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Things have changed in the last few years. Donnie is no longer the “mean bus driver” he is now only driving on a part time basis for another school district.
As it stands right now he is having some problems with his kidneys that we are trying to get worked out but hopefully after a few more visits that will be taken care of. We are praying at this point that he will not need a kidney as well as his liver.
It has been 7 long years now since Donald was diagnosed with “NASH” a non-alcoholic fatty tissue disease of the liver. Many of you recall that back in 1995 Donald was in a serious tractor trailer accident that left him trapped in the truck for over two hours. Once he was extracted from the vehicle, he was air lifted to Hershey Medical Center where a wonderful doctor was able to put his leg back together. Donnie was on numerous Tylenol-based medications at the time for his pain and that, combined with weight gain, caused his liver to malfunction.
Donald was told by his doctors that his only chance at a healthy life would be to have a liver transplant, and he has been on the active transplant list for a little over 7 years now. This has been a long journey with frequent trips to and from the Hershey Medical Center for treatment.
This brings us to the purpose of this letter. Not only is the transplant a major procedure, it is extremely expensive. Even with insurance, Donald will have many uninsured, transplant-related expenses such as: co-pays and deductibles, doctor visits and the costly immunosuppressant medications that he will need to take for the rest of this life. As Donnie’s fiance I am looking for your help and prayers at this time.
To help offset his uninsured costs, a fundraising campaign in Donald’s honor has been established with Help Hope Live, a nonprofit organization that has been assisting the transplant community for more than 30 years. All contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law, are held by Help Hope Live in the Mid-Atlantic Liver Transplant Fund, and are administered by Help Hope Live for transplant-related expenses only. You can help make a difference in Donald’s life. Please consider making a contribution now and click the DONATE NOW button.
To help achieve our fundraising goals, any time or talent you can contribute would be greatly appreciated. Please contact us at our home — 717-628-1394.
Thank you all for your prayers and may God bless you.
On February 22, 2018 Donnie received his life saving gift. He received his new liver and kidney in a surgery that took over 18 hours. It has been a long hard road for us this past year. Right from the start Donnie contracted the CMV virus that can be very deadly for transplant patients. I gave him my cold that i had just 2 months out. He had some issues when they went to pull the final drain out between his liver and bile duct. The hole that was there did not close so Donnie had to be rushed into surgery to have a stent placed. That stent now has to be replaced every 3 months. We thought we were on the upswing of things and the outlook was finally getting better but he was hit with the fact that his body was starting to reject his kidney. He had to have a kidney biopsy right before Christmas. With that biopsy it was showing borderline rejection. Along with that came some tremors that started. He had to have an MRI of his brain as well as a heart work up because of issues he was having with breathing and walking. Christmas came and went and so did more testing. He had to have an EEG to be sure that the tremors were not seizures. We thanked the Good Lord that they were not seizures. His heart doctor cleared him of any heart issues so that also was a good sign.
The tremors were just getting worse and the kidneys were not getting any better. February 19, 2019 Donnie took a tumble at the mailbox area in our development. He didn't even make it a year with out something extremely major happening to him again. The ambulance came and took him to the hospital and when they did his blood work they realized that his potassium was 7.7. This level could actually throw him into having a massive heart-attack. They proceeded to do all kinds of xrays on his back including a ct scan and other producers to get that potassium down as quickly as possible as to not damage the heart muscle. That was just when one of the big snow storms hit and we got about 6 inches of snow. I was home sick with a migraine and he was in the hospital. When he was released to come home his back was in so much pain that he could not walk or sit, all he could do was lay. He tried 3 weeks of physical therapy but that did not work so he was sent to pain management. he was given a back brace but that did not help. that Saturday i took him back to the hospital because of the back pain and they placed him in the observation area. while there they did an MRI of his back that showed he had a cracked vertebrae along with alot of arthritis in there, but the Physician Assistant called in a spinal surgeon to look at Donnie due to his pain and he ordered an MRI of Donnie's neck. Upon that we were told that Donnie needed immediate spinal surgery on his neck area. He had a bulging disc,,fractured vertebra, nerve impingement, and bone fragments in his spinal column. He is not even sure how Donnie can be walking at this point. They fit him for a new back brace to try to relieve some of the pressure on his back and he starts PT again here shortly and will go back to the spinal surgeon next week to discuss the surgery on his next.
We have not had an easy road since his first surgery and while all that was going on while he was in the hospital another kidney biopsy was done and he is still in rejection. So he is still on steroids daily and he is miserable due to the weight he is gained.
Right now we take it one day at a time and we pray that the Lord will see us thru this hard time.
We just spent three days in Philadelphia. Good news we are now multi- listed. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital has agreeded to add Donnie as a patient on their listing for a Liver/ Kidney as of 10/10/17. We are over the moon. They are a very aggressive hospital that while down there getting tested and meeting the Doctors we learned that in 9 days they had done 8 liver transplants. I learned so much whole visiting those three days that I had to come home and get my head on straight with all the info. While down there we also stayed at the Gift of Life House. What a beautiful place and wonderful people. I just can't say enough for either place. Please keep us in your prayers as we keep this journey going. TJUH is hoping that Donnie will have new organs within the next year. I pray I can drive the distance without getting a speeding ticket getting us there
Thank you all for being there for us. We love you all.
