Thursday, April 30, 2009

Happy Anniversary!

Today is Jarvie and Michelle's fourth wedding anniversary!
I remember this day four years ago. We had all driven up to lovely Harrison. It was an outdoor wedding, and it was raining. But wouldn't you know, just before the beautiful bride was ready to walk down the aisle with her two sweet dads, the showers lifted and the sun came out. It was a lovely ceremony; Michelle beaming ear to ear, as bright as the sun was that afternoon. Happy anniversary you guys! May there always be sunshine in your life : )


Sunday, April 26, 2009

An Answer To Prayers!

Oh Boy, I love good news! This actually caused me to tear up:

I phoned Michelle the evening of her surgery to see how things went. Michelle answered the phone, and sounded completely normal, better than normal. WHAT??? Usually she's all croaky and groggy after banding surgery. She proceeded to inform me, that against all odds and logic, the surgeon went in to perform, and found nothing worth banding!!! It was less than a month ago that Michelle had a CT scan that showed numerous and large concerning varices. She was told to be ready for this banding. The surgeon admitted fears that he was running out of room, that scar tissue might be too great, that she could soon need tubing placed in her throat to keep it open. Everyone is completely shocked that the varices have shrunk. Michelle has had banding every 3 months for the past 6 yrs or so, this would be the first time she has come out with nothing! Such a blessing : ). This woman is a walking miracle! Just in case anyone is wondering, the transplant is still on. Michelle continues to have portal hypertension due to her liver failure. And after a run of "good" days, she is back to having bad pain again.

Please continue to lift Michelle and her family in love and prayers.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Off To The OR

A quick note before I go away for the weekend. My big brother is getting married!

Michelle is off to surgery for the variceal banding today. Please lift her up in prayer, as it turns out a recent CT scanned showed there are many varices, some very large. I will try to get online tonight and give you all an update, as I will for sure be calling later today to check on how things went.

I had an image the other day that I shared with Michelle: her lounging in her backyard this summer, post-op with a new liver, sipping ginger ale with a tiny pink umbrella in it, and watching her son on the swings : )


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What I've Been Waiting To Share!

I can now fill you all in on a fundraiser a dear friend is doing on behalf of The Way family! Our amazing friend Kevin is taking on the challenge of a 1/2 marathon to raise funds to help offset the family's medical expenses! Please check out Kevin's blog to see how his journey unfolds, and maybe make a donation:

This is so terrific Kevin! I wish you well with your training and on the big day!


A Much Needed Getaway (written yesterday)

The phone rings again. My son looks at me, “hello?” he reminds me. Oh yea, the phone is ringing. Answer it. I know there is someone I would love to talk to on the other end. I hope they will tell me their news first. I’m going to call Miss M when I get off the phone. I’m filled with the craving of a get away to my happy place, Vancouver Island. I need to see Miss M. It can’t wait a day longer.

I plan a trip. Now I’ve got to find a convincing argument for my husband who hates to let me venture out alone. I tell him I’m all better now. Got my wits about me. I’m a caged butterfly here. Could drive if he let me. Whoops left the water on in the bath and it almost overflowed. Now the phone’s outside in the rain. Oh, was I cooking again? Hmph. Well, no biggie, just a case of bad luck. I’m sure my journey will be uneventful. Silently I write my destination on my hand and tell myself I will pick a seat on the ferry and stay there. How much trouble can I get into that way? I feel like Curious George telling myself not to be so curious.

I made it! The unfamiliar feeling of autonomy settles in as I sit in my corner of the ship. No one knows me here. No one will ask me how I’m feeling. No one cares. Around me sits a couple of teenagers with gum and one of their dad’s who over imbibed at a family wedding. The 3 of them talk like buddies. They laugh and chide him for getting so carried away. He tells them to go for a walk but not to do anything stupid. They wander off. There is a genuine appreciation of each other. I imagine my life with my toddler as a teen. I can see us lounging and laughing too. How the dynamic changes as life goes on!

