November 29, 2020
Talk about not getting what you want…but getting more than you deserve!
A year ago Mitch and I were taking many trips to the cities for procedures he needed as the beginning of his journey was in full motion. We began our “Coffee Explorers” idea that on every trip we would try a new coffee place. Mainly because it gave us an excuse to enjoy our love of coffee drinks but also to get our minds on something fun vs what was really going on. I think even back then I didn’t want to believe we were going to go through this all over again and NEVER did I think we would go through harder. I asked the Lord back then, “Help him fight this battle and win. Heal him without having to go through this all over again!”
As the months went on and we continued to enjoy many trips south, explore fun coffee shops, and enjoy a concert or two it was evident he was getting sicker as his body thinned, less energy, and of course the yellow skin appeared. During the months of February and March, Dan and I were busy helping Kinzy deal with her transition to MN. and facing her own issues. Plus I was gone for almost a month in VA helping her move. It was such a trying time for Dan and I helping our kids go through really hard situations. It took its toll for sure. We asked the Lord again, “take these trials Lord away from them, give us all some peace and rest.”
Have you ever thought about or heard “I deserve to have…”? I hear it most often when one has gone through a difficult situation. “I deserve to get this because I have been through that.” Or has someone said to you, “you deserve better”? As a believer who has embraced the incredible love of Jesus, realizing I am a sinner, accepted Jesus died a horrible death in place for my sins, and the best part… rose to life and is now sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, (Romans 8:34b) I understand one truth. I deserve nothing but have been given EVERYTHING! The verse below hit me once again just before the previous verse.
“Since He did not spare even his own Son but gave Him up for us all won’t He also give us everything else? “ Romans 8:32
God didn’t spare Jesus who was, is, and always will be perfect and sinless. Jesus didn’t deserve to die. I do. I don’t deserve anything because of my sinful heart. But He made a way for me to cross from death forever to live eternal even though I don’t deserve it, Jesus made it possible. Under one condition. I must repent, admit, and believe. Incredible! I asked for complete healing in Mitch and not to have to go through all he endured. I asked for no more pain or suffering. And the Lord could have provided another way to my prayer and answered it. He could have chosen to take Mitch home where all those prayers would have still been answered. Just not exactly the way I would have thought or wanted. Instead, we got more days and who knows how many more and are thankful for the ones we have gotten thus far. We didn’t deserve this time. Mitch didn’t deserve another chance. It is all by HIS mercy and grace we are even allowed to have our son to enjoy for however long the Lord gives. Deserve? Hum…it is a worldly word. Non-believers think, act, and live a life of entitlement on the premise they deserve…
I would much rather live my life knowing I don’t deserve anything but HAVE everything! It’s a much more peaceful way of living and truly gives me a restful mind and spirit to live life for Jesus and not me.
Today we rejoice in Mitch’s recovery. We enjoyed an adventure out for a pair of shoes at Target using the donated gift certificate from the place Dan shared on Thanksgiving. It was great seeing Mitch buzz around in the chair knocking into things (by accident) with a smile on his face. He kept saying how wonderful it was to be out! His eyes are bright white. His skin is starting to turn white as well and hoping his weight beefs up as well. We continue to trust in our Lord as we look forward to HOME as we know it with woods, pets, and ranch life. Seeing all the Christmas décor gets me excited to celebrate a special Christmas as a family together, which seems like a battle we fought for all year. I feel like we have been in a movie constantly running into one obstacle after another to get to our treasure and possibly opening the last door to see it sparkle and be real. It will happen if not here… then heaven!
Our daily posts will be moving back to when things come up or need of prayer but know this journey for Mitch will be at least a year of recovery. He has a few big hurdles to jump like rejection, blood clots, and just overall health needs. He is moved to tears often when we talk about all of you and stops us as it hurts not only physically but mentally too. He understands how close a call it was and is thankful Jesus understood and listened. He is ready to move forward and Upward in whatever the Lord has for him next.
November 28, 2020
Waiting all month for just this day…a reunion with our family together even though it was only for a few hours being together felt wonderful!
Kinzey and my mother-in-law Barb traveled together along with Sky, Mitch’s puppy behind me as I traveled with a full carload ready to be away for at least a week. The excitement of Mitch being with Sky again and giving him a big old hug without any tubes was giving me energy through my feet. Kinzey can attest she had a hard time keeping up with me and she felt like she was on a pursuit.
Yesterday we were afraid this reunion wouldn’t happen as Sky was playing as a puppy does running and jumping in our thyme out pasture at the ranch. In a split second, she was yelping and holding a drooped paw and we instantly thought she broke her leg. We quickly got her in the car. Kinzey splinted the paw with 2 sticks and vet wrap, and off to the vet, we went. All the way I thought about our plan for Mitch to see her and now he will not see her until he comes home. But as our Lord provided, she was fine, just sprained it and was licking and jumping around at the vet totally ok! Oh my, what a scare and So thankful she could lick her master and enjoy some time with him.
We arrived in the cities and saw Mitch and Dan walking across the park. Sky knew right away hearing Mitch’s voice and trying to hold her back from jumping on him would be a challenge… but worth it! This special reunion brought tears to us all…especially Mitch!
November 27, 2020
Home away from home is where Mitch got to go today! YES, released to society. Another day of Thanksgiving!
You can just see his excitement knowing he is going to leave after 27 days in the hospital and 6 surgeries!
Mitch taking the traditional wheelchair exit plan… Now look very closely, I did not see this until the post but is that a red Target bag? FYI Mitch himself needed some shoes and guess what… When I had gone to pick up the shoes for Jon Doe yesterday, The Good in the Hood had given him 2 gift cards to TARGET! Just enough to buy new shoes. Starting to lose track of how many people were blessed in less than 24 hours.
Tomorrow will be a relaxing day, time for him to eat and get some much needed rest away from the beeps, bumps and interruptions. First thing he said when he got into the apartment was how quiet it was. Almost like the woods but not quite… Blessings and prayers for continued strength and blood work numbers with no complications. God is good, all the time, God is good. Praise Jesus!
JESUS is not closed on Thanksgiving.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
The prayer yesterday was to reach out to someone. Here is what happened!
I went to get a Western Bagel at the bagel shop and a free coffee. They changed the sign that said you needed to order online to get the free coffee so I quickly downloaded the app and it made me choose a store. Not knowing exactly the address I looked on the outside of the door. Address said 70 and I was looking for 702. While outside a gentleman walked by dressed with only what he owned. There was my nudge. I walked over to him as he was going through the trash and asked him, “can I buy you breakfast?” He said “YES”. I went back in and ordered 2 Westerns and 2 large coffees. While waiting I could see him going through the trash and pulling out hypos. Got the order and went right outside, gave it to him and this poor guy really had a mental illness and I could relate. He just held the bag & coffee and used the trash can as a table staring out into space as though he was talking to someone. I looked closer and thought that could have been me a year ago… Just then coming across the street this guy was saying “hey you got some cash for food or shoes?” (He was only wearing socks) I gave him my Western and coffee. He said, “really? You are really nice.” He devoured it in 30 seconds.
Just then behind us rode up a girl on a bike with a suitcase of all of her belongings. She bellowed out to him, “Where are your shoes?” He just said, “someone took them while I was riding the train.” He was riding the train to stay warm but they kick everyone off at around 2am. She dropped her bike, opened the suitcase, and pulled out a pair of slippers. I just looked in awe as I watched how the homeless take care of each other. He was grateful to have that extra layer of warmth. I told him, “I wanted to buy you some shoes. What size did you wear?” Again he said “really!, size 14” “I should be able to zip down to Target and get you some. Meet you back here at 11:30.” He really did not believe I would do that and was hesitant at first. I said again.” I WILL BE HERE at 11:30, mark my word!” He told me his name, but to protect him for now we will call him Jon Doe. We parted ways and I went back to the apartment. Not really realizing it was Thanksgiving day and just taking it for granted everyone is open as the tradition of stores being closed had gone away so many years ago… I searched and searched on the internet for someone with men’s size 14 shoes. Everyone was closed! Panicking, I kept searching, found one was opened and they only had size 12. 90 minutes left before I have to keep my promise of 11:30. Did another search, not even sure what I put in, and up popped “Good in the Hood”. The words “Free shoes” are what stood out to me. I made the call and left a detailed message looking for a pair of size 14 shoes, not thinking anyone would call back on a Holiday… I got the call from Jamie. She said she was touched by my message and said she would drive over to the warehouse and call me back. 10:30 got the call and she said she would leave the bag outside the warehouse door for me to pick up. She asked if she could pray for Mitch and our family. You can just see the love of Jesus here. That was what I needed right then. It was just over 10 miles away from city driving.
It’s going to be close.
Got the bag and inside were wool socks, a nice pullover wool shirt and much needed gloves. Guess what kind of a bag it was in…
A Target bag… That was were I was originally going to go. Hummm… So I got a bag of clothes and shoes in a Target bag with Target being closed. God at work here!
Off to the races to meet my deadline… 11:25 got back to the apartment to get rid of the car and ran over to the meeting place. 11:35, 11:40 no Jon Doe. 11:45, 11:50, and there he was. I could tell his feet hurt. Got him sat down on a bench and he was sooo relieved to put those socks and shoes on. What a blessing! He said he was an alcoholic and his hands were shaking, he had not seen his son since June of 2019, his wife had left him and his dad had committed suicide. Admitted he was having a hard time with things. He thanked me and we thanked Jesus together. What a blessing!!
Thank you God, Jamie and Good in the Hood!
JESUS IS NOT CLOSED ON THANKSGIVING!
Mitch was not able to go home on Thanksgiving as was my hope. I spent the better part of my afternoon in the pharmacy getting his 19 medications and then headed up to his room to go get him as the plan was for him to come to the apartments. But as we were waiting for the discharge papers, Mitch got sick and threw up his feeding tube. I can think of much better ways to take it out, but yep it’s out. We thought great…one less thing to worry about. But the doctor said without that tube and his need for food he would need to stay the night. YEP, much disappointment for us all! So today…another try. Mitch had a great night, no tube made it so he slept and ate well. He looks great! He is walking a lot now which also helps in the healing process. SO…I will try again picking him up and spending some much needed father son time! God is good! Not the Thanksgiving we all planned but wouldn’t have it any other way! Just imagine if WE were in charge…yikes!
What a wonderful day of thanks…yes it may be challenging, but challenge puts our eyes on Jesus!
A Blessed THANKSGIVING!
A Perfect Thanksgiving In A NON Perfect World
“Enter His gates with Thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name.” Psalm 100:4
Thinking back on all the celebrations of Thanksgiving I truly can say this one is the most memorable and beats them all! For most folks, NOT being with family, or having a big ol’ traditional meal, enjoying fellowship, and our personal favorite, decorating the Christmas tree would certainly mark as the worst Thanksgiving ever. But hears the thing…isn’t Thanksgiving all about being thankful for what we have and for what we lost? We are to give the Lord praise even if things around us are not perfect or happening as we would like. I believe we are to give thanks in ALL things as the Lord says in His word which is giving HIM glory as well.
