This is Her Story of Peace, Love, and Strength

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"Christmas Eve…. and Santa's already been here" or "The Greatest Gifts, besides Flossing, Brushing, and Swishing (Neutralizing), don't come in a package of ANY size!"

As I go to bed tonight, all the gifts wrapped and tucked  under the tree…. I think about it all, and can’t help but feel a little…… silly. Even though Heidi and I, and Santa, have a standing agreement that the kids only get one real gift from The North Pole and Jolly St. Nick, and two or three each from Mom and Dad, it all still seems so petty.

Because, although we’ve always tried to avoid the gluttonous tendencies that have become associated with Christmas and it’s commercially influenced existence,… it’s hard to remember what really matters when the wrapping paper begins to fly, and the ribbons are tossed aside, as the smiles explode from the children’s faces.

But, this year, more than ever, I feel as if it’s all just really not important. !!! Sorry, but for me, it’s just not.  I realize I’m “going through the motions”, and telling myself this stuff really does matter…… but it really doesn’t.  Oh, it can be ‘fun’! For sure! And the smiles are absolutely amazing! But, the presents, the STUFF! just doesn’t matter! Because for me, and I know for Heidi, too, the Greatest Gift of All, that we could ever receive, was given to us 6 months ago….

We constantly think of the gift that Mikey Fetzer, and his family gave to our Mia on a warm summer day in June. We think of the amazing and miraculous way she was cared for by the wonderful doctors, nurses, and staff at Primary Children’s; and the absolutely incredible and overwhelming support we, as a family, received from the community, our friends and family, and complete strangers from all over the world,…. literally!

Your gifts, of Love, and your Support: financial, physical, spiritual, and emotional; have been Life Saving, and helped create an environment in which we were able to not only survive, but also to face what happened to Mia and our family with a greater degree of dignity and with more strength than we ever could  have if you had not been there for us. Your gifts have helped me to experience Humility and Gratitude to a greater degree than I ever knew possibly existed.

You all, and my daughters very life, have been the most amazing gifts our little family could ever ask for. And none of it came in shiny wrapping paper or a bow.  Mr. Eli has his best friend and his sister for another Christmas! Heidi and I still have our only daughter!  And MiaBella has a chance to go back to school, to try to re-enter her society and find a way to pursue as “normal” a life as she can.  And thanks to the Fetzers, and Mikey in particular,… I think she’s going to do it! 😉

So,… Merry Christmas! everyone! Happy Hanukkah! A Good Pancha Ganapati to You! A Sweet Soltice! and whatever else you celebrate! But, may you find the true Treasures of the Season, not in a package or a box, but in the people you love, the people you live and work with, and in the very act of living. And in the Grace of God, or the Creator, if you believe in that. Or, If you don’t, then may you find it, as a good friend said last night, in recognizing the “Jesus”, or the Divine, in each and every one of us. In every living person, there exists the Divine.  May you experience and learn to appreciate that fact, and work to gain a greater degree of respect for the uniqueness and rights of everyone around you.

May you strive to forgive, and be forgiven. (That means: work to be Forgivable!) May you spend some time considering your Values, your Ethics, the way and manner with which you deal with other people. And may we all come to realize that we all die! And when our time here comes to an end, we can’t take anything with us. Except, perhaps, our memories; our feelings; and hopefully the knowledge that we left the world a better place.

May you come to understand that helping others to succeed, or live, and accepting that less ‘stuff’ is a Great idea, whose time has come! And may you all believe me when I say that toothpaste is NOT necessary, and cavities and gum disease are NOT something you have to live with, and Flossing’s not just a good idea, but something that’s just as important as wiping.  But that’s another story, for another time.

“Good Night to All! And to All, a Good Night!”

Tom B.   ….. Still, T.H.E.M.Bricks!  😉



Back to School! Hopefully:)

As you all know, I haven’t been to school at all this year. And, it’s finally time to go back! January third is the big day! I’m getting so excited! I can’t WAIT to see everyone again! I have really missed my friends, and everyone at Rowland Hall.

