TJ Needs Your Help
Family and friends of TJ Miller are raising money to pay for uninsured medical expenses associated with his liver transplant.
December 29, 2019
This is so long overdue, but it’s time to finally finish up our quilt raffle giveaway in support of Tj’s medical fundraiser. I’m embarrassed at how long it has taken me to complete this quilt giveaway! Most of it is because TJ and I have had a hell of a year, the other part is that this quilt is so beautiful I have enjoyed having it in my home. Unfortunately, we found out a few months ago that TJ’s autoimmune liver disease (Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis) is back and attacking his new liver. We are devastated by this re-diagnosis, and have been trying to figure out how to keep living a good life despite this awful news. We have been taking things one day at a time, soaking up the good days, time with the kids and each other. We could not have made it through any of this without the help of our amazing community and of course our forever liver sharing sister Rachel Erkmann (and family). You all rallied around us and we were able to raise over $27,000 to cover TJ’s medical, living, and travel expenses since his transplant in July 2018. Since TJ came home after 6 weeks of living in Salt Lake City recovering from surgery, we have made 25+ trips to SLC for appointments and procedures. We have used over $20,000 of the funds raised to make this travel and ongoing medical care possible. Thankfully, we still have the remaining funds to help us through the inevitable trips to SLC for TJ’s future care. (As an fyi all donations are tax deductible and can only be used for medical expenses.) All of this is to say, THANK YOU! Those two words don’t seem like enough to express our gratitude, but it’s all I have. After reviewing and randomizing and praying over the list of everyone that donated to TJ’s fund, this beautiful handmade quilt will go to Nancy Fuhrman and Roger (I will private message you and arrange for delivery). The Fuhrman’s are a special family that have been in TJ’s life since he was a kid and also happened to know the Erkmann’s, it’s meant to be! This butterfly quilt is such a beautiful message of hope and endurance (created and pieced by my mom, Jane Holbrook, and quilted by my aunt, Pam Cope). My mom so perfectly titled this quilt “don’t quit before the miracle happens”. Thank you all for your patience in my huge delay of getting this giveway completed. Here’s to a fresh new year, one day at a time, hoping for many more good days. ❤️
July 17, 2019
Happy Liverversary to TJ and Rachel!
1 year ago today we woke up nervous and hopeful for what was in store, and we went to bed that night with a successful surgery behind us, Rachel with a little less liver, and TJ’s new liver already producing bile and getting to work! It has not been an easy recovery process, but we knew that going in. We were told that it would be at least a year recovery. We have had many wonderful beautiful moments this past year. I am especially in awe of the generosity of others and the power of a loving community. My favorite lesson from all of TJ’s struggles with chronic illnesses and even the roller coaster ride that this recovery has been, is that we have become pros at enjoying the little moments of joy that exist within every day. From getting a hug from one of our kids, to laughing at a silly joke, to just sitting on our patio watching the sunset. We all strive for happiness in our lives, and sometimes it takes an event like this to remind us that it isn’t some huge amazing thing that makes us happy, it’s the day to day. It’s the things we don’t even notice or miss until you are faced with mortality of yourself or a loved one.
Rachel is still doing very well. She has no lasting effects from the surgery, and recently had her 1 year follow up appointment in Salt Lake City and was released from the surgical team’s care!
I think the unpredictability of TJ’s recovery is what has been the hardest. The month of May TJ was feeling the best he has in a long time, we started going for bike rides, he was doing projects around the house and suggesting getting a gym membership. The main remaining issue from TJ’s transplant is one stricture where 2 bile ducts were stitched together. The scar tissue in that spot created a narrowing that caused bile to not be able to flow freely which in turn elevates TJ’s liver function and makes him feel nauseous, tired, and in pain. Since January TJ has had six ERCP procedures. An ERCP is a endoscopic procedure in which a scope is passed through the mouth and digestive tract into the bile ducts. TJ has had multiple stents of varying size and material placed into that stricture in an attempt to stretch it open while keeping the bile flowing through. The stents do a very good job of stretching the scar tissue open, but the inorganic material of the stent is prone to bacteria sticking to it. TJ has had a couple pretty major infections due to the stents. One did turn septic in the beginning of February, the second infection on Memorial Day weekend was caught just in time before it turned septic. Right now TJ is stent free for the first time this year! It is exciting, but this is definitely a trial period. There is a very good chance TJ will be getting another stent in the near future.
I am so grateful for TJ’s team of doctors at the University of Utah, for Rachel and her family and community that has adopted us, for our kids that have endured all the ups and downs right along side of us, for TJ’s mom who spent 6 weeks in Salt Lake City with TJ while I had to go back to work, and both of our families. We absolutely could not have done it without each and every one of you. We are so excited to see what the next year will bring!
Photo Galleries (1)
November 20, 2019
TJ & Ainsley - we continue to stand with you two as you endure medical expenses and deductibles. We are praying for you and your family to flourish! Eric & Heather Tuininga
August 9, 2018
from Sonja and Pat Holbrook, toward TJ's health and the quilt raffle.
July 31, 2018
YOU ARE ALL AWESOME!!!
July 30, 2018
This is from Pat and Sonja Holbrook. They also want to be entered in the quilt raffle. Their contact info is 69 W Rhea Rd, Tempe, AZ 85284