Walter Trout Needs a New Liver - You Can Help!

For: Walter Trout
Organizer: Kirby Bryant on behalf of:
of $250,000 goal
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This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

Walter is currently hospitalized & in urgent need of a liver transplant!

Walter has been battling severe liver disease bravely for the past many months. He has continued touring and recording until a few weeks ago - he loves playing for people, and it has been the best medicine for him.

We were given hope that medicinal treatment could reverse his condition but we now know that this hasn't worked. His liver has failed, and doctors say his survival depends on receiving a transplant. 

He  is currently at UCLA in and out of Intensive Care, which is a prime facility for liver transplants. Walter has health insurance but this will not cover the full cost of his treatment. The medical expenses, co-pay, medication, after-care, etc. are going to be immense.

  • Walter will need to cancel much of the tour planned for 2014 leaving him and his family with little income.
  • By helping support this effort, you can help give Walter peace of mind and focus solely on his health and recovery before, during and after the transplant.
  • The timeline is uncertain at this point. Waiting for a suitable liver donor in the hospital can be a lengthy and costly process of many weeks or even months.
  • There will be considerable cost for rehabilitation, re-training and physical therapy post-surgery

Quote From Walter's Wife Marie:

"Thank you for coming here and sending your love towards Walter. It means the world to him and to me to feel surrounded with your love and prayers at this difficult time. Walter has lost 100 pounds and most of his muscle tissue in the past year, and suffered much pain. It has been heart wrenching to watch him go through this. He has tried to put on a brave face for us all - he has kept playing, composing, singing, touring, and recording because music and communicating through music has always been his life line.. But he has reached the point, where he is too sick to stand up or even hold a guitar. Thank you again on Walter's behalf for your love and support."

What Happens When You Donate?

Any funds will go straight to helping Walter with his medical expenses offering him and his family some help offsetting the many expenses related to this situation. Walter has been given a great prognosis for a full recovery. He should be able to withstand the massive operation. Walter wants to stay alive and be with his wife and three sons (ages 20,18 and 12). We all want him to also keep playing music for decades to come once his new liver is implanted and settled. Doctors say that Walter's lungs, kidneys and heart are all in great condition, so once a new liver is in there, he is expected to make a full recovery. You will own a little piece of this success every time Walter takes to the stage in years to come when you help support this effort. Walter's wife Marie will be posting updates on his condition. To recevie these please subscribe by selecting the "subscribe to updates" option directly under the blue "give now" button. 


-Please make cheques payable to 'Walter Trout'
-Address: Walter Trout, PO Box 246, Huntington Beach, CA 92648, USA
-Your donation will be manually added to the campaign total. Let us know if you wish to remain anonymous or have your donation anonymous. 

If you cannot donate at this time, you can still help by:

  • Sharing this campaign.
  • Keeping Walter in your prayers. Send some positive and healing thoughts to Walter and his family. 
  • If you sign up on Walter's regular mailing list, we will keep you posted with updates on information regarding Walter's music right to your inbox. You can sign up here

From Kirby:

Thanks for visiting this page. My name is Kirby and I am a personal friend of Walter's family. I have set up this campaign on behalf of the Trout family to help provide financial support during this extremely difficult time. All money donated goes directly into Walters bank account (minus minimal fees).
Walter has mentored my husband, Danny Bryant and been his 'musical father' since Danny was just 15 years old. The kindness and continued support he has shown us all over the years is indescribable. I simply don't know anyone else in the world like him!  Thanks for your help and support.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on January 1, 2015 by Kirby Bryant on behalf of:

New Year’s Eve 2014 at the Trouts…. Standing in our driveway surrounded with friends and neighbors watching the annual driveway jam took on a whole new dimension yesterday. A year ago, Walter could barely make it through one song, and our family existed under the heavy foreboding weight of uncertainty. Our lives were fraught with a sense of impending doom. Walter was getting weaker and weaker, and we all feared that the end was near.