The ferry docks and Miss M is waiting there to pick me up. Her long blonde hair and her warm arms wrap themselves around me. We bustle to her car and begin the 72 hours of non-stop chatting. Every story is ½ finished because the next one can’t wait. We are hungry for the confidence of a close friend, eager to close the gap of time between us and sort through our next herculean effort... live liver transplant surgery! We got down to the nitty gritty, the dollars and cents, tits on the table (as my mom would say). We are approaching this with resolve, strength and a keen eye on the big picture. Life after transplant!!! There is much life left to be shared. It took me until today to cry and then I couldn’t stop.

After the two days of assessment at the transplant centre Miss M and I wrote back and forth to each other. There were some deeply personal, very real questions we had to answer before moving forward. I needed to feel okay with receiving her gift of life and she needed to feel okay with giving it, even if her efforts fail in one way or another. I have asked her to let me share a portion of one of her emails because it shows why she is doing this. I was understandably moved and humbled by her message.

So, firstly, don't feel terrible, as I certainly don't think it's too much. What I have gone through to date is so insignificant in comparison to what you have had to endure. It is not too much.

As for the pain, scar, etc...really, I would rather have a scar and a best friend than perfect skin and no friend. Yes, it is going to hurt; yes, it will leave a scar; yes, recovery is going to suck. Is all that more important than more time having you as my best friend? NO. Is that all more important than you having a chance to raise your beautiful son? NO.

So, please know that if I think the sacrifice is too great, if I can't bear the scar, the pain, the recovery, I will put a halt to the whole thing; but, while I am motivated by my love for you and your baby and my selfish need to keep my best ever friend alive, I doubt that will happen!

So, it is not costing me too much. It's a few weeks of my life, for years of yours. It's a scar on my body to save yours. Please don't worry about what I am doing, worry about staying as healthy as you can until you get your new liver (or piece of mine) and then focus on recovery. I love you and want you to be around for years to come, healthy and happy.

So, please, focus on what is important for now and we will hope that a cadaver liver comes through before any of this even comes to fruition, but if it does, we will have to pick out our matching jammies and enjoy a new lease on life!

Love you!


Miss M She tells me she is uncomfortable with the title she keeps hearing, “hero”. She’s not saving my life in an effort to be heroic. I’m sorry Miss M, you are a hero. But, I promise never to call you one again because your friendship means more to me then your sacrifice. I know we both want it that way.

On other fronts, my mama’s off to Fiji for a month and my step-dad returns their next week. There’s a tinge of fear as they sail off to seas unknown but I have an inkling that I’m going to be okay for awhile longer here. My mom has been there for me through all my health ups and downs over the last 13 years. She has put mine before her own needs time and time again. It is a darkness in my heart and a guilty spot in my soul. I need her to be free as I want to be. I know she’ll be back. May your journey be safe, your retreat restorative and the island air healing. I love you dear mama. I will miss your confidence, your closeness and your protection but I am relieved and happy your are finally making this journey. We will be fine here! Don’t worry about us- please!


Friday, April 17, 2009


So Michelle went to the hospital today only to find they were overbooked, so her banding has been rescheduled for next friday. Such a bummer. She feels like garbage if she doesn't eat, and here she had fasted until this afternoon for not! But apparently the Ways still felt they should get some hospital time in, so off they went to the clinic for Jarvie. Actually, Jarvie had hurt his foot quite badly the other night in his rush to watch the Canucks, and now with Michelle's surgery canceled the Ways had some extra time to get him looked at. The clinic doc thought it was broken, thus directed them to the local ER. X-rays were done, and then they were sent home until the radiologist could read them next week. You know the medical system is in crisis when...

Michelle was feeling strong enough today, so she has ventured off to the island for 2 days to see her dear friend Miss M. In the event that they end up going the live-donor route, these two have some important stuff to go over, as this surgery is a big deal. The fresh air out there is also a bonus! Safe travels chickadee : )


Thursday, April 16, 2009


I have never before known someone personally who had such a large, diverse, and fantastic group of friends! This is the kind of stuff you see on Oprah! All of you are just so open-arms, generous, caring, and thoughtful in every thing you do. Each of you are blessings.

