubt that God lead me to every question I asked, and he gave me the strength not to back down.

When I asked him would Jason be holding my hand, and rocking beside me in a rocking chair when he was 60..the doctor said no. I can't even begin to describe that feeling I felt. One thing Im sure of though. God DID NOT make me wait 35 years to find my perfect love, just to take him away from me..

Oh- and I will add that the doctor NEVER told us about the LVAD!!

Thank goodness we found the A team at MCV. They are the best doctors and nurses and are more than happy to answer any questions I have. That meant alot to me..because Its not just Jasons life..this involves everyone that loves him. 

The message that I want you to take from this post STAND UP for your loved one. I have stand up for " my Jason" more than once, and he didn't always like it. You know what though?  I will never regret fighting for the best care for  him, because I always do..and always will!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Dating Divas "Printable Compliments"

by Corie, from The Dating Divas!

Doesn’t everyone love compliments? It is one sure way to make someone’s day. Giving your spouse a sincere compliment shouldn’t be difficult to remember, but if it is we have the thing for you! Kind Over Matter came up with a Free Compliments poster you can print out to use at home, work, school, or wherever you think the love needs to be spread! Print it out, hang it up, and get ripping off those compliments and giving them away.  To print your own compliment page, visit Kind Over Matter.  If you want to add a little spice to the compliment page,  you can spray with your perfume or cologne.  Then when you spouse carries around the note throughout the day, they will be reminded of you.

Sex & Intimacy with an LVAD

Yes...That's right I'm going there!  I'm sure its one of those things on every one's mind, but no one asks. I will add that I did have reservations about posting this, but the truth is I'm sure that there are plenty of people are wondering about this..so wonder no more.

After Jason got the LVAD implanted, I was embarassed to ask his doctor when we could make love again..( I know, I'm silly...but I bet I'm not the first!)
 Let me be the first to tell you I was terrified to have sex with Jason after the LVAD.(..and he wasn't scared at all!)  I was so scared I was going to hurt him, or move too quick..or worse get hung up in his equipment! ( none of these things ended up happening!)

 The best thing I can tell you is to listen to your partner and they will let you know when they are ready. Now, the first initial time having sex might be a little awkward,  It is going to be a little different, but you learn to try different things to make it easy as possible.

 I always make a point to always love on Jason. I never wanted him to think for one minute that he wouldn't be attractive to me anymore after the LVAD. I always tell him how much I love his body..Scars and Driveline included! I thought our relationship was strong before..but now it has reach a whole new level..and I love it!If anyone has any other questions feel free to email me at ourlifeourlovehislvad@gmail.com!




My 2nd HeartBeat...

Don
The whole purpose of our blog is the find other receiptants of LVADS, but  it is also wonderful to speak with people that have already gotten a heart transplant. Don had a heart transplant four and a half years ago. He also volunteers at the Cleveland Clinic in the transplant center. Learn more about his story on his blog! He has also featured us on his blog..which was just the sweetest! Thanks Don!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Things you may need, before your loved one comes home with an LVAD ... and Tips!

When Jason was in the hospital all I could do was think about everything I had to do BEFORE he came home. I didn't want to forget something and have to run out as soon as he got home!

These are a few little things to help you:

