This from Sue Armstrong a short time ago…I believe in miracles.

This from Sue Armstrong a short time ago…

 

 

Jim’s new heart is in and pumping! They will keep him in surgery for 2-4 hours to make sure everything is okay and no bleeding.  They will watch him closely over the next 24 hours.

 

Thank you for all of your prayers and support. I believe in miracles.

 

Sue

 

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Great News!!

9:20 PM

Stretch is off the heart lung bypass and his new heart is functioning!  They will keep him open to check for bleeding the next 2 to 4 hours. Things have gone very smoothly.   I’ll let you know more as I hear more.

 

JIM IS GETTING HIS HEART TODAY!

Please keep Jim in your prayers today.  We got word last night that they have a heart.  The surgery started at 3:15 today.  It is expected to take 8-10 hours.  I will keep you posted.

 

Jim and I feel so blessed that he will be given another chance at life. He is so excited and ready. We both feel at peace and feel that we are in wonderful hands.

 

Please also remember the family that has given us this wonderful gift today.  It must be so hard to say goodbye.

 

God bless,

 

Sue

Good News to Share!

Hello Friends and Family!

 Got great news today! I have officially been added to the heart transplant list. Let the games begin!!!

 Actually, there’s no gaming when it comes to transplants, the process is pretty highly regulated.  What happens from here is really out of my hands (not that I had any control over the last 4 months either).   Here’s how the process works for those of you with interest.  There are several levels or tiers that you are assigned while on the national database.  I will be listed in the top tier, A1, for 30 days.  After the 30 days, I will be listed in the second tier as a B1, and will never drop below that while on the list.  Anyone with a Ventricle Assistance Device (VAD) is always considered higher risk and that keeps you listed higher on the tier structure.  The only way I could climb the list back to A1 after the initial 30 days is if my situation were to deteriorate and I was admitted back in the hospital.  We certainly aren’t looking for that outcome, so I will be grateful for the option to be A1 for 30 days and then move down to B1 if need be.  

 The medical staff feels that I will have a shorter wait on the list based on my blood type, physical size, health, etc.  The question then is “what is a shorter wait?”  If you ask my youngest, Jillian, 3 days is the answer!  You ask a Dr. and you get a hedged answer, closer to 3 months than 12 months!  3 months would be plenty fast, so at this point if you could please pray for a good match.

 I have also started back at work in the mornings each day, and then working remotely in the afternoons.  It is good to be back and productive.  I think some people are surprised that I am back at work with the two pumps, but Sue is not.  She now has a few free hours each day to recoup from the chaotic summer.  She still needs to be my chauffeur to and from work.  We call it driving “Mr. Daisy” or as Sue says, “Mr. Crazy”.  It’s a good thing her rates are reasonable or I’d have to find a new driver.  I don’t know how long I will be able to work before I get the call from the Dr., but in the meantime it has been great getting back in touch with clients and colleagues.  I’m a social animal at heart!

 This is all such wonderful news, and I’m so thankful that I have the chance to write you all after what was a pretty scary summer.  It reminds me how thankful we all have to be for the blessings in our life, and an opportunity to receive a new heart is very big blessing.  That blessing cannot take place however without another family having to say goodbye to their loved one in order for me to receive my new heart.  Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers too, as they need all of our help also.

 I look forward to the days ahead and the challenges I may encounter too.  I hope you all find the strength and faith to do the same as you go through your days.  Hoping we have a chance to share more good news in the near future!

 

Your Friend,

 

Jim

 

 

 

 

Hello Friends and Family! – The Latest Note From Jim!

Hello Friends and Family!

Thought I would send out a little mid September missive, now that Labor Day festivities are behind us.  Hope you all had a good holiday.  Just prior to the Labor Day break, our dear friends the Machado’s and the Thom’s hosted a wonderful get together for friends and family here in Lake Forest.  About 140 of us got together for a night of laughter and entertainment.  It was a great time, and it felt so good to be out and about with friends.  There also was a person helping people sign up electronically to be an organ donor now that the law has been update in Illinois as of January 1.  I think over 50 people agreed to become donors that evening, and it was great to see that much support.  Sue and I want to thank everyone that helped with the Lake Forest evening, it was a great event and a wonderful showing of community support for our family.  There is a group of college and sailing friends organizing another get together for Nov. 5 at Chicago Yacht Club.  Please mark your calendars as I hope to see you there!

Now that we are past the holiday, we are definitely back in high gear at the Armstrong house.   Kids are all fully entrenched again with their school work, and of course they keep their afternoons and weekends busy with a variety of activities, including, choir, dance, soccer, and a new addition field hockey.  We have some great carpool helpers which keeps it all manageable as Sue an I are no longer able to “divide and conquer” when it comes to kid’s activities.  We still find plenty of time to hang out together, and that is of course the best time spent!

Sue and I keep pretty busy as 24/7 buddies.  We make a point of getting out of the house for a few hours each day.  Sometimes it’s running errands, sometimes a long lunch, or even a long walk.  Neither of us have tried to make a run for it, so I guess all’s going well as we go through life joined at the hip!  It helps to have a partner that you enjoy spending time with.  Our routine will be the same as long as I’m on these heart pumps.

