A New Season Dawning

A couple we know from our days working in the inner city lost their son fighting in Iraq in 2004.  He was 21 years old.  Our old friends are on my mind today.  I have a son who wants to join the military…so much so that he is looking at schools with good ROTC programs.  I admit part of me is hoping it’s a desire he’ll outgrow but I am very proud of his sense of duty and his patriotism.  I’m grateful he has placed a value on “preserving freedom” and I wonder how that will play itself out in his life.  I try hard not to take freedom for granted…how blessed I am that it’s all I’ve ever known!  On this Memorial Day, I remember with deep gratitude the countless men and women who gave their lives to establish and defend MY freedom.

With Memorial Day comes the start of a new season!  Spirits are high in our household as the end of school nears (only 8 more school days left!) and summer is in the air!  Sadly, Wilson broke his arm last weekend playing an epic game of zombie tag which means he’s starting out the summer with no drums, no video games and no swimming but luckily he’ll only need his cast for 4 weeks so he has the second half of summer to look forward to. 🙂  Max (my lover of the culinary arts) has committed to cooking dinner for the family a couple of nights a week this summer.  He’s excited to master a few more recipes and I’m excited he wants to do it!!  We’ll see how that plays out for all individuals involved.  Ha Ha  Sweet Livy is excited to host swim parties, go to soccer camp, paint her nails (she’s becoming quite the nail polish artist) and craft.  I’m praying for a summer that refreshes them all.

It looks like we may be at the start of a new season for Rudy too.  We received a confirmation call from UCLA late last week to meet with a portion of the heart transplant team THIS Thursday, May 30th!!  You may recall that our local cardiologist communicated a couple of appointments ago that he felt it was time to begin “transplant talks” with the team at UCLA for the purpose of gathering information and  getting Rudy on the radar.  It took a few weeks to get all the paperwork and insurance authorizations approved but we’re clear to proceed now and, actually, Rolf and I are a little surprised they’re getting us in so quick.  Our initial consultation is with the head of the pediatric heart transplant program (Dr. Juan Alejos), the program nurse manager and pre pediatric heart transplant coordinator and a social worker.  We need to arrive at 8am for an echocardiogram, we’ll meet with Dr. Alejos et al at 9am and then have some more tests and lab work to complete before we leave…it’ll be a full day.  They’ll most likely want us to get a heart cath on the calendar as part of the standard procedure.  Our understanding is that Rudy would not be considered a candidate (for the Glenn OR the transplant) at this point because of his pulmonary hypertension but Rudy’s pulmonologist seems to think a heart/lung transplant is something we could consider so we have much to discuss with the team…so many questions, so many thoughts swirling around.

The opportunity to pursue a heart transplant would be an absolute gift, a miracle really, and it’s worth starting the process to see where it leads but it’s also one of the most terrifying scenarios for me.  The path we are on now is not perfect but it’s known…it’s familiar and we have learned to navigate it.  The transplantation journey is unknown, it involves so many critical variables that need to align just right, it feels complicated and scary.  I could burst into tears just thinking about it!  Too much analysis at this point is premature but we’re committed to carefully engage in the process and we pray for God’s guidance and wisdom.

We have much to be thankful for and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to be consulting with people we know!  This situation could be so different…meeting doctors and surgeons for the very first time at these initial consultations, needing to review Rudy’s complicated medical history with each new specialist, etc, etc.  Instead, although we are starting a new process with a different department for an alternative treatment plan, the people are the same.  The Pediatric Heart Transplant Team includes Dr. Reemtsen (Rudy’s surgeon), Drs. Alejos (program director) and Perens (Medical support) and Halnon (Medical support) and they all cared for Rudy during his first 7-months in the hospital.  They are familiar faces to us and people we trust…that is of GREAT comfort.

We sure would appreciate your prayers…prayers specifically for our day at UCLA and for the days ahead that are so full of activities important to the big kids and our family:

Wednesday May 29:  Max’s 8th grade performing arts class production of “FAME” (Max is excited because he plays a significant character)

Thursday May 30:  Consultation with the Pediatric Heart Transplant Team at UCLA (Clear communication all around and calm hearts-for those of us with all 4 of our heart chambers!)

Friday May 31:  Rudy’s last day of school (A party, piñata, fun!  Don’t want to miss that!!)

