The Drop-Off

I really should have posted these pictures a couple of weeks ago, but I was waiting for them to get downloaded from Steve’s phone, and then I was waiting to hear from her and see how she was doing in her college adventure before I posted a report. She obviously beat me to it, and what a wonderful report it was! (Click here to read it.) Miss Sarah is LOVING her new Salt Lake City life!

My mom always says it’s easier to have people you love go away when you can “see them in a place”. When you picture where they live, what they’re doing, and what things look like, it’s easier to picture them doing regular things and being content and happy. Sarah so beautifully explained what she’s doing, so here is where she lives and what things look like…


Sarah lives at The Plaza Hotel… really. It’s kind of like the Tipton, except without Zack or Cody, or…well, anything else their “suite life” has in it. It’s dorm-style housing just for the girls from LDSBC on three floors with a commons room on the main floor and shared kitchens on two floors. It’s located in the train’s “free zone”, a block and a half from the school, City Creek Mall, her pharmacy, and Temple Square. (The Gateway Mall is only a few blocks away, too.) When Sarah goes out her door, she can look out a huge window and see the temple. 🙂


Here’s Sarah’s corner of the room. She also has her own desk and wardrobe. Her room has a sink outside the bathroom, a small fridge and microwave, and small balcony where they can step out and breathe in the not-so-fresh smoggy Salt Lake City air. But it’s pretty.


Here’s a picture of the unpacking. Finding homes for all the necessities. You know, like popcorn, bagels and laundry soap. While we were helping her settle in, we got to meet her sweet roommate, Amanda. Hearing how quickly they became friends and how well they have gotten along has done my mother heart so much good. If you love the people you live with, and actually like to be with them, too, life can be pretty wonderful. I believe that their roommate match wasn’t just two people who needed a room and were randomly stuck in one together. I think they really needed each other. Heavenly Father knows our worries and fears. He listens to our prayers. And sometimes what he wants for us matches perfectly with what we want. It’s such a comfort to know that she’s happy and loving her new, grown-up, independent, testimony-building, college education-seeking life.


The good-byes were a little hard, but I knew they would be. From this moment on, it will never be the same. It will be amazing, scary,  awesome, frustrating, incredible, challenging, and wonderful. But it will be different. We look forward to having this girl back home for visits and seeing the incredible changes that are sure to happen in the coming months.


This one had kind of hard time for a few days. Both of his big sisters left him in 4 months’ time, and he’s feeling a little freaked out being the oldest at home and living in the basement without them. So glad they got to strengthen those relationships before the girls grew up and left home.

I kept it together pretty well until we got in the car and drove away. I had so many worries (which were mostly gone after Sarah’s first text message to me), but the most overwhelming feeling that actually brought the sobs to my throat was the gratitude I felt for her donor family. We still haven’t heard anything from them, and I wished so badly I could tell them of the incredible opportunity they gave to Sarah. I wish I could explain to them how much it means to us to see her living a life we NEVER expected her to have. It’s still a miracle to me, and I will be forever grateful for that one unselfish decision that gave her this second chance.



Liver, Lunch and Love

A couple of weeks ago, shortly before we dropped our girl off for her college adventures, I took Sarah down to Salt Lake for a liver clinic appointment. We left super early in the morning to be there in time for an 8:00 appointment at the U. We’ve decided we really like that clinic. Kerin, the nurse practitioner we see, is super nice and thorough. After casual conversation, she examined her and then talked to us about her last MRI in July. Comparing it to the one 8 months before that, Sarah’s liver is not only smaller, but the nodules seem to be smaller, and everything indicates that her liver is getting better. Because severe liver damage in congestive heart failure patients is so common, it has been re-categorized and is now referred to as “cardiac cirrhosis”. The blood wasn’t pumping back out of Sarah’s liver the way it was supposed to, so her heart was causing damage to her liver. When we “fixed” the source of the problem, her liver responded in kind and is now healthier than it’s been for several years (at least). It will take time with her healthy new heart for her liver to heal completely, but it’s well on its way! She may always have nodules and scarring, but the kind caused by heart failure are very rarely cancerous or turn into anything to be concerned about. Kerin suggested that because this trend of healing should just continue, she was going to talk to the team about long-term plans. She didn’t think there would be a need to repeat the MRI every six months anymore, and that maybe our visits could be annually, or even release Sarah from their care completely. The heart transplant team can keep an eye on her labs that show liver issues, and refer her back to clinic if there are indications of problems. Amazing.

