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Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Heart Needed

Inspired to return to this! 
We are so incredibly grateful for the outpouring of love, prayers and support for our family this week! Many of you know that Mark has had a serious heart condition for the last 7 years.  He has managed his illness so well with his determination, a Medtronic pacemaker/defibrillator, staying active, responding well to his medication and even acing his annual stress tests.  He took a sharp turn for the worst over the last 3 weeks and was admitted to the Cardiac ICU at Abbott Northwestern Heart Hospital in Minneapolis on Tuesday. They are doing all they can to stabilize his heart and are also rather quickly conducting a full heart transplant evaluation.

Our St Brendan to look forward to!
The reality continues to unfold each day.  We found out that he will not be able to return home without a new heart or an implanted VAD (ventricular assist device) which is a temporary 'bridge to transplant' and also requires open heart surgery. Urgently...Mark needs a new heart.

He's been told by every Cardiologist so far that he's a 'perfect candidate' because he is otherwise very healthy, fit and young (53) plus he doesn't have any other complications typical of heart failure - diabetes, cholesterol troubles, obesity, etc.  We met one of the surgeons (Dr. Louis Louis - no joke) and he told us because of Mark's O positive blood type (most common) and his weight (I've got at least 20 pounds on him) that 'you're gonna wait'. There's no way to predict a timeframe but we are mentally and emotionally preparing for a long haul.

We have been overwhelmed by the prayers that have been offered for Mark and our family. You have no idea how sustaining, encouraging and life-giving this is and we are incredibly grateful. When you think of Mark and are prompted to pray for him - please pray that his heart can hang on until a new heart becomes available.  Also, for his spirits and resolve to remain positive and steadfast.  You know Mark is high-energy and being confined to the ICU (and on a very bland low sodium diet) for an extended time is going to be challenging for him.  Pray for Paige and Reilly - they were so young when he was first diagnosed that we shielded them from the severity of his condition.  Plus, he did so well for 7 years that it has been a shock for them to realize he's not coming home anytime soon and that its very serious.
Mark as 'Floyd Henning' at Young Life's Frontier Ranch

It is a humbling place to be...desperate and waiting for a new heart for our Mark when it means that someone will have died and the heartbreaking grief their family will experience. Please pray for this donor and their family - that in the midst of their sadness and loss that they will find comfort in the amazing generosity of their gift. Courage knowing that the heart of their loved one will live on in this life-saving sacrifice for Mark.  The gratitude in advance that our family feels at just the thought of this is so emotional and humbling.



May you each be blessed in the love and prayers you offer for us!  We are also thankful for all the offers for food, visits and help - we'll take you up on it all and will eat anything!  Your fellowship and friendship give us strength and encouragement for another day in this journey. Please stay in it with us!

Free Guinness to all of our friends and family when this is all over! Cheers!



24 comments:

  1. My Thoughts and prayers are with your family

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    1. Thank you, Gibson! We so appreciate it! Please give my love to Amanda - wish you guys all the best and may you be blessed 100 fold through your prayers for us!

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  2. Wow! That is certainly alot to take in! Our hearts & prayers go out to your whole Family! You are all very precious to me. Mark, you just need to work hard, to keep that old 'ticker', ticking; until you can get a new heart! We pray that will come SOON! We will also pray for a Donor & their precious Family. You'll be prayerd for, several times a day, and I'll say an extra special prayer for 'my girls'! May God Bless you ALL!! Love, Kristi & Greg Welch

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    1. Sorry for some of the typos, in the above Post! My brain seems to be in a malfunction mode today! We love you SO MUCH, Mark, Jami, Paige, & Reilly!!

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    2. Oh Kristi - you hold such a special place in our family! You helped Reilly truly blossom as she was a shy, young preschooler always in her outgoing sister's shadow! You are still beloved and always will be! Thank you so much for your prayers - especially for the donor's family. It is strange to be so desperate for something that signifies another's tragic loss. We are trusting in the circle of life and generosity of people! Love you dearly!

