Thursday, October 29, 2009

Continue with Prayers

11:00 a.m. Mike is doing well. Played scrabble with Joyce yesterday. Richard spoke with him on the phone. He is missing his family so hopefully they'll be back in Minnesota soon. Michael is resting and recovering. Building his energy for that transplant. Mike has to stay in the hospital until they find him a heart. He is on special IV meds. Still on antibiotics for the infections. The children looked very happy to see their mama! They are such awesomely sweet children! Actually, they are a really neat family!

Let's keep up the prayers that a heart is found soon. Michael needs to get stronger and stronger every day and kick that infection. Also, let's continue with prayers that his rhythm remain steady and strong with no arrhythmias.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Prayer Request; Pneumonia & Staph

3:00 p.m. Michael has been walking around. He requires assistance and the use of a walker. He is fighting pneumonia and a staph infection (blood), and is on 3 different antibiotics***BUT he is doing very well. The best part is, he has had no rhythm problems!! Tonja is currently in Missouri picking up their children and housing supplies.

Please say prayers for Michael, that he continues to do well and heals quickly from the pneumonia and staph, and please pray for Tonja and the children.

Many thanks to all of you for your prayers and support.

By the way, we are currently at 72% of our fundraising goal. If you can help, please click on this link. Thank you to all for your donations. The family is most appreciative.

Monday, October 26, 2009

No Updates Today

We have no updates today. Instead, you'll find links to information on Marfan Syndrome

General Information;
From Wiki

Educational Materials;
Posters/Pamphlets They have one that is excellent for coaches, school nurses, and other fitness instructors.

For Emergency Medical Personnel;

EMS Providers Just a note; I was told when Michael was suffering a life threatening tear, the EMS workers, believing him to have indigestion, insisted he walk down 3 flights of stairs to the ER. When he arrived, doctors had 17 minutes to ice him and get him to surgery. I think a little education would help, so if you can, please educate your local EMT's and emergency room workers.

Hope everyone has a great day today. Many thanks for your continued prayers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

First Steps

This is the house where Michael, Tonja, and their children will live while in Minnesota.

1:30 p.m. Tonja: Michael walked with a walker today, about 15ft!! YEAH BABY!! It's like learning to walk all over again. He did great, now he is tired and needing a nap....God is great!!! Thank you all for your prayers!

Michael's Friends; We apologize for the lean updates but Tonja is out of cell phone minutes. Thank you all for your prayers and support! Michael has come a long way and is doing awesome.
I want to let everyone know, we have reached 72% of our goal! This is amazing considering the short period of time we've had. This fundraiser will provide the down payment on the home in the photo above, and allow Michael to remain close to the hospital after discharge. If anyone would like to contribute a story, thoughts, etc, just drop us a line. Many folks have shared with us, incredible experiences they've had while journeying on this road with Michael.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

You Tube and Burger King...a reason to celebrate!

The photo above is the front of St. Mary's Hospital which is part of the Mayo Center. Michael is at St. Mary's.

9:30 a.m. Update from Tonja; Michael is currently sitting up in bed watching You-Tube!! He has been talking on the phone. He said, "Hi" to Richard this morning!! Rick said it was awesome to hear his voice and to let everyone know, "Michael's humor is definitely intact"! He's had no arrhythmias. He gets up in his Mega Chair a couple hours at a time, and a few times a day. His chair lays flat and he is helped to it. The back is then cranked up so he can sit up. He needs to get some strength back and will require physical therapy. Michael is requesting Burger King and Waffles, but instead is being provided yummy cream of wheat from the hospital kitchen.

Tonja's mother was going to leave yesterday but a snow storm altered the plans. She left this morning and is driving home to Pennsylvania. Although Tonja is very tired, she hopes to go to Missouri on Monday or Tuesday, just long enough to pack things up and return to Michael. She wants to get the house set up and ready for Michael when he is discharged. Currently Tonja is out of phone minutes, but she does have free nights and weekends if anyone should want to call. Thank you all for your prayers, support, caring, friendship, kind words, sharing, and for walking with Michael through this and rallying for him! Thank you for your donations and helping us get a home to bring Michael too. Hugs and Love to all!