What a year it has been! Everything has changed for our family in this past year. We have faced death; we have faced our fears, and our own darkest inner shadows. I have learned to share my life from a place of vulnerability, and been blessed with understanding and support from others that has changed my life. Our family has been loved unconditionally – and we have survived emotionally and physically with Walter still among us like Lazarus rising from his deathbed thanks to medical science and the ultimate gift from an organ donor and his or her family.

Last night marked Walter’s first short concert experience – where he played and sang for an audience. It was a moment in time that seemed impossible just a few short months ago. The temperature outside was close to freezing – hardly an ideal setting for fingers to have to move at lightning speed over the fret board – but nonetheless Walter played close to a flawless short set! He played and sang his butt off sharing the driveway “stage” with all three of our sons. The tears in the eyes of our neighbors who pray for him daily reminded me that this event was one we share with so many, who have not only held us this past year, but who have given us the love, faith, and the courage to fight for this moment to happen.

I stood there between the headlights of our car in the driveway that provided the light for the concert and took it all in. I watched many wipe tears from their eyes as Walter reclaimed his voice, his moves (those leg moves), his playing style, and his energy that drives the music through the sound barrier with his super-sonic rocket booster playing style. I did not cry. I reveled in the moment. I celebrated with each breath. I watched a miracle unfold in front of me and I stood almost in disbelief. The moment manifested what I had been hoping and praying for all year – and there it was right in front of me on the threshold of the New Year: Walter KICKING ASS!!! He was surrounded musically with the wall of sound provided by three Trout guitar players and a Trout drummer, our friend Eric on bass, and the loving presence of a small audience egging him on.

The short set list was:

  • Auld Lang Syne
  • Going Down
  • Born to be Wild
  • Fortunate Son

The Trouts took turns soloing and singing. I will see if I can get a decent sound and video file uploaded to youtube to share it with you in the coming days.

Honestly, I don’t understand why I didn’t cry. Maybe I am still in shock from the past year and still can’t really unpack my emotions. But as I write that, I actually don’t think that is it. I did not repress or deny my emotions this past year. As those of you who followed our journey know, I shared the bad, the ugly, and the terrible as it happened. I visited with it; I walked my way into it and through it with you walking right next to me. I lived the blues openly. And last night, it felt as if I danced even as I stood perfectly still. I danced my way through a celebration of epic proportions! I heard Walter’s stage voice and playing wash over me, and watched his essence unleash as it only really does when he is in the zone on stage in front of people with a fat groove behind him.

It was a real life miracle that found its first solid manifestation last night: Walter still has it! He is still able to musically launch into the stratosphere and take others with him on that flight of experiential delight. It is such a big part of him! And “it” survived too!

Wishing others a Happy New Year has a new timbre and tonality to it for me this year. And as I stood there between the headlights of our makeshift driveway concert venue last night, I sent a grateful wish to each of you: May you share in the joy of this rebirth, this newness, this joyous reclaiming with us; my thoughts go to each of you with profound thankfulness! May you too find the wonder of new beginnings as we do ours!

Happy New Year!

Posted on December 24, 2014 by Kirby Bryant on behalf of:

The rain is gently falling – and the sound reminds me of the permanence of all things. It is a gentle, steady sound that has accompanied humanity in all of its existence. It soothes my soul on this Christmas Eve morning.

Soon the sounds of my family will join in, and we will head downstairs and start preparations for our part of our Christmas dinner that I will take with me to my mom’s tonight where our entire family will gather. We will sing Christmas hymns and songs, my aunt will accompany us on the piano, we will dance around the Christmas Tree, eat lots of good food, tell silly jokes, laugh, marvel at candle lights lighting the tree, and hold hands. Glaringly obviously absent from our holiday celebration are the presents. We are not doing that this year. We all are the gifts.

This year we are not taking the togetherness for granted: Who we are with. The food we eat. The rituals we engage in. That is our presents. Being able to be here is a present. Being alive and loved is a present. If I think about it, it is a present that so far surpasses any man-made contraption that could fit under the tree or appear magically out of Santa’s overstuffed sack.

