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.....