At our last weekly visit to the hospital (last Thursday) we were introduced to the young nurse that has the responsibility of cataloging all my medical records for the FDA and the maker of the heart pumps, HeartWare.  I made a comment that the records probably took a little time to compile.  She replied that I currently have a 6” thick binder of medical data and records as part of the medical study.  Fortunately she kept smiling so I don’t think I hit the nerve too deep!  Probably the most memorable part of our discussion was when she said how nice it was to see me up and about.  She and others in the hospital really hadn’t expected me to leave the hospital until after the heart transplant.  I had heard that comment other times, but for some reason it stuck with me this time.  Made me think about how sick I really was, which is something I really didn’t focus on before. I never really bought into the idea that I would not get up and about quickly, it’s just not the way I look at things.  The funny thing is the difference in how I look at my situation with a different focus from the doctors and nurses. I’m always anxious to move to the next hospital floor, stage of treatment, and now the transplant itself.  They take a much more measured pace as you might expect, and one that has the memory of how far we’ve come. They are never in a hurry, and make sure we account for every variable.  I guess we make a good team – I keep pushing to move on, and they make sure I don’t try to go to fast!

So at the moment we’re in a bit of a friendly stalemate.  I continue to get stronger, and the vast majority of excess fluid on my body has come off thanks to a diuretic treatment.  I’m down to a mean fighting weight of 160 lbs which is a far cry from the bloated post surgery Jim in the hospital that was over 210!  So physically I feel great.  The best part of having all the fluid off my body is that it makes it easier to walk, to sleep, and my appetite has returned to normal.  Over time my muscle mass will come back too.  So why I feel physically ready for the transplant, there’s still a number of measures the Dr. is watching before he’ll pull the trigger and put me on the list, hence the stalemate!   My kidney function continues to be good, but they would like to see it stay stable for a few more weeks.  They are also tracking a few other markers that need to be in line before they move forward, particularly some antibodies I developed to certain medicines that they need to use in the transplant surgery.  The good news is that they still see the end of September as a reasonable window for me to go on the transplant list.

So in the coming weeks we’re basically in a holding pattern so I probably will not put out another update until end of September, or if I get news that I’m moving to the transplant list.  In the meantime, we will continue to enjoy our days together as a family, and look forward to more days to follow.  Thank you to all of you that continue to pray for us, we truly appreciate the outreach.  We in turn will keep all of you in our prayers as well.

Until we talk again…….

Jim

Have a Heart for Stretch! DONATE AUCTION ITEMS

NOVEMBER 5th 2010

A Benefit for the Armstrong Family

Become an Event Sponsor

By now we have all heard of the tragic illness that has fallen upon our dear friend Jim Armstrong, a/k/a “Stretch”.  On November 5, 2010, a fundraising event will be held for Jim and his family at the Belmont Station of the Chicago Yacht Club.  At this time we would like to ask for your support in sponsoring the event or donating a silent auction item.

On a daily basis, there is some mention of the state of our nation’s health care in the news.  Whatever your opinion is on the matter, there is no question that health care costs can become insurmountable for anyone when they are faced with a sudden and serious illness.  Jim’s case is no exception.

Jim’s health struggles began in June when he was diagnosed with a sudden and severe case of myocarditis that has left him in need of a heart transplant.  The immediate and long-term costs of a heart transplant are staggering.  The first year costs average approximately $800,000.00.  Thereafter, the cost of anti-rejection medicines and continuing medical care will cost tens of thousands of dollars annually.

Now we have an opportunity to help Jim and his family. If you are interested in being a sponsor of this fundraiser or donating items for an auction, please return the attached forms as soon as possible.  Your contribution will directly benefit Jim, his wife and three young daughters.  You can help give this family security and peace of mind during these trying times.

In his own way, Jim is continuing to help others through his illness.  Jim became the first person in the United States to undergo an experimental procedure where two small pumps were implanted in his heart.  This has allowed him to go home and be with his family while he gets strong enough for his transplant.  Leave it to Jim to make history!  Read all about it at http://www.nmh.org/nm/bivad+release.

Jim’s willingness to undergo this procedure and document his experience will likely help countless future heart transplant patients improve their quality of life while awaiting transplant.  This is no surprise for those of us who know Jim.  From coaching kid’s soccer to working with disabled sailors, Jim is always helping others.

We want Jim back!  I am sure that you share our sentiments in wanting to again see our sailing, coaching soccer, and attending Monday Night Men’s Club.

Please set the date aside for the benefit and seriously consider this opportunity to help.

Thank you for your support!

DONATE AN AUCTION ITEM

As an alternative to sponsorship, please consider donating an item that can be auctioned on the night of the event.  Popular items include but are not limited to wine baskets, artwork, vacation home stays, airline tickets, jewelry, tickets to popular events, golf outings, sports memorabilia, electronics, and gift certificates to major department stores, spas or restaurants.

