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Rusty’s Story

For those of you who don't know, dad started experiencing flu-like symptoms on Tuesday December 17th while at work. There had been talk of some sort of virus going around at his office and dad shared with us that some of them had been sick for an entire week before starting to feel better. He stayed home from work on Wednesday and mom somehow even convinced him to go to Duke urgent care.They tested him for the flu which came back negative (that doesn't confirm he didn't have the flu) and sent him home to rest, after stating that if it wasn't the flu it was another virus causing his symptoms. Thursday he started feeling better and Friday he was even up vacuuming the house. Friday night his fever returned and it wasn't until Sunday that mom convinced him to go back to the doctor. At this point he was experiencing shortness of breath and several other symptoms that led mom to believe he should be seen again. Thank goodness she took him back despite the doctor's recommendations of supportive care because once he was seen on Sunday he was taken by ambulance to Rex hospital with a diagnosis of sepsis.

They eventually determined he was in septic shock with multiple organ failure. It took approximately 36 hours for the blood culture to grow the bacteria present in his blood stream. During this time he was treated with several medications including a broad spectrum antibiotic in an attempt to cover all possible sources of infection.

Monday(12/23/2013): Dad was in great spirit when we arrived at the hospital. He wasvery short of breath and looked extremely sick but he was making jokes,watching football, and of course worrying about work. Throughout the day webegan to see the infection wearing on his body so they sedated him which wasthe last time he was able to communicate with us. He was able to breathe on his own throughout the night but was intubated on Tuesday morning which allowed his body to rest and begin recovering as well as gave the doctor's the freedom to better manage his medications.

Tuesday (12/24/2013): The blood culture finally yielded the specific bacteria and more specific antibiotics were administered.  The intense strain of bacteria had already taken a great toll on all of his organs and their function was declining rapidly.

Wednesday (12/25/2013): This was the hardest day thus far. The family was brought in around 3am and we were told that his body would eventually give out, it was just a matter of time.  As our family gathered around his bed (breaking all visiting rules) and prayed for God's will to be done we each said our goodbyes. A few hours passed and we were still sitting in his room when a new doctor came on board. As dad's blood pressure surprisingly leveled off, the new doctor decided to reinsert his feeding tube to see what happened. Uncle Brink was right by his side "coaching" him to get to each new hour. As the day went on, Rusty refused to let go and it was great joy to tell him when it was 12AM and a new day.

For the next few days it was touch and go and every meeting with the doctors was nerve racking.  But dad has fought hard and refuses to give up.  And we have placed ALL of our faith, fears, and trust in the Lord.  The doctor's have on numerous occasions informed us that this man is in fact a miracle and there is no medical reason why he is still alive.

Currently, he's in ICU in stable but critical condition. He's still intubated but breathing on his own, still on dialysis, and still sedated. His lab work/results continue to amaze everyone and we are thankful for the daily improvements.

Due to his body's response to the infection, his blood was shunted away from his periphery to save his vital organs. As a result of lack of blood flow to his hands and feet, there is irreversible damage that must be removed in order to prevent further infection. That is our current obstacle with surgeries planned for tomorrow (1/2/2013) and Friday. Please understand that although this is shocking and devastating to our entire family and support system including all of you, we feel so blessed for dad's second chance at life after all we've faced over the past 11 days.

As a family, we believe that staying positive for dad is crucial to his health and recovery. With that being said, we ask that everyone continue to pray for his healing, the medical team, our family and for peace as we continue down this road to recovery. We love you all. Words can't describe how thankful we are for your love and support.

Latest Journal Update

A wonderful opportunity!

Yesterday, Rusty and I met an awesome young man, Colin Carberry, and he just made our day!!!  While being treated at Duke University Hospital for Leukemia, he has received numerous cards and gifts. They fill up his room which radiates the love and compassion so many people have for him!! After only a few minutes, I understood why he is so loved. He makes you feel at ease and his smile is infectious! Needless to say, Rusty and I stayed longer than we should have but...we enjoyed every minute with this charming and very positive young man! 
Our thoughts and prayers are with Colin, his family and his caregivers as he continues to get stronger and stronger. "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13
Colin's story is being shared on Pray4Colin and several fundraisers have been started.
11 people hearted this



Pam Peeden
By Pam Peeden (Beck) — last edited
What a wonderful story! I will most definitely keep Colin, his family, his physicians, his nurses, etc. in my thoughts and in my prayers! He must be an amazing person, just as Rusty is! Rusty, I love you dearly and continue to pray for you, Bonnie, and your beautiful daughters each and every day! You inspire so many people in so many ways! You have no idea how many others' lives that you have affected with your fabulous attitude and your positive outlook on your life for ten months now! People can only learn from you how to react when they are faced with adversity in their lives! May God continue to bless the entire Wagstaff Family! Lots of love and huge hugs to you all! ~ P.S. Bonnie, would you please send me, via a private message, your address, so that I may send Rusty a card!
David & Candy Lewis
By David & Candy Lewis
We'll certainly keep Colin in our prayers!
To God be the glory...
David & Candy
Phyllis Vess
By Phyllis Vess
Praying for Colin. What a testimony of the bravery of this young boy and of how so many people feel about him. And, what a testimony for you and Rusty to visit him and not forget those who are suffering.
Rusty is amazing, I am sure God has a very special ministry for him, and you.
God bless you both, and little Colin. My granddaughter, Amy, lost her battle with AML at Duke in 2010, and I was there many times. She was 26, studying for her doctorate in Math. Heartaches, but still God is so good. I know I will see her one day, and I pray for Jesus to come quickly!