Note from Michael's Friends; Hi all, I think Michael is ready for those cards and notes! Also, he is up and watching You Tube videos, so if anyone wants to make and upload videos for Mike that would be really cool!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Up on the Transplant List; A1

10:40 a.m. From Tonja; Michael is doing well.....a little less loopy today. He actually called me this we just need a heart. He is still not standing but he can sit up well. He's had no arrhythmias this morning!! He is being bumped up on transplant list to; A1.

Note from Michael's Friends; Tonja is out of phone minutes so updates may be a little slow in coming and temporarily, only once a day. Thank you all for your prayers and support! Terri, Hugs for you and the folks at your company! Big thanks to Neal and Sandy Church!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Chatterbox! Awesome!

9:55 a.m. Mike went into V-tach twice this morning. He converted himself the last few episodes. He has an infection, but doctors from Infectious Disease said that he is still a candidate for transplantation. They are treating for antibiotics, and drawing cultures to monitor. He has had some hallucinations, possibly withdrawals from meds that were stopped or ones he is currently taking.

Michael is not a viable candidate for an artificial or mechanical assistive device. They are trying to avoid that completely because of his artificial valve and tear. When he gets his new heart, the valve will be removed as well.

5:30 a.m. Update from Tonja's mother, Riana;
Michael has been awake most of the night, he is confused and asking a lot of questions. The medication they gave him so he could rest, instead wound him up and is making him hallucinate. Saw spiders falling from the sky, thought he was being prepped for transplant. Is not sure at times where he is. At one point, thought he was in a storage room; with all the equipment and stuff still in his room, one cannot blame him. Told me I was as fruity as a nutcake. He did not understand why I am here staying at the hospital and Tonja is flying to Canada. Tonja, is NOT flying to Canada. He did tell me he really likes his nurse, Wes, that is on tonight. Mike just keeps talking away to him, so I guess he decided to clean him up and shave him since he is awake anyway.

Note from Michael's Friends; Hello folks, we have no experience with blogging. If you have ideas, suggestions, recommendations, or even suggestions for editing the contents of the blog including titles, feel free to contact us. We would very much appreciate you sharing Michael's blog with your friends. Thank you for all the prayers, support, and donations. Hugs to all.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Top Of The Transplant List


12:50 p.m.
Tonja is under a lot of stress. Mike is at top of transplant list due to acute condition. Today 1/3 (1,000) of her home down payment is due. This will provide a home for her and the children (who really want to see their daddy), and once Michael recieves his heart and is released from the hospital, he must stay close to the hospital for monitoring.

Tonja can make the monthly payments, but due to financial burdens from Michael's medical condition, she has no way to come up with the down payment. Can You help? Perhaps a loan while we do major fundraising, just to buy some time? Please email me at if you can help, and I'll provide details and put you in touch with the right people. If you would like to deal directly with the reality agency, I can put you in touch with them. Thank you so much for your kindness and pryaers.

10:55 a.m. Update From Tonja; Michael is high on the transplant list.....YEAH!!!!!! 1B status. He would be 1A had they not removed certain tubes from his thorax. Now we just wait. Please pray for Michael's strength and a stable heart rate and healing from infection. The doctors will try to remove the breathing tube today.

Michael's condition will improve tremendously, by leaps and bounds, once he receives either a heart or an artificial heart. He so desperately needs this. Michael's main concern has always been his responsibility to his wife and children. This causes him endless worry. When Michael was still conscious a week or so ago, he texted me from ICU while in unstable critical condition, He shared with me his concerns about his family...not about himself. Michael is never about Michael. I tear up reflecting on this. He's never been one to ask for any type of help. I'll tell you a story later to illustrate this. It broke my heart.

This is why Michael's Friends are here and why I am asking for help on his behalf. Getting his family into a home will take a lot of stress off Michael and his wife and children. Once they remove the breathing tube they can begin weaning him off the medication. His heart cannot handle him consciously worrying and stressing about his family. It is critical that he not have any further V-tachepisodes. V-tach is life threatening for Michael whose heart is only functioning at 15%. V-tach is basically tachycardia (a fast heart rate) that originates in the ventricles. Please keep up the prayers that Michael maintains a steady stable heart rhythm

I came across this website should anyone be interested in reading about the transplant programs. It's general info not specific to the Mayo.