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  3. Hi Jami - please know of my prayers for you and your family. Although I only met Mark a few times, I remember your family very fondly and will include him in my nightly Divine Mercy Chaplet prayers. God Bless! Marie Bauman (friend of Ryan and Lorena's)

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    1. Oh Marie - can't thank you enough for your prayers, deep faith and support! I'm doing alot of praying these days and will certainly add your sweet baby to my prayers! Every blessing to you and your family!

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  4. Jami - Our thoughts and prayers are with Mark, you, Paige and Reilly. Please don't hesitate to let us know if there is ANYTHING Jill or I can do for you.

    Larry Fossen

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    1. We've really missed St Victoria in all this, especially Father Bob! Miss seeing you, Jill and Kayla after mass and catching up. So grateful for your prayers. The good thing is St Hubert's is 1 minute from our house so I've been going to Eucharistic Adoration every day on my way to the hospital, or mass. Strength for the journey and courage to face each day.

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  5. Our family's prayers will head your way. I'll find a candle to light in Mark's office when I'm in. Mark, Jami and girls, you are all amazing. May God keep you each safe in the palm of His hand.

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    1. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Denise! Please do light a candle in his office as he can't wait to be back working there, hopefully very soon! Keep it warm and welcoming for him - he'll be back!

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  6. Jami, you and the family and especially Mark will be in my prayers. I pray the stay at the ICU will not be as long as anticipated, and that doctors will have wisdom as they proceed with plans to get Mark healthy and home. Please keep us posted, and know that you are loved!

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    1. Thank you for sharing our story with your network of wonderful people, Bret! You know we love you and Tracie - so grateful for our history together and now for your faithful prayers! They give us incredible strength! XOXO

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  7. Didn't know that Mark had a heart condition until I saw what Bret Welstead posted on Facebook. I have and will pray for you guys as you wade through all this. It's during times of calamity and great stress where we are stretched the most and realize more than ever how dependent we are on Jesus. May He reveal more of Himself to you over these upcoming days to show Himself more than able to meet your needs and desires. Praying for blessings beyond what could be imagined for you and your family.

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    1. Thank you so much - we are completely dependent on Christ! We are taking it one day at a time, one hour sometimes as Mark struggles. We couldn't be more grateful for your prayers, love and support!

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  8. Sending all good thoughts and prayers to you Mark, and family. I am so sorry you are going through this. I think of all your freaky talent and creativity and incredibly goofy hysterical characters in school. What an amazing class to come from. You will get through this, my brother, with flying colors!!! You have enough heart and then some! -
    Sam Harris

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    1. Oh Sam - thank you so much for this encouragement! My daughters' favorite musical of all time is Joseph - they know every word of every song and have watched the Donny Osmond video 1000 times! To think that we were able to see you play Joseph in KC was just amazing and stands out as a prime memory! Incredible talent - we were grateful to experience it!

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  9. We will say a prayer for your family. Blessings to you all during this difficult time. Kristi and Paul Jackson and family

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    1. Our sincere thanks for your prayers, Kristi as I know you are a person of deep faith!

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  10. My love and prayers are yours during this time - your family is an amazing testimony in this and all of life to faith in God's great love!

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  11. Lots of prayers and love to one of the most effective difference-makers I know. To healing, hoping, and raising a Guinness very soon.

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  12. I can only imagine what you are all going through as a family. Mark was so supportive and positive during my heart surgery, I can never thank him enough. Jami, If there is anything I can do for you, Mark or the girls please just ask. All my thoughts and prayers are with you and I just know of a positive outcome is on the horizon.

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  13. Jami, sending prayers for Mark and for you and your family as you journey down this road. I pray that God's plan includes a miraculous opportunity for the transplant and that this happens quickly. I pray for the families of those making decisions every day to donate organs. In their grief, they act in a way that is selfless and they give to others a powerful gift. I pray the joy of this gift is yours soon! Blessings and peace to all of you!

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  14. Sweet, Jami. A mixed bouquet of sorrow and joy to you and your family. The overwhelming rollercoaster of helplessness, simultaneously countered by steadfast, resilient faith must be draining. I feel your smile and God's peace through your kind, personal responses to your many, many friends' posts. May the Holy Spirit continue to buoy your stretched and tested spirit. Bless you for your example and witness. Your are so very beautiful ... and a mainline vessel of God's healing presence to Mark. Love to you, Jami.

    Susan Langer

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