We took a walk across the sky bridge to Primary’s to visit nurses and say hi to some of our favorite people there. We got to see a couple of our favorites that were working that day, and were amazed at the techs and nurses she didn’t have often that remembered her so well (by name) and were so happy to see her. Emily (one of our favorite nurses) said that she couldn’t believe how different Sarah looked and was so grateful to see the “after” of one of her sweet patients. She said it’s really a treat to see them when they’re healthy, and it doesn’t happen often enough. We went over to say hi to our friends, The Rainbow Kids Palliative Care Team, and wandered around until we found their new offices. We gave reports and got hugs and were invited to the lunch they host every Tuesday for parents of their patients. We left the hospital for a while to buy Sarah’s books and supplies, and get a couple things figured out for school at the LDSBC the next week. We headed back to the hospital for free lunch, and to see the rest of the Rainbow Kids. Usually when we visit, we only get to see a couple of them. We were go glad (in this transitional time for Sarah) to have been able to see all of them that day! I’m not sure how many times I heard them say things to her like: “Ya know, Sarah, we’re right up the hill/just a phone call away/your support away from home/here if you need anything….” I was so relieved especially to hear one of them say, “Sarah, you’ll always be one of our kids.” I hope she will use that resource to help her out if she’s ever lonely or struggling and doesn’t want Mom or Dad to know. It made me feel a little better about her being away from home.

During the lunch, we met a sweet mom from the Logan area whose newly adopted baby daughter was there recovering from her first surgery. She was born with a few of the same heart defects Sarah had. We had a great visit and loved hearing her tell of her sweet angel’s arrival and journey so far, and then shared Sarah’s story with her. She was so grateful to have met a fighter—a survivor—so early in their journey that could give her so much hope for her sweet baby. I love that Sarah can be that for people. It makes my heart smile.

Because we were talking with our new heart friend, we didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to all the Rainbow Kids, so Sarah and I wandered the hallway back to say goodbye. On our way there, we ran into Sarah’s transplant cardiologist, Dr. Everitt, who we love so very much. 0106151340It was something we were hoping so badly would happen because it was her very last week at Primary’s. She has taken a position as the head of Cardiology Transplant department at Denver Children’s Hospital. She is so amazing and we know that she played a very big role in saving Sarah’s life. Because of her expertise, her ingenuity, her compassion, and her stubbornness, she was able to make things happen…just for Sarah. Besides us, there are a whole bunch of parents who entered the transplant world whose “babies” were in her care that are so sad to lose her. There will definitely be a part of each of us that goes with her to Colorado. I think it may have been a little easier on us though, because with Sarah’s imminent transition to the U for adult care, we were going to have to say goodbye soon anyway. We’re just so grateful that things worked out perfectly that we had an unlikely meeting in the hallway and she took a minute so we could all say goodbye!! Always amazed at those non-coincidental tender mercies…. We are happy for her to have this opportunity, and the kids in the Denver area are so lucky to have her.

We had a wonderful day together and enjoyed our visits with people who cared so much for her (and us) during such a trying time in our lives. There were so many hugs and smiles, it was such a boost to my soul to see how Sarah’s journey has affected so many other lives. We loved sharing perspective and faith with a new friend just beginning this journey. We loved our walk around the business college campus, and I loved watching how excited Sarah was about this new adventure in her life. We loved rocking out to Sarah’s favorite ipod playlist in her dad’s new car, and talking and laughing in our 5 hours of travel that day. I will miss those long-ish day-trips together, but am so grateful for those hours of mostly undivided attention and time these past few years. What a blessing. Love, love, love that girl.