My schedule is wacked up though:)

I leave all my classes 5 minutes early.

I can’t sit by anyone during class (which means I have to have my own desk).

I have to carry a bag with everything I need in it everywhere I go (masks…wipes… orange tic-tacs,….etc. You know, the essentials:)

I eat in one of my class rooms with two of my friends (no cafeteria.)

At first I’ll only go to school 2 days a week.  I’ll hopefully be able to increase the days as I go along.

Nobody can touch me. (No Hugs!  ;-( Boo! But, someday I will be able to give hugs again!)

Even with all of that, I CAN’T WAIT to go to school!!!!! I saw one of my friends today and he said, “We’ve got a lot of really strict rules now :). Like, how to sneeze or cough into our elbows!” (My Mom and Dad say “Thanks, Nurse Shirley, and Amanda!)

Christmas is here now, and I can’t wait!!! My grandma is coming to stay at my house from Idaho, and my cousins from New York are coming to stay at my uncles! I am so excited! Because the last time I saw them, it was right after I got out of the hospital. And, I wasn’t feeling the best then:) I couldn’t really do anything with them.

The Day after Christmas, One of my many Best Friends is coming to stay with us from Wisconsin!! She used to live 3 houses up from me! We usually go to Hawaii every year together. That’s usually when we see each other. But that didn’t happen this year. I was kind of busy in June this year:) So she’s coming in for Christmas! I can’t wait!

I had a Biopsy last week on Tuesday. Everything was clear! No rejection and my cathlabb was perfect! But the day didn’t begin so good! When we got to the hospital the whole second floor was filled with the overwhelming smell of the cafeteria cooking enchiladas! And I thought we were in Tiajuana,… in a bad part of town. 😦  That did not go well with my stomach… So after trying to just breath, I finally puked. I looked up at Mom, and asked her if she thought it smelled bad too? I must have looked pretty bad, because Mom just ripped the top off a garbage can and I left my ‘breakfast’ right there. And I didn’t even have any breakfast. So much for sterile conditions! I puked right before the appointment.

When we finally went back to get ready, the doctor wasn’t so sure that I should go to sleep with the gas. I decided that I would be fine and go to sleep with the gas anyways. Well, apparently I puked again right as I fell asleep. I guess rootbeer smelling gas and enchiladas are not so good for my stomach!  So, they intubated me. 😦 I know they did it for a good reason, because they didn’t want me to aspirate stuff into my lungs during the procedure. My throat was soar for a couple days and I hope I don’t have to be intubated again next time.  Either way, I am so thankful for the nice people up at Primary Childrens.  They took such good care of me. I’m so happy I get to have another Christmas! I almost didn’t! Thanks Mikey!

Anyways, I hope you all have a Wonderful, Beautiful, Family filled Christmas! And Happy Hannukah, too!


MiaBella ❤

The Brickey Thankful list….

After Mia wrote her Thankful list, our family thought it would be a good idea to do one ourselves. We just try to stay thankful and happy all the time. These are the words from Tom, Heidi, and Eli. If you would like to read Mia’s, it’s on a post called I’m Thankful for…. Hopefully you will let us know what you’re thankful for as Thanksgiving approaches us!



“WE ALL” have so many things to be grateful for this day. The first that comes to mind for me is “all of you!” I am thankful for all of you. Your love, support and friendships are so meaningful in my life. Here at the Brickey house in our prayers, we ask “help us to be good people”…… well I truly believe that when you try your hardest to exercise this virtue not only do you find the “goodness” in yourself, your see it and are surrounded by it in others.

Here are a few more…..

My Children… they make me smile. I never thought I would say I missed the the teasing between the two of them. We didn’t have that here in the Brickey house for awhile. It’s back! and I did miss it! Mia and Eli really love each other! I love to hug them, I love the warmth of their skin. I am so proud of them both. They are beautiful, smart, kind little souls.