Walter is with us. Walter and I have been in Denmark since December11th, our kids joined us shortly thereafter as they could get away from their obligations at school. And we have just been together in the dunes by the West Coast of Denmark in a little cottage by the sea. We have visited with a few friends and been with my family. Family we didn’t know if Walter would ever see again. Visiting beloved sites again with Walter is better than anything – better than any present I can imagine.

Walter was cleared by the doctors to travel here; and with hand sanitizer, frequent hand washing, a careful screening of who Walter gets close to, he has done exceedingly well. He is gaining weight – he is enjoying eating, he is playing guitar with his sons. He is rested and happy. We all are. I delivered a first draft of my dissertation before I left and have now received feedback from committee members and major advisor. However, I am not touching that thing until after we get back to California for New Year’s Eve for my revisions! This is time to just be. I am doing exactly what I want when I want it. It is glorious!

Part of that has been working on getting Walter’s touring schedule ready for next year! He will start in July in the USA and do select shows and festivals, then go to Europe in November and do a tour there. We should be ready to announce a more full tour schedule early 2015. To work on Walter’s career feels like a gift too. He is looking forward to playing again. I know it is almost overwhelming for him to imagine getting back on stage again. He watches old videos of him playing with Mayall and with his own band; and he imagines what it will feel like to do it again. He practices and gets stronger.

The other night my mom had bought us all tickets to go see a boy’s choir perform Händel’s Messiah with a symphony orchestra and solo singers. It was glorious. Another day, a friend of mine took us on a three hour long tour of a geothermal, trash-to-energy and straw-burning power plant. We learned how this area of Denmark is completely able to provide for its own energy by inventive sources. They actually have an excess of electricity due to all the wind turbines. But other energy sources: Solar, wave technology, trash-burning (completely clean), and geo thermal also contribute greatly. To boot there are no landfills, and no pollution! And combined these sources provide an abundance of cheap and clean energy. So many things are possible when people led by visionary politicians just band together and make it happen by applying new technology and a willingness to invest initially for a huge pay-off down the line for both people and planet.

Other than that we are playing Trivial Pursuit, cooking, eating, visiting, and resting.

Life is such a gift. And we marvel at being alive. Each day we talk about how the love of our community – and the blues community – sustained us and held us during the worst crisis that any of us have ever experienced. How doctor Shafer and other staff at the hospital in Nebraska daily gave us the courage to traverse the crisis we faced. How the donor and his or her family gave Walter the ultimate gift. How we are still able to pay the bills due to the fundraiser that made it all possible.

And presents at Christmas look really silly in comparison. We have had a year of incredible gifts showered on us. A year of incredible torment, pain and hardship framed and put in perspective by the love of community.

From the entire Trout family at Christmas we want to wish you a beautiful holiday season, and a celebratory entry into the New Year. I stand comforted knowing that Walter and I faced many of our worst fears in the past years and managed to walk through them with the loving help of others. It makes me realize that living in fear is not necessary. My New Year’s resolution is:

Plan for the future, live in the moment, and adjust the plans for the future to the present reality as necessary. Appreciate the gifts of community, of love, and of family. Strive to be real. Above all always love excessively!

Merry Christmas!

Posted on November 15, 2014 by Kirby Bryant on behalf of:

The sound from the other room is that of Walter and the boys playing pool. Just before – they were in the garage jamming. Dylan on drums, Mike and Walter on guitar.  Cream, Hendrix, and old blues tunes flooding my auditory canal! Walter is finding his way – playing with the boys. It is exciting to hear – and to know that each time he gets stronger; working towards reclaiming his strength and his sound. In the process he forges new bonds with our boys. They are gradually building trust that he is going to stick around. It has been such a tough haul for them. For all of us!

I am getting the message; that I need to put down my warrior suit of armor and stop pretending that I know anything. Each time I think I have a plan; God shows up and points me in another direction that I was not prepared for.