Why am I glowing tonight? Another dear friend is taking on a challenge to help support the Ways! I am so excited to share what this friend will be doing, but for now it's under wraps. I will make a post about it when I'm given the green light : ).

Michelle is going for banding surgery tomorrow. With liver disease comes scary side effects such as esophageal varices, which are little bulging veins in the esophagus(food pipe) with the potential to burst. Michelle goes for surgery every 3 months to get new varices tied off(or banded) to reduce the risk of a bleed out. Unfortunately in the past she has had numerous varices banded in the same spot which has lead to some scar tissue that can make swallowing difficult for her. I have had tears sting my eyes when I've witnessed her in pain and gagging because it can be hard to get food past this scar tissue. Please pray that surgery will go well, that any new varices will be few or none, and that there will not be any near the already scarred up part of her esophagus.

Thank You,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Good News!

Michelle is holding her own and little bit more!. She saw her specialist yesterday for some test results, and it seems she has actually had some improvement in her blood work and has gained a little weight back! It is such a blessing to get some good news while she waits what probably feels like the longest wait ever.
I chauffeured her yesterday so she could pick up some necessities for her son. We were at the mall when she startled and asked me what a noise was. She thought it might be her pager, but it was just the buzzes and bustle of the mall. Then today at her house our kids were playing when I heard a noise and audibly caught my breath. It was a pager, but only a toy from a doctor kit we had bought Tater Tot for Christmas! Statistically it is getting close to the time when an organ could become available, are we subconsciously on edge? Michelle is handling this stage of her life with such patience and grace. I am so excited for the days to come when she feels well again. Soon chickadee!
Thank you all for your ongoing love and support : )

Friday, April 10, 2009

Poker Night Canceled

Due to our biggest number of expected attendees having a conflicting event, we are regretfully canceling our poker night. Any tickets already purchased will be refunded in full. Stay tuned as we will try to reschedule.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

An Amazing Woman Deserves An Amazing Friend!

When's the surgery? Michelle must get asked this a lot, I know I do on her behalf! Michelle is waiting for a whole cadaver liver, but could also end up with a live donor, partial liver. The partial liver transplant will only occur if the wait for a cadaver is too long and they don't think Michelle can hold out for it. Michelle has an amazing friend who offered her a segment of her liver almost immediately upon learning Michelle's need. The assessment process is quite involved, and the surgery itself requires a huge commitment and careful consideration from both the donor and the recipient, as well as the families on both sides. Miss M just recently completed her final 2 days of testing and they are now waiting for the results to see whether she can indeed be a donor if needed. If they end up booking the surgery it will not be until the mid to late summer months. In the meantime, prayers are for a cadaver liver as this is the best, most ease-full process for all involved. Miss M, you have a huge heart and Michelle is blessed beyond words to have such a dear friend.

Update from Michelle : )

Okay here's a good news story....

After being told that I was now in the 3 to 6 months to live category a few weeks ago, my step dad came to visit me. He had just spent 2 years living in Fiji on a remote island.... in a tent!!! He is about 6 foot 3 and weighed in at 159lbs. I had peeled myself out of bed to say good-bye to Miss J and welcome my dad in. I swooped in for a hug but landed on skin and bone. The female instinct clicked in and I was overcome by the desire to nourish and fatten him up.

I spent the first 3 days of his visit unable to get out of bed except to go to the doctor or throw up. I had not seen my dad in 2 years. I was absolutely desperate to feel better. I pleaded with the couch, the floor, god, my nanny and the cat. What can I do to get over this.

I started going out anyway. My dad wheeled me in a wheelchair. I clutched my stomach to quiet the pain and breathed heavily to overcome the fatigue. He asked me if I was actually feeling better or just faking it. I confessed that I was faking it. Now the blood was moving again and I could feel life force re-entering my body. I felt like a plant longing for water that was now soaking in the rain.