My husband and love of my life…. His support and love for his children and me runs so deep. We are his “everything” and he is our “BFD”.

My Mom… she is my telephone buddy. Especially around Thanksgiving. It’s a good thing calling to Pocatello is free. I love you mom. Thanks for teaching me all that you have.

Our new “Heart Friends”… Sharing the journey with you guys.

My Health…. without it I would not be able to take care of my family.

Good Food…. Yum

Bobbi and Jeff Fetzer…. I will forever be grateful to both of you and hold a very special space in “my heart” for your family. I am thankful that Bobbi has opened the door for communication between Mia and her children. Mia enjoys emailing back and forth with them. I am thankful for my correspondence with Bobbi, she is a very kind and loving mother.

Mikey…. his continuation of life that beats so strong in my little girls chest. you dear sweet boy ….. may you rest in peace.


Tom: the “BFD” (Big Fat Dad)

Heidi put it so perfectly… I have little to add that would say it any better.

Still, not being known for any lack of words when given the chance…  I will say that I am made aware, on a daily basis, of the blessing of Life, and the gifts I have been given throughout my life, and realize that the most important things in ANYone’s life is not “things”, but people! And the gift of life itself. The opportunity to live, to love, to give, and yes, to receive.  If Bobbi and Jeff had not been willing to give the very heart of their son to my daughter, someone they did not know, our only daughter would not be with us today.  We do not know how long our Mia will be with us, but we have had her in our lives already 5 months longer than she would have been, and I was given the one thing I begged the doctors back in May, and that was to hear Mia say, just one more time, “Daddy, I love you!”   So, Bobbi and Jeff, I love you. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and my heart aches at your loss.  May you find some peace and joy in the knowing of Mia’s life, and the fact that she is thriving with the heart of your son in her chest.  As Dr. Kaza (the surgeon who placed his wonderful heart into Mia) said, “It’s a snappy heart!”, and as I listen to it each night, I see Mikey’s face in my mind, and I acknowledge the gifts we have been given.

To the many doctors, nurses, and staff who saved my daughter’s life. Impossible to name them all… Angels. All of them.

I am thankful for my parents, Bob and Janice Brickey. For all that they have taught me, and the examples they have been. I am so proud of who they are. Both of them.

For my wife, my daughter, and my incredible son.  They are the best examples of Love I know. They give me purpose, and remind me why I am here.

I am thankful for my stinky brother and sister.  Just kidding! Even through the tumultuous years of childhood and constant teasing, we have come to realize our love for each other runs deep. Don’t mess with my brother or sister! We Brickey’s stick together! 😉 And I love them both.

I am thankful for the friends and community who have supported us throughout our time of greatest need.  The generosity of so many has made me realize this: ‘things’ do not matter. People and time, and love,… giving, supporting, saying I’m sorry, saying I love you, saying ‘thank you’… these are the things that matter. I love you all. It would be my hope that everyone lives long enough to learn this. The world would be a better place.

I am thankful for my patients, and the opportunity to serve them. For their trust, I hope to be worthy and successful. I am also so thankful for my staff! The amazing women I work with who make my life lovely on a daily basis. They are all incredible people and work so hard.

I am thankful for the opportunity to follow my dreams, in fact to live the dream, that has been given to me by the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces. For the lives of those that died protecting and defending my right to live the way I do. May we all remember their sacrifice, and not allow any government or people to strip us of the rights they have given us. Even, and especially, our own.

I am grateful for the opportunity to live…  for the right to worship as I choose, and the right each of us has to follow our inner conscience and to pursue the ‘truth’ in each of our hearts and minds.

I have been given so much… if I were to die tomorrow, my only regret is that Icould not live longer, to enjoy all that life has to offer a little longer… other than that, I am truly the luckiest man you know. And I know it.

oh, and floss. Thank God for floss!!