Donnie and Ann
It has been quite a spring and summer here at Hershey Med Center with Donnie. As of this past August/September Donnie is now in need of both a Liver and kidneys. His Kidneys stopped functioning and he needed to go thru 4 days of dialysis to allow his kidneys some rest before they restarted for him. We are back and forth with numerous stays at the Med Center this year again and have decided that with the fact that his MELD score does not seem to go above 30 and that they will not actively look for organs until it gets to at least 35, we may go down south to see if he can possibly get organs a little quicker. That means some fundraising so that we can stay in that area for a time while he waits for those organs and while he recovers from surgery and that they feel he can come back home to be followed up by the Dr.s here at Hershey. Right now we are making weekly trips to Hershey on Mondays for him to have blood work done and then every other week he gets fluid removed off of his stomach area as well. Also, at times he is going up for transfusions due to his low hemoglobin count, this low count makes it hard for him to breathe and makes him extremely tired all the time.
I am just praying that we can get some good news from one of the hospitals that accepts his insurance that they will accept him as a patient and also hopefully will help with some financial aid for the procedure itself and that all we really would need to worry about is our living expenses and all the meds and stuff that go along with his transplant and well that is a lot. LOL.
Oh by the way Donnie has found a way that he likes to scare me. He does not do well with anesthesia. Yes, he likes to stop breathing after having procedures that require regular anesthesia. Donnie had to have several teeth removed recently and well stopped breathing when they brought him back up to the room. Yes, I have never ever in my life seen a room at a hospital fill so quickly. I was shouting answers to the dr as to what blood products Donald had been given that day and to the procedure he just came back from and well he told me he was quite impressed with my performance. The rapid response team gave him some narcan and well that did not phase Donnie so they had the anesthesia team on the ready to stick a breathing tube down his throat. they were all set and ready when he decided to start coming around. they proceeded to transport him to the ICU that was up one floor and well he decided to quit breathing again so I was not allowed on his elevator and had to take the next one. Once he was all settled in the room he was fine again and well was discharged the very next day good as new just minus 7 teeth.
I am happy to say he is no worse for wear and well he does not remember me doing the sternum rub and screaming at him and beating on his chest and telling him " That I swear to God if he dies on me I was going to go back into the room and beat him to death" LOL the Chaplin got a laugh out of that.
So for closing, please if you have any ideas for a fundraiser please shoot them to me because like I said as soon as we have Dr. Krok in Hershey contact Vanderbuilt Hospital in TN. and if and when they accept Donald and we have to go for a general first appointment workup we will need to probably get things moving pretty quickly.
we love you all.
Donnie and Ann
It has been some time since our last update. Everything was pretty quiet for a long while, however, things have taken a big turn for Donnie recently.
Let me start with the good news first. Donnie had a new procedure completed on Friday August 26th. They went into both his knees and actually burned the nerves apart so that he can now walk pain free for the first time in 25 years. This procedure last approximately 6-8 months then the doctors can go in and do it again. Only set back is that with his blood counts he needs to get blood products prior to this procedure. You don't know how happy we both are for him to be able to get up and walk the halls of the hospital without pain.
Now the bad news: Due to Donnie's IGA NEUROPATHY (SP) his kidneys have taken a hit. He is now in need of both a liver and kidney transplant. I brought him into Hershey on August 19th due to him retaining fluid and just being so bloated and not being able to breathe. As time has gone by his kidneys have just gotten weaker by the day and have basically shut down. They are trying medications to get them restarted but as of today the doctors said that does not seem to be working. Our next step will be dialysis. That will be 3 times a week.
As it stands he is off the transplant active list because he is over the 40 BMI cut off. We need to get this water weight off of him so we can move him back to the active side again so that he can get his liver and kidney transplant done. Please any help would be appreciated.
LOVE YOU ALL DONNIE AND ANN
Big changes going on right now. As many of you know Donnie's knee has been bone on bone for years know and it has been getting worse and worse. He is seeing a new orthopedist that wanted to do a knee replacement being that Donnie is really having a difficult time walking. We spoke to the Transplant team and Dr. Riley said that if at this time the knee transplant would be done Donnie's chances of survival for 3 months would be less than 30%. It was very disheartining to Donnie to say the least that this could not be done but we will get thru this like everything else. Right now we have to be pro-active. we are putting a ramp on the deck out front. The orthopedist said it would not be long before donnie would be in a wheelchair due to the pain in the knee. I am trying my best to keep him as active as i can to keep his weight down as well as keep him going so that the wheelchair may be an option after the liver surgery. Please send prayers that Donnie gets this liver so that he can get his knee replaced. His liver is still functioning on the good side so that is a plus and a downfall but like i said before we will make it thru this and anything else that is thrown our way. Love you all. Ann and Donnie
Hi everyone. Hope all is well with you. Well are adventure is never ending. Donald as you know is in need of a knee replacement due to the accident back in 95. It is getting harder and harder for him to move around. We went to the transplant dr's to see if it would be possible if he could get this knee replacement at this time being that it has been on the liver transplant list for 5 yrs now. The transplant drs advised us that if Donnie would get a knee replacement at this time his chances of survival are not good. So at this time we are thinking of ways to raise money for a ramp and wheel chair for him being that the orthopedist told us that with in 2 yrs Donnie will be in a wheelchair with minimal use of his left leg. Any suggestions on raising money for the ramp are greatly appreciated and as always may God Bless You all. Love Donnie, Ann, and Matt
All of your friends are praying for you!
God Bless You!
Blairs/ Myerstown Pa
Hi Donnie, Ann & Matt
I wanted to say hello and wish you the very very best. As always, we keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
Floyd, Linda & Marshall
Floyd F Thomas III / Fort Edward, NY
Make checks payable to:
Help Hope Live
Note in memo:
In honor of Donald McCole, Jr.
Help Hope Live
2 Radnor Corporate Center
100 Matsonford Road
Radnor, PA 19087
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