Dan is alone waiting for Mitch to be discharged. Mitch is alone in the hospital (kinda… he still has many cute nurses around him), Kinzey and I are together but without the boys, and Dan’s folks living next door will come over for a lefsa baking. They too are away from their children and grandchildren. (They just get us)
Even though we are all apart we have a tremendous amount of praise and thanksgiving to do today and EVERY DAY going forward! Mitch is recovering from a very traumatizing month. Dan is able to be with him when the day comes and he is doing so well from 2 years ago! Kinzey is home for good! No more east coast trauma and moving on with a life back with family and her love of the great outdoors! And me…I have family…even though physically apart we are together in love and spirit. We all have been through many trials in the last 2 years and this last month has taken a toll on each of us. But…with praise and thanksgiving, the Lord fills our holes with Himself. He brings peace and joy in those empty places and for that, we are so thankful!
In our devo time together this morning it talked about focusing on taking eyes off of ourselves and onto others. Doing Kingdom work in thoughts and deeds. Dan has a special story to share as we prayed for an opportunity to share Christ on this special day especially him being alone…God answered his prayer…another thing to be thankful for so tune in…it’s a good one!
November 25, 2020
Well, I just got back and really had some quality time with our son. He had requested multiple back rubs as he said I could hit that “Just right spot on his sore back”. I said he needed a wife… Pray for that! (He is single and available, comes with a 3 life warranty… Maybe to much sales pitch here). I told him after about six 2 minute back rubs that he needed to do a “walk” to earn for each one. Walking is going to be his friend. Helps get the blood flowing (CORRECTLY) and get his organs working faster. Best way to get out of the hospital and into a much needed resting and recovering place. I ran defense for Mitch today while I could. Keeping the lights off and door semi closed so he could try and sleep. It was sooooo good to see him fall asleep and see his body go into recovery mode. If you have never been there the hospital is full of beeps, bumps, freshly replaced nurses and constant noises- like “Code BLUE 5th floor anesthesia STAT Room xyz:. This is repeated 3 times and again 3 minutes later 3 times again, I think to make sure all the patients are woken up, shortly after the patients had just went to sleep… And then the (FRESH) nurses come in and see how you have been sleeping. Not a 5 star hotel for sure. Job security? “Like you can check out but never leave…
Mitch wants to put out the:
Such a pleasure and honor to be able to be with him today and share just good words to help keep him going. This is what I got blessed with today. From Mitch: “It is nice to have you as parents. Thank you for visiting today!!”
Since I can’t see Mitch or my family tomorrow, the Lord put on my heart to follow his word and try and reach out to someone, somewhere. Believe me, the streets here are full and the harvest is ripe:
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
They are out there. They are everywhere. Just need to open our eyes and SEE! Pray I will find at least 1.
Today was a great and mighty blessing. They got me in to see Mitch as I was to be trained on all the drain tubes and feeding tubes in the event he was able to come to the apartment. It was so great to see him after 3 plus weeks!! Sorry to say he will not be able to leave today as his labs just are not quite where they need to be. Disappointing but I feel it is a good decision in case there is something else going on. Kinda like our prayers… we pray for something and it just does not quite turn out how we prayed. We do know though that Jesus answers our prayers, maybe just not the way we wanted it. HE (Father) Knows best. The older people will get that line. So we can just continue to pray he can get out. Typically the Shelstad family tries for after midnight, Sunday’s or Holidays… Just how it seems to work out.
Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
I am waiting for the recording to come on that says “It’s 6pm and all visitors need to leave.” It comes on every day at 6pm, even though visitors are not allowed. I am hoping I can forget some of the training so I have to go in again tomorrow. (Thanksgiving Day). You know how when you get a bit older you don’t retain as much… That is going to be my story- we’ll see if it works. My other angle will be to bring him his back massager. He is getting stronger and seems to be getting a bit more of an appetite. He has lost over 20 pounds. We will keep you posted as to when he can get out. God Bless you all!
November 23, 2020
I have only been muskie fishing once, at least on purpose. Don’t get me wrong, I love to fish, just like some action. Compared to Canada where you catch a fish almost every cast… You will for sure need patience if muskie fishing is a sport you wish to take up. I have heard it can be exciting. Was not for me. 6 hours in a boat swirling your rod around in the water every now and then. Nothing, no excitement, not even a weed. Definitely challenges your patience. Ahh that word again patience.
Trials and Temptations
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. …
I think of the word “Perseverance”. It is to keep on going even when it sometimes does not make sense, like trying to catch a muskie all day long. Allowing perseverance to finish its work is the part where we must be patient, just like today. Patients is sometimes taking in a deep breath and looking at the beauty all around you.
Looks like we are in a waiting game. Patience. The days all seem to be blended together. Losing track of time and missing my wife! Like Lee said last Friday we passed like 2 ships in the night… Today we hear that numbers are stable so no blood transfusion! PRAISE. Still need to get the muscle mass up and hit that 1700 calorie number so he can get the tube out. We may see him moved to the rehab facility yet this week. Could even be Thanksgiving day. We will keep you posted. Mitch has been trying to connect on facebook and catching up on emails. This is a good sign as he is trying to reach out and get a sense of normalcy.
This is fishin’
November 22, 2020
A special week it is…a week to celebrate Thanksgiving…THANKFULNESS and GIVING…I believe a time we should all be celebrating every day!
Today, even as I type… marks 3 weeks with Mitch’s journey of life. I hope one day I won’t come upon a Sunday and keep doing this where I count the weeks but instead switch to not looking back but forward.
Dan and I had our morning devotional (on the phone) and one thing that hit us is how the Lord is always on our side. “He guides our way, and He gets the say. When we fail, He loves us still. When we’re unfaithful, He remains faithful.” Suzie Larson devotional. (link)
The doctors came in saying, ” some days will be two steps forward and one step back.” We have seen that played out daily for sure and seeming more steps back in the earlier weeks.
The steps reminded me of the poem many know of the Lord Footprints. Walking in the snow this morning down at the ranch and looking at Nuggets hoof print and mine facing one direction and then of course when I turned around he followed me going the other way, I was reminded the Lord is with us each step of the way. Taking the steps forward and even backward He is with us. His prints are in mine walking in together. Not over mine not even next to me, but right within me, totally with me.
Dan and I are so thrilled to see such a difference in Mitch! The doctor’s only concern is his loss of muscle and how thin he is. They are trying to get him to eat today every 2 hours and to walk even more. He asks questions to the doctors now vs. just lying there nodding. Mitch is defiantly having a forward foot day!
So with the good news, we also know there will be backward foot days but we will STILL GIVE OUR LORD PRAISE! I love this hymn from the Gaither family and hope it blesses all of you as you celebrate EVERY DAY in gratitude! Life…second chances…some third chances…for all of us to know we have a God who loves us and is with us if we choose HIS path to follow in HIS footsteps. Praise Jesus!
November 21, 2020
3:30pm..from Lee as Dan is gallivanting in the cities I guess Christmas shopping for me! Update on Mitch’s tests both x ray show the feeding tube is in the right place and the ultrasound this morning showed the blood flow is good too and no sign of clotting. Mitch has been experiencing constant need to get sick so they wanted to make sure no underlining issues existed. He walked a lot today and the pain is more under control. He even got his hair washed and looks dashing! Another brighter day…off to do chores and come back to talk to him before he rests for the night. SOOO amazing he is doing well now! Pray for continued healing!
Got on this morning and Mitch is doing much better. We sure are blessed to be able to have this technological connection. I can kinda tell he is on the mend as he ordered PIZZA! Mind you now this is not his favorite “Rafferty’s Finest W/Bacon”. Wouldn’t that be neat to have a Rafferty’s in the hospital! Will have to talk to Mark about that one. Mitch has had a unit of blood every day as his body tries to catch up. The feeding tube is still in place to help with his malnourishment issues. He is scheduled for another ultrasound to make sure he does not have another hematoma. We sure don’t want another emergency surgery. Please pray for clear results. Should find out a bit later today and will update.
Mitch’s new puppy is getting older! Kinzey gave her Mitch’s jacket and she just cuddled right up and laid on it. If she can’t have her master in person, she got the next best thing…his smell!
We got moved into the apartment and it sure is nice. 2 separate bedrooms, nice living room, big kitchen and a much needed freezer for any meals we might get. When Mitch gets out of rehab we can have a separate room for him away from the noise. I never thought I would be getting an apartment in the cities! Those that no me know just how much I like the city life… Anyway we are blessed and the timing is of course God’s perfect timing.
God’s never early, never late, but always on time. … God’s perfect timing does two things: It grows our faith as we are forced to wait and trust in God and it makes certain that HE, and HE alone, gets the glory and praise for pulling us through. “My times are in Your hands …” Psalm 31:15
November 20, 2020
For all law enforcement skip the next few sentences…
I was so joyful to see Mitch waking up energized, talkative, and heading to the restroom a little easier after all this time! Today began a brighter day for all of us! What a change even in 2 days! I now felt secure in knowing he is on his way to healing that I could feel good about heading home. Defiantly a better timing! Heading down 94, KTIS blaring with the song RISE UP, tears flowing, and glancing at the speedometer reading 80…I was praising the Lord for all He has done! Your timing is always perfect Lord! ( I did slow down by the way back to the speed limit just so you know)Dan and I literally were 2 ships passing in the wind as he was arriving in the cities to meet with the gal for the housing and I were headed out. So sad we won’t see each other for another week but for the sake of the Covid, we want to make sure we are both healthy and clear when the little dude gets the OK to come home. So taking all precautions we sacrifice being with each other for a bit longer.
I arrived at a clean home with Kinzey taking a big part in making sure the sheets were washed and the house filled with essential oil smell and a dog kind of excited to see me. Cruz is a bit confused and unsure of what is going on. Most border collies do not like change so he is adjusting to the routine and me once again. Of course, it was also time to be heading to the ranch to get my sniff and fuzz fix. Cruz loved that and it made both of our days! Oh, the clean fresh air of the woods and animals over the city is SO refreshing! It lifted my spirits for sure. I just feel a little sad Mitch is facing at least another 2 weeks. But timing is key. HIS timing, not ours.
Think about all the right timing since this whole journey began. The timing of the transplant. The liver available just for Mitch. The many needed surgeries. Many, many, friends and family praying us through. How I almost left when yet another surgery was needed and of course the housing coming at just the perfect time…ONLY GOD can do all that! ONLY HIM!
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-3
It is hard to wait. I wanted so desperately for us all to be together by now, but looking back at all that has taken place I know the Lord has the perfect time for his arrival back home. For now, Dan and I enjoy the breaks and rest we need to prepare for the next steps and even though we are all apart we hang onto the love poured out from others and our daily time with Jesus. Time with Jesus…it is…what gives us peace and JOY in the worst of times and the best of times!
I am looking at a beautiful sunset with no buildings or distractions and in awe of it all. There is no perfect time like the present to embrace such a gift as accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. Take it from this girl who has gone down this road without Him…I lost out on a lot of precious time of peace and joy. One never knows when your time is up. So don’t wait…your time may be now.