Such was the case with my trip to Costa Rica. Two days into the trip I Skype’d Walter. Denial had me not picking up on the fact that something was awry. But as Walter spoke, reality set in: He was once again in the Intensive Care Unit. This time at our local hospital! I set everything aside for the next few days. I wanted to stay close to phone and computer – Walter insisted that I did not come home. But I did not want to go through with Theresa’s and my plans to go to the rain forest and the beach. We cancelled. Instead I booked Walter a flight to Nebraska to get him thoroughly checked out. I talked with various doctors. I emailed There was suspicion that there were abscesses in his liver. Or infection around his bile duct. And this is what had caused yet another bout of infection. UCLA could not admit Walter as rapidly as they could in Omaha. So I got him off to Nebraska from my laptop in Costa Rica!

Vernon stayed with our kids longer than he had planned. Unfortunately this meant that he could not go with his darling Debbie to her mother’s Memorial Service in Iowa. He cancelled his trip there to stay with our boys. We are eternally indebted to him – and to Debbie for toughing it out at a very difficult time without him. We are carried by such love from our community. And I just sit in awe at the kindness that surrounds us. I sometimes wonder where our humanity is going when I read news stories or watch TV, but when I look around me – I feel surrounded with love and kindness every day. It is real. It is there! And I am so thankful!

Arriving in Omaha, the amazing Dr. Shafer, Laurie, and the liver team at the Med Center came through again. They decided on the proper diagnostic tools to see what was going on with Walter. They performed thorough tests and eventually concluded that whatever had caused the infection this time was gone. His liver was perfect. The bile duct and stent were perfect. There was no infection in the blood. Nothing growing. Just a mysterious bout of God-knows-what….

So I stayed at my beautiful friend Theresa’s apartment in Costa Rica, and we worked on our dissertations.  Not the trip I had planned or anticipated – but the trip I got! Theresa offered some great perspective on my work – and I helped her moving hers along. We bookended our stay together with visits at a spa overlooking the rainforest where we got massages and marveled at hawks, butterflies, and amazing views in front of our eyes. And we wrote, we talked, we studied, and wrote some more. It turned out to be perfect once I gave up my expectations of what it should have been!

When I came home Sunday – Walter was in Omaha. I managed to get him back on a plane to California again Tuesday. And since he has been to Physical Therapy, taking the boys around, working again to reclaim his music, and he is markedly stronger than when I left.
This journey post-transplant is something else. The first 6 to 12 months are supposed to be unpredictable. But each time we have a snafu – it seems to go faster – and be less serious. It is a rollercoaster ride nonetheless. So we keep riding! However, my Amazonian suit of armor is proving to be less and less useful. I am considering that maybe I don’t need it anymore. Maybe my new protection is just taking everything as it comes. And moving with it – knowing that no matter what, it is not my plan that ultimately matters!

Posted on November 5, 2014 by Kirby Bryant on behalf of:

Sunday night, Walter drove me to the airport. I was getting on a red-eye to go to Costa Rica, and Walter insisted that he would take me. The last time he and I were at LAX together, was April the 9th, when Del and I picked him up at UCLA to take him to Omaha on a wing and a prayer – our last ditch effort to save his life.Back then, he couldn't drive. He could barely sit up! And he had to get carried in and out of the car. And here we are - seven months later. He is driving the Suburban – our tank of a car – Dylan is doing homework in the backseat, and I am in the passenger seat just marveling. I watch his hands on the steering wheel; I look at his profile in the dark while the street lights and headlights of the opposing traffic light his face intermittently. We blast up the freeway together. His big voice fills the car as we talk back and forth about all and nothing on our way.

I was fairly quiet. I had had a headache for days that wouldn’t go away and an unexplainable sense of fatigue and trepidation about the trip. A kaleidoscope of emotions ran through my body. As soon as I got on the plane, I fell asleep. I slept the whole way. Waking up as we were landing, I felt as if I could sleep for a month. When I got to Theresa’s beautiful place, she served me breakfast, and then I went to sleep again!