I am thankful for my dog (Paco), my family, my electronics, my friends, my cousins,all of our holidays,all of the people I know,my school,my dads work so we can get money,my games,my neighbors,my shoes,my house,my art supplies,my climbing team,our cars,plants, and last but not least… my life and the Earth:)!!!!!

I'm Thankful For….

First of all, Halloween was sooo much fun! I went trick or treating with my friends Kassidy, Zoe, Sage, Sophia, Eli, and me! I dressed up as a pirate. It was so cool, I had a fake lip ring, a gun, black lipstick and the famous Jack Sparrows pirate hat! Thinking about the fact that Im still getting used to walking everywhere, I thought I did really good considering how far we walked. Don’t forget, a lot of people have stairs leading up to their doors! I was definitely sore, but it was really good for me to do that. At the end of trick or treating there was a haunted house on one of the streets we went down, we stopped to see it… I’t was kinda cheesy:) but the people dressed up as zombies somehow had what looked like blood pouring from their mouth!! I thought that was cool.

The rest of the week was pretty normal. But then the  weekend came and brought a big snowstorm! My family and I went sledding! I was actually really scared at first, because Im not supposed to do contact sports so if I fell really hard that would be bad! Also, I hadn’t been sledding in a really long time, and the hill looked steep! I used a regular sled and a snurf board! Snurfing was probably the most fun out of all. It’s snowboarding, longboarding, and sledding all at the same time! That night, I went and had sushi with my family….. Mom, Dad, Andrea, Amy, Rosie, Jonah, Eli, Lily, Sage, and I all had so much fun! Even though Amy and Sage aren’t family, I still count them as family because they are two pretty awesome people. But I guess I should call everyone I know my family then, because everyone has been so awesome, kind, supportive, and many other things to me for the past couple months. After sushi, we all went and had ice cream for desert at Baskin Robins!

Now on to this week! Tuesday, Wednesday, and today actually, was ERB testing at my school! I didn’t have to do them! Actually, I probably will…. but not this week! This also means that I got to sleep in on Tuesday and Wednesday! Oh YA! On tuesday I had a workout  with Paul, and it was actually really fun! We did the exercise where I would run and Paul would try to hit me with different sized yoga balls. But since I’m not the best at running at the moment, it was really hard for me, but REALLY fun!! Then on wednesday, I had an appointment with Marlene! I love going to get massages.  We watched a movie last night called ‘House of the Flying Daggers’ it was really good. Oh, and one last thing, yesterday, I got new pants because my mom thinks all my pants are ugly:) She says they are to small, and maybe they are, but isn’t it supposed to be good that I’m getting my muscle back!:) After I got out of the hospital, I had to get new pants because I was so skinny, they would fall right off!

For today, I have one word. Clinics. 🙂 I had clinics all day and basically everything looks great! Dr E decreased two of my meds YAY!!! And I don”t have to go back until after Thanksgiving.

I finished my book today, called Eyes of the Emperor. I read it on my kindle. Im kind of getting used to the kindle, but I still love having the book in my hand. The kindle is definitely good for traveling. So anyways, now I caught you up.



Things I’m Grateful for:

Skype: Im extremely grateful for the fact that I can Skype into my classes, because if I couldn’t I probably wouldn’t pass 7th grade. And honestly, I don’t want to spend my 7th grade with 6th graders:) I’d rather stay with the people I’ve gone to school with my whole life!


Paco: I LOVE my dog! Ya, sometimes he can be a pain, but I don’t know what I would do without him! He sits with me all day, he makes me laugh my head off, and I think it’s really awesome when he gets so excited to see us come home from anywhere. He gets himself so worked up that he starts sneezing and can’t stop!


Popcorn: It’s seems kind of weird, but Im addicted! Not the movie theater popcorn though! My mom has a popcorn popper and she cooks the kernells in coconut oil! It’s soo delicious! It’s probably not the best, but I eat it during class all the time! Paco also loves popcorn! We’re popcorn eating buddies!