November 19, 2020
The stress we feel on a daily basis has been more than I think I have ever gone through. I think it’s due to not having ANY control over this situation, how Mitch is feeling, and the ins and outs of balancing his pain and medications. Oh, and we can’t be with him during the most stressful time of our son’s life. STRESSSSSSS!
Every day the nurses are awesome listing the multiple meds before giving them and even reminding him what their purpose is. Mitch is still dealing with pain and now nausea. His feeding tube is causing issues on many levels but the doctors are stating the importance of keeping it in place because he needs to gain some weight. The stress of the forever balancing act of meds and issues is exhausting. As I type this he is on a PT walk trying to build up his muscle mass which is close to dangerous. He came back with some excitement in his voice, “I did some stairs!” The stress level immediately went down for me as I watched him walk in. Just hearing his voice be perkier and of course, doing more than he’s done in almost 3 weeks. WHEW…a sigh of relief…are we getting to the other side of all this? I sure am praying and knowing again, the Lord has this!
“As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.” Psalm 119:143
Dan and I have been apart for a week now which adds to my stress. Not having him around especially two days ago when Mitch had the emergency surgery. Stress can defiantly overtake my mind so I often will turn on worship music to help me change my focus. It works…every time!
We just got a call the apartments set up for long care families has an opening. We were 6th on the list on Monday and now #1. Things happen so unexpectedly we can really never plan ahead. I guess a reminder, “not to worry about tomorrow today has enough of its own.” holds true as only our Lord knows. Dan will come down to help with the move and I will, GOD WILLING head home for some much-needed rest in my own bed and get my animal fix including Kinzey. (which could fit into the animal category) Just the thought of digging my nose in the horse’s necks relieves my stressful thoughts! Someone should come up with a horse smelling essential oil. I know many horse friends who would wear them, especially under stress.
A roller coaster of emotions and stress will be never-ending with this journey or any journey the Lord allows. It’s all in how we handle it when it hits. Do we make it worse by worrying or do we stop and pray? Will we choose to recognize our thoughts and turn to thoughts of praise and thanksgiving or cave and go into a downward spiral of despair? Dan knows full well from the latter! Stress is one of the key reasons for many illnesses’ in our world and truly I believe as Dan and I face this one daily, sometimes by moment, we MUST turn our minds towards Christ. He is always with us and promises to take it away. What a difference it has made for both of us when we do.
Thank you all for praying us through…Mitch is doing so great today! I finally feel a little stressed FREE!
PRAISE AND GLORY AND THANKSGIVING to our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ!!!!!
November 18, 2020
Getting out and shopped for Mitch’s transition to rehab, getting a different view outside of the campus and hospital area as well as this hotel room just felt so refreshing and hopeful. Mitch had such a great morning of progress until it all hit …his incision area was expanding causing unbearable pain. As Dan and I watched on the video our son in pain, not being able to hold his hand only with our voices be able to tell him, “we are here and are praying you through.”
“I will comfort you as a mother comforts her child.” Isaiah 66:13
The Lord comforts us in many ways. He hears us, He demonstrates His presence through others, He shows us in His word or song, He breaths hope when we are still and praise Him.
This passage spoke to me as we can not comfort Mitch the way we want. Even watching the staff make his bed this morning as they took him to ultrasound because his liver #’s are up, I wanted so badly to replace her and do that for him. But it’s not now. Both Dan and I have another job given to us. Pray, seek, and continue to trust in HIS plan. What some may think, even me, that not being with him physically really stinks it is what the Lord allowed for a purpose we don’t understand. Yet comforted knowing Jesus is with Mitch and He is protecting Him. Truly this does comfort me. The staff is amazing. Dan got up in the middle of the night listening to the nurse being so sweet to Mitch he started to cry knowing Mitch is being comforted by others. We can’t be with him always, but Jesus is!. Talk about letting go…this is it!
November 17, 2020
6:30pm Mitch is out…Praise the Lord they caught the bleed. It was over the mesh and because he is on blood thinners and still holding a lot of inflammation due to still healing they do see this. This surgeon has had 2. Mitch still could face this until he heals completely we will pray for NOT! Dan was on his way…made in only 5 miles when I got the call. So he is back home. I was planning on heading home tomorrow but now decided to stay until Mitch is on his way to rehab or a day from it. He was doing SO well this morning. Just waiting to see him on the new video Dan set up. Hoping he will be back on the floor and not in ICU. It’s a mess down there now with covid…THANK YOU ALL for praying and holding him up and us.
05:05pm As I write this I see Mitch lying in bed in 9+ pain. They can’t get it under control and he has a bulge in his scare area with leaking fluids. They are concerned he has a bleed and or colon disconnect. PLEASE PRAY. There is an army of doctors and nurses getting him ready. Unfortunately they will have to open him back up. Thank you warriors.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Dan-Expected arrival 16:55
So I was on the way back home to the cities having to leave Lee to tend to Mitch. Everyone knows just how much I like the cities… Turning my trusty GPS on to navigate through the landmine of traffic, lake size potholes, thousands of orange cones, sign that keeps saying “End Road Work” and ohhhhh happy drivers. Of course the drivers pay entire attention to the road in front of them as they somewhat blindly rocket through traffic. (pretty sure I saw someone putting on makeup). Thinking we need to work on vehicle control vs 2nd amendment control. Some people don’t realize they are driving a weapon of potential mass destruction out of control. Just think how many of those vehicles are unregistered, just sayin’
Anyways, back to driving. So I get past the Rogers area and the GPS which is tracking me from a geosynchronous orbit 22000 miles or so above the earth wants to reroute me. In an effort to really want to get home I felt frustrated as I have made this trip many times and wanted to go the fastest way I knew. I wanted to trust in myself, not wanting to trust the GPS. Then I saw a bright sign, crash ahead… expect delays… With a flash I had a nudge (HOLY SPIRIT) to exit NOW and follow the GPS. Expected arrival 16:53.
Arrived safely. 16:47 (For those not math orientated looks like I saved 8 minutes)
Then I heard the news. The following is a snippet from the Star Tribune:
“Semitrailer truck that stopped on freeway may have spawned last week’s 29-vehicle pileup on Interstate 94 in Monticello“
“The State Patrol continues to look for the truck and its driver, and is asking for help from anyone who was on the scene. “
Trusting the GPS saved me about 4 hours not 8 minutes. So I got to thinking… What else could GPS stand for? God Promises Salvation for those who trust in him.
Proverbs 3: 5-6
Wisdom Bestows Well-Being
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
See, following the lead of the HOLY SPIRIT kept my path straight. (Even though I felt I was getting the runaround with the GPS)
I think of Mitch right now as we are faced with the decision of the hospital to not accept visitors. Our plea was to let Lee in with an “exception”. Today realizing we are not “entitled”, our thinking got clearer. Thinking our plea should have been, Lord let Your Will be done and have it be the best decision for all. While Mitch was in ICU I had asked if they had an iPad so we could communicate with him and they said no, we don’t provide that type of thing.. We received multiple offers from my sister, an old customer and also a good friend Matt who just happened to be on his way to the area of the U with an iPad. Mitch got moved to the 7th floor and after speaking to the nurse manager pleading to have Lee get this exception she said she did not feel very confident the director would approve an exception. Just then she said we do have dedicated iPads for you to log into. WOW. I jumped on that project. We had a few technical issues but got things going as of this morning! Lee & I can both be on at the same time. What a relief.
We have a great sense of peace that God has protected and placed up a mighty shield not only for Mitch and Lee but all the other patients in the hospital and we rest in this:
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
We are resting assured… HE IS IN CONTROL.
November 16, 2020
It all finally caught up to me! Yesterday at 3pm I just couldn’t stay for my shift…I was exhausted and feeling I just wanted to go to bed. The good old word of REST which has been a word I have pondered, prayed for, and encouraged others to embrace for over 2 years has kicked hard. Because I didn’t rest enough and not embracing it myself, I had a restless night.
When I needed to leave, PT came in at the same time which was perfect in giving him another focus. He is still struggling with pain and discerning all that is being said to him with the many who engage in his day. Between therapy, nurses, doctors, social workers, it really is too much at times. The good news is he improves every day even though he doesn’t think so. He walks more and is being pushed to walk even more. His muscle mass is down so the doctor got on him today via video chat as yes, I am sitting in the hotel room taking a day off. He is on his own for the first time since we’ve been here and I know he will do well as he has quite the cheerleaders on 7A.
It’s amazing how many liver transplants they have done since we arrived. Just 5 alone last week. Many over 60 yrs old plus. Each one of them walks speedily by his door and I tell him, “that will be you soon.” He asked me the question, “when did they get their’s?” I told him, “a week ago but remember you had complications and 5 other surgeries so you have an excuse not to be where they are.” Every time people walk the staff cheers them on. Saying their name and rooting for them. It’s so cool. I will miss that today and guess what…it looks like I won’t be able to go back!
The hospital announced today is the last day for visitors. He wants me to come at least for the day, but here’s the thing…rest…I need to rest. If I don’t, I could jeopardize the weeks ahead. I told him to call me as much as he wants and to focus on the goal of walking. The days will go quickly. Dan is working on getting me to be with him during rehab or in on some of the aftercare info so we are hopeful I will see him soon.
“On the seventh day God rested from all the work He had been doing.” Genesis 2:2
The sacrifice is great choosing rest over being with our son during such a difficult time, but I believe the consequences of not resting is even greater. The Lord gave us a command to take a day of rest (just so happened it was Sunday too) because the Lord knows our bodies and minds need rest. I need to trust the staff is taking care of Mitch and he will be ok without me there. God is faithful and gracious in all the details so I will rest IN HIS presence and knowing Mitch is getting rest from his mom, which is also a good thing.
Pray for Mitch to have peace without me there and for him to use this as an “carrot” to get out of jail! Motivated to be onto the next step…rehab. And pray somehow I can be with him in the next step allowing time for me to continue to get my energy back and time of rest. Thank you!!!!!
November 15, 2020
Anxiousness, we all have it. Where does it come from? The real root of anxiousness I think is a form of worry. Lee and I, two weeks ago to the hour, for a period of time, were extremely anxious, worried and scared. We just were not ready for the news we just got. Then we prayed. Our sense of peace to let Mitch potentially go to be with the Lord in those next 2 hours came from knowing we knew, without a shadow of a doubt that he knew HIS Lord and Savior. Then we rejoiced even though it was painful!
Our Lord tells us what to do with anxiousness.
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
How do you rejoice in a serious situation? When everything seems to be coming down on you or going the wrong way? How do you stop worrying? The key is in the last part of 8 below and then re-reading 8. The verse tells us what to “think” about.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
11:12am Surgeons just came in and Mitch is doing better. PRAISE. Trying to walk to the bathroom by himself. PRAISE. Taking the catheter out. PRAISE. May need another unit of blood. PRAY. Very short of breath. PRAY. Wanting to get up and walk which will get him on the road to faster recovery. PRAISE.
