Thursday, September 17, 2009

Testing Day #2

I'll make this short and sweet....he's least health-wise :)
All of his liver biopsies looked normal, kidneys looked like they had improved, and blood flow to the liver looked MUCH better.
As always, we asked for some grand explanation. The response was the same sometimes this just happens...
He stays on the list because the doctors see no harm in it and it can always be his "safety net" just in case anything were to ever start to go wrong again.
So, here's to another 10 years!

Monday, September 14, 2009

10 year check-up

Today Geoff began his 2-day testing for his 10 year anniversary check-up at the hospital. Today was the more evasive day of the two. They made an incision in his neck (AHHHHHH!!!) to somehow end up with 4 liver samples.

Tomorrow he will receive preliminary test results from the biopsies along with bloodwork, an ultrasound, a kidney test, and a visit with the transplant team to hopefully discuss results.

Some thoughts I am having:
  • Yeah for 10 years
  • I wonder what my liver looks like
  • Here we go again
  • Those damn kidneys better cooperate
  • The word jugular makes me ill
  • I wonder if the doctors will have a better indication of the future
  • I wonder if Geoff will show them a picture of the liver cake
  • I wonder how many people make it to 10 years with a liver transplant

To be continued...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

You are number....

75 on the list.....

yeah, not joking. They called Geoff the other day to give him a status update. Um, thanks. So he was at #1 and #2 FOREVER and was never transplanted and now #75. Good thing he's healthy right now otherwise we would be in a lot of trouble.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

All is good

Geoff went in for the full work-up on Wednesday and everything looked GREAT! Blood work was perfect and his sonogram showed no strictures (aka no disease). The doctors were pretty cool and calm about the whole thing and just said "you look great". Again, no real explanation, no theories about the futures, no real protocals, etc. It's truly a day-to-day thing with those doctors. When it came to Geoff's medical I use to always only think BIG PICTURE, FUTURE but you really can't with these types of things. You never know what's around the corner. For right now, we're very happy with the results.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Drag Queen?

This is what happens when you leave mascara out.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Full Work-up

On Wednesday, July 29th (Ava's 4th birthday) Geoff will be headed down to Baylor Medical Center for the first time in months.

He is going in for blood work, sonogram, hernia consultation (it's enormous and I'm afraid it might start to attack me soon), and liver clinic.

Definitely a little apprehensive about the whole thing....I'm sure it will be fine, but there are always dark thoughts that loom in the back of my head.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


It's been like 8 weeks since Geoff last had blood work. Kind of amazing. He told me the other day he was going to call and schedule it. He also told me that he knows when things just aren't "right". I use to never believe him when he said this, but now I kind of do.

Life is pretty good.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

It's all good

Everyone is feelin' fine.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Blood test

Geoff had another set of labs drawn this week, he was feeling a little rundown.

A slight twinge of fear came through me. No need to worry though because the liver panel came back looking better than ever. The kidneys were slightly elevated...who knows about that one.

The Dunkles are looking forward to a FUN Summer....

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Re-defining Normal

I've mentioned before how I've met wonderful people through this blog. Wives of PSCers, patients, pre-transplant, and post-transplant. One friend in particular is Jaime. Her family has been through it all. The list goes on. Lately she was been struggling with 'what is normal'? When people are going through a rough time (including Jaime) their whole perception on what is normal is greatly skewed.

Looking back, I can remember times last year when all I wanted to do was feel sorry for myself. Clearly, it was obvious to others too, because I would get phone calls, visits, and e-mails from people mentioning the "tone" of my blog posts. I'm not an idiot, I always knew that there were people with bigger issues than mine, sicker patients than Geoff, and worse stories, but at the time it didn't matter.

Everyone should be able to have an "I-need-to-be-selfish" moment. In all honesty, I probably had too many.

This is for you're more than entitled to these moments, even if your "moments" last a few days.

Thinking of you in Dallas.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

No transplant for you

Seattle called Geoff today (well, not really Seattle, but you get the point) and said there was no need for him to come in for tests because after reviewing his most recent records they feel that a transplant is no longer recommended. Enter Twlight Zone music here....

They simply said "call us when you actually need a transplant". Um, okay.

Is Dallas just keeping us on the list just to show some sort of credibility or will he really need another transplant some day?

I feel like a drink is in order...for me.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Keep doing what you're doing

Geoff met with the hepatologist this morning and the doc was completely blown away at how great Geoff looked.

He commented on how good his eyes looked, stomach felt, etc. Geoff asked the doc about still being on the list and if it was really necessary. The doc explained that he still has a MELD score of 13. While that's not sick-sick, it's not normal either. So, Geoff will always remain on the list and until he gets sicker (oh, please no) he will remain at a 13.

Again, they encouraged him to continue the journey with Seattle. They feel like there is no harm in getting all of our ducks in a row knowing that everything can change in an instant. May as well be prepared.

