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Friday, March 7, 2014

Back in ICU but Top Priority/1A on "The List"

Mark's temporary home in ICU's VIP suite
Greetings from the Cardiac ICU at Abbott Northwestern Heart Hospital in Minneapolis - we're back!  Mark and I are enjoying a quiet Friday night together and feel at peace.  We'd been warned that he might be admitted again if the doctors didn't like what they saw after his scheduled procedure yesterday.  We both had a sense that he'd be going back in so he packed a bag and said a heartfelt goodbye to the girls when they left for school yesterday morning.  After the initial depression of being back in here wore off, we both regrouped and regained our hope....Onward!  Mark has been moved to 1A top priority on the heart transplant list so although his heart has deteriorated, he now qualifies for the most urgent category and can accept a heart from a 1000 mile radius.  The heart has to come from a person with the same blood type and similar body size.  Our beloved Cardiologist of 7 years, Dr. Scott Sharkey, said it perfectly last night..."you've been upgraded to First Class". 
Dr. Sharkey - We honestly LOVE him!
We are here with full hearts.  The 5 weeks Mark was home with us was an incredible gift - such simple, ordinary days when taken away - then restored - become precious.  We enjoyed family meals together, watched our winter TV shows, he took Reilly out driving then to Caribou, kissed the girls goodbye before school every morning, went to Mass...the normal flow of everyday life but in sharp focus and savored.  Living 'one day at a time' and trying to direct our minds to be in the 'here and now' only have been our saving grace.  Thinking about the past tends to bring on tinges of grief and sadness for what's now impossible and missing from our lives.  The future is full of uncertainty and many difficult days ahead.  With mindfulness, returning to this wonderful moment right now has been an anchor. 

We truly believe we have a reservoir of peace because of the love poured into our hearts to overflowing by so many of you!  Friends traveled from out of state to visit, meals were delivered with cheer and love, we celebrated our annual 'Winter is Almost Over' party with friends last Friday at our house.  Mark has received the most amazing notes - words of encouragement, love and hope.  Mark's boss, Connie, flew in from DC on Monday to visit and another Gallup colleague and friend, Shane Lopez, literally the world's leading researcher and author on Hope, came up from Lawrence, KS.  It was a thrill to see Mark so happy during these times ...animated, funny, engaging, thoroughly enjoying the moments and resulting encouragement from time with dear friends.  They gave us a break from the reality of this challenge and allowed us to forget for a time. We will never be able to repay this outpouring of generosity but know that it has sustained us, buoyed our spirits and gotten us through.  Please keep it coming! 

Our hearts are full as this season of waiting is coinciding with the season of Lent.  The last night we had at home with Mark was Ash Wednesday and we received our ashes together as a family.  “Remember that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19)...true...but we're praying fervently for more time.   I also had a sense to pray for the donor and their family everyday of Lent as I believe the heart intended for Mark is coming soon.  That the time remaining will be meaningful and spiritually significant for the donor.  Will you join us on this Lenten journey and pray with us?  Your prayers, love and support add to our reservoir of faith and hope as we wait for Mark's new heart!  Please stay with us! 


  1. Mark & Jami,
    We are thinking of you and praying for all of you. What faithful servants you are to our Lord!
    My favorite scripture comes to mind as I read your post and think of what you are going through. Jeremiah 29:11 says,"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
    I can't help but feel these words are so appropriate at this time. HE is with you and will sustain you on this journey, just as he promised.
    Much Love,
    Janet (Schuh) Fulk

  2. Dear Mark and Jamie, I am greatful you are in the presence and comfort of the Lord for there is no greater hope than that! May His love sustain you His wisdom bring you peace and His promise to never leave you nor forsake you be your strength. We will pray with you.

  3. On my knees, Jami. Cannot imagine your journey. I praise God for your witness. So beautiful. So full. So real. Much love to you, Mark and the girls ...

  4. We will of course pray for you all! Although we have not seen you in a while and our paths haven't crossed, we continue to keep you in our thoughts and share in your optimism that God is here with you as well as the potential donor/family. So heartwarming to know that you feel everyone's presence through love and prayer....not surprising since you and your family have that affect on so many that you have touched. That peace will sustain you through this in so many ways.....Thank you for your updates and sharing your faith, hope and grace!

  5. Mark and Jami - our family is praying with yours in this season. Thank you for sharing. Our HEART is with your HEART.

  6. Mark and Jamie love and prayers are with you! Your entry was beautiful!

  7. Mark - praying for you and your family - I so appreciate you friend!