V-tach Infection

7:30 p.m. They are adding Michael to the transplant list right away....they don't want him to continue going into this rhythm and becoming now we pray for a heart. Please pray for Michael to gain the needed strength for his surgery, for his heart rate to stabilize, and for him to receive a new heart right away. Thank you to everyone!

Let's try a card shower, everybody............Michael DuBois Mary Brigh 5B room 514 c/o St. Mary's Hospital 1216 Second Street Sw Rochester, MN - 55902

11:30 a.m. URGENT PRAYER REQUESTS: Michael has been having short runs of fast vt......they are monitoring it. He has an infection that they think is irritating his heart rhythm. Started him on antibiotics and another rhythm medication.....his body can not take vt at this point he needs time to heal and get strong...Please pray for healing for this infection

9:55 a.m. Michael got mad this morning....hates suctioning time...biting the tube. That's my boy!! He didn't like his nite nurse, and didn't like that i left him to go home. But he looks wonderful....God just keeps doing works here.

6:54 a.m. Michael had a little bp drop at about 4am but they think it was just a funky tube position that constricted his lungs...his recovery from it was almost instant. He is responding more and more, he now shakes his head yes or no. .i keep telling him about all the support that you guys are giving..... :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Weaning Off Meds

9:30 a.m. Mike is doing better every day. Docs will leave breathing tube in until mid-week. They are weaning him off the meds that have him heavily sedated. Transplant team meets this morning (Prayers please). His doctor thinks its no problem getting on the list but they need to wait for him to get some energy. Once on the list, and once his strength picks up they can give him the artificial heart. Thank you all for your prayers. Tonja sends her love! Let's keep praying for Mike's energy, strength, and his heart to remain stable. Thank you everyone!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Balloon Pump Removed

10:30 am: The balloon pump was removed, Mike is doing well. Good rythym, temp, BP, color, and motor functions. They only wake him up to check motor and neurological function. Have to keep him heavily sedated in order to let his heart strengthen. The balloon pump that was removed was assisting the heart, with it off he is maintaining the same rythym on his own. That is a wonderful sight to see on the monitor. He needs rest today because that was a lot for his body to go through again. Tomorrow Dr Burkhart and the transplant team will evaluate him agian for the LIST!!!! Keep praying everyone, will update later.

Steady Heart Feeding Tube Responding

2:00 p.m. Thank you all for your prayers! Michael continues to do well. They put in a feeding tube since he's not eaten in 5 days. His lungs are doing well his heart is steady. They still have him heavily medicated but he is responding to commands. Tonja has told him you are all there supporting and praying for him. Please pray for continued strength and improvement. We would like to see him back on the transplant list. Tonja says thank you she very much appreciates you all and sends her love. I'll have further updates soon.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Off The Bypass Machine

1:00 a.m. Doctors woke Mike up. He moved fingers and toes for them! They lowered his oxygen since his lungs are working well (thank you for those prayers!).

8:15 p.m. Docs went in to clean out blood around heart. They found clot size of grapefruit pressing against lung. This is what was causing breathing problems. They cleaned everything out and it went so well they decided to try to take him off the bypass because it was not working quite right and he was having to do most of it himself anyway. He is doing well. He is stable and breathing well. Stable heart rhythm. They'll reevaluate him in a couple days and as long as he keeps up this improvement they will move him up on the transplant list. His doctor is VERY optimistic. Mike needs to be on the list so he can get his artificial heart.

Tonja has been sharing the group with Mike, telling him about your concern, support, and all the prayers. As soon as he is able, she will share the site with him, on the laptop Chuck hooked her up with. Boy is Michael going to be surprised!

Tonja said one of the reasons the social worker approved Michael for the transplant, is because of this group...which is ALL OF YOU! She said it's important for transplant patients to have a support network and thanks to you, he has passed that requirement! Awesome, huh?

We need to pray him through his recovery. He needs to regain strength, get rest, breathe easy, and we need his heart to remain stable. Let's all praise God and give thanks for answered prayers! Tonight, Mike needs folks praying for him to remain stable, and to focus on that perfect heart rhythm.

