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Hello friends and family,

I presume that most of you know by now that I have received a new heart. I went to surgery at about 1:00 AM on Friday, November 14th. They finished the surgery at 6:30 AM which was pretty fast. Everything went well, and continues to do so. I was in a chair most of the afternoon today. Sitting up was good but the transition from bed to chair was a little shaky.

My cardiac output numbers are much improved. I am off of some of the medicines and the Swan and arterial pic have been removed. Tonight they are weaning me off of the Milrinone that was being given to strengthen the heart’s contractions, and then tomorrow they will remove the external pacer. The doctors are very pleased with the progress. and I will probably be moved out of Cardiac Recovery into the stepdown unit tomorrow or Tuesday. They are targeting to send me home this coming Friday. Amazing!

I was totally surprised at how little pain I have experienced. No more than any other surgery for certain. Just thinking about getting a new heart one Friday and going home the next – WOW! They think that I received an excellent heart that will serve me well. I know nothing about the donor yet. They delay that information out of respect for the families, but encourage contact at a later time. I will definitely try to make contact.

My immune system is at it’s lowest right now and the doctors recommend that I have only immediate family visitors now and for the first couple weeks at home until I recover somewhat. I ask that you respect that and when you are ready to come see me, please call first. I’m sure I am not going anywhere for a little while so there will be plenty of time. I look forward to seeing many of you in the near future and I think you will be surprised how am doing. My family cannot get over it.

All of you who have supported and prayed for me have made a huge difference, and I thank you so much. I hope I will able to give some back in the future.

Thank you for being there for me.

Joe Stroup
Born 13-Feb-1947 and 14-Nov-2008

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Praise to God! Our friend Joe Stroup is in surgery tonight, getting a new heart! He has been on the heart transplant wait list for months, his health deteriorating all the while. He reached a point five weeks ago that required him to be hopitalized until a suitable heart could be located for him. Four possible replacement organs have been passed up by his surgeons because there was something about each of them that didn’t seem to be just the right match. Finally, this afternoon he and his wife received word that a suitable replacement had been obtained, tested and approved. It was enroute when they received the message, and preparations were being made for his surgery.

He had time to dash off a quick email to his mailing list, which reads in part:

Hi everyone,

I said I would send an update this week after tests were done and I had more information. I pretty much am all better now. My temperatures are normal now and I have not been having any chills. They did a scope of my bladder yesterday just to make sure there were no cists or inflamation. Everything looks good. They replaced my Swan Tuesday evening and moved me back to 1A. We’re all set to go again.

This is going to be a short update, and I wanted to tell you that all of my nurses are so great, and I wanted to tell that because I’m going to be leaving them tonight. Dr. Walsh just left after letting me know that they have a good heart coming for me this evening. So thank Amy, Evon, Teresa, Tracy, Kim, Erica, Carolyn, Kathryn, Ann, Bonnie, David, Randy, Rob, Justin and Brett – I know I probably missed someone.

There is one other thing I want to tell you before I need to get off of here. Last week my granddaughter Ashlynn Nicole sent me an email telling me that she had had a dream, two nights in a row, that she came to visit me on November 14th but I wasn’t there and they told her I was in surgery. Since the heart will not be here until this evening, and the typical surgery time is 6 hours, my second birthday will likely be that day. God works in mysterious ways and through all peoples.

Wish me luck and thanks for the many prayers.

Love to all
Joe”

We grieve for the unfortunate family who lost a loved one in order for this heart to become available for Joe. I know it is not much consolation to them, but Joe is a wonderful man loved by his family and countless friends. Joe deserves a good heart, a fast recovery and return to the selfless service to others that has always been a hallmark of his personality. We wish him well in his surgery tonight, and look forward to excellent news of his recovery and return to health in the near future.

Lord, God, you know our hearts and desires, and that we lift Joe up for your blessings for good health because we believe him to be a worthy servant who still has much to do in Your service here with us. Please guide the hands of the doctors and surgeons and grant Joe a full and complete recovery. We also pray for the peace and comfort of the donor’s family, that they might see You glorified through their loved one’s passing into eternal life. Thy will be done. In the name of Jesus Christ, our savior, we give thanks. Amen.

UPDATE

Joe emerged from surgery at 6:27a.m. the following morning after what doctors called a routine heart transplant. The new heart was pumping strong, and there were no complications. Joe is expected to have a full recovery and return home soon with more energy and stamina than he has felt for many years. We thank God for blessing Joe and his family with an uneventful surgery, and pray that the recovery will be just as routine. Glory to God for His miraculous healing, and for guiding the surgeons as they perform these amazing procedures!

ABOUT HARTFORD LETTERS

Experience the Miraculous Healing and Recovery of Lea Vaughn, and the incredible spiritual journey of her husband during 180 days in Hartford Hospital. Read his original daily emails in "Hartford Letters" above. ____________________________

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