My friend and youth worker Tommy Pierro recently went to San Diego for a very special and unique surgery to remove clots from his lungs. His wife Naomi has been keeping us updated via Facebook, so I wanted to pass along those updates for the sake of clarity regarding what’s happening and also for points of prayer.

Update # 1 August 31

Hello everyone! There’s not enough room on just my status update so I figured I would just write a note. Hopefully everyone who’s interested in knowing is able to figure out how to read this. Anyway thank you sooooo sooooooooooo much everyone for praying! I’m sorry you all were not able to be updated earlier but I’ve been at the hospital all day and away from a computer. It is now 10:00 my time but 1am yours.
So, I slept over night at the hospital with him last night and got up with him around 5:30 am when the nurses came in to get him ready. I was allowed to stay with him in the pre-op room from 6-6:45am, then they took him away for anesthesia and all that stuff. The whole procedure probably actaully started around 8 and one of the doctors came out to tell us the blood clot removal portion was over around 2:15 and he was totally done around 4 ish. The surgery itself was only about 2 hours long, the rest of the time is spent cooling his body down to 16 degrees Celsius and then warming it back up to normal.
His parents and I got to go into the ICU around 4:30 to see him. He wasn’t awake though. He’s got a breathing tube down his throat and all kinds of IV’s in him. So, as far as anyone can tell the surgery went well. The doctors got all of the blood clots out and there were ALOT of them. I am enclosing a picture of the clots for those of you who would like to see that sort of thing. The line on the bottom is a 15 inch ruler if you want to get an idea of how big they are. The biggest ones are probably about 6 inches or so. Two of them, you can see are the whole size of one of his pulmonary arteries or something and the doctor said it was a wonder he was even walking around and breathing. Not a wonder, we know God was breathing for him!
So, continue to pray because they said nothing ever goes wrong during the surgery, if something is going to happen it’s within the couple of days after. Not that we are anticipating anything going wrong, I just say that to let you know we are not totally “out of the woods” yet just because the surgery is over. His oxygen levels are not totally where they want them to be so they have to keep checking on that. Also please pray for a grace and pain tolerance for him and that if God could lessen the pain to make that happen for him because he will have to be awake when they extract the tube from his throat and all other kinds of stuff they have to do. Also that his chest would heal up quickly and that he could just be in as little pain as possible. Also for us to have the grace to watch him go through this and to be able to deal with everything that happens.
So, I think that is it for now. It was a long day. I am going to sleep hopefully for awhile. I cannot wait for bed! We will be back at the hospital tomorrow and he may even be awake. They say the whole recovery process is different for everyone so we will have to see as time goes on. I will update as much as I am able to get to my computer and as time allows. Thank you again for your prayers and concerns. We know that God is awesome and that he is with Tommy and is healing him right now. He is the only thing that sustains us. I am also praying God visits him in a special way during all this time that he is “out” from the world. I know He is doing awesome things in our lives!
Well, goodnight! I will be back soon if there’s more to say. 🙂

Here’s a picture of the clots they removed. The stick at the bottom is a 15 inch ruler for some perspective.

Update # 2 September 1
Hi everyone! Wow! The body of Christ is overwhelming! We are so humbled and blessed by all of your love and support. There’s nothing like family. I love reading all of your words of encouragement. I definitely don’t feel alone! 🙂

So, no more pictures today, I’m sorry. Just an update. We went to see him today but he was still sedated. He would “wake up” every now and then but not really being awake just kind of stirring and seeming restless. It’s sad to see him like that but I am doing okay. He still has the breathing tube down his throat doing the breathing for him and all other kinds of tubes and iv’s. His hands are strapped down to the bed so that he can’t just start ripping things out. When he “wakes” his eyes open half way as if he’s trying to see what’s going on and he moves his hands but they just drop back when he realizes he can’t go anywhere with them. Whenever I would talk to him or rub his arm or something he would stir like that so we tried to just sit in the room without doing that too much so he could just sleep. He doesn’t need to be awake because it would be too uncomfortable now with the breathing tube and everything. The nurses in there are sooo great! He has one assigned to him at all times and she or he pretty much stays in the room and hardly ever leaves. The one today was so nice, she answered all of our questions and seems to be very gentle with him. They have to turn him every two hours so he doesn’t get bed sores. So everytime they do that he stirs a bit. He was getting too restless just laying there this afternoon so they had to give him a stronger sedation so he could just sleep.
We saw the doctors this morning and they were so happy with the way he has been progressing. They said his levels and everything are pretty much where they would expect them to be at this stage, so praise God! In fact, the one Southern doctor told me he was “tickled” at how he was improving. I thought that was so funny. He kept using that word. 🙂 I told him that everyone has been praying for him. He said “oh, me too!” That was nice. So I think yesterday he was relying 100% on oxygen and today it was down to 50%, which they were very happy about. There are a whole bunch more levels that I dont’ understand the meaning of but if the doctors are happy about them, then so are we. 🙂 They think that tomorrow (Wednesday) they could possibly be able to wake him up and take out the breathing tube. That probably wouldn’t be until afternoon and may not even be at all til the next day. They have to see how he progresses and then try to wake him and test him on his ability to be aware of things and see if they think he can start breathing on his own. Once that is out they said they can pretty much take him off all of the other tubes and things that are in him as well. So, if they do that I am just praying that it is not too painful and he can just relax. Because now he is sleeping and unaware, but once they take that out he will be awake and he will know what’s going on and will realize the pain that he feels. So we are just really praying for peace and not so much pain.
Well, that is it for now. I will write more tomorrow if anything happens. I am going to go call his nurse now before i go to sleep and find out if there are any changes. Thanks again. Luv you guys!