Thursday June 6:  Max’s 8th grade graduation, Last day of school for Wilson and Olivia!

Thank you dear friends!  We are so grateful for today…we are hopeful for tomorrow!  As always, taking it all one day at a time…

Wilson only needs like 486 more X-rays to catch up to Rudy's total to date!  Awww, poor big boy!
Wilson only needs like 486 more X-rays to catch up to Rudy’s total to date! Awww, poor big boy – he doesn’t look happy!
After being away with Olivia for a 2-day soccer tournament and in the ER with Wilson the evening he got back, we finally got to have a belated birthday celebration for the man of the house...complete with a Carvel ice-cream cake!  By the looks of it, Olivia wasn't too keen on the shirtless action of her brothers!
After being away with Olivia for a 2-day soccer tournament and in the ER with Wilson the evening he got back, Rolf finally got a belated birthday celebration…complete with a Carvel ice-cream cake! By the looks of it, Olivia wasn’t too keen on the shirtless action of her brothers!  Ha Ha
One is never to old to have one's favorite Marvel comic antihero logo spray-painted on his cast...thanks to Dad.
One is never too old to have one’s favorite Marvel comic antihero logo spray-painted on his cast…thanks to Dad.
DP Music Award Night!
DP Music Award Night!  Wilson lettered THREE times in music.
5th grade "My Passion" powerpoint presentation by Olivia Geyling!
5th grade “My Passion” powerpoint presentation by Olivia Geyling!
We made a stop at our favorite beach burger joint to kick off the holiday weekend!
We made a stop for dinner at our favorite beach burger joint to kick off the holiday weekend!  Welcome summer!

Max’s video is making the rounds on FB but it’s a must-see here on Rudy’s Beat!  I’ve watched it many, many times and it still makes me laugh!

10 thoughts on “A New Season Dawning

  1. If you ever want to spend some time talking about the military experience from a parents point of view, we would be glad to get together with you. It is a different kind of a journey. Will be praying for you this week with Rudy!

  2. Dear Rudy, This is for your record: My Uncle Charles Fink died during the influenza epidemic in France on his Mother’s birthday as WWI ended. He was a U.S. Marine. My brother, Jack Fink, served in the Merchant Marines at the end of WWII and was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He served in Germany as a Sgt. in communications. Your Grandpa Dick Wilson was in R.O.T.C. at Kansas University where we met and later married after his discharge. Your Uncle Rick served in the U.S. Army during the Persian Gulf War in a tank unit with the Combat Engineers. He was a Sgt. then. After he came home he was hired by an Indiana 6th district congressman as a Military liason staffer. He became a Lt. Col. when the Congressman sent him to Officer’s Training where he was Top Gun of his class.

    I remember my Grandmother Fink as she fervently prayed for her grandsons during WWII. I had 16 cousins serving in WWII. I experienced the worry of my mother when Jack served. I understand the heartache of a mother when a son or daughter serves in combat. Only the strength of our faith gave us hope.

    Now you fight another type of battle–a medical one– and you are a very courageous “soldier” who gives inspiration to all who know or hear of you. May God Bless you and God Bless America!

  3. Will keep all those family events in my prayers. You all have A LOT going on.

    We have done the pediatric heart transplant journey and it is definitely scary and you, as always, are spot on. I remember feeling the same way. I was an expert HLHS parent and had been so for 13 years! and then all of a sudden with transplant it was all new terms, procedures and concerns. It was like starting over again.

    I know I don’t know you personally am just a high school friend of Rolf’s who in a weird twist of fate also had an HLHS son who needed a heart transplant but I am at you and Rolf’s service for any questions about how to get thru it. I know you have the best medical team but sometimes the doctors no matter how good can’t understand the day to day of pre, during and post transplant.

    Please let me know if there is anything I can do. I will definitely pray.

    Kathy

  4. WOW!! Praying for all of you as this long day of app’ts nears. Stunning news, actually – and I totally get the mixed feelings about it. So sorry about Wilson’s arm! And I love the video. Go Max! Go Rudy!

  5. God bless y’all. Just incredible beautiful kids. We will pray for Rudy on Thurs. love video of Max and a Rudy

  6. Trish, you are wise and The Lord is faithful and never makes a mistake. Trust that He is carrying you all and will never tire. You and Rolf will be lead to continue making the best decisions for precious little Rudy!

    As always, sending much love and many prayers!

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