  • Make sure that the outlet by the bed is free and clear, so they can easily disconnected the cord if they need to take the equipment to another room.
  • If you are lucky enough to have a Master bathroom, let them have the side of the bed closest to the bathroom. Yes, there is 20 feet of cord, but why waste it!
  • Start saving plastic bags, you can use them for the used driveline care supplies that you can't recycle.
  • Buy something to keep the non- sterile gauze in. We NEVER use all the gauze during driveline care. You CANNOT use this again for driveline care, but you can use it for non sterile first aid.
  • Don't go out and buy a cart for your room to keep the equipment on, a nightstand table works just fine.
  • For drive line care, I use an Ironing board. You can set it to the correct height, and theres plenty of room. I just fold it up and keep it under the bed when not in use.
  • If you have pets I do suggest getting a hook to hang the 20 ft cord from when not in use. Preferably behind whatever you choose to keep the equipment on.You dont want Mr. Fluffy chewing on the life line... My dogs is 12 and I still did this ( just in case)
  • If you have a high bed (like us) you NEED a step stool to help them get in bed. Get one that has a bar for them to hold on to, not a cheap plastic one. They are still really sore, the last thing you want them to do is fall!
  • Make sure you have plenty of pillows! It hurt Jason so bad to lay flat. You will need at least 3, depending on how firm they are.
  • Dont forget to get a Flashlight! Keep it by the bed at all times. You will need this if the power goes out during the night, and you want to know EXACTLY where it is.
  • The Drive Line Care Supplies will arriving either a few days before or the next day after discharge, so go ahead and get a spot ready. We have shelves in the closet in our bedroom, and this is where I keep everything.
  • If you have to keep the drive line supplies in another room, make up bags a week at a time. It makes it alot easier just to grap a bag, when you are ready to do the drive line care. You can also use that bag for the clean up.
  • Get Antibacterial wipes . Use one to wipe off the surface before starting the drive line care.
  • For the first few weeks I hung Jasons PJS up in the closet, and sat his underclothes out on a shelf in the closet. This way he didn't have to pull on any drawers, and he could still be independent.
  • Do not buy slippers unless you dont have carpet,  static and an LVAD do not mix.
  • Get a sports bottle. Jason was VERY thirsty, and we kept it by the bed at night. You do not want water spilled on that awesome equipment.. or worse.. your loved one!
  • Always keep a nightlight or lite close by on at night. This will prevent falling if they should have to go to the restroom during the night. 
  • If you will be sleeping in a different room get a monitor or a bell . They may need your help during the night.
 Whew... I'm sure I left some things out, but I hope I covered everything for the most part. It might feel very scary in the beginning, I know it's alot to remember,  but It gets better and easier. You just need to know whats safe and what works for your family. If you have any questions don't hesitate to email me at ourlifeourlovehislvad@gmail.com ,I'd be more than happy to help you.
Best of Luck!

Thanksgiving Is For Being Thankful!

T…is for being Thankful to the LVAD that you are with us here today.
H…is for being my Hero in more ways than one.
A… is for being so Awesome, I’m so lucky to have you!
N…is for Never giving up. I’m so proud of you!
K… is for your Kind spirit. You never seize to amaze me.
S… is for Saving yourself, and having the strength to get the LVAD.
G…is for being such a Giving spirit. You’re such a good man.
I… is for being such an Incredible man.
V… is for us all being Victorious… we appreciate everyday with you.
I ... is for realizing that some things in life are not Impossible.
N… is for keeping active Nonstop… It does the LVAD good!
G… is for being Grateful, that we have such a wonderful life.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Find the nearest VAD Hospital Near you..From MyLVAD.com

MyLVAD.com is a great site! They have been so good to us! ...YAY!  These are a list of hospitals that can totally accommodate Jason in case of emergency. I just went with the 100 mile radius, but I was still surprised that only three came up!

Find a VAD Hospital or Support Center Near You

Virginia Commonwealth University Health System (This is where he had his surgery done)
  • 1200 E. Marshall St.
    Richmond, VA 23298, US
    (804)828-0100
  • Supported Devices: Heartmate II® LVAD, Jarvik 2000 Flowmaker
  • Sentara Norfolk General Hospital
    600 Gresham Dr.
    Norfolk, VA 23507, US
    (757)388-6005
    Supported Devices: Heartmate II® LVAD, HeartWare® Ventricular Assist System
  • University of Virginia Medical Center
    1215 Lee Street
    Charlottesville, VA 22908, US
    (434)924-3627
    Supported Devices: Heartmate II® LVAD

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Hunting We Will Go...

Jason has always been avid hunter and fisherman. His biggest fear about the LVAD was that he wouldn't be able to go hunting. He cannot be in Temperatures below 32, so far we have been lucky and it has been above 32 every day he wanted to go hunting! Jason had his surgery on the 26th of September, he was discharged on the 12th (Wednesday) of October. We went Hunting the following Saturday. Yes, I know what you're thinking because I was thinking it too, BUT I wasn't going to take that away from Jason.

