Those who know Tommy Armstrong knows that his family is his life. Nothing meant more than providing for his family as a respected, 13-year Houston Metro Police mechanic and Master Mason of LaMarqe, taking care of his wife Sheree, who has MS, and coaching his children Kassidy and Gregg in both sports and life.
To be in the best possible shape for when Sheree lost her mobility and to live a healthier lifestyle, he decided upon gastric bypass surgery. His life would never be the same. Coming out of surgery he knew something was horribly wrong and he was racked with a fever and pain that wouldn’t go away. Within six hours of being released, he was back in the ER vomiting blood. The negligent surgeon told the ER doctors to do NOTHING – not even administer pain medication – until he returned later that night. Little did they know that the measures they took to find the source of the infection with a dye test would fully disintegrate the tear in his stomach and the leaking acid would damage vital internal organs. This was in August, 2012.
This ongoing nightmare, now into year three, has resulted in HUNDREDS of days in the ICU at Methodist Hospital, numerable blood transfusions, dangerously low potassium levels, sepsis, E. coli, dangerously high bilirubin, a blocked portal vein and multiple emergency procedures to save his life. At one point, Tommy was anorexic. During this time, Sheree’s MS has progressed, Kassidy gave up a college softball scholarship to come help the family out and Gregg graduated from high school. Although he is proudly serving in the U.S. Navy, stationed in Illinois, he has already been sent home once by Red Cross Emergency Services.
A large blood clot was discovered in Tommy’s heart in November 2014 and there was no way to medically dissolve it for fear of him bleeding to death – another emergency surgery. Ultimately, he would need the portal vein replaced, as well as a small bowel and liver transplants. Two transplant teams in America would accept his critical case – one in Nebraska and the other in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cleveland Clinic Transplant Team had experience with double transplants, and was willing to evaluate his injuries and devise a plan to get Tommy on the road to recovery. The week before Thanksgiving in 2014, Tommy, Sheree and his brother Ted, a Metro Police K-9 Officer and Army Veteran, made the trip to Cleveland. Five weeks in the Transplant Unit, there were still no absolute answers, but Tommy received a wonderful surprise – Christmas would be spent with Sheree, Kassidy and Gregg, on leave from Navy training.
Today, Tommy is in critical condition; he has been in and out of the ICU and the Transplant Team has declined the transplants because they cannot take control of the infections and his survival rate would be only 3-5%. They have called in Pain Management to help control his excruciating pain. They feel the best option is to let Tommy return to Methodist Hospital, be among his family and friends, and call in hospice when the time comes. His parents, Ted and Carolyn, brother Ted and sister-in-law Charla, Sheree and Kassidy are with him now to help them with this incredibly difficult decision. Even in the midst of all this, Tommy still talks about starting a mechanic shop with Gregg and spends much of his time drawing all types of cars.
Friends, Tommy is unable to travel via commercial airline or by ambulance – he is too critically fragile. Only an air medevac can adequately and safely return him home. Because it is considered a “step-down facility,” the insurance company has refused to cover this major expense. They have also exceeded the lifetime maximum amount of care for benefits, and many of the expenses from his stay at the Cleveland Clinic are not covered and well into the six-figures.
Will you please help Tommy and Sheree get home to be surrounded by their loved ones and his beloved puppy Bella? The isolation in Ohio has taken a great toll on his energy and spirit. Sheree also needs emotional support and physical assistance with her MS infusions that completely drain her of energy. However, they both have great faith in God, in the power of prayer, and will continue this fight toward restoration and wellness. Tommy and Sheree are long-time members of Santa Fe Baptist Church.
Please help them out as much as you can. Every single penny makes a difference. They sincerely appreciate all that you will do to help them get home and find peace and comfort surrounded by family, friends. Thank you and God bless you!
- Benjamin Gambino
- Adreanna Hill
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