Tonja is in desperate need of 3,000. This will get her set up in a house in Minnesota. This is another very important requirement. She has to establish residency and be a resident for 30days. If you can help, contact me, Tonja, or Richard. We are hoping to get some sort of fund set up that folks can direct deposit into. 3,000 really isn't that huge. If each of us gave 25.00 she would have more than enough. Another option, if each of us could get a $1.00 donation from 25 people. It works that way too! We have to hurry though, she needs to do this right away.

12:35 p.m. Urgent Prayer Request; Mike is on his way to surgery right now at 12:35p.m. They are weaning him off the heart lung machine, clearing a bit of clotting, and draining a bit of fluid from one lung. Please pray him through this. He is making progress, needs to rest, heal, and gain strength. Thank you for all of your prayers!

10:53 a.m. Update from Tonja; "Michael is still making improvements......Let's keep praying, the stronger he gets the more likely he is to get a new heart..The doctor that CLAIMED to be the head of the transplant team is a vascular disease doctor....Dr. Burkhart is the head surgeon...he will help make the final decision....We are still going ahead with our plans, I refuse to take him off that machine if he is improving"

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Prayer For Michael

This is a universal prayer. Please modify it and pray according to your heart and personal beliefs.

God of all creation, you who spoke a simple command and brought forth light from the darkness, I call upon you now to send forth your miracle-working power into every aspect of Mike's being. In the same way that you spoke unto the dust of the ground when you created humankind in your own image, I ask you to send forth your healing power into Mike's body. Send forth your word and command every cell, electrical and chemical impulse, tissue, joint, ligament, organ, gland, muscle, bone and every molecule in Mike's body to come under complete and perfect health, strength, alignment, balance and harmony.

It is through you that we live and move and have our being. With every breath we take, we live under your life-giving grace. I ask you to touch Mike now with your miracle-working power As surely as you have created Mike in your image and likeness, you can also recreate Mike now and restore him to perfect health.

Please fill Mike with your healing power. I ask you to mend all that is broken, root out every sickness and disease, open all blocked arteries and veins, restore his internal organs, rebuild his damaged tissues, remove all inflammation and cleanse him of all infections, viruses and destructive forms of bacteria.

Let the warmth of your healing love flood Mike's entire being, so that his body will function perfect and whole and complete, renewed in your perfect health.

(for my Christian Family, we add, "In Jesus Holy Name we pray")

Thank you heavenly Father (and we must remember to continuously give thanks)

Transplant List

9:15 p.m. Update from Tonja;....Michael is not on the transplant list YET...they need him to heal a little more so HIS doctor has said that they will continue to re-evaluate him. The doctor also said that he is not giving up and that he intends to do whatever has to be done to get Michael well......I LOVE DR. BURKHART!!!!!!! so now lots of prayers for continued strength and healing for Michael.

7:30 p.m. URGENT PRAYER REQUEST: Tonja is with Mike. He is awake. Head surgeon took Mike off the list and threatened to unplug him. His liver functions need to improve, he's been receiving all sorts of meds. We need to pray him into improved breathing and improved heart function. It has been improving. He needs that artificial heart! Everyone on the team said he was good for the transplant, social worker came in approved it too...then another surgeon came in and took him off. Tonja needs strength to battle the surgeons! Will post further details. Give me a few. I'm drained. Mike is fighting with everything he has. He indicated to Tonja he is not ready to give up. Let's keep up the fight for him.

5:30 p.m. Mike has been put at top of the transplant list! Thank You God! This means they can put in an artificial heart until they can get him a heart! Thank You God! Tonja needs 3,000 ASAP-has to establish residency immediately to stay on the transplant list. This will also allow her to get the funding to pay for Mike's care. THANK YOU! Keep Praying!! Will catch everyone up shortly.
When they put the artificial heart in, Mike will be mobile, but will have to stay in Minnesota while he awaits his new heart. After his transplant, he will need to stay in Minnesota while he is followed and observed. Tonja will need to be with him to assist and support. The artificial heart and the new heart, will allow Mike to have an almost normal life and allow him to do things he hasn't done in many years. Most important, it gives his four children a daddy and Mike is one of the best Father's ever!