I decided to get my hunting license this year, so I'd always be able to go hunting with Jason when I wasn't working. Jason NEVER hunts alone. It works out well because alot of his friends are off during the week, so while I'm working..he's hunting! On the Saturday after his discharge when we went hunting we sat in a ground blind in lounge chairs. It was in the 50's that day. We didnt end up getting anything that day, but I have no doubt that Hunting is good for Jason's soul.

On October 27th, Jason got his first deer of the season with a Crossbow, I was so happy for him! I was at work, but I wished more than anything I could've been there for that. Jason has already graduated from the ground blind to the tree stand, I can't say I'm trilled about that BUT again, this is a time were I pick my battles. I need to know that Jason will know his limits, and just let it roll off my shoulders.

We are going together this Saturday and on Thanksgiving day...Wish us luck!


In his element...


Monday, November 14, 2011

If It ever becomes too much...

Jason and were talking one night, and I was just talking away about everything I have to do. (Without thinking of course) All of a sudden Jason said "Shannon, If it ever becomes too much for you, you just let me know". I think about what he said often, and It just breaks my heart. That is what made me write I love you more than enough, because I wanted him to know that I'd always be there right beside him, no matter what.

Being a "Caregiver" to Jason isn't HARD at all. All I have to do his drive line every night. All the other things I do pertaining to the LVAD is just because I love him and I want to make things easy for him. Now with that said what is hard is the EMOTIONAL side of everything. I worry about him CONSTANTLY, yes all the time. I hate when he goes places alone when I'm at work. Then again, I know I can't treat him like a child.

What I need to learn is when to step back( slowly but surely) Sometimes being his lover and his mother hen doesn't go over well. Everything I do and everything I say to Jason is out of love, but sometimes that may be hard to read. You also never want them to feel like they are not the one in control (thats a big thing)

Word to the wise:  "PICK YOUR BATTLES" If you encounter something small..let it slide, If its something big.. like gaining alot of extra fluid in a short time span..then drag them to the hospital, kicking and screaming if you have too. They will still love you in the end!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jason is on Facebook and Twitter

I never thought I'd see the day..well I guess I wouldn't have If I didn't do it..Haha. Jason's name on Twitter is Jasonslvad and he has a page on Facebook under his name and a Our Life Our Love His LVAD page. I mostly write on  Our Blog and Twitter,but I have faith he'll get into it before too long! Haha. We are trying are best to be able to meet alot more LVAD friends. The friends we have met so far have been so helpful in so many ways. We still haven't found anyone in Virginia yet so that will be exciting when/ if we do! Don't forget to Join/ Follow all of Jasons pages when you get a chance!

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Dating Divas ( The LOVE part of our life)

Its a very good reason why our blog is named how it is. Not only its this blog about Jason's LVAD and our journey, but It also is here to give others a "sneak peek" into our lives.
With that said, here is a "sneak peek" into the love part in our lives:

Jason still gives me butterflies, and still miss him ,( even when he's gone for a few hours.) I still LOOOVVVE kissing him, and I still get excited to have date night with him. To put it simple, I am over the moon in love with Jason!

I ran across this site called The Dating Divas. It is a site that give you ideas for date nights, and little special things that you can do for someone you love. They have LOTS of printables..yes my name is Shannon and I'm addicted to Printables! I wrote them and shared our story with them, and wanted to make sure it would be ok to feature them every once in a while, Here's what they wrote back:

Hi Shannon!

Thank you for sharing your story with us!  We wish you and your sweetheart the best of luck!  That is so neat that you are keeping a blog to tell the story of your journey!  :)  We were happy to hear that some of our ideas have helped you out as well.  Hopefully we can keep those ideas coming!

We are flattered that you would even ask if you could feature us.  Thank you!  Of course you can!  We definitely appreciate the "link love" back! 

Good luck with everything! Have a wonderful night!

Lotsa love,
Tara Carson
The Dating Divas


  Here is the Bad Day Box, I made Jason when he was in the hospital, He loved it so much!