Books: I love reading! Sometimes when Im having a hard day and I don’t feel like talking to anybody or I just want to be alone, I read. I always have and hopefully will.


My Heart Friends: It’s really nice to be able to read about and talk to my heart friends because they know exactly what I’m going through and  at least for me, they are a big help when things get hard. I like to joke around with them. Like the other day, Maya and I had a pill taking party!!


My Family: There are no words to explain how awesome it is to wake up every morning and see my family. To get to have breakfast and dinner with them, and to spend time with them! Last weekend I got to go sledding with them!! I mean, how cool is that? You really don’t realize what you’ve got until you almost lose it…


Holidays: I LOVE the holidays! Especially Thanksgiving and Christmas! I like Thanksgiving because, first, you get to eat a lot! Second, the whole family gets together and parties! I love Christmas because, again, the whole family gets together, we have big christmas dinners, my dad’s side of the family does secret santas every year on christmas eve, I love putting up the Christmas tree, snowball fights (except those can be kind of dangerous sometimes…), Snow, and of course Christmas morning:)


My Cardiac Team: Everyone one on my team has been awesome.  Without them I would not have lived. I’m truly grateful for them.


Mikey Fetzer: I will always be grateful for Mikey’s gift of life. He gave me a second chance at life and I will NEVER stop thanking him and his family.




Clinics, Birthdays, and Make a Wish!

So today I had Clinics… I hate getting up early!! Hate It!:) Anyways everything was good and clear. I would probably say I don’t like the eco more than the blood draw. I’m always scared that everything will be fine and then before you know it the doctors are coming back from the eco lab saying your heart function is off…. Hasn’t happened yet, but some of my heart friends have had that happen, and it’s probably really scary or at least makes you a little nervous.

Today was also one of my favorite cousins b-day!!!! (even though all my cousins are my favorite:) So, after clinics we went to have lunch with my grandparents and Emi and Lucy! Happy Birthday Emi!! I love you! After lunch we all went down to Nordstroms and Emi got some really cute shoes from our grandma, Nanny Sue. Of course I found some shoes I just HAD to have:):):):)

And after long weeks of waiting, I had a ‘Make a Wish’ appointment!!! I had a really good time!! So far my #1 wish is to go to the summer olympics in London and see soccer and tae kwon do matches!! You don’t always get your first wish! But, as Krista would say, “Go Big! or Go Home!”…. so, I asked for the olympics!  🙂  My #2 choice is to visit the Vancouver Marine Aquarium and work with the dolphins, beluga whales, etc.  My #3 choice is to give my Wish to my friend Kendra.  We don’t know when we’ll find out which wish/choice I get.  No matter what, I’m excited and very lucky. And very thankful.

Not a super long post… sorry, but just thought I would post!!

Have a good weekend everyone!

I just want to say thanks to everyone for all your love and support.  And especially to all my friends for not treating me differently whenever I see them.  For treating me like  nothing ever happened. Like I’m normal, just me.




Notes from my journal

I’m 1 1/2  months out of the hospital and finally getting used to all the new changes. It used to be so many meds and rules  that I would cry with anger, and sadness. I would always ask, “Why did this happen? Why me?” But I’ve realized that life is an adventure and without challenges wouldn’t life be boring? I mean, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Sometimes I do think to myself that what happened to me is really unfair, and I still think it is, but I also know that things happen for a reason. This whole thing has changed everybody in my family a lot.