Honestly, just hearing it from the doctors again "you look great" is such a terrific feeling. In some ways it's almost better than the whole childbirth thing. I mean that in the nicest way possible. I really do love my kids, but knowing that Geoff gets to be around to see them is even better.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Appt. time & Seattle is calling

Geoff has a couple of appts. on Thursday:
  • Blood work
  • Hepatologist
Geoff is scheduled at the end of the month to go to Seattle to be "evaluated", but with the 'good' news we figured Seattle would say "WTF no point in coming here". We were wrong. It looks as if they still want to evaluate him. They will confirm that sometime within the next week. I guess there's nothing wrong with a second opinion.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A new blog is born

I've been patiently waiting for this girl to create a design for my new blog. She is taking forever. I'll continue to wait, but here is the new blog in the meantime.
Read it at your own risk, and if I talk about you...I'm sorry. Sort of.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Blood results Round #2

Kidneys are way elevated. 1.9. Normal range is about 1.2. Geoff usually runs around 1.6.

One liver number was slightly elevated and everything else looked pretty good.

No time to chat. I got some stomach bug 27 seconds after stepping off the plane last night.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Headed to Cali

The kids and I are headed to Cali tomorrow. Geoff is going on a business trip. A little sad that he won't be able to go with us, but there is a bit of a silver lining in all of this. To even be able to say "Geoff is going on a business trip" a little unreal. Clearly, this past year did not involve any trips, let alone business trips. It's nice to know he's healthy enough to get out and go.

See you when we return! And Geoff, go make some money!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The results are in

Completely normal...well, almost.

His liver numbers were better than they have been in a year. There were a few other results that were slightly elevated, but really in a range that would qualify as his "normal".

Thrilled beyond belief! Here's to another good two weeks!

The new blog is taking a bit more time...stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Where's the damn fax?

Still waiting for the blood results from Friday. I guess it's a good thing we haven't heard anything, but I would really like to see it on paper.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Coming soon to a computer near you

A new blog.

Let me be clear: liver boy's blog is NOT going away, but our lives can no longer be run by liver boy's liver.

Therefore, a new blog is born. I need a bit more time to get it ready though. It will probably be categorized as another "mom blog", which some may consider good or bad. I'll let you decide.

My only goal for the new blog is to be liver-free. I will save this blog for all the fun liver stuff. I can't exactly pinpoint what the new blog will be about, but I can tell you a few things it will NOT be about:
  • There will be no talk of our sex life. Period.
  • I will try to keep my love for a boob job at a minumum.
  • I will not talk about how we do not use toilet paper in this house because we prefer disposable wipes, for everyone.
  • I will never talk about politics.

I guess that leaves a lot of open topics.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mr. Carefree

Or should I say Mr. Careless?

Geoff accidently took his pills this morning, so he was not able to go and have his blood drawn. He called me and said "oops, I forgot"! And I said "oops, don't be a dumbass".

He's going tomorrow....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Blood work

Geoff should be getting his blood work done on Thursday. A little nerve-wracking.

My little online organ donation campaign is a little slow going. 30 people have registered. Not worried though, I'll start workin' it.

Surprisingly, I've been drinking a little less. Coincidence? Hmmmm.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The rules are not the same

Okay, some of you have asked if you have to register at AND check yes on your driver's license. The answer is maybe....apparently every state is different.

For example: my California peeps:

As a resident of California, you should take the following steps to ensure your decision to become a donor is carried out:

Check "YES! I want to be an organ and tissue donor" when you apply for or renew your driver license or ID card through the California DMV


Sign up online to be an organ and tissue donor with the Donate Life California Registry at or its companion Spanish Web site,

California does not require family consent to carry out your wishes to be an organ, eye or tissue donor. However, keeping everyone informed will help avoid any confusion or delays.

For my Texas peeps:

As a resident of Texas, you should take the following steps to ensure your decision to become a donor is carried out:

Check "YES! I want to be an organ and tissue donor" when you apply for or renew your drivers license or ID card through the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Sign up online to be an organ and tissue donor at the Glenda Dawson Donate Life - Texas Registry

I wish it was simple, but it seems that every state is different.

Donate Life

Okay, this marks the first day of me 'giving back'.

I have created a FaceBook fan page to help encourage and register 500 new organ donors. It's pretty simple, go to and click on your state to register. Once you register at Donate Life come tell me about it on Facebook and become a fan! And if you're gonna use the excuse that you're too old for Facebook then you better leave a comment telling me you registered. I have to track this some how...

Please pass on the word, post it on your blog, send people a link, gossip about it, or do whatever it is you do! There are 305,953,512 in the United States. Surely I can get 500 people to sign-up, right?

So far I have registered 1 person. Me. 499 to go.....