Right now I am eating a piece of Kaluha filled chocolate after an entire day at the spa with Theresa. My headache is gone. I feel at peace. I just spoke with Walter, and he and the boys are doing great at home. Our 18 year old, Mike voted today for the first time, and Walter took him. Walter also worked out a snafu with regards to my cell phone company for me – they had charged me $150 in data charges for my first 24 hours here in Costa Rica, even though I had barely used it. He got them to refund it, as they had sold me a data plan for the trip that was invalid… whew! He also took one of the kids to the doctor; he took them to get passport photos taken…. Routine stuff, but stuff I did NOT have to do!  

So I was in the hot tub today while Walter was at home with the kids holding down the fort – I cannot express what a gift it is. I am here with one of my dearest friends. We talk, we are quiet, and we explore the surroundings.  Today was just pure indulgence. The spa overlooked a tropical landscape, perched on the edge of a hill with a view of the valley. Theresa and I had our own hut with a Jacuzzi, where we could relax between the treatments – and where they also served us lunch. Tomorrow I will work on my dissertation – and Theresa will work on hers. We are fellow students who share much more than just the love of learning.

Maybe this moment in time feels so much sweeter because I experience it on a backdrop of the anxiety and stress that has been trailing me for the past year and a half. I choose to trust that I can unplug and not have the home front unravel in my absence; that we won't have some horrible setback happen for Walter while I am gone. I relax into the sweetness of being for a little while and feel held and supported.

Outside, the sounds of the jungle caress my auditory nerve. I hear a dog bark somewhere in the distance. The breeze gently flows through the room, and a confused rooster clears his throat in anticipation of fulfilling his duties first thing in the morning.

Posted on October 31, 2014 by Kirby Bryant on behalf of:

I have very little to report: Walter continues to reclaim his strength. I pinch myself! He had a check-up at UCLA yesterday, and they were impressed with his blood pressure, liver enzymes, kidney numbers – everything! He walks faster all the time – now 90 % of the time without a cane, and gets stronger every day. We hold hands when we walk together now. How I missed that! And although his hand is still not as muscular and as big as it will be once again – and it once was – it is here holding mine!

He plays the guitar in our living room, and works and works to get strong. He rides a stationary bike, and he does Physical Therapy. He walks. He drives. He eats. He sleeps. He lives. It is a full-time job to reclaim your body after having wasted away for so long.

As for me, it feels like all the stress from the past many months is encapsulated and cannot really leave me. I have been so used to being on high alert, and I cannot really relax. On top, let me tell you: Anybody who wants to write a PhD is crazy. Anyone who decides to do it on “the relevance of the blues in the 21st century” is out of their mind, and someone who decides to do both in the wake of a battle between life and death is bat shit crazy…. Yup that’s me! I have done the research over the past few years, and I so want to put this together in a way that honors the magic of the blues. It consumes me. I work without a break. Walter supports me. Most of the time, he sees my back as I write, or read, or compute numbers and findings. And he bears with me. He quietly just loves me by doing a lot running errands, picking up kids, etc.

In the big picture, little annoyances are like drops of water on a goose. Our kids are alive. We are alive. Our house is still ours. It feels like we are having a break. A breather! We have a moment in time right now, where we little by little can begin to pick up the pieces of our lives again. We are still finding our equilibrium again. It takes time. Each day I deliberately stop the “what if’s”. They are as useless now as they ever were. When things go well – especially after a long time under stress – I have a tendency to want to guarantee myself that nothing bad will ever happen again. And it is such a waste of my time. So I return to the moment. All I know is that right now – all is well. I breathe deeply and remember to appreciate.

And on Sunday I go to Costa Rica for a week. I will bring books and laptop and will work some of the time. But also take time to just be with my friend Theresa. Walter is excited to have guy’s week – our friend Vernon comes to stay with him and the kids. And now that he is able to do more, he jokes that he and Vernon will rent Harleys and go ride…. I just hope the house is still standing when I come back!

Posted on October 24, 2014 by Kirby Bryant on behalf of:

The belly laugh is back!

Yesterday as we were stumbling out of our little Honda Fit EV – all four of us to go to dinner, we had this shared belly laugh. I don’t remember what prompted it; we just laughed and laughed.

