A little about Thomas' heart history...
After a brief illness in 2001, Thomas was diagnosed with what was believed to be a severe case of the flu at the age of 34. He had just graduated college and didn't want to slow down to get better, but a week later he was feeling worse so he went to another doctor. That physician had him rushed to the hospital by ambulance and he was diagnosed to be in full cardiac failure and wasn't expected to survive. By the grace of God he eventually stabilized after a long hospital stay and was diagnosed with Left Ventricular Cardiomyopathy and Upper Lobar Emphysema in his left lung. After 15 years of treatment with medications, endless follow up visits with his doctors and three pacemaker/defibrillator surgeries, his heart decided it was tired of working this past February 2017.
It was then that his cardiologist told Thomas he was in need of an aortic valve transplant and referred him to the heart team at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, NC. Three weeks of extensive testing later, the team determined that Thomas' best chance of survival was to receive a heart transplant but his critical and unstable condition prevented him from being an eligible candidate. His best chance to become stable was to have a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) implanted. The surgery itself was extremely risky due to Thomas' unstable status but being the faithful Christian man he is and with his wife, Lisa, by his side, he told them "I've given this to God and I'm ready for the surgery no matter what the outcome."
While waiting for the surgery, Lisa had to take Thomas to the ER for multiple episodes of being too weak to walk, and unable to eat or breathe well. He was finally admitted on June 19, 2017 and surgery took place on June 26, 2017. The doctors and nurses were able to complete the Aortic Valve transplant and implant the LVAD but there were complications. He needed additional assistant from a temporary RVAD, bleeding from his lungs and multiple organ failure.
Thomas continues to fight his way back with the help of the prayers of the many people who love him and the care of his team, but his road to transplant will be long. The doctors and nurses have managed to stop the bleeding and his organs are slowly recovering. His lungs are still too weak to breathe for him so he still requires the help of a ventilator, but Lisa is excited that he can nod his head to repond to her singing to him at his bedside.
It's still unknown how long Thomas' recovery will take and the upcoming road to transplant or the financial impact that will have for the family. Meanwhile, Lisa continues to make the 1.5 hour drive each way to see him everyday. She is also the full-time caregiver for her mother, Sylvia, who lives with them and requires assistance during longer visits that Lisa might have with Thomas. We are hoping to provide them with funds to help with the escalating hospital bills as well as assist them in funds for transportation and care assistance for Sylvia so that Lisa can spend as much time as possible helping Thomas recover.
If God places a desire on your heart to help the family financially, we thank you for your generosity. If you are unable to give in that way but would still like to help, prayers are also greatly appreciated!
- Jamie Philemon
- Ann & Fred Matz
- Cathy Dietz
- Kellie Lionberger
- Gary Taylor
Organizer and beneficiary
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