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Yep, that is correct...I think

I received an e-mail from a girlfriend. It said this:

So Erin, It all just went away? Just like that?

I know, it's bizarre. I agree. But yes, it just went away....

If anyone just happened to stumble on this blog at this point in our lives, they would never believe our story. I wouldn't either.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Life is good

Life is very, very good right now. What a difference a year makes.

There is something bigger out there for Geoff and I right now. I have no idea what it is, but I'm determined to find out.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Time will tell

We didn't exactly get a hallelujah, but we did get a little relief.

It's all pretty simple. The transplant team feels that it is rare to see the strictures disappear, however, they also feel it could just be a matter of time before they return. BUT, at this point, they are considering him healthy.

The plan is to have his blood drawn every two weeks to check for any signs of disease progression and then after two months if he is still normal, it will move to monthly. They were very clear to Geoff when they said "be sure to watch for any signs of liver trouble" (i.e. yellow eyes, fatigue, etc.). There was no mention of coming off the transplant list nor did they ever use the word 'cured', but everyone was encouraged.

The underlying tone of the visit was time will tell.

We're just thrilled they didn't say it was the wrong chart!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is it Friday yet?

Tick tock, tick tock.....

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My new gig

Patient Advocate Insurance Consultant Extraordinaire

I've got his system down.

We get medical bills on a daily basis and some of them are from almost a year ago. Who screwed that one up? Anyhow, it's crazy how a provider will send us a bill and then I will call BCBS and they will say "Ms. Dunkle, we paid that claim on XYZ date and we show your patient responsibility at $0". So then I call the provider who is trying to scam me for more money and their response is "Oh, Ms. Dunkle, you're correct. That claim was paid in full. Your balance is $0".

WHAT??? How many people just pay their bills and never know if they really even owe it???

Nap time today was spent going through the stack calling BCBS and then calling the providers to see what is really owed and what is not.

My next mission is to start negotiating the bills that we owe. I got my idea from this article. And yes, there is a little sense of guilt because Geoff did have these medical services performed, but the other part of me says it's okay too. At least that's what I tell myself.

I'm here to help if you've got questions.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Is this a God thing?

This is the question I have asked myself 186 times since Thursday.

I have hesitated to blog about this because I really want to hear final confirmation from the doctors this coming Friday.

BUT, I really can't hold back any longer....

When Geoff went for his tube check last Thursday we received some very shocking news, to say the least. The doctor said "it was quite remarkable because Geoff showed no strictures in his bile ducts". When the doctor said that to me, I almost responded with "are you f-ing kidding me"? Instead, I responded with "how"? The doctor had no explanation as to why Geoff's bile ducts looked normal. Keep in mind, the strictures are what cause the need for a transplant!

The doctor even went back to his tube check on Jan 18th (less than 30 days ago) and confirmed that on Jan. 18th he had multiple, multiple strictures and bile pooling within the bile ducts. So bad in fact that he didn't think the tube removal was even going to be possible.

We are UTTERLY confused. So, where do we go from here?

Geoff has liver clinic on Friday with the transplant team. We want to hear what they have to say. Is this a fluke? Did they read the wrong chart? A sick joke? Is this a God thing?

Not sure if this is ironic or not but the same day we received a $5000 medical bill. Whatever it takes.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


To be continued....

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hey, it's worth a shot!

Two family friends sent me this today.

I'm in! I haven't told Geoff about it, but he'll be on board....sarcasm......

The ad will read a little something like this:

Got Kidney?
Even though God gave you two, you can totally live with just one! How about helping out a family man in Texas? Blood type A is what I'm lookin for, but if you're O I'll take that too! Beggers can't be choosers, right?
Come on out to Dallas, we'll treat you right and show you a good time. My wife will throw you the best party ever!

Hmmm...I don't think we can offer money-I'm pretty sure that's illegal. I did have a friend tell me she would donate if we paid for her tummy that illegal?

Possible tube removal, tomorrow

Geoff is scheduled for a tube check tomorrow as well as a tube removal (if all goes well). Keep your fingers crossed.

I guess now that the tube is coming out it's back to a normal, healthy low-fat diet. No more artery-clogging diet for you, Geoff. Ah, those were the days.
  • No more Taco Bell 3 times a week
  • No more bacon EVERY morning
  • No more vitamin D milk
  • No more half and half as a creamer
  • No more 3 bags of candy on a Sunday afternoon
  • No more bowls of Lucky Charms, Coco Puffs, and Peanut Butter Captain Crunch @ 9:00PM at night
  • No more full fat fudge bars
  • No more pure unsalted butter on EVERYTHING

The list goes on.....

It's time to switch back to my diet. Bummer for you.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A new plan

We FINALLY got a call back today from one of the other surgeons on the transplant team regarding Geoff's one hundred and fourteen questions.

