Bill's Health Journey

For those of you reading this that know my husband, Bill McCallister, and myself I know you will appreciate how challenging this is for me to accomplish. Here goes…

My name is Kerin McCallister and I am the blessed and happy wife of Bill McCallister as well as the mother of three amazing children Maura, Caroline, and Thomas. Bill and I opened our own Corrective Exercise and Personal Training studio just over one year ago. McCallister Fitness & Functional Movement exists through the dedication and passion we bring to what we do and through the amazing trust and support our clients have for us and their progress. Our family is preparing for a time of trials and hurdles emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially. Bill was diagnosed with Pulmonary Embolisms many years ago and has been treated for the condition since that time. However, his body is quite strong willed and continued to create more of the clots as well as build protections around the existing ones still in his lungs. In March of 2016, Bill became so hypoxic, or severely oxygen deprived, that he passed out and was rushed to the hospital to receive emergency care for the clots as well as a 2-inch gash in his head from the fall. Bill has remained on blood thinners since that day, but his body is already so greatly constrained that his quality of life is suffering. After many tests and visits to doctors, the determination has been made that an invasive, open heart procedure is required to remove the clots as well as the fortified scars that have built up around the clots in his pulmonary blood vessels. The hope is that by removing the scar and clot tissue that is partially and completely blocking about 1/3 of the blood vessels in his lungs, his body will, in time, rediscover the blood vessels that have closed down and he will once again have full blood profusion in his lungs. 

This procedure brings with it many challenges. There are no doctors or facilities in the state of GA that perform this procedure. Bill’s doctors are sending us to San Diego, CA to have the procedure performed at a facility that is known as the best in the world for the operation he needs. It’s a lengthy process spanning 3 weeks’ time. In week one, Bill must undergo 3 days of outpatient tests and assessments to confirm the diagnosis as well as determine the present level of blood restriction to his lungs. Once the doctors gather the data that supports their expectations, Bill would be admitted early the following week and the operation would take place the next day. Now we are into week 2. The in-hospital recovery time is estimated to be 1-2 weeks following the procedure. Now we are into week 3. Once Bill’s recovery is sufficient to be discharged and released to travel, he and I will return home. That’s just the hospital part…

Being away for three weeks from our children and the business that we have built and created together are the other challenges for which we must prepare. Our business runs on the two of us and our partnership meaning that in our absence it will have to be closed. We struggled with taking 4 days to have a family vacation this summer knowing our clients were not being seen during that time, so you can imagine how difficult it is for us to know we must leave them for weeks. As we are a small, family owned and run service-based business our time away means no clients seen and helped as well as no revenue production. As our clients, friends, and loved ones know very well, we care much more about the lack of attention to our clients than the money. However, as with any business, money must be made to keep the business open and, in our case, keep the household running. 

Bill is a very private and reserved man so knowing we are sharing our story with so many people is already weighing on him. For me, the next part is the harder part. So many people we know have asked how they can possibly help us through this time. We have a few ways any of our friends, loved ones, clients and even the extended circle that surrounds each of them can help us persevere through this period. First, we ask that you pray for Bill’s healing and our acceptance of the road we are traveling. Second, the donation of rental car days or hotel nights for us to use throughout the three weeks would be an immense help as I will not be able to stay at the hospital with him for the whole stay and will need a bed for the little rest I plan on getting so I can stay strong enough to care for Bill. Third, monetary donations can be made to help cover the deficit we will experience with the lengthy time away from our business and ensure the bills for the studio and our household can be paid. Finally, additional monetary donations to help us cover the cost of the procedure, stay and doctor charges will be gratefully accepted. At this time, we have not received word from the clinic as to what our insurance will expect us to pay but we are anticipating a hefty total once we get the final word.

As a giver, fixer, sharer and “carer”, the accepting of, and especially the asking for, help is a weakness in my character. A wonderful priest, Fr. Christopher Stanton, once told me that by refusing the help that is offered or not asking for the help to meet our needs, I was preventing those in the position to help from being the giver, sharer and carer I so deeply try to be. Since that day, I have consciously worked to accept even compliments as well as acts of kindness with a genuine appreciation and gratitude and not negate or reject them. For that reason, I approach this exercise in humility with my heart full and open and my mind set on Bill’s healing and our successful traversing of the perilous journey on which we are embarking. We thank you for taking the time to read my extensive monologue and for any help you feel moved to provide.