THE DATING DIVAS:

Why not create a “Bad Day” box for those rainy days?? I saw this idea on this blog…and fell in LOVE with the concept! I seem to have a lot more “bad days” than my husband….maybe because I am a sucha GIRL and crying always seems like the best thing to do at the time….and then the next best thing is to think of a solution! {lol}  Having a box on hand – filled with things your spouse LOVES….is the PERFECT idea!!  You are basically preparing for unexpected things that we all know can {and will} pop up in life.  Call it an “emergency preparedness kit for emotions”.  {WINK!}
My husband does OCCASIONALLY have bad things that pop up and get him down…..not very often….but I decided it would be a great idea to be prepared for the next time….
I literally made this in LESS than 15 minutes!!  Er….once I gathered the stuff, that is!  :)
I found these LOVELY boxes at Michael’s Arts & Crafts…for a buckaroo!  Can you believe it?  I think they normally sell for around $5…..but grab a 40% off coupon that Michael’s always gives out &  use that.  I LOVED that these boxes already had decorative designs on them.  I was preparing myself to mod podge cute paper on….but this saved me a lot of time, effort, & money!
Materials Needed:
Mod Podge
Foam Brush
White Cardstock
…..OR……
You will also need…
…..OR……
….and don’t forget to purchase or make a BUNCH of FUN items to place inside that your spouse will LOVE!
Once you print out these printables…..
….cut out the fun sign & Mod Podge it on the front of the box.  
You can also cut out the little tag to place inside the label holder.
Next…..cut out apart the love notes, write on each one, roll them up, and tie them with a pretty ribbon!
Last of all, place the love notes AND all of the fun items in the box.

I made one for each of the diva's hubbies for our annual Diva Gift Exchange!
You are DONE!  Now, hide it away for that RAINY day.  I am planning on pulling mine out the next time my hubby has a rough day at work…..and since he’s Mr. Cheerful….it might have a little dust on it by then!
*sigh*  That may be a while.  lol  For ANOTHER great craft that would cheer up your spouse….check out Lisa’s “All About You” post.  It completely made her husband’s day…OR her “Rough Day” Recipe post….ANOTHER fab idea!  :)
BTW – If you are wanting to create something like this but you don’t have a craft store close by – there is a great online store called, www.CreateForLess.com.  They sell a LOT of the items I used in this post for such great prices! :)   Good Luck!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Subway Art with Tagxedo!

I ran across this great site today called Tagxedo.com. You can make Subway Art on this site for FREE..Gotta love that. I though it was so neat that you can either add your own words or they will automatically take the words from a URL address, so that's what I did. You also have a few shapes to choose from I chose the heart..of course!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Jason's Team of AWESOME Doctors!

I had to make a post for these AWESOME doctors. They are full of Compassion, Personality and Wisdom. They explained things very well, and was willing to answer any questions we had. We felt certain God sent these team of Doctors to us. We are and will continue to be, forever grateful.

 

 

 

                    Vigneshwar Kasirajan, MD

 Vigneshwar Kasirajan, MD  Chairman, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery Professor of SurgeryDirector, Heart Transplantation, Heart-Lung Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Support

Medical Degree: Madras Medical College, India
Specialty Training: Cleveland Clinic
Clinical Specialties: Coronary bypass surgery, valve repairs, re-operation, surgery for heart failure including transplantation, surgical therapy for atrial fibrillation, transmyocardial laser revascularization, surgical therapy for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

                                            

 

 Richard H. Cooke, MD, joined VCU Pauley Heart Center in 2008 as Associate Professor, specializing in Heart Failure. A native of Newcastle-U-Lyme, England, he earned his medical degree from Victoria University in Manchester, England, in1980. Dr. Cooke completed an internship and residency in England, followed by an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Georgetown University Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Washington, DC. He completed a fellowship in Hypertension and Cardiology Research at the Veterans Administration Hospital, a Cardiology Fellowship at Georgetown University Hospital, and an Interventional Cardiology Fellowship at Georgetown and most recently spent a year as an interventional cardiology fellow at VCU.