Not much has changed:
  • removing tube in the next couple of weeks
  • It's anybodys guess on what will happen?
  • Could be months
  • Could be weeks
  • Could be years
  • The tube could be put back in if Geoff has multiple bile duct infections/fevers, which in that case there is "another" rule that could possibly get him his points back (he would basically have to meet a quota over a certain period of time)
  • He still recommended that we look into the live donor thing (and, that is still a BIG. FAT. NO.). I honestly think we would consider going to India before we considered that
  • He encouraged us to stay open to the option for a split-liver transplant. We're on board.
  • He did recommend that we line up a kidney donor "just in case" Geoff finally gets his liver and then needs a kidney transplant. By lining it up now, there will be zero wait time involved. He can have mine. I will get tested immediately. I just hope we can be on the cover on People magazine like George Lopez and his wife.

I'm feeling SUPER iffy about this whole thing. It's like having that security blanket ripped away from you. I mean, now it's really up to God and His plan. I'm EXTREMELY use to the doctors giving direction and believing in that. Now we have to let go of that, a little bit.

If you'd like to give us your kidney, just leave it in the mailbox. We'll keep it on ice.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Both of us.....

I can shake mine, but not so sure about Geoff. When he says "I have the chills" it usually means hospital. Damnit.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Love your Liver

Happy Valentine's Day
Love, Geoff and Erin

Thursday, February 12, 2009


And no, that doesn't stand for Erin-Gets-Diamonds. Bummer

Geoff will be having an EGD tomorrow.

Check another one off the list for Seattle!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dinner with a little Jesus

Tonight dinner started out like any other "normal" night...Conner screaming, Ava asking for dessert, Geoff oblivious to all noise, and me gulping down my 2nd glass of wine (my mom was out).

I'm was just about to take my second bite and Ava says, "We have to say our prayer"!!!

Um...Geoff and I were a little surprised. We don't usually pray at dinner, so I knew this must have come from school. Regardless, we were thrilled.

She went on with her prayer and we were s-p-e-e-c-h-l-e-s-s. It was really the sweetest thing I have ever seen. If you can remember back when Ava started school I had very few requests. Adding "a little Jesus" to the mix was one of them. I'm happy to report it has been accomplished.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

24 Hour Urine Collection

How do you explain that one to a three year old?
Heaven help me if I find Ava peeing in her teapot this week.
Sidenote: The test is for Seattle.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday Funk @ 7:41PM

How does that happen? I go the entire day being in a great mood and then BAM 7:41PM hits and some funk comes on. I wonder if it has anything to do with the bottle of wine a la screw top that I've been drinking? I bet that's it.

OR it could be the fact that I'm not so sure about Seattle anymore.

They called today with his evaluation schedule. They want him to go back to Seattle to complete his evaluations in order to officially list him there. I know it's probably a GREAT back-up plan, but I kinda feel like a dog treading water right now. And yes, I know this isn't about me, but sometimes I honestly think in my warped head that I'm the one on the transplant list. Again, maybe it's the screw top wine.

My thoughts are this:
  • waste of time?
  • will he see McSteamy?
  • waste of money?
  • does everyone still wear those cute boots there?
  • do I need to go?
  • is it worth it?
  • what about work?
  • I wonder if Nordstrom Rack is having a sale?

It's been a little like Ground Hog's day this past week. We have been going at this for over a year and now I feel as if we were just told yesterday that Geoff needs a transplant.

Note to self: only buy wine with corks.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Status MELD 20

#7 in Fort Worth
#8 in Dallas
And this is all with a MELD 20....technically he is still registered with that score until the details are figured out. He dropped, not because there were more people added to the list, but because the people that were once behind him are now getting sicker.
Clearly it pays to be sick.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Information Overload

Clinic is over and we definitely got some information.

Let me just start off by saying how SURREAL this whole decision-making thing is. It's not like saying "hey, turkey or ham for lunch today"? Instead, it's like "hey, would you like to live 3 years and remain healthy or maybe just ride it out and see what happens"?

Here are some of the answers:

Tube in or out?-the tube is going to come out. There is the option of leaving it in, but the doctors feel that not only are we prolonging the inevitable, but we also risk completely damaging the kidneys. And, there does come a point that if the kidneys become too weak Geoff will not be eligible for a transplant, ever. I think the Dr. said something like, "sure you can leave the tube in indefinitely (especially if you don't want to go the transplant route) and just ride it out as long as the tube is willing to last". Um, no. Us Dunkles are risk takers, but even that's a little much for us.

So, the tube comes out. With the tube coming out the doctors feel that we should see a significant change to the liver. We didn't get the impression that they felt years would go by without seeing any damage. They stated quite a few times that "there are multiple strictures" in the bile ducts, so they would definitely expect to see "a jump in Geoff's bilirubin" (simply put, that means the liver would be having a hard time). This risk we are willing to take. The plan going forward is for Geoff to stay as healthy as possible, have weekly blood draws, and to help fight off infection he will be on a constant dose of antibiotics. Over time his MELD score should increase and he will be eligible for a normal transplant.

