So, what is next?
We are living in a very nice Transplant House for a while. Julie and her sister Kim are in a beautifully adorned room that oozes warmth and cozy and love. And, Jack and I are in another room, which looks like a room that two guys without any sense of order would enjoy. The House has 30 rooms, a huge kitchen and dining room and lots of nice common areas. We are so grateful to be staying here.
Julie described herself as about "80%" today. I am smiling as I type, because yesterday she self-assessed at 60%. The smile is not about the improvement, which does make me happy. The self-assessment is likely inflated a bit due to the joy of having her parents and our girls arrive here in Philadelphia this morning. But, the smile is one of those funny-not-funny realizations that she could really hurt herself if she thinks she is at 80% just nine days after a major surgery! She gave away 62% of her liver a week ago, she has a 12"-14" scar on her stomach as evidence, and doctors' orders not to drive or lift more than a milk gallon for six weeks. They warned her that hernia recovery would be worse than the liver recovery. Yet, she even asked me this morning when she could go running with me again! I love my sweet wife, but probably need to encourage more down time! Amazingly, her liver is busy regenerating itself, and should be around 90% of original size within 3 months. This regeneration process does consume her energy quite a bit. Her major risks in the coming weeks is a hernia in the wound area. Julie has three follow up appointments over the next 4 weeks to ensure her liver is functioning well.
Jack, on the other hand, self-assessed around 30% yesterday, and slightly better today. His recovery carries more risk, as more change happened to his body - he has a new liver at which his immune system is shouting, "hey, you don't belong here!" He is yet to be comfortable for more than a short while, but this is due to pain rather than any complications. He is required to take many pills, every day, for the rest of his life. Some will be phased out over the next few months, but they are currently anti-everything (anti-rejection, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, etc). He needs to avoid germ-filled crowded areas in the near future (or longer). When Jack does feel comfortable, his smile and wit and mind are on full display. Most importantly, the inner functioning of Jack's new liver is progressing very well, and we are so grateful to not have to worry about the liver complications that have afflicted Jack any more.
So, Jack will definitely remain in Philadelphia for at least another month. Julie will be here, too, though I might pursue getting her home for a quick visit in mid-to-late September. Your continued prayers for a smooth recovery for both are appreciated!