Prior to joining Pauley Heart Center, Dr. Cooke was a Clinical Cardiologist for the Washington Regional Cardiac Surgery PC, specializing in management of patients with severe Congestive Heart Failure. He also was the Medical Director for Cardiac Transplantation at the Washington Hospital Center, as well as Chair of the Heart Transplant Core Committee.
Dr. Cooke has extensive research experience in drug and device treatment of congestive heart failure. He has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on clinical trials of medications to treat both systolic and diastolic heart failure. He has been involved in studies evaluating the treatment of concurrent anemia in heart failure and also in medications that enhance fluid removal when compared with traditional diuretics. Dr. Cooke also has been a co-investigator of HeartMate II, a second-generation laminar flow pump that is being used to "bridge" patients to transplant.
His current interests are the treatment of advanced heart failure, cardiac transplantation and interventional cardiology.




Keyur B. Shah, MD 


Dr. Shah, joined VCU Pauley Heart Center in 2009 as Assistant Professor, specializing in Advanced Heart Failure and Heart Transplantation.  He is a Richmond native and received his Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Virginia.  He earned his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA.  Dr. Shah completed both his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in cardiology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD. He was awarded the Nathan H. Carliner, MD Scholar Award in recognition of outstanding scholarly activity during fellowship.
Dr. Shah’s clinical expertise includes cardiomyopathy, heart transplantation, pulmonary hypertension, amyloid heart disease and mechanical circulatory support.  He is the Medical Director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program.
Dr. Shah’s research interests include cardiac biomarkers, pulmonary hypertension and mechanical cardiac support. He has authored many research papers and book chapters, which have been published in highly respected medical journals including the Archives of Internal Medicine, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and Hypertension.
Dr. Shah is a Fellow of American College of Cardiology.  He is also an active member of the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation and the Heart Failure Society of America.

MY HEARTMATE 2 : The Creed of an LVAD Recipient. Thanks for sharing Joshua!

 My Rifle: The Creed of a US Marine
by Major General William H. Rupertus USMC, Ret.
(written following the attach on Pearl Harbor)
has been adapted for the respect of a HEARTMATE II LVAD and the Recipient.

My HEARTMATE II: The Creed of an LVAD Recipient

This is my HEARTMATE II. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My HEARTMATE II is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

My HEARTMATE II, without me, is useless. Without my HEARTMATE II, I am useless. I must use my HEARTMATE II honest and true. I must remain more diligent in diet and form than my enemies that attack my health and heart. I must act before it acts upon me. I will...

My HEARTMATE II and myself know that what counts in this war is not only the blood that pumps and flows, the progress or setbacks. We know it is also for the general good of future generations that count. We will...

My HEARTMATE II is human, even as I, because it is my life. Thus, I will learn it as a brother. I will learn it's weaknesses, it's strengths, it's parts, it's accessories, it's purpose and it's flow. I will ever guard it against the ravages of weather and damage as I will ever guard my legs, my arms, my eyes and my heart against damage. I will keep my HEARTMATE II clean from bacteria and have the spare equal and ready. We will become part of each other. We will...

Before God, I swear this creed. My HEARTMATE II and myself are the defenders of my well-being. We are the masters of our enemies. We are the saviours of my life.

So be it, until victory is achieved and there is no enemy, but peace and a healthier life!

Taken from: http://fromthebottomofmylvad.blogspot.com

I No Longer Hear A Beating Heart..

 Before Jason got his LVAD, I used to love to listen to his heart. I would pray the whole time I was listening, that somehow It would heal itself.  Of course his heart didn't sound anything like mine, the rhythm was all over the place because of his irregular heartbeat.

Jason and I were lying in bed one night, about 4 days after he was released from the hospital. I GENTLY laid my head near his heart (off to the side) and I couldn't believe what I heard. I hear this loud buzzing sound! It was the motor within the LVAD. I looked at Jason and said " Can you hear that?" Of course he said no. I remember I kept listening and listening, I was just amazed. Knowing that the sound I hear is the reason Jason is here with me, that sound is keeping him alive.

I listened hard, but I could never hear his heat beat.  I knew that  the next heart I will hear within his chest will be a heart from a donor. As crazy as It was, it made me sad. I started wishing I would've known that I wasn't going to hear it again , because I would've like to hear Jason's own heart beat just one more time.