So it’s what we choose to “think” about. Not saying that grieving is a bad thing, but how much time we spend there vs all the great and wondrous things around us to be so grateful for. I even look outside now as the snow is swirling around with the wind, it is like the breath of God. That same breath put life into us. What a thing to be grateful for! Thanks for praying. Thank you JESUS!
November 14, 2020
Guiding us along an unfamiliar path…unfamiliar…when you think of walking in an unfamiliar path what crosses your mind? I use similar ideas when doing sessions at the ranch asking kids to be blindfolded as they ride and ask questions like how they feel, are they worried and what is that worry. Or give them a trial and they have to try and lead the horse either riding or on the ground not knowing what’s around the corner that may spook them or the horse. Unfamiliar just by speaking or thinking the word can give one anxious thought and fear can creep in. But being in an unfamiliar situation is what the Lord allows in our lives to draw us back to HIM. Asking Jesus to lead us, help us stop fears and anxiousness and lead us to wisdom, clarity, and peace in this unfamiliar trail. We don’t know what lies ahead but we can trust in the One who does! His ways are clear and perfect and when a person chooses to be lead by Him instead of taking the rein yourself, the unfamiliar becomes calming. This unfamiliar trail ride isn’t what I would choose for anyone, but if the Lord allows it, it’s because HE has something amazing in-store and so I am willing to continue in the unfamiliar because He promises us…I will BRIGHTEN the darkness…SMOOTH out the road AHEAD…and with that promise, we all can hang on for the ride! I think we will name one of our trails at the ranch…UNFAMILIAR…what do you think?
“I will lead blind Israel down a new path, guiding them along the unfamiliar way. I will brighten the darkness before them and smooth out the road ahead of them.” Isaiah 42:16
Mitch has loved this button for the past week! It is his pain control button. He loves it so much his hand has shaped into the form of this button. He presses it often. Even before the light turns green he pushes it. I asked the doctors if they know when he pushes it before the green button lights up. They nodded yes. So I encouraged Mitch to wait for the green light to go on first then press it. The next day I encouraged him to look at the green light and decide if he really needed to push it or if he could wait even 5 more minutes or longer. And he did pretty well with each transition. Good thing because guess what today was? THEY TOOK IT AWAY! I wish I could have taken his picture! They were gracious to allow a slow and easy transition with other meds but going down this unfamiliar, no controlled way caused much anxiety on Mitch. Even long before they took it. We talked through it convincing him the importance of getting rid of each line to better transition out of the hospital and with the unfamiliar there WILL BE a promise of brighter days! He wasn’t convinced and when I left him…in pain…I kissed his forehead saying I love you and it will get better the Lord promises so. You will have many more unfamiliar roads but the Lord is with you and so am I.
He walked some…pain being such an issue again he didn’t have the strength to do much. His #’s in both liver and kidney are doing better, PRAISE THE LORD…still praying for him to do some “other things” on his own and he did have another unit of blood today which he has had almost daily. Overall…a good day…tomorrow will be more unfamiliar territory but the Lord is with us and so are you all praying us through!
November 13, 2020
6:45pm…Nothing like kissing our son on the forehead and he says, “don’t leave mom I want you to stay.” I can never leave him without a tear or two and wanting such a different life for him. I walked back of course alone in the dark, cold and with all these students walking in black hoodies, my guard is up as city walking is much different than when I lived here over 30 years ago. I walked to the front desk checking in my key as we had to add more days knowing Mitch will be here awhile when the young man looked up with a smile saying, “welcome home.” I smiled back and responded thank you but turned around choking up all over again. This day was better, probably the best day since we started this journey 2 weeks ago and my tears are because the Lord answered me. He answered our prayers spoken out loud. He answered them through all of you and He answered the unspoken ones.
We received cards for Dan and me as well as Mitch and of course tears of answered prayer through encouraging words of love. The Lord supplied all of our needs and continues to hear our cries. He indeed HEARS me!
Mitch is on a new floor! He is smiling a bit more, hard due to his feeding tube. He is up and walking more and is inspired to walk vs. wanting to just lay down due to so much fatigue. He shakes a lot due to high # in liver but the doctor reassured me this will get better as well as his intense itching so bad he cause scars. Mitch lost one of those bubbles which was awesome and the catheter which was even more awesome. Feeling a bit more normal helps him get more spunky. He also was able to call the kitchen to order what he needed. His list was long…ice tea, apple juice, and chocolate milk. His face was so funny when the person said, “the juice and tea will be right up but you can’t have milk.” He held the phone to me with a frustrated look saying “they won’t give me milk.” I told him the orders from the doctor go alllll the way down to the kitchen. SO, you can’t order what you want without permission. Oh, I had to leave the room I was laughing so hard! The surgeon who did the surgery I just love. The other one who assisted her has a personality of authority and firmness. He isn’t very fun like she is so I receiver her info much better. PLUS she is MUCH more positive which is huge! He came in with you need to walk 12 times today (never will happen with short staff so sets anxiousness for both of us), drink lots of liquid, and be nice to the staff. (he looked at me, I talked to him after about that one) The other surgeon comes into the room with a smile and looks at Mitch and said, “man dude you look amazing and you will be running the halls tomorrow you’re doing so well!” She kids around, going him a hard time as well as encourages him so well. Just love her! She also isn’t worried that his kidney #’s are up. She just is positive all will turn around! SO…hopeful we both felt! Mitch is doing wonderful…PRAISE JESUS as HE hears and HE answered! Tears of joy and hope as we head into the weekend!
“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and He answered me.
I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me.”
We may not be a man who is sitting in a belly of a whale crying out to the Lord, but during this journey, I know trials can seem like one is in a dark, cold, and stinky place. But when we pray, He responds. Not always the way we want, but He responds what is best. I am thankful today…just plain ol’ thankful!
6:30…my man went back home…came back to the dorm room with emptiness and a hard day…tears filled this tiny room but THANKFUL!
Patience is one Fruit of the Spirit I am totally bad at! Especially when it comes to my family’s needs and in crisis! Just letting you all know this momma isn’t putting up with rudeness, handling rough, shortness, or snotty attitudes from either staff or our son (even though he is dealing with so much and grace is given). The last two days have been a challenge in the area of staff and frustrating for me as I am tired of course but trying to discern every detail, and take care of Mitch’s every need has set my patience on high. Staff can be rude, arrogant, and snappy which I find not ok in a nursing situation. I do expect kindness and gentleness when handling him. I expect them to treat him with respect and telling him what’s going on. One can’t hide their attitudes under masks. I can read eyes and expressions well when the mouth is hidden. When Mitch is in need NOW and told he will have to wait and no one can help him I got ticked!
Yep, one young man no longer can have the privilege of serving our son. He got the boot!
Yes, there is a lot going on with him still. The kidney’s numbers are increasing causing a chance that he may need dialysis. This scared me half to death (on the inside as I hold it all together around staff and Mitch). The liver is still being treated for rejection for another 3 days and with those meds, it causes kidney’s to struggle. Like the moment he got on the table on Nov. 1 it has been a balancing act with the medications. The liver is their priority to get going, healthy, and stable. They can’t replace a liver and everything else they say, “they will handle one day at a time.” Patience is just that phrase that makes me nuts because it’s true but hard not to think about future outcomes. Seriously…who comes up with these phrases we are to be convicted about? Deep sigh…yep one day at a time and better yet, bring it all to prayer every detail. I am not to worry; the Lord Jesus has it all! Funny how God’s words are much more comforting and easier for me to incorporate than human cliché’s!
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.
Mitch is in an isolated situation since he came off the table because he has MRCA. No big deal most of us have it they say, but the staff has to be in gowns every time they enter the room so not to spread it to their other patients. ICU is private rooms and it’s been kinda nice not having another patient in the room. It can be rather annoying. So I was curious about what will happen when he moves to a floor. (7A) Hoping he would get a private room. The hospital is full because of the Covid thing I heard anyway so I kinda gave up hoping for the private room. BUT…remembered he was in isolation so asked the charge nurse…she confirmed his room will be private. I walked away from the desk with hip hip hoorah and smile, which no one could see because of my mask.
It’s almost 5:00pm, my work for the day is almost done and he may not be moved before I leave. I will wait patiently as this day has been long! Mitch is up, walking some, things are moving in that tummy, and he is getting out of ICU before his 2-week mark.., progress takes patience…that’s what we are hanging onto! Thank you all for praying…Jesus is rockin’ this!
November 11, 2020
The ICU nurse said he had a rough night last night. Still need to get the bowels moving so they can see that the colon is functioning. If not, a need for another surgery would be called and he would have to have the bag outside his body. Also not flowing liquids so had to have the catheter put in every 8 hours overnight to relieve the pressure. Liver biopsy results came in and his numbers are trending down, PRAISE. Mitch would really like to get “free” from the tubes and all the mechanical things that are hooked up to his body. To get “free” you have to work at it, so he needs to get up and move to help things get going. It is tough to do and you have to work through the pain. 10:50am-Just in-Radiology is coming in to do a study on the colon. He is starting to have kidney issues and the doctors are going to start to deal with that today. Pray for him today to continue to have strength to work through that pain, the colon and kidneys. Definitely feel like we are on the front line again today…
Today we lift up all the men, women and their families who are fighting now and who fought for our country to give us freedom. But, freedom comes with a cost… Freedom is not FREE. Many lives have been lost over the years to help preserve the freedom we have in our country. Thank you Veterans!
We as believers in Christ have a different kind of “freedom”. The freedom to know and follow Jesus Christ and believe in HIM as our Lord and Savior. Knowing that the battles on this earth are continuous, but we rest in the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ who wins the WAR. HIS was the ultimate sacrifice and he has set us FREE.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
November 10, 2020
Wanting a perfect surgery, doctor, nurse, room, or outcome is something we just can not have on this side of heaven.
New International Version
32 Listen, you heavens, and I will speak;
hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.
2 Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.
3 I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
4 He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.
We want it so badly right now as Mitch is facing such a hard journey. As I listened in on the floor team doing their rounds (they invite me daily to join them, not always I do) going on and on about what he is taking, what his numbers are showing, and what he needs to improve. I had Dan on video too so he could hear. One doctor stated his rejection is moderate to severe. Man…as much as I want to bypass the imperfection of this transplant the reality of it, it’s not. Mitch’s body came onto the table imperfect and the donor’s liver wasn’t perfect either so the outcome will have its bumps. Rejection is part of it. They will be doing a 6-day drug treatment and will do a test on Thursday to see how it’s doing as well as do another biopsy after the 6 days. They are also keeping a close eye on this colon as his tummy feels pretty tight and need that to not get stressed. Praying for both these issues to simply improve or at least be on the way would sure rest our minds.
Mitch is up, sitting in a chair, and even began walking today…twice even! Such praise!!! He wants to too and even said, “that felt amazing!” So great for his morals and keeping him motivated to see the first hand he is getting better and to keep trying every day. It helps that the PT and OT are young-looking gals and very sweet to him. That is motivation just in of itself!
We want perfection! We desire a perfect world with no pain, no tears, no trials. But the Lord says there will be all of that due to the fall of man. We can’t gain perfection until heaven where there will be no pain, tears, or trouble. I believe this is why believers long for heaven so much to have this perfection and be with the Author of Perfection, Jesus. I can’t wait! So until then, we wait and pray, and live a life pleasing to God and give grace to all the imperfections in this world.