Right there, I realized that that kind of communal laughing with total abandon is something we haven’t done as a family for at least a year- maybe more. And as we wobbled into the little local storefront to have dinner, still half bent over from laughter, we were warm and glowing from the feeling.

More and more, Walter is returning to his old personality. He is holding the door for me as we go into places; he is getting that gleam back when I look into his eyes. Tonight as we were walking together, I forgot completely that anything had happened to Walter; we just walked hand in hand, and it felt like it always have – until he got ill. He can still not keep that kind of pace for long – but for a short while, I got a glimpse of things to come.

And it is like a  hint of normalcy that comes back in these moments. I pinch myself. Can it really be? It has been so long; such a long haul.

Returning to normal might not sound that exciting. There are still all the little things that irritate and annoy – there's still the dirty dishes, the stacks of bills, the work, and the laundry. There are a ton of little everyday things that need to get done and dealt with. But I remember well missing everyday life so bad that I could scream. And now it is rematerializing. I can go in and look at a sleeping Dylan and feel his warm, soft cheek, I can cook him breakfast in the morning; I can be there when the kids come home from school. I can strategize homework with the boys. And as I work in my office, I can hear Walter working out with weights and know that this time; each repetition actually makes him stronger! Before the liver transplant, even when he worked out to the max of his capacity, he would just waste away – no matter what he did.

As Walter reclaims more and more of who he is - slowly but surely- the rest of us are also able to put our lives back together. And believe me; we notice every little step back towards “normal”. Normal is beautiful. Normal is exceptionally special. When Walter was close to death, nothing seemed as shiningly magnificent as the thought of once again experiencing daily life. I send up a thankful prayer for each moment of it. I realize that the twins of gratitude and joy thrive in the fertile soil of everyday existence.

And now that the belly laugh has re-entered our lives, who knows what’s next?

Posted on October 20, 2014 by Kirby Bryant on behalf of:

Walter will finish his home IV medication today, making this a three week run of a combination of several of the strongest antibiotics known to humankind! And he is holding up remarkably well!

He is walking a bit better all the time; tends to forget the cane once in a while – and does fine without it. So his walking will be restored. His skin color is great! No more bruising and the wounds on his arms are healed up. His arms will be scarred forever; battle scars that he wears with gratefulness! He had a check-up at UCLA last Thursday, and his lab numbers are restoring to normal all around. Platelet count is up, liver enzymes are perfect, kidney numbers are great, no more signs of infection, his cholesterol is low. In fact, some of his lab numbers are quite a bit better than mine!!! His constitution must be held by love and prayer - and a good dose of the best of modern medicine – because he is really doing fantastic!

Saturday, Michael Leasure came over and visited with him for a while. They went in the garage and before long; I could hear Michael testing the drums. Or so I thought. Of course I was in my office writing and studying for my dissertation, so I wasn’t paying much attention. And suddenly I heard this faint sound - then a bit louder- of an amplified guitar playing along with the drums. Michael had urged Walter to plug in and play with him! After a little while they emerged from the garage, and Walter fell into Michael’s arms with tears coming down his face:

- “I didn’t even know how much I missed this” he said. “The power, the sound – and then playing with you – I know you so well – I thought of something musically, and before I did it, you already followed me there…”

That psychic connection that develops between some musicians who have played together for a long time! It is about as life-affirming as it gets!

The same day, Walter had been at Doc’s guitar shop and talked guitar with the guys. They had plugged him in too and had him play a bit for them. So slowly but surely, Walter is finding his way back to the music – or should I say: It is finding him through the people who love him. He still has a ways to go. The fingers are rusty. He is still weak. But he will get there. And he can re-start physical therapy this week. Finally!