                There is a picture of an LVAD below.
 The motor is located within the blood pump.



Figure 1
External View of the LVAD
Figure 2
Internal View Of The Motor

Monday, November 7, 2011

I love you more than enough...

I decided to write this knowing that their are so many Caregivers/Wives/Girlfriends that will be able to relate to this post, hope you enjoy. I loved writing this for Jason.

To My Jason:
I love you more than enough...

I love you more than enough, to ask the hard questions and to be your voice.
I love you more than enough, to stand beside you when things get tough.
I love you more than enough, not to take it to heart when you get frustrated.
I love you more than enough, to make sure our relationship is rock solid.
I love you more than enough, to dress you when you are too sore.
I love you more than enough, to cherish every moment we get to spend together.
I love you more than enough, to do everything in my power to keep you safe.
I love you more than enough, to make you feel special each and every day.
I love you more than enough, and I  feel so honored to be with you.
I love you more than enough, to snuggle with you, at the hospital, in your bed.
I love you more than enough, to know that you are the most amazing man I've ever known.
I love you more than enough, to make sacrifice's for you.
I love you more than enough, and I love you more and more each day.
I love you more than enough, and I know God blessed me the day he led me to you.
I love you more than enough, not to let fear get to me.
I love you more than enough, to go hunting with you, just so I can be by your side.
I love you more than enough, to be your number one supporter.
I love you more than enough, to tell everyone how awesome you are.
I love you more than enough, to never leave you.
I love you more than enough, to feel strong enough, to have your life in my hands.
I love you more than enough, and I love you with everything that I am.
I love you more than enough, to want to be your wife one day.
I love you more than enough to educate others in the hopes that no one feels alone.
I love you more than enough, to fight for you.
I love you more than enough, to find the best help for you
I love you more than enough, to educate myself  more each and everyday.
last but not least..
I love you more than enough, to love you for the rest of my life.



Drive Line Scare!

Anyone that is a caregiver to someone that has a LVAD knows how careful you must be when doing Drive Line care. I can't speak for anyone else, but I know I've been scared of infection since we left the hospital. Each night when I do the Drive Line care, I almost feel like I can't breathe, until I take that last drain sponge off and see that everything is ok.  Well, last night I could see that the exit site was a little more open than normal. It was very clean, but it still scared me, and all I kept thing was "Why does it look like that?" We called the VAD Coordinator and she told us we could do a "drive by" the next day, just for peace of mind. Jason went the next day and everything was fine, they said it would still take a while to heal, but to always make sure to position the driveline  the same way that it naturally goes. Like if is "naturally" to the left, don't tape it down to the right. 

My words of wisdom of this post is this: ALWAYS second guess yourself when doing driveline care. You cannot be too careful. If you touch something with your sterile gloves on, either finish the drive line care with just one hand (I've done this a few times!) or just start over.  Drive Line care is not hard, but you need to STAY FOCUSED while doing it.

*NEVER, NEVER hesitate to call your VAD coordinator, if you are second guessing yourself about ANYTHING! Always rememeber, no question, is a dumb question!

Jason Birthday February 2010

Jason's birthday was a BIG deal this past year. So, I knew I had to make it special for him. Hearing him say " I made it " ( saying he made it to another birthday ) made me so happy that I made a big deal out of this day! You can tell from the pictures that he was quiet swollen, but still at this time we didn't know that some of the medicines had already stopped working for him.
The Birthday Boy!
He LOVED his birthday cake!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

When the donor heart comes..Well be Beach bound once again!

When we took the family to the Beach this year, I remember at one point telling my son this may be the last time Jason will be able to swim in the ocean until he gets a donor heart, and of course it was.. We had so much fun at the beach and even though I'm a scaredy cat and I don't like to swim in the ocean, I'll be the first one out there with him once he gets his donor heart! I cherish the time at the beach, so I find it very appropriate to post our pre- LVAD memories.
We went fishing EVERY night...


Autum, Mason Emma and Jason

Jason and Emma

Emma painting her toenails for the first time!

Watch out Fish..Jason is on the way!