3:30 p.m. Tonja was sitting with Mike telling him she could not make this decision. She asked Mike what he wanted. Up to this point there had been no response from him. Mike squeezed Tonja's hand & brought his to her chest. He tried to open his eyes but he has a lot of meds in him. He began moving his body. Later, when Tonja told him she was going to go get coffee, he abruptly turned his head to her. He is not ready to give up...Urgent Prayers; Please pray that Mike is a viable candidate for heart transplant and that the transplant team can get him a heart.

2:10p.m. Update from Tonja; "Some new updates....if the heart is not working on its own 2moro morning we will be taking him off of the machine and he will pass away.....BUT....the doctor is pushing the transplant team hard to get him a transplant...then he would only have to be hooked up until they got a new heart for him. So we need heavy prayers that he is a viable candidate for a heart transplant"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Balloon Pump Surgery

6:38 p.m. From Tonja; "this is a very difficult post...Michael is being kept alive on a heart/lung machine....neither is functioning on its own. His kidneys are starting to fail, so the doctors have said he is not going to live...(except by a miracle) They can not take him off the machine yet (ethics issues) until other problems become apparent. I will keep everyone posted when updates are available."

3:43 p.m. Tonja's mother, Riana, just tried to purchase a plane ticket to fly from PA to MN to be with Tonja...Tonja needs her and is requesting her mother's presence. Riana cannot get a ticket...the cost is 1,400.00 She will have to drive. If anyone can help, please contact Riana or a Manietta. Tonja needs her mother and Riana is not in any shape to drive. Thank you.

2:30 p.m. Please say prayers for Mike, Tonja, and Mike's family. Doctors took him back to surgery and put him on a by-pass machine. Tonja, Terri, and Riana need your prayers right now. Riana is flying to MN from PA.

1:30 p.m. Prayer Request; For Mike's blood pressure to stabilize so the doctors can lower his pulse. We need him to rest and heal. Thank you everyone.

9:24 am: From Riana; Tonja just called, the surgeons are done. Put in a pump to help his heart which is not capable of doing it on it's own. They removed several blood clots and cleaned out a lot of accumulated blood from around the heart. Tonja is trying to get some rest they told her it will be about 3 hours before she can see him. They also told her that it will be a couple of days before they will know if he is even going to survive this. Keep up the faith and prayers and know with God all things are possible.

6:00 a.m. Update from Tonja's Mother; "Hi everyone, they have taken Mike in for emergency open heart surgery. Really bad situation, excessive fluid in pericardial sac and blood clot blocking proper blood flow. Doctors worked on him all night to get tachycardia under control, kept him knocked out. Mike does not even know he is going into surgery, Tonja had to sign. Please continue the prayers for Mike and Tonja. Updates as I get them. Thanks again for all your prayers, thoughts, and all that you have done for them during their time of need."

4:59 a.m. Urgent: Tonja says, "They are taking Michael in for emergency open heart surgery to take care of some complications that have arisen from the ablation. This is a pretty hairy situation........they have been trying to get a handle on the situation for the past 10hrs. so they are not sure what else they may find when they get in there." Please say prayers and contact your prayer groups.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

V-Tach and Answered Prayers

9:18 p.m. Urgent Prayer Request; Mike is having ventricular tachycardia. Please pray for his heart to be in normal rhythm. Thank you everyone!

11:00 a.m. Hey all, You are a fantastic group of folks! Your prayers are amazing! The doctors stopped Mike's blood thinners in order to control the bleeding. The bleeding is under control...thank you God and thank you all for the prayers.
There is an increased risk of stroke when Mike is not taking the blood thinners so let's keep praying. He needs the bleeding controlled and to be back on his blood thinners. The doctors are going to implant a new 2-lead (ICD) implantable cardioverter defibrillator. I'm pretty sure this is what it is called. His current ICD is a one lead device. The doctors are discussing the option of a transplant and doing some research. This would be awesome. It would give Mike and his family an entirely new life together! Keep Tonja in your prayers

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ablation Surgery

11:47 p.m. Please say prayers that Mike's pain will ease. He is in a considerable amount of pain. Also, please say prayers for Tonja...she is asking for strength (and she needs some rest).

