Tom Needs Your Help
Tom’s life was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with end-stage liver disease due to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in the beginning of 2017. His condition worsened quickly to the point where he had no choice but to retire from his job in an assisted living facility. He was told that his only hope for survival was to receive a liver transplant.
October 10, 2018
It’s been a few months since we last wrote, and to be honest, a LOT has happened. As you may have seen from the last update (which only covered the beginning of what happened), Tom went through a few really, REALLY crazy months. He developed a case of hepatic encephalopathy, which affected his brain and caused intense confusion, possibly due to an infection. His liver and kidney function spiralled, and he developed pneumonia, as well as other complications while in the hospital. They finally got his brain confusion under control, but then it reoccurred while still in the hospital, prompting us to move him to the Liver Floor at the campus in the Houston Medical Center instead, so that they could stabilize him. There were attempts to get rid of multiple infections, to improve his spirits, and also an attempt at dialysis, which triggered atrial fibrillation in his heart, so that was discontinued immediately. He was on a feeding tube for quite awhile. It seemed like one thing after another. At one point, his condition was so poor that the transplant team deactivated him (not removed him) from the transplant list because he would not have been healthy enough to withstand transplant. He was, however, reactivated about a month ago.
Overall, Tom was in the hospital for more than 5 extremely difficult weeks (from the end of June until the beginning of August), then he was moved to a skilled nursing facility for 3 more weeks (the rest of August) for physical and occupational therapy, as well as for continued healing from his ordeal. Thankfully, once they got all of his major issues under control and moved him into the rehabilitation facility, he dramatically improved. While he still has many issues due to his condition, he is doing as well as a person who has been waiting for a dual-transplant for 2 years can be doing. He is now officially active on both the liver AND kidney transplant lists. He is currently receiving paracentesis (draining of his abdomen) twice a week, and he has a nurse, physical therapist, and nursing assistant who visit him every week at his home. He is able to walk without a walker, and sometimes without his cane, and his spirits are considerably better as well, which is always a good thing! We are continuing to do small fundraisers as we are able to help cover the cost of all of his medications, his doctors appointments, procedures, and, of course, for the transplant itself. Thank you for being a part of his life and his story. Please continue in your prayers for him — they are immeasurable in their encouragement and effect.
July 10, 2018
So sorry it’s been so long since we have updated you on Tom. It’s been a rough week and a half for him. Until this episode, he has been going to the hospital for his weekly paracentesis (draining of his abdomen) but maintaining at home. Two Wednesdays ago, however, he had his first bout with hepatic encephalopathy, a condition that can happen commonly to those struggling with liver failure – basically a form of confusion brought on when the liver cannot filter out toxins, primarily ammonia. While both of us were out of town, one of Tom’s friends went over to check on him and found him in a very confused state, so she called 911 and had an ambulance take him to the hospital where they found that a lot of his numbers were way “off” – ammonia, potassium, blood sugar, and heart rate. They admitted him to ICU in critical condition, but quickly worked to get him stabilized– by that Saturday, they had moved him to a regular floor and he was fully coherent. He was treated for an infection and for some dehydration (both of which could have played a role in triggering the high ammonia levels as well), and he is on the mend, albeit a slow one. He has been completely bedridden for the past week and a half, so the next step is for him to go to a rehab facility nearby for 2 weeks to ease back into normal daily life. He has wonderful doctors and nurses taking good care of him, so we are truly thankful for the care that he has received thus far.
Please pray for:
1) Complete healing of all infections/wounds – he has an infection that we are waiting on to completely heal, as well as some sores in his mouth and throat (which greatly affect his eating and drinking) – infections can trigger his ammonia to increase, thus triggering confusion
2) His appetite to increase – in order to get stronger, he needs adequate nutrition/hydration – dehydration can also trigger confusion
3) Pain relief – complications as a result of his condition
4) Truly restful sleep
5) An increase in his activity level (in whatever ways are possible)
6) His heart to be encouraged, his mind to be uplifted, and his will to be strengthened – staying in a hospital and not being in your own home for so long can take its toll, just as having an illness like this can over the course of 2 years
7) A new liver
8) Some relief from financial stress related to medical bills – this will be a life-long concern for Tom, as he will have large medical bills for the rest of his life due to pre-transplant procedures/medications, the transplant itself, and post-transplant medications.
If you would like to send him an encouraging card or note, please send them to Thomas Curnutte, 13502 Knottinghill Drive, Sugar Land TX 77498. We continue to appreciate your prayers, friends.
Greg & Michelle
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August 22, 2018
May God's peace be with you Thomas!
July 11, 2018
Lifting Tom up in prayer. He will be added to our church's prayer list this morning. Thank you for sharing this.