See Jason way out there fishing??

Austin and Austin

Autum and Emma

Jason and Autum

LAUGHTER IS ALWAYS THE BEST MEDICINE!

Laughter has always been a big part of our relationship. Since the surgery of course, he has said many times "Shannon stop making me laughing, it makes my chest hurt", but the whole time he saying that he's laughing! Here's some examples of our laughter..Half the time we can't stop laughing long enough to take a decent picture.. Although these pictures may not be flattering, I still love them! Hope they make you smile!

Sharing Scriptures on Healing...

I wanted to share some of our favorite scriptures on healing. I hope you enjoyed them and they bring you comfort.

 PSALM 34 : 17-18 & 107 : 20 & 55:22
 The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
 He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.
Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.

EXODUS 23: 25-26
Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.

ISAIAH 41:10
I will strenghten you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

PROVERBS 17:22
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.





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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When I am with you, the only place I want to be is closer     ~Author Unknown

A hundred hearts would be too few, to carry all my love for you.  ~Author Unknown


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Signs of Blood Clots

Another complication with an LVAD, is the risk of blood clots, If you think you or your loved one may have a blood clot,  call your VAD coordinator ASAP.  Here is what to look out for:
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Warmth
  • Redness

Know the Stroke Symptoms

With having the LVAD a stroke is one of the complications that could occur. Learn what to look out for as a caregiver or yourself. If you think you or your loved one is having any of these symptoms DO NOT hesitate to call 911, Then call your VAD coordinator.
  • Sudden numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of movement in your face, arm, or leg, especially on only one side of your body.
  • Sudden  vision changes.
  • Sudden trouble speaking.
  • Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements.
  • Sudden problems with walking or balance.
  • A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches.

Something to Remember:

               “The will of God will never take you

           where the Grace of God will not protect you”

Greg Lowe

Greg Lowe celebrated the 10th anniversary of his heart transplant on September 21, 2010.
It's a rare week that goes by without Greg Lowe visiting the Cardiac Care Unit on Main 10. He's there to listen, sympathize, encourage and help heart patients and their families. He knows what it's like to have a very sick heart, a very long hospital stay, and receive a very special gift—a donor heart.
Greg's journey to transplant began in July 1997. He was 43 years old and father to eight daughters, ages six to 26, when he suffered a massive heart attack.
"I coded [cardiac arrest] in the ambulance, so they diverted me to MCV emergency department," said Lowe. "That was the beginning of my relationship with the incredible MCV heart team and a second chance at life. It has been a long road with plenty of bumps along the way. That heart attack pretty much destroyed the left side of my heart, so I became what they call a 'frequent flyer,' in and out of the hospital for surgery, procedures and medicine changes. In June, 1999 I was admitted so they could keep me and to await a matching donor heart. Fifteen months later, on September 21, 2000, Greg Lowe was transplanted. He went home within two weeks.
"The staff made this the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me," he said. "They were great to me and to my family. They educated us and helped us stay positive. That's very important, to stay positive and believe you will make it through. Every day becomes a gift."
"That's why I give back, why I have made volunteering my career. I would rather give back everything that has been given to me, to this institution, to the patients and their families, to the American Heart Association to help fight heart disease, to keep the technology growing. If I can be of any help in any way to people who come in and out of this hospital and have a new life, that's what I want to do."


  • This is just one of the many people Jason met while at MCV. They met before his LVAD surgery, and came in the ICU the second day after surgery. The nurses think alot of Greg at MCV. Only family and Greg were let in the room the first week post LVAD.

Be an Organ Donor!


To remember me...
The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital busily occupied with the living and the dying.
At a certain moment, a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.
When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine.
And don't call this my deathbed. Let it be called the Bed of Life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.
Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby's face or love in the eyes a woman.
Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing by endless days of pain.
Give my blood to the teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of his car so that he might live to see his grandchildren play.
Give my kidneys to one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week.
Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body, and find a way to make a crippled child walk.
Explore every corner of my brain. Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that someday, a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window.
Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.
If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weaknesses and all prejudice against my fellow man.
Give my sins to the devil. Give my soul to God.
If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.