10:15 p.m. Doctors think they have the bleeding stopped!
Let's continue with the prayers.

9:47p.m. Please keep up the prayers everyone. We need the bleeding to stop. If it continues he will need open heart surgery. Please...lots of prayers!

9:27 p.m. This is a message from Tonja; " I need everyone to pray for the bleeding complications from surgery to stop. They have a cardiac surgeon on standby, in case he continues to bleed or ooze.
He will be receiving a blood transfusion to give him a good reserve....they are a little worried."
Let's keep those prayers going! Thank you.

8:05 p.m. Nurse told Tonja they are finishing up with Mike and it will be about 20 minutes. He's been in surgery for 8 hours.

6:30 p.m. Mike is still in surgery. They converted to the
"rib" procedure (epicardial?), which means they had to go from the front under the rib cage, and through the sack surrounding the heart. Let's Keep the prayers going! Thank you everyone.

12:00p.m. Mike is in surgery. Please send prayers his way.

8:00 a.m. Mike has surgery today. We don't yet know what time but will keep you updated. Please send lots of prayers and good thoughts his way. Also prayers for Tonja. Thank you everyone! Mike and Tonja appreciate your support!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Riana Update

I didn't want this update to get lost in the wall so I'm reposting it. This update is from Tonja's mother, Riana; "Talked to Mike this afternoon, sounded good considering. Gave me an update on the procedure Monday. I hope I have this right, scar tissue can be a problem to get through, if they cannot do it through inside the vein they can go in from the outside under the ribs. The chance of success is 50% to 70% without having a previous procedure, success rate drops if an individual has had the procedure before. I am not sure I said it 100% correct. He is in good spirits and is holding onto his faith."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Laptops and Blood Thinners

2:00 p.m. Chuck Campbell has been working hard to find a laptop for Mike and Tonja to use in Mike's room. This will hopefully make things a little easier for them. Chuck has found one! Thank you so much for all your efforts, Chuck! You are awesome.
Chuck also just gave me a lead on an attorney who may be able to assist in setting up a fund.

11:00 a.m. Mike had a couple episodes of aberrant heart rhythms last night, but thankfully his rhythm has been fairly stable. They need to get him off the blood thinners and meds before they can do any procedures. We are praying he has a calm, stable, restful, weekend and they thank you for all your prayers and support!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Weekend At The Mayo

5:00 p.m. Mike is stable. They are waiting until Monday or Tuesday to do the procedure. Let's pray for him to have a calm, relaxed, stable weekend. Thank you all!

12:43 p.m. Hi Everyone! Thank you...your prayers are working. Mike is now out of that bad heart rhythm. Let's pray he continues in a good rhythm, that his breathing improves, and that he is comfortable.

Mike's current room number is; mary brigh 4d rm 4762. You may send cards/notes here. I'll see if I can get the correct mailing addy.

10:00 a.m. Hey all, we need prayers for Mike. He is having difficulty breathing and is very uncomfortable. Thank you everyone!

7:30 a.m. A note from Tonja; "things are going okay so far.....the doctors are supposed to see mike this morning. they are looking at whether they will need to cardivert him out of the rhythm he is in right now or if they can just get him in for the ablation....he is holding water and having some trouble breathing (he has been in this rhythm since 1am yesterday). i will keep everyone up to date as i get and hugs to u all."
Thanks to "G'ma Joyce", Tonja managed to get a good nights sleep (thank you G'ma Joyce!).

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Medivaced To Mayo Clinic

6:00 p.m. Tonja and Mike are now at the Mayo Clinic. Mike is getting settled into ICU. Tonja said the trip seemed quick. They are going to try to get some much needed rest.

5:00 a.m. Mike is with a medical team and en-route to the Mayo clinic in Rochester, Minnesota! Tonja is following in her van. Mike wants everyone to know how much he appreciates their support and how thankful he is for your prayers, kind words, and being there for his wife and children.
Mike was suffering abnormal rhythms again last night. He and Tonja didn't get much rest.