Story of the nurse: Such a bummer today, this young man was not working so I could not chat with him more. But as he worked with Mitch yesterday being very compassionate, detailed in letting Mitch know all he was doing and what was happening I noticed several cutting scars on both wrists, up to his arm as well. I asked him as soft as I could, “it looks like you have had some pain as Mitch has”. He responded looking down, yes, and got quiet. I watched him move around so insecure about himself even though he was great at his job. He wasn’t the best at cleaning up after the artery IV was taken out, or organizing his IV pole which drove anyone working with Mitch nuts. Another nurse came in and took care of all those details as well as I did some because all the blood on the chair and floor were really disturbing. Later when he had to hold that vein for 10 minutes or longer it seemed, I said, “Mitch and I love to pray for people especially if they are dealing with something hard. How can we pray for you?” He responded, “I am not a religious person but appreciate people who care and do “that”. He went on, “you can pray for my drive home.” I asked, “are you worried about something?” He said, “there is a lot of traffic and accidents and I want to be safe.” There it was. Safe…He feels unsafe I could read it in his face. Mitch and I prayed for him, what he asked for, and for the deeper pain, he is experiencing. We don’t know the details, but Jesus does. We don’t have to know but have the privilege of bringing this man before the throne. When I got back to the hotel and told Dan about it I felt really uneasy with his character of not being clean, talked unnecessary at times, and really his insecurity made me feel like he didn’t know what he was doing. I wanted a “better” nurse but instantly felt convicted that Jesus has a different plan, we need to trust in the situation and give grace to this young man. He needs healing. He needs HOPE, He needs Jesus…and if the Lord provides…I will make sure he looks into my eyes and hears…HE IS LOVED!
Sorry no picture yet…working on him allowing this vulnerable time.
November 9, 2020
I just got off work and am sitting in our second home which we call a dorm room. Makes us feel young! Dan walks me to work and picks me up and even carries my backpack…ohhh the old times of high school years. Dan has been amazing making sure I am taken care of bringing my lunch and having dinner prepared with soda and peanuts and last night…he toasted the bread and put cheese on the mini pieces making a beautiful appetizer display! This toaster oven ROCKS! Thanks, McCall’s End of another day with a bit of relief.
The day was long due to getting a handle on Mitch’s pain. He was up most of the night and the nurse said they never did get ahead of it. So going in this morning he was one hurting unit. Besides all the doctor, surgeon, and nurses talk, the constant residents and rounds and really orders sounding like there are many bosses, I was ready to blow up. But Mitch did instead if you could imagine! He said to the nurse, “you all need to get on the same page and not have all these chiefs,” Yeah Mitch! One doctor would say one thing and another says something totally different. The bottom line, pain is an issue but he needs to move to get the bowels working which is a big need. All-day…nothing in that department. The pain was better but he will have some as that’s part of the process. So he got a backrub, with wonderful lotion given to us, ice sponge, and working on that tube thing to get you breathing deeper. It has #’s on it and for his breaths to reach a certain point. Because he was on psalm 34 for a week his lungs are weak. I love caring for him and pray for him out loud as well as to myself. Chris Tomlin singing away and trying to fill his room with Jesus as much as we can! Another thing…his new liver is in rejection. I took a deep breath and was instantly told it is to be expected and they are giving him what he needs to get all things rolling normally. He also needed more blood. He has had a blood transfusion almost every day he’s been in ICU. Hemoglobin is down. Don’t ask me any #’s I don’t care…I just pray instead and leave the details to the Lord and the doctors. Honestly, they talk to you like you understand! But I do the nod and act like I understand so I guess I am just as bad.
I was going to put a picture of Mitch in the chair but didn’t ask him if it was ok as his pain thing was too much. So I will wait and see what he says. We are really careful to respect him on this journey and try and meet that need too.
Until tomorrow, pray for rejection to heal. Pray for bowel movements. (I know funny thing to pray for but important) and pray for continued pain management as the goal is for him to walk.
Lastly, I was told…he might be in the hospital here for 2 weeks and another 2 in rehab. Here just over the river and through 35W. Another doc didn’t think it would be that long…she is day to day kind of gal and doesn’t like time given. Like that better!
I will have another story about the nurse to share tomorrow. Special really…a guy who says he isn’t religious but had wounds I know so well on his wrist told me he needed prayer. God is good…and has a WHOLE lot more for us than Mitch! Plus relief for a young man in need of healing himself!
Love you all!!!!
JESUS, JESUS, how I trust thee…
“But now for a brief moment, the Lord our God has been gracious in leaving us a remnant in giving us a firm place in HIS sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage”
What WE feel like a relief. Mitch not so much. After Mitch got into his ICU room he was fast asleep. Peaceful. As the doctors and nurses did their jobs hooking up tubes, talking about taking out the respirator, going over stats, and what he will need in the next 24 hours, I sat in awe. (stomach a bit turning from blood and bubbles on his tummy) Relieved he was out, closed, fixed again with the whole artery thing, and colon lookin’ awesome. Just relieved and looking forward to the next step of recovery. One week ago it all started and relief for a new liver but anxious about the quality of life was at stake.
Yet Mitch woke up, hurting big time. The pain was so great he was pounding the covers. Gasping, tears, so much for a momma to watch. I told him to hang onto my hand and squeeze it as hard as he likes. As long as it hurts to just keep squeezing. I’m not gonna lie. I was thinking about labor. How Dan must have felt. How you just want to take the pain away from the one you love. But the pain didn’t subside. After they took “34” off of him, they gave him a bit more but said “he will experience pain. They can’t take it totally away.” Relief is all he wanted even just a little bit. I kept asking him, “do you have a little relief?” NO, and a squeeze… a few minutes later asked again…NO, more squeezing. It wasn’t until just before I had to leave did he have SOME relief.
Dan called this morning; our routine at 6am…he was up all night with still a ton of pain. They are trying hard to get ahead of it. He faced timed us right after we talked to the nurse and he is still experiencing some but just tired. Of course, he was up all night the nurse said. She also stated he tried FaceTiming us at 11pm but we didn’t answer. Well…I will chat with him about that. Give a child a means to communicate whenever and he took advantage of that! HA! We do need to rest. I am sure he wanted to tell us he was hurting. But what was cool was he SPOKE…HI! We haven’t heard his voice for a week. We missed it! Much deeper and raspy…but he spoke…and relief of thankfulness poured over all of us!
Today’s prayer…more relief of pain or pain management , some movement in that bowel so he can get some nourishment, overall feeling for himself to experience relief his healing is on the way. To stay strong.
November 8, 2020
We received a call from the doctor and PRAISE! The surgery went well. They were able to close him, but had to use a mesh as to not put compression on the liver. It’s ok, just not ideal. He now has a feeding tube and they did repair the colon with no bag but if he shows signs of a problem they will have to go back in. We need to pray for total healing! Lee is waiting for him to show up to his room from OR.
Address below to send encouragement to Mitch
08:30am-Dan-When things on earth just don’t make sense…
It was a week ago today, almost to the hour we had to make a tough decision about Mitch, no warning really just these are your choices and you need to make it now to either stop and have us sew him back up with 30 days or less to live or continue with a very high probability he will die on the table. I was already highly emotional and not thinking quite right. I thought the new liver was the one with issues. In a matter of seconds we both looked at each other and said CONTINUE. The Lord provided a healthy liver and we both felt we could not stand in the way of HIS purpose. I know we did not “sacrifice” him, but we, in faith knew God had a plan and these verses shows us what faith looks like:
Genesis 22 1-18
New International Version
22 Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”
3 Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. 4 On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. 5 He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.”
6 Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, 7 Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
8 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”
“Here I am,” he replied.
12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.”
13 Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram[a] caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”
15 The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time 16 and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, 18 and through your offspring[b] all nations on earth will be blessed,[c] because you have obeyed me.”
I now know what Abraham felt like as we were at peace and ready to say goodby, at least for now.
Just as I was writing this we read a post from Shelley, a blessed friend.
“I would have pulled Joseph out. Out of that pit. Out of that prison. Out of that pain. And I would have cheated nations out of the one God would use to deliver them from famine.
I would have pulled David out. Out of Saul’s spear-throwing presence. Out of the caves he hid away in. Out of the pain of rejection. And I would have cheated Israel out of a God-hearted king.
I would have pulled Esther out. Out of being snatched from her only family. Out of being placed in a position she never asked for. Out of the path of a vicious, power-hungry foe. And I would have cheated a people out of the woman God would use to save their very lives.
And I would have pulled Jesus off. Off of the cross. Off of the road that led to suffering and pain. Off of the path that would mean nakedness and beatings, nails and thorns. And I would have cheated the entire world out of a Savior. Out of salvation. Out of an eternity filled with no more suffering and no more pain.
And oh friend. I want to pull you out. I want to change your path. I want to stop your pain. But right now I know I would be wrong. I would be out of line. I would be cheating you and cheating the world out of so much good. Because God knows. He knows the good this pain will produce. He knows the beauty this hard will grow. He’s watching over you and keeping you even in the midst of this. And He’s promising you that you can trust Him. Even when it all feels like more than you can bear.
So instead of trying to pull you out, I’m lifting you up. I’m kneeling before the Father and I’m asking Him to give you strength. To give you hope. I’m asking Him to protect you and to move you when the time is right. I’m asking Him to help you stay prayerful and discerning. I’m asking Him how I can best love you and be a help to you. And I’m believing He’s going to use your life in powerful and beautiful ways. Ways that will leave your heart grateful and humbly thankful for this road you’ve been on.”
Pray and let our Jesus do HIS thing! Thank you prayer warriors for being in this battle with us.
Surgery at 8am this morning…my sister lights a candle for every surgery…pretty soon she may have to take a loan out to buy more…praying NOT!
Psalm 18 :39
“You armed me with strength for battle; you humbled my adversaries before me
Yesterday was a sweet day with friends, Denise, and Scott coming to visit, encourage, and pray and yes give HUGE hugs that we so needed! They filled us with some things we needed and even some we didn’t request but brought smiles and joy to our little home away from home. Nothing like family and friends rallying in times of need! Dan had put out there a need for Mitch to communicate through an Ipad and within a matter of moments we had many offers! One was our friends Lori and Matt. Matt was close by the hospital and was actually on his way to meet Dan to pray and had an Ipad. When Dan connected with him and I brought it up to Mitch he just beamed! Really…just lit up! Mitch was so thrilled he started typing right away asking how we got it. Just warm a mom and dad’s heart when a hurting child is smiling! He right away wanted Matt’s #…it’s the little things of love!
Standing in the gap in this battle is what all of you reading this are doing! You are praying and seeking the Lord for this young man to healed!
We know this battle has been won with our Lord Jesus who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
Another friend, Teri sent this song via email and it spoke to my troubled heart today. Listen to the words of hope and truths that pour from it. So powerful! Sing it for Mitch today as he faces another surgery God willing, his last one.