Donor criteria-something new that we learned today. Every pre-transplant patient has a certain criteria that the donor liver must meet in order for the transplant to happen. For example, Geoff''s donor would have to be on the smaller end (because he is a re-transplant and because he isn't a huge guy), preferably younger in age, etc. If time goes on and Geoff is still not transplanted we may have to look into widening our criteria. I. KID. YOU. NOT. when I say that the Dr. mentioned "donors that were in prison, past drug users...". I think I passed out at that point. Obviously, that is a ways down the road, but I tell ya, these doctors have contingency plan after contingency plan. Unreal.

Split-liver transplant-yes, I still think we are considering it, but right now there is not a lot of information on the entire process. We will continue to find out more as we move forward.

Here we go, ready or not. It will probably be a few weeks or so before the tube comes out. The transplant coordinators want to make sure the "new rule" has already gone into effect before removing.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Very Smart Friend Award

The Very Smart Friend Award goes to our super smart friend, Greg.

Greg is a co-worker of Geoff (although he is really more than just a co-worker). Greg and the rest of the team at Pro Pac have been nothing short of supportive rockstars.

The entire weekend was spent trying to decide the best options are for Geoff:
  • remove tube, get sick?
  • keep tube because it's working?
  • Drop Seattle?
  • Stay with Seattle?
  • how much risk are we taking?
  • how much risk are we willing to take?
  • Find a center that specializes in split liver transplants?

The questions/thoughts/concerns were never-ending this weekend.

Anyhow, Greg had some really great insight and questions that we feel we can approach the doctors with tomorrow. Sometimes Geoff and I can't always see the big picture, so it's really nice to have friends that are watching out for us.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


Can't you guys see the humor in a little suspense?

There were too many phone calls this morning wondering why Erin has suddenly gone off the deep end and is now teasing friends and family.

Here goes:

When Geoff was leaving the hospital yesterday one of the head transplant surgeons told us that effective immediately Geoff will no longer be receiving additional MELD points for his biliary tube. The region has changed the rules. There is no grandfathering, no nothing. HOLY WOW. Stunning.

One of the main reasons they put this tube in Geoff over a year ago was to "keep him healthy all while remaining at the top of the list". With this tube Geoff has been an automatic 20 MELD, which is very high considering they are transplanting at a 22-23 MELD in Dallas. This "loophole" was our break in the system.

Without the tube, Geoff's MELD is around a 13. A 13 MELD is pretty much non-existent in the transplant world. They actually won't even consider you for a transplant unless you are at least a 15. He will technically remain on the list, but until he reaches a higher MELD he will not even be ranked.

Here are the options (all this will be discussed much more in detail at liver clinic on Tuesday):

Well, the split-liver transplant is something that we would consider. According to the doctor you move up the list quicker because basically you are willing to "share" the organ with a pediatric patient. Unbelievable, I know.

The live donor transplant is NOT an option that Geoff would ever consider. Let me be blunt about this: asking someone to donate part of their liver is not nearly as simple as someone donating a kidney. There are too many unknowns. At this point, I would not even be willing to donate my liver. We are not at that place right now to even consider it.

Removing the tube is definitely going to be the next step. Geoff can not continue to use this "band-aid" because it will never get him the transplant that he needs.

We have come to the realization that Geoff will have to get sick in order to get this transplant. This whole idea of him walking into the transplant healthy is probably not going to happen. We are okay with all if this. It is only fair that he waits his turn like everyone else.

We have no idea how this will unfold. Geoff could have his tube removed and be perfectly fine for 2 years OR it could be removed and within months things could start to deteriorate. We have absolutely no idea.

So, our strategy has completely changed. We will know more on Tuesday after clinic.

Are you as stunned as we were?

You're never gonna believe this

No less than 3 hours after receiving the great news of no cancer we received some other news.

It's almost too unbelieveable to share. Honestly.

I will share the news on Monday.

I can tell you what it's not:
  • I'm not pregnant
  • Geoff did not get his transplant

I am so, so happy to have Geoff home.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Dodged that one

No cancer!!!

All preliminary reports are negative and he gets to go home today!

Thank-you to everyone! Our prayers were answered.

CT time

The CT is scheduled for 9:45 AM this morning. His creatine has pretty much remained the same, but the kidney doctors feel like it is okay to proceed. We should have all test results today.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Update and BIG thanks

Let's get to the most important issue of the day....I am NOT entering the 30 club. Today is the big 29! To all my girls in that club: I love ya, but I'm still rockin' the Forever 21 club for now.