It was the little things; bagging my medication into daily doses, helping me with my bags, driving me to drop off my various 'samples'at the lab, watching my silly reality TV, sipping coffee, and eating banana milkshakes daily. He had many missions to buy things he needs for life on the island. I co-piloted, sometimes well and sometimes not very well at all. Meanwhile we talked about the past, present and future. He did what I cannot and googled 'liver transplant'. He shared what I needed to know and, thankfully, kept the rest to himself. He fixed a little teapot, glued together an old lamp, fixed that silly bar that hung from the stroller and all the other things that dad`s just seem to know how to do. He watched out for me and for Nate and I felt safe. What is it about a good dad that just makes everything feel like it`s going to be okay? I really needed that feeling. It had been too long.

I don`t know if it was my dad, the sunshine, a few new meds, the spring flowers, or just pure luck, but I have not felt this good in a year. If I didn`t know what was going on in the inside I would probably join the lacrosse team. I write with trepidation because I don`t want to jinx myself but I just want to sing from the mountain top. I can`t stop myself. I feel very alive, very happy and very `beanful`. There is still constant pain, bloating, itching, nausea and the host of other ailments but there is a spring in my step and a true smile on my face. And... for the record my dad and I fattened up quite nicely in the 2 weeks he was here. He left on Monday and I cried almost the entire day. I thought everything would crash after he left but I have managed to hang on to the feeling of happiness and wellness. Thank you for bringing me so much love, so much peace and for being such great company. I love you always.


Sunday, April 5, 2009


Okay, I'm not feeling pretty enough today to post a picture of myself wearing our t-shirt. I will get one up soon. To pique your interest until then, please see our committee's logo to the right. This is the picture on the shirt. Once I get an actual picture up, you will notice that the logo is not centered. NO, we didn't get them printed at budget-shirts-r-us! This was a strategic plan. If you have any anatomy experience, you will know that the liver is situated in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen. Since Michelle needs a new liver, we thought this shirt might stimulate some conversation, which in turn could create awareness. The shirts are being sold locally for $20. I am heading to the post office this week to figure out shipping costs, as we would like to make them available to everyone who would like to purchase one. Stay tuned : ).

Michelle's step dad is leaving tomorrow. She is so sad and will miss him dearly. He has brought so much calm to the home during his visit. I had the pleasure of his company also, he is a very dear man. Safe travels B *wave*.

And on a happy note, Michelle's mom may be headed back for a visit this month : ).
The magic of spring and all this sunshine have me feeling that something big is coming our way!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

There is a point to the bird story!

Today I fought a crow for a tire pump. The little buggar swooped into my stroller basket, and snatched it. Now anyone who has a child knows you can't leave yours at one end of the park while you ambush a thieving bird at the other end. So with my child under my arm I ran like a crazy woman to rescue what was mine. Why did I care so much? Because my husband had already lectured me on losing it, and would never believe me if I told him a crow stole it. Since when did crows ride little bikes anyways?

Michelle has hit a new milestone with her liver disease. Do we still call it a milestone if it's not positive??? We've all had the itchies. Whether it was chicken pox, eczema, a mosquito bite, etc. Well Michelle has a new symptom called pruritis. This can cause intense itchiness, and she has been told that some patients even feel like their internal organs are itching. Unfortunately because most meds are processed through the liver, it can be tricky to find something to manage this issue. At this point she is doing oatmeal baths to try and find some relief, and hopefully her specialist will have some more effective suggestions when she talks to him next. Her pain also remains uncontrolled due to the medications having adverse effects on her poor body. So although she has had more energy the last few days, Michelle continues to struggle with the wrath of a failing liver.

So while I tred through my day, feeling like life gives me too many hurdles(even the birds are after me), I pause and remember to be thankful. Michelle is a true inspiration.