PRAY the surgery is a success and they can close him without the mesh. With a fever the mesh isn’t the best option and could cause further complications so pray for easy close.
PRAY for strength for Mitch…he is looking rather thin and in much pain from laying so long on his back
PRAY the tube can be removed today and he be on his way to recovery.
PRAY for continued peace to fill his mind and soul! The new iPad allows for music which he plays while he sleeps and plays on it…so cool and of course a great witness!
YOU WIN EVERY BATTLE NOTHING CAN STAND IN HIS WAY! HE GOES BEFORE US!!! You got this Jesus…you got this!!!! Fight on your knees friends and family! We love you!
November 7, 2020
The surgeon is putting off the surgery till tomorrow morning @ 07:30am because they want 24 hours of normal temperature before going in again. PRAISE as he has a normal temperature! Mitch is getting anxious so pray for peace as the days and nights are long.
We called ICU this morning and PRAISE JESUS, his fever is GONE! His nurse had not heard yet if his surgery was on for 7am or not. Lee is getting ready for work, packing all her hats and will still go in at 8am as usual.
2 Corinthians 4:16
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Just after the call we got a facetime from Mitch. You can tell in his face he has lost some fluids and he seemed very peppy! We will update as we hear more. Thank you prayer warriors.
ADDRESS TO SEND MITCH ENCOURAGEMENT!
University Hospital Fairview
Att. Mitch Shelstad
500 west Harvard Street Minneapolis, MN 55455
November 6, 2020
Hats…I have become a cop, security guard, house cleaner, nurse, answering service, and best of all…mom!
It has been a day again filled with wishy-washy, up and down, and not sure moments. Mitch is still battling a fever. All night he had 103 temps and when I left it did come down to 100.1. PRAISE OUR LORD! Besides his physical needs, I have had to tell someone she needs to improve her bedside manner and she will not have the privilege of working with my son again unless she changes her attitude. She did say she was sorry and I told her that is all he needed to hear! I also am short with the security guard who is a wannabe cop at the front entrance. This whole covid thing is going to make me nuts! I love cleaning up after Mitch and being his moment to moment caregiver. He gets annoyed at my hands on his forehead pulling his oily hair away but I sneak one in now and then.
Every time I try to pray with him, or play music I tear up and can’t finish. Even reading him some of the messages from all of you, I just can’t get through them. I tell him, “you’re just going to have to read all this when your better and you WILL get better.” He looks at me and signs, I love you! Warms my heart! Signing is out thing and love being able to know what he is saying…most of the time.
The surgeon came in to chat about what is next. She thinks they may try and go in tomorrow and for sure do another wash out to get rid of the infection that seems to be hovering in there and if he continues to get the fluid out enough so they can close him. They are giving him a drug to pee to get the fluid rolling. He has so much of it retaining in his legs and feet. His whole body was but slowly is subsiding. If all looks good, again they may close him but not if his body is showing any signs of infection. She did state the longer it takes to close him it gives time for the colon to repair as well so he won’t have to have a bag on the outside of his body.
So tomorrow early morning by 7am but it could change. We will update!
Thanks so much, everyone for your gift of love and encouragement!!! WE LOVE YOU!!! We gotta have a party when this is over!!!! Until tomorrow, sleep tight!
WHAT IS MITCHY SAYING?
FRIENDS continued… So we were told Mitch was not able to really communicate and just look how our Jesus works. Mitch can not only communicate but is responsive and very aware of his surroundings. Yesterday we gave him his phone and he has used the notepad app to type his feelings and requests so the nurses can respond accurately. The doctors and nurses are bewildered. New ones and old ones stop in just to see a glimpse of him. He is the rumor on the floor from the liver from before. He was wondering and praying for a purpose before the liver transplant, just less than a week ago and you can see his prayers are being answered. Our boy is a living miracle thanks to our great and mighty Jesus and prayer warriors. He was having issues with trying to really see the keys on his phone as his temp is 103F+ with eyes so swollen he can hardly see, so we decided to try again to get the social worker to provide an iPad or tablet with bigger text. No luck, not something they do. That was the answer. We were hoping that with someone with a seeing impaired issue would have access to something like this. We reached out for a tablet of some sorts and received multiple offers from friends & family to provide a temporary iPad or tablet for Mitch. The iPad along with a special gift for Lee and my favorite “Popeyes” arrived. Another friend and another blessing. I dropped off the iPad for Mitch and after a day of being rather lethargic and sad his eyes popped open wide as he could now SEE the keys and continue to communicate. Prayers and technology really at work. Just see how Jesus is at work…
Thank you Jesus. Thank you prayer warriors. Please pray for us for tomorrow that the next washout will be a success and they can close Mitches belly so he can start to heal. Pray also for the family of the donor as I am sure they are wondering about the outcome.
Isaiah 58:10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
FRIENDS. Last night a real good friend of mine came to pray and give support along with providing some meals and a place to put them (Refrigerator). What a blessing it is to have a REAL friend! If you have one, take care of them as they can be a relishment and refreshment in times of need and provide the additional strength on this side of heaven as we continue HIS work with this battle on earth.
06:14 We continue to pray for strength as yesterday was a rough and exhausting day for Lee. So much so that Lee is trusting in me to write the post this morning. We so wish we could switch off in ICU. We can’t! Pray for strength!
Ever wonder why a passage shows up more than once in scripture? I think it is because of our humanness as we sometimes have a hard time listening, hearing, and understanding as to what Jesus has to say…
2 Samuel 22:33
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.
It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure.
We called ICU this morning and they said Mitch did ok through the night, but still has a high fever 103. He is packed in ice and cooling blankets to help keep this under control. They are unsure as to why the high fever and the cultures they tested are coming back as not growing which is a good sign.
The team is coming in this morning to give us a plan. Thank you for your words of encouragement and prayers!
November 5, 2020
Oh, your prayers are continuing to minister to our souls! This battle is difficult but we continue to wait for every detail to unfold.
Mitch is out of surgery. They got him cleaned out and his blood pressure immediately stabilized showing the need to get any bacteria out. They were not able to close him so back he goes once again sometime this weekend. They will wait until more fluid is out of the body which they are giving him meds to help.
I am heading back to go see him. (pray for me he will not be happy about another 2 days maybe 3 for that tube). His fever is still there but they feel that will subside now as well.
OUR JESUS IS RULER OVER ALL THIS!!!
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." Isaiah 40:29
It is 11:40 and Mitch is going in at 1 for sure. It was iffy for a bit as they wanted to wait for the swelling to go down so they could close him as well as do the “wash out”. BUT his labs are showing signs of bacteria in the belly and they need to proceed even if they can’t close him. His fever is still high 102 bounces to 101 but is… bottom line… not good. The doctor is not an optimist about the closing. This frustrated Mitch and he did get agitated as can be expected. This is a long time to be awake and incubated. The nurse said it is unusual for a patient to be this alert but he is being good and not pulling at it. Praise the Lord! Thank you again for praying. We are praying he loses so much fluid between now and the surgery that they can confidently close him so he doesn’t have another day with this uncomfortableness. He is down today not responding to me much. His unhappiness breaks my heart. I just want him all better!
1:00 to day Mitch will go in for round 3! Man what a fighter he is!
He still is holding a temperature of 101 but did do better last night with pain and sleeping. He had a rough night the night before mostly due to “feeling unsafe” as he shared via text with me. Having his phone to communicate has been a blessing for sure. I thought he would be more under sedated as they say, but as long as he is ok and not needing it they would prefer him to be alert if he can stand it. If the pain gets worse, they increase his med for pain which does knock him out. There were moments yesterday I was hoping for that choice.
The surgery will be important today. PRAY, THEY CAN CLOSE that his belly shrinks enough for them to do so. That his colon issue is restored and his liver remains strong and working! PRAY he can get off this machine and out of ICU! Seeing other patience going for walks in the great weather and loved ones together breaking my heart Dan can’t be a part of this. If he was stable we could do the same. Love you all…your encouragement is SO AWESOME!!!
Finally, Mitch is more stable! It took all morning and into the afternoon to get him calm, fever down…get this…101!!!! And the meds are holding whatever infection is going on is showing signs of working.
Mitch will have to go in tomorrow again…for wash out of the whole liver area making sure there is no infections, and hopefully close. The surgeon was not optimistic about closing him which would mean a possible waiting until MONDAY…this stinks! He is so frustrated at this machine and being incubated. He is sore, uncomfortable and really frustrated he can’t talk. He now texts me what he wants and his needs which has helped. (game of what is Mitchy saying may be a wash now) Nothing worse than when you can’t express how you are feeling!
PRAY his new liver shrinks and #’s stabilize. His fever continues to go down. He has a funky cold blanket on him ( I told him I want it afterwards he shook his head no and texted NO WAY) to help with the fever. The colon issue really is able to be fixed. She again was not real optimistic about that either but she said it’s an easy surgery months down the road when he is past all this other hump. So if it isn’t it’s the least of her concerns.
We continue to praise the Lord for how well he is doing in all this even the downward spiral we were on today. He’s here! He is in this with us! He is in control of every detail, each tube, connection, breathing, blood flow…liver…HE IS ALL POWERFUL and is the Great Physician. Jesus gets all the credit!!! ALL OF IT! SO thankful for such a different place of faith this round compared to 24 years ago. Praise the Lord for salvation in HIM! It’s what gets us through!
Tomorrow will be another day of life and trials. Dan and I pour our tears out as we read your encouraging words, songs, and scripture. They just pour over us. I try and have Mitch listen too but it is hard for him to hear and he gives me eyes of frustration so I keep trying. I know the music helps and the Bible passages help him. Keep ’em coming! If you have ever been too tired to pray, you know how great this is to have others help this along! Until tomorrow…Mitch is saying “goodnight sun”.
It’s been a difficult morning. Mitch is having a hard time breathing fighting the venerator. His fever is causing other issues and waiting on results for infection. His liver is struggling today maybe because of the surgery yesterday connecting the bile duct but they are working hard on every detail. There have been non-stopping people in here doing many different things from labs, pain management, ultrasound, the noise of beeping is not music for sure…but the sounds are showing life!
HANG ON MITCH!!!! You have come this far by the grace of a BIG GOD who sits on the THONE…there is NOTHING too hard for HIM!!! HANG ON SON!!!
November 4, 2020
“I sought the Lord and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34:4
“The angels of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and HE DELIVERS THEM.” 34:7
Dan and I are pressing into this chapter this morning! All of Psalm 34 is amazing and fits perfectly with what is happening and yes what lies ahead. Funny…his breathing machine has a # on it…34. I will do something special with that today.
Calling ICU this morning the nurse stated he did well after the surgery but he is running a 103 temperature and has all night. His body is fighting!
They were able to hook up the bile duct but could still not close him. As well as not work on the colon issue. So…back he will go later this week. I am exhausted just typing those few words. Every day is such a journey. As we pray we seek something so much bigger than ourselves. Many things happen in our lives every day how often each day is spent on someone else? I am sure you hear this many times from others that when the Lord puts on your heart to call, send a card, text…anything to that person…DO IT…because guess what? You may not get another chance.