A couple weeks ago I found out who my donner is. Mikey Fetzer. He had two older sisters and one younger brother. Im glad I got Mikey’s heart because I know he was a good boy, and I won’t let him down. Im so thankful for Mikeys heart! My body has physically changed a lot too. I have grown hair on my back, shoulders, and legs (well at least more than a regular 12 year old should…) I lost a lot of muscle so I go do work outs with Paul Holbrook and I get massages with Marlena. I’m Skyping into school right now, and people say “Oh thats so cool!” or “Fun!” and ya it’s fun, but I really want to go to school not just sit around all day. It’s not the same….. It is good though because I can focus on my homework a little better (even though I did before) and not worry about not having enough time… I also see my friends when we pick Eli up from school, but…… I really want to go back:)

I was emailing with Mikey’s big sister, Courtney, and I asked if Mikey liked apple pie. Because, before my transplant I HATED apple pie, but now I LOVE it! So I ask about it, and it turns out Mikey LOVED apple pie! Crazy! People would always ask if it was true that the donors feelings about foods would effect the recipient…… and I guess its true! Yesterday i had a work out and Paul made me skip for the first time, it was Really hard! I couldn’t even get off the ground!:) I’ll get there though.

I remember bits and pieces of being in the hospital like, when I spoke for the first time in front of my dad! He was so happy, and so was I. I remember Eli coming and watching movies with me sometimes, I remember my dad asking me if I was mad at him after he told me I had had a heart transplant, I remember saying yes. When I would have to wear this huge face mask and I hated it. I remember the night I went to the hospital for the very first time…… walking down the hall to the cathlabb and saying goodbye to my parents. I often find myself wondering what it would be like around here without me, but I dismiss that thought right away because it’ll be hard to get rid of me:)

Joey and Abby are doing fine with their new hearts, Maya is getting along, but is having some arrythimias in her heart, and hopefully her up coming cathlab will stop those. I’ve started Soo Bahk again and Im catching up! I can do a stretch kick above my head again, and also a Pi Chagi!!!!! I tried playing the trombone again but it’s really hard, Im still going to play it, but Im also starting the Bass Guitar.




An Open Letter, to the Parents, Family, and Friends of Mia's Donor, and All of You

What would you say?……. What would you say to the mother and father of a child that saved your daughter’s life??  No. What would you say to the mother or father of a child that DIED SAVING your child’s life?? On top of that, knowing that the child HAD TO die in order to save yours? What would you say?

Since the day I learned the identity of Mia’s heart donor, I have been unable to discuss it, and unable to even THINK about it……without crying. The day I watched the video of the accident that gave my daughter ‘life’, and a second chance, I was in tears, hysterical, sobbing uncontrollably in my front room, wallowing uncontrollably in a mixture of sorrow- for the loss of this child; and profound, indescribable gratitude for the Life and second chance of mine.  I was transported to the moment I saw my daughter laying on the hospital bed, not breathing, being shocked and given cpr, and then thinking she had died when they couldn’t get her heart to start again. Fast forward to the day, 7 days later, that we were told she was going to get a new heart. Hope! in the face of death and despair, when the light was beginning to fade and the door was shutting on our Mia’s life.  I thought I would feel nothing but complete gratitude toward the donor and his/her family once I’d found out who it was.  But, the reality left me almost unable to even speak about it, which certainly prevented me from conveying my feelings of gratitude to these people.   As of today,….. I haven’t. But, now, I think I can.  And I am trying.

But, first, let me try to explain…. I had been praying and meditating for this “Gift”. Whether you understand this or not, and I did not, but my entire body and mind was flooded with so many emotions. I couldn’t separate them all.  I had a strange but overwhelming sense of guilt,  I felt responsible for his death! I had prayed for a heart! And Mia had been given one!….. I worried that I had somehow ‘made’ this happen. And as I watched the news video clip reporting his death, I knew immediately that no matter how strong my feelings of gratitude, I would never be able to take away or reverse the pain and loss being felt by his grieving parents and family. I began to have a visceral reaction as I watched the video.  I kept thinking of this beautiful boy named Michael, who died, so that my daughter might live.

