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Liz’s Story

Welcome to Liz's CaringBridge site. We've created it to keep everyone updated during Liz's surgery and recovery. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement for Liz as she goes through this journey.   

When Liz was 9 years old she developed a disease called Takayasu’s Arteritis which caused her arteries to narrow in various spots throughout her body.  As a result of serious narrowing of her aorta, Liz had a synthetic aortic bypass placed from her heart to above her kidneys when she was 12 years old.  A few years later they revised her bypass from above her kidneys to below her kidneys to help improve blood flow through her body.  The disease is no longer active in Liz’s body, but her arteries have remained permanently narrowed causing her to have high blood pressure and some areas of compromised blood flow.  Over the last 18 years Liz has remained relatively healthy, but in May doctors found that Liz’s aortic bypass has an aneurysm in it.  As a result of the aneurysm, the doctors have decided to replace the bypass with a new synthetic bypass from near her heart to below her kidneys.  The old bypass will be tied off and left in her body since it will be too difficult to remove after being in her body for so many years.  The new bypass will be placed down the center of her chest.  With this procedure doctors hope to improve Liz’s shortness of breath, fatigue, and blood flow to her organs.  Liz has been seeing Dr. McPhail, a vascular physician at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, over the last 8 years.   He has referred her to surgeons and other specialists at Mayo, who as a team, will be involved with her care.  Thanks to everyone for your prayers and support as our family goes through this process.

Latest Journal Update

2 Years Already

Sunday marks two years since Liz had surgery.  The nightmare of her first week in the hospital feels like yesterday, but the memories of Liz being healthy days before surgery feel like a century ago.  Some days it’s hard to believe what she went through two years ago, but I’ll never forget what it felt like to watch it all play out.  Our family continues to adjust to life without Liz, but year two hasn’t been much easier than year one.  We’ve adjusted some, but miss her just as much.

Before we know it, Lily will start 1st grade, and Leah will start preschool.  These girls have grown up fast, and Liz would be very proud of both of them.  They continue to talk about mommy, and they miss her hugs and having fun with her. 

Since my last post, Liz’s headstone finally made it to the cemetery.  It’s nice to have something to look at when we come to visit her.  Here’s a picture of what it looks like.  We feel it turned out great.

Please keep our family in your prayers as we reflect on what happened two years ago.  In many ways that was the day that Liz died even though she lived another six months.  She was never the same again after that first surgery, and neither was our family. Thanks for your support over these last two years!


28 people hearted this



Mary Asmussen
By Mary Asmussen
Some things will never change---Mommie ---will always be in your hearts.---
God Bless
Mary and Jim
My computer has been down that is why I am late-----
Sue Yeigh
By Sue Yeigh
It is always good to hear from you. I stay in touch with Ben on how you are doing. Your family has endured so much in those two years. The head stone is out of this world beautiful!! Thank you for including it in the update. Take care and God Bless you and your little family.
1 person hearted this
Harlan Temple
By Harlan Temple
TJ, we continue to pray for you and your family all the time.
Sending love and prayers.
Pam Bossman
By Pam Bossman
You're a strong man TJ. I can't imagine how much you and the girls miss Liz. Blessings to you all! I recognize the picture on the headstone - what a beautiful idea!
Karen Matter
By Karen (Eyrich) Matter. (Was a Classmate of Vicikies)
Your love is so evident in your beautiful words. So sorry-continue to hold you all in my heart.
Vickie Westra
By Joel and Vickie Westra
Thanks for your post TJ. You are doing a wonderful job with the girls...Oh how we miss our Elizabeth.
1 person hearted this
Susan Bisson
By Susan Bisson
TJ we'll continue to keep you and the girls in our prayers. Liz's headstone is beautiful.
Nancy Weber
By Nancy Weber
Thinking of you, TJ. I love the headstone you chose. The picture on the back is perfect! Praying God continues to give you strength and peace.
1 person hearted this