Hearing the music in worship this morning…Precious Lord Lead Me Home.
Friend’s time is so precious. We don’t know we are loved unless someone tells us, reaches out, expresses love in some way. Doing nothing isn’t love. Thinking about someone is not love or may I say a prayer. “Our thoughts are not HIS thoughts”.
We feel it so powerfully through the long wall in the personal messages on FB, texts, email messages…we need that right now. Even if we don’t respond…know you are heard and it’s embraced with HOPE for Mitch!
Fun Game…What is Mitch Saying?
Hard times still call for laughter among it all. We try and communicate and this is what has worked best when the signing is a wash. Today he wants me to bring his phone to text. I pray he is well enough so that can happen! We have family sending us videos of his puppy Sky and anything that will boost his moral. PRAYER is still the most powerful way we can encourage him and us as well. Thank you! Pray for a reduced fever! His swollen belly to decrease so they can close him and for this colon issue to be fixed. We need a turn around Lord…we need you desperately!!!!
November 3, 2020
Do you ever snuggle under your covers so that no light, no sound can interrupt you? Fully covered and deep in sleep when I awoke to remove the comfy bedding I heard in my ears like polka dance music ringing rather loudly. I opened my eyes trying to figure out where I was realizing in this very dark, unfamiliar room I was not at a polka dance nor was I home. The reality hit…we are heading into day 3.
I am thankful the days of this journey fall on the dates exactly as I need all the help I can get in keeping things in order.
Yesterday was a much better day! PRAISE JESUS! I was told Mitch would be under totally until after the next surgery and remain on the ventilator until his body was more rested. I surely did not expect to see and experience what was such a joy as yesterday. He was opening his eyes, giving thumbs-up, and even trying to communicate. This was rather funny yet hard to see him frustrated too. He tried signing to me what his needs were but his hands were so puffy plus weakness I couldn’t make out much. I can’t was all I got until the nurse came up with him writing what he wanted. WELL… again I was blown away he could even do this! Remember, I was told he would be totally under for at least 3 days! So she gave him a whiteboard and she figured out it read he couldn’t breathe. Trying to tell him the tube is hard to breathe through and this was a sign they needed to up his med to be quieter and to move him a bit. They were able to make him more comfortable. His eye expressions and movements I could really tell he was frustrated and tears came as well. Which of course made me cry.
As I talked with, kissing his puffy fingers and hands, and stroking his head I praised the Lord for another day with him. We got Dan on video chat and tears flowed again for all of us. SO hard Dan can’t be in the room and hold him! We all need him for sure! I put the phone up to his ear for music that different friends sent telling him who sent them and he has a LOAD of folks praying for him.
The day brought joy as he continued to show improvement. His blood pressure med was reduced to almost nothing and signs of the liver working were stronger as the day went on. Every hour there was someone in his room, from doctors to radiology, to surgeons. Everyone was pleased with how well he is doing especially with how close this came to a different outcome. The ones in the operating room just overjoyed themselves he pulled through! So cool to see how much they care!
Dan was having trouble trying to get into Mitch’s phone needing his password. He asked if Mitch could help give the #’s. Mitch’s eyes got quite large like he didn’t want us to go into it. I don’t know maybe thinking he was in normal wellness and didn’t need us to intervene in his personal life. BUT, he does have things that needed attention right away. SO back to the whiteboard. I told him, “this is kinda fun, like a little game!” He rolled his eyes. HA…some sense of humor going on. So we tried, but no way was it working. If you can make it out, let me know. Maybe we can get you a prize!
I took a small break with Dan and we went to get groceries. It was nice to get out as 40 degrees feels this time of year. So weird everyone wearing masks as they are walking around campus. The feel here compared to the north is definitely different. When I returned, the surgeon came in to talk about the next surgery. They do hope to get him in today. Tuesday. Most likely will be afternoon as the main surgeon has another transplant in the morning. I know this is funny to think but how can she do more than one a day and be alert? Not for me to judge, but it flashed through me a bit.
The surgery will work on connecting the bile duct to the new liver, colon issue, and closing him. His belly is really big and they couldn’t close him so they hope the swelling will go down so they can do so. If not, it will require a mesh and another surgery. The less is best so pray for this all to go well and smoothly today.
Dan and I are still at the Graduate hotel. Nice, but pricy. So we hope to find housing today. The social worker is so helpful and working on details.
We read every text, email, post on FB, listen to every song sent, read every scripture stated, and are SO thankful the Lord sent each of you to us for strength. The days are long but go by so sweet with your love and prayers.
1 Praise the Lord.[a]
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights above.
2 Praise him, all his angels;
praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
3 Praise him, sun and moon;
praise him, all you shining stars.
4 Praise him, you highest heavens
and you waters above the skies.
We ended the night by Dan surprising me with a dinner out at Red Lobster for my birthday. He was so cute as he went all the way there to get a lobster soup and biscuit just in case I was too tired to go out. But I wanted to make sure we celebrate the good times as much as we can! One thing we didn’t do the last time around! It was a special night indeed with Kinzey and Dan singing happy birthday and a special gift of crafting tool I hope to use as soon as we return home! GOD IS GOOD!
Will continue to update later today to share how the surgery went. JESUS IS INDEED ON THE THRONE holding our boy! Love you all!
November 2, 2020
A new day…yesterday will forever be etched into our minds. I believe with my whole being the Lord allows times like this to use it to glorify HIM…make HIM known…show to believers and unbelievers HE IS REAL! HE IS HERE! HE IS WITH US!
After we got the news there was a high chance Mitch would die on the table Dan and I broke down. We cried uncontrollably holding onto each other and crying out to Jesus for comfort. Dan went into the restroom and I walked to the big window we have in our room. The SON was shinning in and stood with my face towards the beam of warmth and closed my eyes. I spoke to the Lord” Jesus you are with Mitch right now. Are you speaking to him? Are you asking him if he is ready to be with you? Are you holding him?” Within the time I was speaking I saw an amazing bright orange and red light. I am telling you it was so intense. Flashes of thought it was Mitch bleeding out of control. But it was a warm feeling, peaceful. My tears stopped. My nose dried up. I suddenly was quiet and still before a HOLY God who is comforting all of us. Within a second the color changed to white and it was cool. I opened my eyes and simply knew no matter what we all were going to be ok. I didn’t know what that looked like or would be like but really it didn’t matter. PEACE JESUS peace was all over the room and deep in my heart.
I shared this with Dan last night when I returned from seeing Mitch briefly when they brought him into ICU. Of course, Dan wept all over again and said you need to write that down!
Back to ICU visit, Mitch looked horrible. (I may have to take this out when he wakes up so he can’t read this) but really…he didn’t look like Mitch. I had to stop and double-check and even looked at the staff and asked it this was Mitch Shelstad. She nodded with tears in her eyes. The staff even got close to Mitch during this time. She said she was with him the whole time and it was really scary there for a while. She told me how sweet he is and thankful he is alive! I cried all over again.
I whispered into him I loved him. To hang on. I couldn’t speak anymore. The room was full of staff all talking and the room was super bright. I felt I was in the way and it was way past visiting hours. I usually don’t care about rules but didn’t feel it was good for me even though all the staff stood back and waited for me to be with him. Which made me REALLY uncomfortable! So…I left.
Now today…Dan wanted to call ICU as soon as we woke up. The nurse on the other end shared, “Mitch did great all night! I was able to reduce his blood pressure meds significantly and he even opened his eyes. I asked him how he was doing and he put a thumbs up. (tears flowing) She asked him to wiggle his toes…HE DID.” I told her I would be over as soon as visiting hours open. Which is a half hour…so off I go…KEEP PRAYING! They hope to do the second surgery tomorrow.
New Liver Day…Trusting Jesus Even When It’s Hard
2:24…nurse called said THE BLOOD IS FLOWING IN THE NEW LIVER! The remaining to go is to hook up the bile duct. Tears FLOWING along with this joy. From the early call when the doctors videoed us they gave us the horrible news…1 Mitch’s scaring was extremely poor and the liver was very sick plus his thin blood was causing excessive bleeding. They asked us what we wanted to do. Either stop and he would surely die within 2 months or continue with a very high chance he would bleed out and die on the table. Dan was not getting the whole thing as he was crying uncontrollably. Incredible how the Lord stopped me and got my head together to listen and help sort out what we were being told. I shared with Dan they need to keep going and do the best they can. Now both of us crying hard we told the doctors to continue and may the LORD BE WITH YOU>>>we hung up and sank to the floor in prayer and worship. It’s been a very hard day…we wait patiently for him to be done and to see him even if it’s only for a few minutes. We’ll see. With stricken rules only one of us and with ICU more stringent. But…trusting and waiting is what we seem to be doing most these days. KEEP PRAYING…Mitch has a long road ahead!
11:35… surgical nurse called…they were able to get the bleeding subsided and proceeded with transplant…WE PRAISED THE LORD ALMIGHTY for HIS GRACE and HANDS on Mitch! Keep praying…we have a long road ahead!
9:45am…doctors video called us Mitch is NOT doing well…lots of bleeding please pray he pulls through and God’s will be done!
November 1, 2020
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head overall. Both riches and honor come from You, and You rule overall, and in Your hand is power and might, and it lies in Your hand to make great and to strengthen everyone. 1 Chronicle 29:11-12
WE GIVE GLORY TO A GOD WHO REIGNS OVER ALL!!!!
Another day getting caught up for winterizing as we are so thankful for a warm day to do so. Dan spent the day Friday helping Mitch get ready to shut his house down for the “just in case” day.
Well, all snug in a bug in our bed with hugs to Mitch saying good night and it wasn’t even a half-hour into our rem sleep Mitch came into our room. “A liver is ready and I am to leave NOW.” Hearts pounding, and having the coordinates on the phone telling us what is going to happen with our minds trying to wrap around “is this the real deal?’ As we were listening I texted Kinzey to get to the house to coordinate dog care while we packed the car. The coordinator had a southern accent stating the liver is from a young adult who was in prison. The liver would need to be transported by plane and would arrive around the time Mitch would be ready to be on the table. She was gracious in letting us know what I am sure every receiver wants to know. Is it healthy? She gave details the donor was indeed healthy and they test extensively for HIV, alcoholism, drugs, and a host of other tests to make sure it is transplantable.
I started to get a bit anxious as dogs were barking with the movement, wind howling about a million miles an hour, and yes a full moon. It seemed really like a dream. After she wished us “good luck” as I can’t stand that statement but responded, “thank you Jesus and He’s got us.” We sure don’t believe in luck or this is all CHANCE as many would say…we know…without a shadow of a doubt…this is Jesus and all a part of His perfect plan for Mitch!
On our way to the cities, it was so windy and it seemed like tumbleweeds blowing by but they were cornstalks. Scary as it was like wood coming at you! It just fit with the night and what was happening. Mitch being pretty talkative and sharing his worries did feel peace and responded, “I just want this to be over.” If you don’t know Mitch, he is a quiet guy. Simple life, humble in most ways, and has a heart of gold. One thing he doesn’t like is attention on himself. So I try and remember to ask him what he wants me to share and pictures…for sure he doesn’t like it. SO, I won’t be putting up any of him in the hospital. Sorry. Out of respect that is his wish.
