5.24.90 - 7.24.10

Thursday, July 29, 2010


On Sabbath, July 24, 2010, my life completely changed forever. I've been trying to string words together, but I've been incapable. The best I can do right now is pass along an email that was written by my mom on Friday night...

"There are many words that strike terror into the heart of parents. One phrase is "Mom, I'm ok but I'm calling from the ER". Today the two words were "Family Conference". At 5:00 PM we met with 12 people to be informed of Dustin's prognosis. The results of the biopsy were back and it turns out that even though imaging did not show it and ERCP "brushings" did not show it, Dustin had cancer in his biliary duct that had migrated to his liver. There was still a tumor in a piece of the duct that was used as a conduit and is still in him.

Even without the cancer the team has been having a very difficult time keeping my son alive for the last two days. He was scheduled for a fourth surgery in four days, tomorrow morning. Our family has made the decision to honor Dustin's wishes and tomorrow morning, early, we will allow him to rest. We wish to give time to any family who are local to say goodbye in person.

He went into surgery scared but with the hope he would have a life with more energy with his new liver. He never woke up enough to know differently. While this is hard on the family it is much easier for him. He is in no pain and tomorrow he will finally rest. He loves God very much and God loves him."

Thank you so much my many prayer warriors,

I'm not a very angry person, but I'm incredibly angry irate at God right now.
That being said, my faith in Him is stronger than its ever been.
I have an enormous empty spot inside of me right now, but God's presence in me is stronger than ever.
I'm furious that God didn't answer the one big prayer that we were all praying, but I can see so many answers to prayer throughout this entire thing.

My only comfort right now is that my brother's last thought was, "I'm getting a new liver!"
He never knew he had to have 3 surgeries in 3 days. He never knew he had cancer.
He was filled with joy, hope and the anticipation of a new life.
He is sleeping in Christ and no longer has to suffer or be in pain.
The next thing he is going to see is God's face.

That is the ONLY thing that is getting me & my family through this tragic time.

I'll be seeing you everyday, in everything & when the trumpets sound, little brother, I will see you again. I love you.

my little brother.

Friday, July 23, 2010


the past four months of my life have been one giant roller coaster ride. since april, my brother, who just turned 20 a couple months ago, has been in and out of the hospital because of the disease (that we now know is) Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PCS). sadly, to this day we have no idea what caused him to get this disease.

by the time my brother was diagnosed with PCS the disease was so far advanced that the doctors told us that he was going to need a liver transplant. at that point the transplant was not an emergency, it was just something that was going to be needed sometime during his lifetime. this was very encouraging because they also told us that it is extremely hard to get a liver in the sate of california. 

unfortunately his "non-emergency" status didn't last very long. his condition continued to worsen and his need for a liver was becoming more and more urgent. 

to help make an incredibly long story a little shorter, flash forward to june 15th. my brother was admitted to the ICU. his blood pressure dropped, he had multiple infections, kidney failure and the bottom line was that he wasn't doing well at all. all of these things caused his place on the transplant list to be suspended temporarily because he was not stable enough to handle a transplant. 

after only a couple of days in the ICU his condition took a small, yet quick turn for the better. the doctors and nurses were able to stabilize his blood pressure and his body was miraculously able to fight off the infections in a short amount of time! the transplant clinic immediately reinstated his spot on the transplant list and within 15 minutes of doing so a possible liver match was found! there is no doubt in my mind that God was answering every single one of our prayers! there is no possible way that a liver that was the same blood type, size & age as my brother's could have been found at the exact moment he needed it, only an hour away without God having something to do with it. 

the moment the liver arrived at the hospital he was wheeled down to the operating room for the surgery to begin. it was a long, meticulous surgery that lasted close to 18 hours. those 18 hours were the longest, most nerve racking hours of my life. 

afterwards the doctor told us that the surgery was the hardest one he had ever performed in his entire career. you see, this is because not only was his liver in terrible condition, but he also has Pancreatitis which means that his pancreas isn't in the best of conditions. this caused things to be a lot more complicated. 

as of right now the liver is doing extremely well in his body and he is stable. which is absolutely the best news i could possibly ask for. unfortunately, we are nowhere near out of the woods yet.  the liver hasn't fully "woken up" yet, so he is still being heavily, medically managed. he has a looong way to go and we're still waiting to hear what is going to be done about his Pancreatitis. 

as i continue to pray i am constantly thanking and praising God for His love and incredible answers to prayer. throughout this trying time i've had soo many people surrounding me and my family with prayer, love, genuine concern and support. without every single one of you, my family and i would not be holding up as well as we are. each phone call, email, text & prayer you send up means so much. each time you ask if we need anything or offer to bring us dinner a little stress is relieved. so from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU! i truly do love every single one of you!

my family and i continue our best to stay positive and we have hope and faith that brighter and happier times lay ahead. a text my mom received from a colleague and dear family friend summed up this week perfectly, i thought... 

"Life is a miracle. Survival is a biological gift. Medical science is amazing. God is good and it appears that our prayers are being answered. This is a good day!"

{incredible} wknd edition.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

after one of the toughest, most stressful, draining & tiring weeks ever i was able to let go and enjoy an incredible weekend! sunday started off with picking up a new toy! :)
then i was off to LA with some dear, dear friends.

i've always loved eating at auntie em's, but i hadn't ever been able to make it for brunch. soo glad i finally did, because it was sooo delicious! auntie em's menu changes with the seasons. so that means that everything tastes soo fresh since its straight from the garden!



caprese scrambled eggs with pesto

heirloom tomates, scrambled eggs & avocado on top of freshly baked ciabatta




then that evening we headed to the hollywood bowl for an amazing concert! hidden in the hills, the hbowl is such an incredible venue & another one of my fave spots in LA!

that night we saw some sweet bands take the sage...the bird and the bee. she & him. the swell season.













needless to say i was all smiles the rest of the night. my summer wouldn't have been considered complete without this outdoor concert at the bowl!


Monday, July 12, 2010

how was your weekend?! did you do anything exceptionally exciting?
i enjoyed a nice & low-key weekend that seemed to fly by.

i also didn't take my camera anywhere with me. {sometimes you just need a little break!} but i did manage to snap a photo of some potatoes i recently harvested from my humble garden. they're small and there aren't too many of them, but i'm just glad a few actually grew! :)



Monday, July 05, 2010

how was your freedom weekend?! i had a blast! spent a lot of time in the kitchen to help create a delectable lunch and then proceeded to spend the rest of the day eating!...after which i spent the better half of the night lighting fireworks and sparklers in my backyard!

corn on the cob. hand dipped corn dogs. mom's potato salad. watermelon lemonade




hope you too had an incredible weekend! i have to admit, i'm sad to see it leave!!

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