And thank-you to sweet liver boy. I've yet to shed a tear this week, but I'm pretty sure there was a little one this morning. I love you.

So the real news of the day. Geoff's creatine is at 1.5. Yay God! The doctors want to see it a little lower before going ahead with the CT scan. We're hopeful that it will be this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

Happy Birthday Erin!

Happy Birthday To My Amazing Wife,

I am thinking of you and wanted the rest of the blog fans to know it is your birthday! I cannot believe this is the seventh time we have celebrated your special day together but this time I am stuck in the hospital.

Regardless of where I am, you need to know that you are amazing, you are very special and you do mean everything to me. I love you. I love our family. I love our life. You deserve so much and I hope that I give you everything that you are looking for (and more).

Have a special day and I will look forward to seeing at some point today.

Much love,


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Update #2

Not much to say...he is getting lots of rest and working from his bed with laptop in hand. He is always the favorite patient on the 14th floor. He is so respectful to all the really goes along way with them. They are drawing some blood tonight so they can check the kidney levels.

Here's hoping something under 1.9!

Update #1

So, we are here. Roads were icy, but manageable. It started off a little iffy because they said they weren't going to admit him "for a couple of hours" because they didn't have enough staff (because of the icy roads).

Not gonna fly with Erin. We marched upstairs to the transplant office and within 5 minutes we were tucked into a room. You gotta work it people, you gotta work it. I was very nice about the whole thing.

Doctors made the rounds and not much has changed. Priority #1 is to get his kidneys back to a normal level. Once the kidney levels are down THEN they will perform the CT scan.

I emphasized to both transplant doctors that I was very anxious to see the results of the CT scan. I told them both I CANNOT handle googling "liver and lung nodules" anymore.

To be continued.....

Ice or not

We're headed out this morning hoping to get to the hospital and get settled before the doctors make rounds this AM. The beautiful Dallas ice storm is making it a little difficult to make it there in a timely manner.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Some good, some bad

Tumor marker was NEGATIVE! The transplant team said it's still not 100% indicitive of no cancer (CT will help confirm this) , but definitely a step in the right direction

His kidney function is still very high (1.9) so they are admitting him into the hospital tomorrow. They are hoping to get his kidney levels back down so they can perform the CT and MRI.

I find it very ironic that he continues to get sicker yet they keep pulling him off the list.

Sidenote to my ladies (or anyone that watches The Real Housewives of OC): I feel a Gretchen coming on for Thursday night. Who's going to be Tamra and say "you went to Bass Lake"????

Bloodwork today @ Noon

In the midst of a Dallas ice storm Geoff is headed to Baylor today @ noon for bloodwork. Hopefully we can have some answers by end of the day.

Thank-you everyone for your kind thoughts, e-mails, and calls.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Oh boy

After the fiasco at the hospital this weekend, we were determined to get some answers today. Main question being: why was he having a CT scan to begin with?

Well, we got that answer and a whole lot more.

Problem #1

The reason for the CT scan was to follow-up on a nodule they found on Geoff's lung back in Oct. (and no, we did not know about this nodule until today). I'm actually glad they didn't tell us about this because we would have worried about it for the last 3 months. Anyhow, so it's standard protocol to follow-up with a CT scan three months later. But, all of the above is still unanswered.

Problem #2

When they did the ultrasound on Sat. to check on the hepatic thrombosis they found a significantly larger nodule (the size of a grape) on his liver. Freaking great, right?

What does all this mean? Because a nodule was found on the liver Geoff was immediately deactivated from the list until further tests are run. The doctor said it could be nothing or something. I probably don't have to tell you all that cancer is the unknown here.

Next steps:
  • tomorrow Geoff will go in for a blood test to see if his kidneys have improved in order to run the CT scan (lung) and MRI (liver),
  • tomorrow Geoff will have a tumor marker blood test to determine whether he is carrying a cancer marker
  • If kidney levels are back to "normal" he will be scheduled for the CT and MRI probably next week or later this week

On a side note, I'm not exactly sure why we're not feeling anything right now. It could be that NOTHING shocks us anymore or that this too shall pass.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Such kidney confusion

Geoff was scheduled for a CT scan today. He took the pre-meds and headed to the hospital. He was all ready to go and on the table when the radiologist came in and said " Mr. Dunkle, your creatine is 1.9 so we are not going to perform the test". Apparently they do some sort of a prick test on the finger to test the kidney function right before the procedure. The dye that is used during the surgery can be damaging to the kidneys. A normal creatine level is anywhere between 0.6 -1.1.

Anyone who has followed our story knows that Geoff has always had kidney issues, but 1.9 is even high for Geoff.

So what does all this mean? Nothing right now. They went ahead and did an ultrasound instead of a scan. It isn't as accurate, but at least it's something. The original reason for the scan was to check on Geoff's hepatic thrombosis which is the main reason for the liver transplant.