We arrived at midnight of course… the stroke of midnight I guess I needed to hear a wolf howl, but we are now in Minneapolis U and all we heard were sirens. Kinda the same. Both make my heart jump.
Dan was about an hour behind us but he wasn’t allowed in. We had worked out that I would be the primary which is going to be extremely difficult not having my man by my side in all this. But at least he can be close by. It didn’t take long for them to get blood work, Covid test (which caused a major nose bleed for him), and ultrasound done as well as the Fellow (doctor under the surgeon) to come and give the details of the procedure.
Mitch is now in surgery for 6- 12 hours. He also is at high risk for bleeding with his INR so high so he did state Mitch may get out of the initial surgery and within 24-48 hours be back on the table to finish to help his body recover a bit and not lose so much blood.
With all that said, Dan and I sit, SON shining at 8am, now in the waiting game. We have a beautiful room for now hoping to find housing for the next 2-3 weeks. Our journey and home away from home. The social worker helping us is the same one we had 24 years ago the first time around. The nurse said it’s by chance…NOT…God’s in charge! SO COOL! Mitch is strong. He loves Jesus. He knows the chances and risks and is at peace with it all. We wait upon the Lord as OUR GREAT PHYSICIAN is at work! Praying for the donor family today and a new life given…GOD IS GOOD!!! AND FAITHFUL!
October 26, 2020
What a weekend! On Saturday I spent time with a friend painting her new room and delighted in getting out with a friend for the day. The last few days Kinzey and I have been busy crafting making some fun shirts for our family journey. I had no idea the shirts would be in “active duty” so quickly. As I just had come in the door Mitch gets a call a liver is available! A deep breath in all of us!
The gal on the phone spoke of the donor who is brain dead and is waiting to give the organs to recipients. Mitch is second in line so they needed to confirm he wanted the liver in case the one who is first declines it. Also, they had to make sure that all things were ready and prepped so it would be 10pm before we knew any more details or if we would be on our way to the U. After Mitch hung up the phone, we prayed. Tears flowing from each of us as we put all this in HIS holy hands. Trusting in what’s ahead. Here we go!
Kinzey came over for dinner and time to regroup, plan, making sure all was in place if indeed we would go. It really was a fun night! Yes, anticipation was at a peak but we enjoyed sharing stories and laughing a ton! We even put our new shirts on and rejoiced in all HE HAS DONE for us!
10:30…we called her…we couldn’t wait…still didn’t have info to confirm so we wait and laugh some more…12:30am…I am dying of tiredness and finally, she called. They still did not know but said no matter what it wouldn’t happen until morning…so to bed we all piled in and at 8:30am she calls to share the liver is not healthy enough for transplant. I felt a bit of relief and disappointment all at the same time. It came so fast I was not prepared. I was uncomfortable about the age of the liver (60+ yr. old) yet they assured livers don’t age. Mitch is really doing well not super sick so it would be perfect timing so we don’t see him suffer more. Just so much emotion! Here’s the thing…Jesus knows what is going to happen. He has the perfect liver, plan, and timing. I will trust in that! And most important, I am SO glad I have Jesus in my heart to help me every step of the way!
Here’s the other thing…Jesus is coming back. SOON! Are you ready to meet HIM face to face? Are you prepared with knowing Jesus as your Savior or are you living still thinking you are your own savior? Do you live a life honoring Jesus? He paid a BIG price for you and me dying on a cross, rising again, and HE will return in judgment for all! Believers will be judged for how they lived for Him. Non-believers will face eternal darkness. Are you ready? Are you fully packed knowing without a doubt you will spend eternity with HIM? Are you wondering about being part of what the world teaches and what the Bible says? If you do have Jesus in your heart, have you shared your faith with others so they too can have the gift of eternal life? It’s real! JESUS is real! The Bible is true! I know the importance of this truth as we face every day being ready to embrace whatever the Lord chooses for Mitch. No matter what…Mitch wins! And so do we because we know without a shadow of a doubt we will be together again! THAT is what keeps us rejoicing and living in peace!
October 22, 2020
As Kinzey and I are preparing for a weekend of baking and crafting, I get a call from Mitch that the transplant coordinator contacted him. He received news that is challenging for us all, but we continue to embrace our Jesus as we knew with time things will worsen.
Mitch’s INR reached 32 and as doctors are great at giving timelines which for the record I hate, they are saying he has 3 months to receive a new liver. SO…what does that mean…PRAY a new liver is available, it’s a perfect match, and he will NOT reject it. Lots to bring before the Throne and trusting our Lord hears our prayers. We love you, and THANK YOU for lifting him up! God is faithful and we give Him all the glory as we walk together in HIS goodness!
October 16, 2020
Because of our trip to Branson, we will not be able to see Mitch for 2 weeks. He and Mackinzey took care of the homestead while we were away so it was great for him to be at our house to watch over it. BUT, because we were out of state and in so many places we decided as a family it was best for us to be apart for a time of quarantine to be safe. As a result, Mitch did get a flu bug and Kinzey a cold so it was a good choice overall. Dan and I, so far nothing…must be the daily intake of elderberry! HA! Anyway, he is doing better as of today from the bug, and continue to pray for a liver to be available soon or better yet…total healing! AMEN Right?
September 20, 2020
Mitch”s INR is on the rise. It continues to show the transplant team his liver is worsening. He did get results back from and MRI which showed nothing new. His moral is amazing! He is getting out dirt biking with his sister and dad too…occasionally, but mostly spending his days keeping his house and enjoying Sky. He also starts puppy class which again will keep him busy training. Sky will be the best dog ever with all the time her master has for her!
The kids enjoyed making Dan and I a beautiful meal one Saturday night. Mitch did an amazing job on the steak and Kinzey is enjoying her skills at pie baking. MAN, we were all stuffed and enjoyed some great family time together! We also spent a day in Park Rapids for Dan’s birthday. Memory lane for Dan and I as we use to live there and owned a restaurant. Horrible time other than we had Kinzey there.
We are loving our extra time with the kids. It has been too many years apart for sure! I guess we are making up for it!
September 13, 2020
Mitch continues to hang in there. Amazing really. Waiting for the day to receive a call for a new liver makes us all on edge, but especially Mitch. Every time the phone rings, planning on a get away, or simply filling up a day when you can no longer work. It is a difficult time for sure and we are thankful the Lord provides financial needs and of course this new little girl, Sky. She is defiantly filling his day as only a puppy can!
September 5, 2020
This last week has been a whirl wind as Mitch needed to go in for an MRI due to his blood work showing some signs of something going on. On Thursday he did so along with a new set of blood samples and he received a call from his transplant coordinator that his INR has risen to 28. She stated his INR is rising more rapidly now and to make sure his phone is on and be ready for a call at anytime if a new liver is available.
What to think? Really? We all sat down as a family excited yet anxious as news like this means so much. We pray daily for healing, comfort, and strength and truly we feel it. The Lord is working in all these areas of our hearts, minds, and soul. We will continue to update as we know things, keep you posted, and of course…PLEASE pray. We believe in only the submission of leaning on our Jesus through prayer. HE IS IN CHARGE! Thank you!
August 10, 2020
We have been celebrating each day we can have with this guy! I tell ya…enjoying family get away’s one day with seeing Llamas (we are thinking about getting some for the ranch one day), going out to eat, and a special evening going to Adult and Teen Challenge fundraiser for dinner. Why was it so special? Well, as always being with these guys brings us joy seeing them and hearing their testimonies, but also Sam came over and prayed over Mitch’s liver. Holding his hand over his liver and his other over his shoulder claiming healing and renewal brought Dan and I to tears. NEVER is prayer more powerful when it is spoken out loud RIGHT when you need it!!!! SO awesome! We are so thankful everyday!!
Mitch’s #’s are rising, 24 was his last test and the yellowing is stronger. But, I think he has a gorgeous tan! He’s hanging in there…thank you for praying and encouraging him. He needs it!
July 6, 2020
Our Lord is faithful and true and gives us hope everyday!
As we continue to wait for the liver to be available, Mitch continues to do well. He is staying active even got out wave running on the lake over the 4th! SO awesome! He also is able to take a hydration drink which is an herbal product I now sell because of what it does! Incredible really! Instead of the Gatorade and other products out there that do NOTHING for your health AND what it did for Mitch, I was sold! It hydrates your body NOW as soon as you drink it, tastes fabulous with all the herbs I love (Elderberry no less), and because of the electrolytes in the product it stops Mitch’s headaches. AMAZING! If you have a hard time drinking your daily dose of water…this will help! Just email me, I would be happy to share more! (email@example.com)
When Mitch has his headaches he gets really sick. So much so he vomits and is down for the day or more. So I am so happy we found a product that works!
If you want to connect with Mitch and give him an encouraging word, please email him. He would love it! You can email me on the above address and I will forward you his addy. Truly, will help him through this time of waiting! THANK YOU!!!!
June 12, 2020
A Happy Birthday for our little beaner, Mackinzey celebrating 27 years and not celebrating her birthday for 7 years…WOW! So fun to have her home!
With that, Mitch got busy in the kitchen making a wonderful meal for her and helping with appetizers and her cake! It was such a fun evening. Also…fun to have him happy and enjoying what he loves so much.
He is now LISTED with the liver transplant nationwide! His test made it so he could officially be listed. Loving life he is for sure and living everyday he is feeling well as best as he can. KEEP praying!!! He needs them!
We also paid a visit to a local assisted living facility and Mitch did all the pictures. We even got in the paper! Here are some of his shots! Great job Mitchy MO!
May 25, 2020
Today Mitch is doing great! Isn’t it wonderful we can be in the midst of a trial but have total peace in what is to come or even happening right now but totally ok with it? I love that about our faith! Just trust and obey and see what He gives us!
Mitch has a team of many people who call him weekly to check-in, make sure he is up to date on paperwork, labs, and so on as well as check on his mental health. He really feels special we can tell! He smiles a lot and has more energy since his symptoms and reactions from meds is under control.
He stays with us a few days at the beginning of the week so we can do home church together and have a family meal or two or three or…the kids hang out for more often. He then will head back to his home to take care of things there. We know there will be a day he will have to totally live here for a period of time so we encouraged him to take what he can get now and live his life as best as he can. He loves that!
He does miss his work at camp but he is hoping when they open he can lend a hand in volunteering on his good days. What a gift he can give during his time of waiting.
May 28, 2020
Mitch and I are headed to the cities for some tests he needs. This will give an accurate reading for the team and transplant coordinators to have him listed. He is at 18 INR now and when it reaches 30+ is when things will get more serious. OR if he has more trouble like he did last fall with his bile duct or anything else that will cause him to be listed higher. Until the tests come back I will update this again and of course, we trust in our Jesus for it all. PLEASE pray for Mitch and his strength, his faith, and most of all his morale. With Jesus there is NOTHING to fear!
God’s blessings upon you ALL!
Lee and Dan