And again, I sit in grateful appreciation. More and more I can “take my hands off the wheel” with regards to micro-managing every detail of Walter’s recovery and get back to my studies, to the kids, to me. And I have some catch-up to do. I lost 6 months or more of precious study time, and I am scrambling to finish on time – even with the extension I was granted. I can’t sleep more than four to five hours at night, and have a persistent stomach ache. And I just realized through one of my friends, Debra, who pushed me “a bit” about it that I will need to stop and find a way to relax. And relaxation does not happen for me right now in our house. There are too many things and people calling my name. Or rather things that I just habitually get involved it that I probably don’t need to! When you have held someone’s life in your hands for a long time, it is a transition to start stepping back. Sometimes I find that I tend to think too much for my guys – and they are quite capable at doing things their way – once I stop being in their face about it! If it doesn’t happen my way – and sometimes it doesn’t happen at all - so be it! As long as Walter takes his medicine, the rest is really not that important or can be fixed later. But it is time for me to face the music and look at my reality: The anger bursts, the stomach ache, the lack of sleep…. Yes, time to look at Marie a bit! In a couple of weeks, on November 2nd, I leave for a week. I will go to Costa Rica and visit a dear friend and former student at my school.

Once I accepted the need for a break, things fell in place very quickly! Our friend, Vernon will come and stay with Walter and the boys for most of the time I am gone. Walter and the kids will have “guy’s time” and I will go and have “girl’s time”! The dissertation will either happen on time, or it won’t! I need a break!!! My friend, Theresa has room for me to stay with her in her apartment, and I can fly there business class on my frequent flier miles! Theresa and I will go to a beach where turtles hatch at this time of year and watch and learn! We will have a day at a spa, we will get to spend a bit time with a common friend and former student from my Graduate School, and we will get to just walk, experience, and talk about all and nothing when we feel like it.

Life continues. After the hurricane of illness passed through our lives, we are slowly starting to re-build. Returning to life is like returning to the house you left boarded up when you evacuated to get away from the coming destruction. And little by little, as I pull off the boards, I discover that my windows just need a good cleaning, but they are still perfectly capable of letting in the light.

Posted on October 11, 2014 by Kirby Bryant on behalf of:


Walter is back home from UCLA. I don’t know how it works with this man, but somehow he is STRONGER after lying around deathly ill for at least 5 out of 10 days in the hospital. He is stronger than he was before he went in! His guitar playing feels better to him; he has more strength to push down the strings and play. He walks – still mainly with a cane, but walks nonetheless – all over the place. He eats – his appetite is back again. I am actually amazed! The home nurse came today for 30 minutes and made sure he got his IV antibiotics. And ever-since he has been out and about with the kids, while I sit and work on my PhD dissertation until my butt feels like it is flat! And then I sit and write some more!

But it is so glorious to see this progress. I am amazed, happy and gloriously involved again in my research. Walter is the strongest human being I have ever met. Don’t let his still frail frame fool you! He is one kick-ass individual.

I know not to get caught up in the wild up and down swings that is common for this journey pre- and post organ transplantation. But I just want you to know that I am encouraged by what I see and experience with Walter right now. And while I know we may not be entirely out of the woods yet, it is great to see the sunlight penetrate the dark forest cover on some days and flood our path with bright, warm light. And I just wanted you to know so you can share the light times as well as the dark ones!

Thanks for the prayers. We are living a miracle!

Posted on October 9, 2014 by Kirby Bryant on behalf of:


Just got the call from UCLA that Walter will be ready for me to pick him up tomorrow! He can now come home once again. His kidney and liver functions have returned to normal – actually both are spectacularly beautiful!
He will need a home nurse to deliver IV antibiotics once a day for the next ten days to make sure that the bacteria that were in his blood after the biopsy don’t grow back. But other than that, he is once again in good shape. We are currently awaiting another Echo Cardiogram to make sure that his heart is still doing well. This bump in the road (or small “foothill” as Walter calls it) seems to be on its way to being behind us.  It has been one of the more scary times, as the infection came on extremely quickly and forcefully. And both Walter and I are emotionally raw from the last year of ups and downs. So very raw!

I step into anger and disbelief once in a while: Why now? Who caused this setback? Could we have done something differently to avoid this? Walter doesn't do this so much. He takes it one step at a time trusting the process. But as his caregiver, I do it. It takes a lot out of me to chase down doctors, ask questions, and make sure they all know of his now extensive case-history. I live and breathe ways to keep him safe in this overwhelming sea of medical intervention. And frankly, I am exhausted! Driving the LA freeways for hours is so tiring, and then only being able to spend a little time with Walter, as I want to also be home and present with the kids.