Please return this form with your donation as soon as possible.  All auction donors will be recognized at the event.

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Yes!  I would like to donate an auction item.

Item Description:        _______________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Value of Item:            ________________________________________________________________________

Name:                          ________________________________________________________________________

Address:                      ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Phone:                         ________________________________________________________________________

_____ Please check here if you would like your gift to remain anonymous.

Please deliver this form and your auction item as soon as possible to:

Jonathan Flusser

C/o Bank of America

135 S. LaSalle St., Suite 1111

Chicago, IL 60603

(312) 992-6332

Have a Heart For Stretch! Become an Event Sponsor

NOVEMBER 5th 2010

A Benefit for the Armstrong Family

Become an Event Sponsor

By now we have all heard of the tragic illness that has fallen upon our dear friend Jim Armstrong, a/k/a “Stretch”.  On November 5, 2010, a fundraising event will be held for Jim and his family at the Belmont Station of the Chicago Yacht Club.  At this time we would like to ask for your support in sponsoring the event or donating a silent auction item.

On a daily basis, there is some mention of the state of our nation’s health care in the news.  Whatever your opinion is on the matter, there is no question that health care costs can become insurmountable for anyone when they are faced with a sudden and serious illness.  Jim’s case is no exception.

Jim’s health struggles began in June when he was diagnosed with a sudden and severe case of myocarditis that has left him in need of a heart transplant.  The immediate and long-term costs of a heart transplant are staggering.  The first year costs average approximately $800,000.00.  Thereafter, the cost of anti-rejection medicines and continuing medical care will cost tens of thousands of dollars annually.

Now we have an opportunity to help Jim and his family. If you are interested in being a sponsor of this fundraiser or donating items for an auction, please return the attached forms as soon as possible.  Your contribution will directly benefit Jim, his wife and three young daughters.  You can help give this family security and peace of mind during these trying times.

In his own way, Jim is continuing to help others through his illness.  Jim became the first person in the United States to undergo an experimental procedure where two small pumps were implanted in his heart.  This has allowed him to go home and be with his family while he gets strong enough for his transplant.  Leave it to Jim to make history!  Read all about it at http://www.nmh.org/nm/bivad+release.

Jim’s willingness to undergo this procedure and document his experience will likely help countless future heart transplant patients improve their quality of life while awaiting transplant.  This is no surprise for those of us who know Jim.  From coaching kid’s soccer to working with disabled sailors, Jim is always helping others.

We want Jim back!  I am sure that you share our sentiments in wanting to again see our sailing, coaching soccer, and attending Monday Night Men’s Club.

Please set the date aside for the benefit and seriously consider this opportunity to help.

Thank you for your support!

BECOME A SPONSOR

HEART OF GOLD SPONSOR – benefits apply to all Sponsors making a gift of $2,000 and above.

-Prominent recognition at the event in the form of signage as well as a verbal announcement.

-Name listed on invitation to event (as long as sponsorship gift received by September 23)

-Four complimentary tickets to the event.

SILVER HEART SPONSOR – benefits apply to all Sponsors making a gift of $1,000 to $1,999.

-Prominent recognition at the event in the form of signage as well as a verbal announcement.

-Name listed on invitation to event (as long as sponsorship gift received by September 23)

-Two complimentary tickets to the event.

BRONZE HEART SPONSOR – benefits apply to all Sponsors making a gift of $500 to $999.

-Prominent recognition at the event in the form of signage as well as a verbal thank you.

-Name listed on invitation to event (as long as sponsorship gift received by September 23)

If you would like to be a sponsor, please return this form with your gift as soon as possible.

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Yes! I would like to sponsor the event as follows:

_____ HEART OF GOLD SPONSOR

_____ SILVER HEART SPONSOR

_____ BRONZE HEART SPONSOR

Name:              ______________________________________________________________________________

Address:          ______________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

Phone:             ______________________________________________________________________________

_____ Please check here if you would like your gift to remain anonymous.

Please return this form and your sponsorship gift as soon as possible to:

Armstrong Benefit Fund

C/o Jonathan Flusser

Bank of America

135 S. LaSalle St., Suite 1111

Chicago, IL 60603

DONATE AN AUCTION ITEM

As an alternative to sponsorship, please consider donating an item that can be auctioned on the night of the event.  Popular items include but are not limited to wine baskets, artwork, vacation home stays, airline tickets, jewelry, tickets to popular events, golf outings, sports memorabilia, electronics, and gift certificates to major department stores, spas or restaurants.

Please return this form with your donation as soon as possible.  All auction donors will be recognized at the event.

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Yes!  I would like to donate an auction item.

Item Description:        _______________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Value of Item:            ________________________________________________________________________

Name:                          ________________________________________________________________________

Address:                      ________________________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________________________

Phone:                         ________________________________________________________________________

_____ Please check here if you would like your gift to remain anonymous.

Please deliver this form and your auction item as soon as possible to:

Jonathan Flusser

C/o Bank of America

135 S. LaSalle St., Suite 1111

Chicago, IL 60603

(312) 992-6332

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