Please pray for Melissa, my local NAMI‘s President Steve Pitman’s granddaughter. Melissa is a fellow mental health advocate. She is in critical medical condition, hospitalized at UCLA waiting for an organ transplant. Please pray for her. She is young and has a promising future awaiting her.
LET’S DO THIS. PLEASE PRAY. IF YOU DO NOT PRAY, THEN HOPE FOR UCLA TO SUCCEED. Miracles do happen. I pray that UCLA will offer Melissa the best medical care available to make that miracle happen.
First, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to all of you for your prayers and love. The support has been overwhelming.
Now, to update everyone on the situation:
Melissa was hospitalized on Wednesday with portal vein thrombosis. She was treated with a blood thinner called Heparin. One of the side effects of heparin is that it can cause internal bleeding. Very early on Friday morning it became clear the Melissa had internal bleeding. Tests indicated that the likely source of the bleeding was her large intestine. Melissa was put into a medically induced coma and went into surgery to remove all or part of her large intestine to stave the bleeding.
In less than an hour, the surgeon came into the waiting area to somewhat emotionally announce that what he had found was not what he expected to find. The portal vein thrombosis had cut the flow of blood to her gastro intestinal system to such a degree that Melissa’s small intestine was completely compromised. He went further to say that the condition of her small intestine was “not conducive to life.” There were no treatments available, no alternatives and no hope. He and his surgical team were stunned and everyone one in the waiting room was stunned. Someone asked, “Is she going to die? He said, “yes!”
After all of us sat in disbelief for about two hours , the surgeon came out again to share that he spoke to a transplant surgeon at UCLA and there was an option, and although it was not a very good one; it was the only one. This options would require multiple steps; each fraught with risk.
Step 1: remove the small and large intestine,
Step 2: stabilize her,
Step 3: transport her to UCLA,
Step 4: determine if she is a candidate for transplantation of small intestine and possibly large,
Step 5: if yes, put her on the list,
Step 6: locate a donor,
Step 7: Surgery to transplant the donated small intestine. This surgery is very rare. There are only a few places in the US that do it.
We took the option that gave Melissa the option of life! Those of you who know Melissa know that she is a fighter. The things she has overcome are remarkable. She is a courageous young woman, a remarkable spirit.
Melissa’s small intestine was removed yesterday early evening. My guess is that, if we had asked, the surgeon would not have given her a 50/50 chance of surviving the surgery. With her courage, with her steel, with those that love her gathered near and with the prayers and love of so many more, Melissa made it through the night and through the day today! All signs are good! She still a long way to go.
Melissa is heavily sedated and comfortable.
We love you all and appreciate your concern and your prayers! Keep them coming!
Please share so that the word gets spread.