To combat this, I remind myself of the bigger picture. I realize that my anger is covering an inner vulnerability that, when I check in with myself, is all about feeling like I am wearing thin. It is about having so many things to do, and not enough time to do it all well. And I cannot stand that feeling of half-assing anything! So I get angry at myself for not doing enough, angry at the doctors, at the kids, at my work, even at Walter! So I have set “anger alarms” for myself. Whenever I start feeling an attack of anger coming on, I ask myself: What am I afraid of right now? And most of the time, it is an inner sense of helplessness that is at the culprit. There is still so much about this process that is out of my control. That leaves me guessing at night. And second-guessing! And that is what makes me go nuts.

So a modified serenity prayer is my trusted companion: I do what I can to the very best of my ability, and then leave the rest to God, good friends and prayer. Most of the time, it allows me to re-connect to gratitude. I will never forget for a moment how blessed we are. At UCLA the other night, three people died on the liver floor. They did not get a liver in time. We could not have gone to Nebraska and saved Walter’s life without the caring support of you all. When I turn my mind around and connect to gratitude, I then see the morning sun rise over the mountains, I feel the smoke-like fog as it caresses the Wetlands on my morning walk. I see the love and life force in the eyes of our kids, I hear birds call my name; I even stop to appreciate magnificent works of art made outside our front door by arachnids. And I gain strength and faith to continue the journey, boldly and with determination!

The kids and I are excited to get Walter back home, where his recovery and strengthening process can continue in comfortable surroundings.

Now here on the other side of all of this, it feels good to announce that it is 100% established that the new liver is A-OK!!!

Much love and continued appreciation for holding Walter and I in your thoughts and prayers.

AND, if you have already signed up, please talk to someone you know about signing up as an organ donor. Imagine if people didn't have to be so sick before they could get treated. And it can be any one of us, or someone we love, who at some point will need of an organ transplant. Imagine if organs from dead people still didn’t mainly get destroyed, but could be put to good use saving lives. Here is a link to a facebook page that has a listing of sites where you can sign up worldwide.

Posted on October 5, 2014 by Kirby Bryant on behalf of:

Bottom line: Walter is better today after two days where I was getting worried. But after me out of desperation calling Dr. Shafer from the Med Center in Omaha, and him following up with the doctor teams at UCLA, suddenly a lot of tests were performed last night.  Symptoms kept worsening, numbers kept going up, fever kept coming back no matter how much antibiotics were added intravenously.

And the tests found a narrowing of the bile duct. A stricture. They believe this is what caused the build-up of bacteria, and probably why the liver enzyme numbers were going up in the past few weeks. They also checked Walter’s heart to make sure it wasn’t harboring bacteria and thus constantly re-infecting the blood. The Echo-cardiogram showed Walter’s heart remarkably strong and healthy – even after all this. So they inserted another stent in the bile duct last night, and added two more kinds of heavy hitting antibiotics. This morning Walter was better. Numbers were already starting to normalize (although still elevated) and fever has not been back today.

The biopsy triggered the episodes that we have seen for the past week, but it was a great relief to find out that it did likely did not entirely cause it. Or at least it seems that way.

Today Walter walked a good stretch with me and his awesome nurse, Andrew. We also went outside in the 100 degrees weather for a while. Andrew has been instrumental these past few days helping me get the various teams of doctors to communicate and he also helped facilitate the contact to Omaha. Good nurses are a godsend. They are angels that often function under much stress and have too many demands thrust at them at once. And right now, Walter is in the hands of the very best we have found anywhere.

I brought him homemade chicken soup (with dumplings) I made especially for him, and for our son Mike who has a bad cold (don’t worry; Mike is not getting near Walter while he is ill). He ate a good portion. I left more for him later. This is the first he has eaten a meaningful amount of food since our anniversary dinner in Las Vegas last Sunday.

So encouraging news – and measures have been taken to fix things. Today was an encouraging day.

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