The doctor said that his creatine could be elevated from the tube check he had two days ago(they inject the same dye). So it's possible that the dye has not worked itself through the body yet.

To be continued......

Friday, January 23, 2009

Showing our support

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I should probably ask these people if it's okay to share their story...sorry M & B.

I have dreamt about this moment for so long. I must have read this post 4 times.

What an awesome feeling!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This has been a really hard week

The VERY cool thing about this week: I've realized that it's not just family and my neighborhood gals reading this blog, but actual strangers are finding there way to it.

The VERY hard part: just when I think I've heard the worst, another story comes along.

Not sure what it is about this week in particular, but I have had several strangers reach out to me with their stories. I'm so sad for each and every one of them.

I love how God is constantly putting things into perspective for me. I think this week he is trying to say "Hey dumbass (probably wouldn't actually say ass), you're not the only one dealing with a crisis. There are other people besides you in this world. Help them. Teach them. Respect them".

Other than keeping the friends and family informed, my hope for this blog was to get people to open their eyes to organ donation. To realize that not everyone who is waiting for a transplant is 75 years old. Young people, old people, babies are waiting. People die every day waiting on the list that Geoff has been waiting on for 9 months. I hope that my blog will continue to inspire people.

So thank-you to everyone that has shared their story with me. You have humbled me. I hope that everyone single one of you end up with a happy ending.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Seattle called and he met with hot trainer

Seattle called the team @ Baylor and basically requested some information. I'm a little pissed off that the process is taking so long, but that's just the way it goes...I guess.

Geoff met with hot trainer this morning. He was back home by 6:59AM. He told me he was going to meet with her 2x/week. I don't even think Geoff and I meet twice a week?! He may think he's meeting with her 2x/week, but I'll remind him tonight that we aren't living like the stars in Hollywood, so settle down.

Oh, and Ava told me the other day "when I grow-up and get big like a mommy, I going to be a doctor and wear lots of mommy make-up". God bless her.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Coop

The Cooper Center that is...

Before we moved to Dallas, I had never heard of the Cooper Center. Apparently, Dr. Cooper is well-known and he's so great he opened a place called the Cooper Center.

The Cooper Center is not just a gym. It's kind of like taking a little bit of a hospital, a little bit of the 4 Seasons hotel, a little bit of a country club and then adding a spa, tennis courts, an olympic size pool, an indoor running track, a cafe AND that's what the Cooper Center is. Impressive, right?

The whole idea behind this was to join the Coop after the transplant to help with the rehabilitation and physical therapy aspect of Geoff's recovery (they have all of those services in-house and I'm really hoping to try and figure out a way for good ol' Blue Cross to chip in).

But now we think it would be beneficial to have Geoff join before the surgery to try and get in the best possible shape (and because I'm the wife, I get to join too).

Now don't go getting crazy thoughts in your head...picturing things like Geoff in a cut-off shirt, Geoff lifting weights, or Geoff taking Pilates....none of that.

On Tuesday morning he is having a fitness test to "assess" where he is at. I met his trainer the other day at my assessment. Note to self: hot trainer should not perform fitness test on husband. Then I thought to myself "he does have a biliary tube, so maybe she won't be that interested". Anyhow, she is hot. Hopefully that will keep him motivated. I find it odd that the medical director of the Coop recommended her to work with Geoff before the transplant. Hmmmm......

Thursday, January 15, 2009


#3 in Fort Worth
#4 in Dallas

I'm sorry, have you misplaced our number?

SEATTLE! Call back. I'm getting very impatient. Even though my husband will be #367 on your list, I would still like him on the list. Okay?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

One year ago today

Hard to believe that 1 year ago today we were told that Geoff needed a liver transplant.
I was 6 months pregnant.
Geoff was in the hospital for what we thought was pneumonia.
And that's when they told us, "Geoff, you have multiple, multiple scritures in your bile ducts. You need another transplant".
I will never forget that moment for as long as I live.
I remember looking at Geoff. There was such a look of fear.
I'm pretty sure I blacked-out at some point.
I can remember leaving the room to call our good friend, Tim (T & J were such a huge part of Geoff making it through his 1st transplant). I think the conversation went something like this:
Me: Tim! They said he needs another transplant! I can't do this, we can't do this, I can't do this!
Tim: Erin, you're going to do this. You need to calm down. You need to be strong for Geoff. We are all going to get through this. This is just another bump in the road. Geoffrey is strong.
Me: Okay. Okay. Alright.
It was such a simple conversation, but it struck so many chords that day. It meant so much to me (and now Geoff) to know that we had a support system already in place. I now know-we will get through this.
A HUGE thanks to everyone that has supported us this past year. We are so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives. Just stick with us a little longer....
We'll be makin' bile in a little while.