Guess what everyone! It’s the first day of college!! Hooray!! I am so excited! I moved away, met Amanda, made friends, went to church, went to student orientation, went to temple square, fell in love… Oh, it’s so wonderful!!

You’re probably thinking, “What is she talking about? Fell in love? Temple Square? What’s so exciting about church? What?” Don’t worry, I plan on expounding. 😉

  1. “Goodbye Pocatello!” I moved down to Salt Lake on Friday/Saturday. I was super nervous. This is the first time I’ve been away from home…without at least one of my parental units. I live in a hotel. Yes, just like Zach and Cody. Hehe. No, it’s dorm style housing inside of the hotel. The students don’t get any of the perks with the hotel. No workout room… No pool… BUUUTTT! We do have a laundry room, in the basement. It’s quite sketchy.
  2. “Ahhhh-Amanda!” I love my roommate!! She is just adorable. Her name is Amanda. She’s from Texas. She’s got the cutest accent. It’s just us two in our little room, so we’ve gotten to know each other quite well. Interesting fact — she’s allergic to cinnamon! This is her first semester too, so we’ve been lost, confused, and nervous together. 🙂
  3. Hi! My name is Sarah. What’s yours?”I love this school. It’s so diverse. I’ve met people from everywhere in the states, Brazil, Russia, Spain… So many different places. I actually managed to find someone from Pocatello!! Her name is Stephanie and she lives on my floor. 🙂 Um, let’s see, because there are so many different kinds of people here, there are crazy languages that are being spoken. It’s kinda weird to be walking down the hall and hear two people speaking Spanish while a couple more are speaking french a little ways away. Everyone is so kind and sweet here. I have met so many new people. Now, if only I could remember their names…
  4. “I’m a Mormon.” My new ward is HUGE! Okay, not “huge” but it’s quite big compared to my old ward. I love and miss my old ward so much, but I’m excited to move on and have a different environment. That’s one of the things I absolutely love about this gospel. No matter where you are in the world, it’s the same. The feelings are the same, the lessons and principles are the same. Heavenly Father’s love is the same. I just love it!
  5. “I’m New…” I swear, I said this like fifty-million times between the two day orientation. Every time I looked lost, someone would ask me what I was looking for. Luckily, Amanda was with me most of the time to look lost and confused too. Hehe. The new student orientation was, well, all of the students whose first semester at the school starts today. We did a lot of workshops, small group get-to-know-you activities, we had speakers, and food. It was great fun. It definitely helped me with all of my nerves and worry.
  6. “IT’S SNOWING, SARAH!!” On Tuesday, after we were done with orientation, Amanda and I went back to our apartment and did absolutely nothing. It was wonderful. After about twenty minutes of being home, I went into the bathroom and I hear, “Sarah!! It’s snowing!” Being from Texas, Amanda hasn’t ever seen snow. It’s so cute. 😉 We wanted to go walk in it, so we got all bundled up and headed outside. Because it’s literally across the street, we decided to walk around Temple Square in the snow. By the time we actually got across the street, the snow had turned to rain. Kinda disappointing, right? We bolted for the closest visitor’s center and warmed up. We had several wonderful conversations with different sets of sister missionaries. We stood my a heater under a window and stared up at the temple. Oh, it was sooo pretty!
  7. “We Found Love In A Hopeless Place…” Okay, so the BC is definitely NOT a hopeless place, but the lyrics fit with the topic. I said it and I will never stop: I LOVE IT HERE! This is such a wonderful place. I love the environment. I love the people. I love the professors. I love the Spirit. I just love everything about this place. I am happy. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father let me come here. I am so excited for the adventure ahead.

Thank you all for your love and support. Love you lots!!! <3 <3