Update # 3 September 2
I finally have internet service during the afternoon so I can let you all know what’s going on today instead of you guys having to wait for your tomorrow. First of all I want to stop any rumors that I’ve heard are floating around. Things like they had to stop in the middle of the surgery because he was doing so bad and he is in a coma and on life support. These are not true! The surgery went very well, they got all of the clots out. He just got very sick somehow right afterwards, which the doctor said usually doesn’t happen til the next day or two. He said it’s uncommon but not totally mind boggling and he is doing much better and progressing every day. He is also not in a coma, it is just a heavy sedation. He is aware of things going on around him and when we talk to him he tries to open his eyes and move his arms. The nurse asked him today to squeeze her hand and wiggle his toes. And he was able to do that. Also, he is not on life support!! He is only on a respirator to breathe for him because he is not able to do it himself yet. This is not from a complication of the surgery or anything, that is just what has to happen after a PTE surgery because of the sedation and the fact that there is all this unflitered blood flow that the lungs don’t know what to do yet because they are so used to working around the clots.
Okay, now that that’s cleared up, here is what’s going on now. The doctor came in this morning and told us he was not ready today to take the breathing tube out. His levels need to be at a certain point and they are not yet. He said everytime they try to move him, his oxygen levels drop so that’s not great. He did say that he is progressing every day and they are glad about that but it’s just taking awhile for this next phase. His heart is pumping wonderfully and is very good, not strained anymore. He also said that everyday these levels of things can go up and down but not to be discouraged because that’s just what happens. So, it won’t be today to take it out, they will check tomorrow to see if he is ready and if not it could be as late as Friday or Saturday. They said not to worry though because even though it would be better to start breathing on his own it’s not detrimental to keep it in there if he really still needs it, which he does.
The doctor explained so much to us and that’s something you could pray for. Pray for smartness to overcome me. 🙂 I try sooo hard to listen and understand but I feel like they are the Charlie Brown teacher sometimes just saying “Wah wah wah”. I try so hard to focus but it doesn’t totally make sense. Even when I do think I understand I don’t remember it later well enough to explain it to anybody. So pray for understanding in us and remembrance of important things. At least I know the doctors know what they are doing and there’s nothing I can do anyway from knowing things, I just like to. And ultimately we know GOD knows everything and is in control, so that is the only thing that really comforts.
God has been so awesome through this whole thing. He has made Himself to so real to me. I’ve had wonderful drives to and back from the hospital with my worship music on. I feel like every song ministers to me. They sing of God’s healing power, His love, His presence with us and praising Him even in the storm. I see Him in everything and am so grateful for Him. I feel like words can’t even express it, but I just feel so at peace knowing that HE is the ultimate doctor taking care of Tommy and He is just so amazing!!! I can never feel alone with Him in my heart!
I am just praying that they can take out the breathing tube soon. Then he can start to wake up and move on with the healing process. I hate seeing him just laying there like that and only simply being able to move his feet or squeeze a hand. Today he started coughing which made me feel soo bad. His brow furrows and sounds like he’s in pain. The nurse had to suction out his mouth and it was just not great. So, still just pray for a speedy and easy recovery. Now it is all just a waiting game.
Tommy’s sister and brother, Heather and Sal will be here tonight, which we are very grateful for to have most of the family together (miss you Nicole!) 🙂 So, it would be nice if he could actually wake up during their stay here instead of us just watching him sleep. But the Lord knows what he needs so that’s what matters.
I think that’s all I know of today that I retained anyway. So I will stop babbling. I like having this to write on though. I feel like it helps me clear my mind and sort through everything that’s happening. It’s like a journal but 500 people are reading it. haha!! Love all of you!!

2 thoughts on “Tommy Pierro Updates

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