Friday, January 9, 2009

You look so good

Those are the words that Geoff heard today at liver clinic.

It seems to be a common theme the last few months. I'm not complaining, but at times it's hard to hear. The doctors did a little once over-said his bloodwork looked good, and sent him on his way. He didn't get a status update but I imagine he is somewhat in the same range as Monday. It's all good. Moving. on. with. our. lives. Remember?

Somewhat on the same girlfriend today (LB) said to my other girlfriend (KS) that Geoff is really good about "not pulling the liver card". EVER. I totally have to give credit where credit is due-Geoff has never really played that card and I am thankful for that. BECAUSE we all know that I would play that card so many times they would probably have to take me off the transplant list just so I would stop sucking the life out of everyone around me. Examples?
  • Oh, I see that you don't have a leg. You want that handicap spot? Oh I'm sorry, but I need a liver transplant.
  • Excuse me, ms. saleswoman? I see that it's 20% off today-how about 30% for me because I need a liver transplant?
  • Um yes, I understand that I'm not 65 years old, but I still would like to go ahead and collect social security. And yes, I do know that I'm 28 (soon-to-be-29), but I'm in need a of a new liver.
  • You want my mortgage payment? Oh, I see. Apparently you didn't get the note from my doctors excusing that kind of thing. I need a liver transplant.

Thank-you Geoff for not being that person. We all recognize it and appreciate it, but don't think for a second that I am granting that request of a TV in our bedroom. You know-the one that you said you really needed (was it 57'?). Don't be that guy. Don't play that card.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Liver Lovin

I still crack up when I see it! I love our new "look"!

1st status of 2009

#4 in Fort Worth
#5 in Dallas
Sidenote: I found a girl a few months back that creates blog designs. Her designs completely embrace by sense of humor (scary, I know). Geoff and I were laughing so hard last night when she showed us our new design. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Our Song

Last night we picked "our" song for 2009.

Okay, not that we did one for 2008, 2007, 2006, or any other year for that matter, but it sounded like a good idea at the time.

He's LaVerne and I'm Shirley.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to work I go...

Tomorrow I am officially back in the office 3 days a week with my company.

And because it is my blog, here is a shameless little plug: "if you're looking to work with a great interactive agency that has been in Dallas for over 12 years and you want a really awesome website then come check us out @"!

I'm off to go pack my lunch now.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Moving on

No New Year's resolutions for me, but Geoff and I did decide together that this year we will be moving on with our lives. Last year we sat around waiting and waiting for that damn call. A little flashback....
  • Oh Hurry! Quick! Get induced 2 weeks early because we might get the call! Um....Conner is almost 1.
  • Oh no! We should not take the kids to Seaworld what if we get the call??? That was in May.
  • "Erin, I think it's best you don't go back to work for a while because what if we get the call? You'll have to leave them high and dry"? Um, longest maternity leave EVER. I start back to work on Monday.
  • Quick! Hurry! Hurry! Let's get that $18 dollar blanket at Costco! It will be perfect for you when you're in the hospital. That was June.
  • Go now!!! Get to the Dollar Tree and buy those toiletries! We're #2 on the list. That was September.
  • Who cares if your jeans are too big!! So you lost a little need to buy any because you're #1! That was November.
  • Christmas in the hospital.....I can't beleive it! It's January 2nd 2009 and we spent Christmas at home.

You get my point?

We've caught onto this little game. No matter what 2009 brings we are going to move on with our lives. Don't get me wrong, we'll still accept the call. We're just not going to sit around waiting for it.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

An exciting start to a new year

4 weeks ago when Geoff and I were returning from Seattle, I was contacted by a reporter from the Dallas Morning News.

He contacted me through a site that I often read

It's a trashy site that I like to read. Yes, I tend to sometimes like juicy, trashy stuff. He wanted my opinion on what I thought of the site. I had no problem sharing my thoughts. He had read my blog and asked if it would be okay to mention it in the story, if there was room. Why not, right? Maybe it's not the "typical" way to create organ donor awareness, but it's awareness none-the-less.

It was a front page story in the paper today...and the Dunkles got a little mention. Check it out!

It started out really normal

7 couples + 14 kids = who's-the-idiot-who-decided-this-would-be-a-good-idea?
The story begins...
You know it's gonna be a good party when someone wears these!Just hanging out with my BFF
The happy couple!
Still under control.....
Guitar Hero was the start of our really distracted the adults.
Feelin good
Again, the Guitar Hero warping the minds of the adults...who's watching the 15 kids?
Oh! There's one of them!
Poor Julie....(for the record, I was LAUGHING my ass off).No caption needed.
Kids? Mom? Dad?
And.....were done!

Honestly, one of the best nights we've had in a long time. We have the greatest friends ever. BUT, next year I think we all decided on babysitters and out to dinner instead.....