As a young boy, I would imagine what it would be like to give my life to save another’s? You see, growing up in the late Sixties, early Seventies, and having a Viet-Nam Vet father, I was fascinated with the sacrifices that so many good and noble young men and women made in that war, and that of many of my father’s friends.  As a child, I asked my Dad about it often.  He didn’t like talking about it much, and when he did, he spoke of the character of the young men he’d served with. And the sacrifices that they had made……. in the name of a Greater Purpose, that of protecting our Country, the Principle’s of Freedom and America, and each other.  So, even though he didn’t glorify war and death or killing, I was impressed with the willingness of these great men to sacrifice their lives to save those of others.  And so, I was fascinated with playing ‘war’ with my friends in the field by our house. I would day-dream, and fantasized about ‘giving the ultimate sacrifice’ by throwing myself on a handgrenade with just enough time for me to make eye contact with my best friend, and I’d smile, ‘saying’ that it was the greatest gift I could imagine. To give my life to save that of my best friends. ;-).

But what of saving the life of a complete stranger??

Well?… that sort of thing only happens in Hollywood.  But in real life, sometimes it happens something like this:

A seven year old boy in North Dakota goes to school one day in May. At school, they have some presentation or discussion about organ donation.  And for some reason, this boy is moved. He ‘gets it’. He comes home and tells his Mom and Dad, “Mom? I wanna be an organ donor.”  Although it’s a strange request from a 7 year old boy, the Mom says something like, “Well, when you’re 16 years old and you get your driver’s license, sure you can sign up.”, and she feels proud that her son would already be thinking of such a thing.  Little would she know that her sweet, innocent, beautiful, and precious son would have his chance two days later.

There was no hand grenade. He didn’t know my daughter. There were no sweet moments of ‘Goodbye’, with a look in his eye that says, “I love you”……. Instead, ‘Mikey’, of Fargo, North Dakota, became an Angel on June 5, 2011, when he gave his heart to my dying daughter.   The ‘grenade’ was a truck. Two days earlier, on June 3, 2011, the truck took his life in a blink of an eye as he crossed the street on his way home from a play-date at a friends house.  He never saw it coming. No one did. He was left with no brain activity…… But miraculously, his other vital internal organs were spared. The gifts of Life. He gave his other organs, including his liver, his kidneys, and many more. Mikey saved the lives of over 6 people that day.

And so, on the day I learned of Mikey, I was humbled. Again. Outside of the death of my child, I NEVER expected or thought I could feel so much sorrow?!  I was sincerely left incapacitated. Thank God a good friend stopped by to bring something to Mia…… the same sweet friend who visited Mia the second day she was in the hospital, and who, being a doctor herself, knew just how to make Mia and the rest of us feel better. (In the hopsital, she came right in and immediately began painting Mia’s toe-nails! And the legend of Mia’s finger and toenail polish began!  But she comforted Mia and us then, only hours after Mia had been placed on ecmo/heart and lung bypass; and here she was again!….. and I melted in front of her.) She held me as I sobbed, and let me explain what I had just learned…….. Thank you, Angie. And Stef. I’m sorry you had to see me so, but was so thankful that you were there to comfort my aching heart and soul.

I can not explain this to you all….. and the tears, they run down my face even now, trying to understand it fully myself!!…. and all I can say is that I can not imagine what Mikey’s parents and sisters and brother went through?!! Their pain!! Their loss!!…… losing their child, their brother….. so young. So fast. No warning. And I think my tears are really an expression of my overwhelming gratitude for the Miracle that my daughter still lives! Of my desire to say and demonstrate my feelings to Mikey’s family. I now realize that Mikey is smiling. I think he see’s Mia, and the other people he helped, and he feels good. At least, I know he feels no pain.

I cannot give you back your son. I cannot imagine your pain. But I can say Thank You. And I can try to acknowledge the Gift that your son has given to me, my family, our friends and community, and to Mia herself.  We want you and your family, your friends, and your community to know, that we give Thanks every night, and every day.  And we will continue to do so for the rest of our lives.  There is not a single day that goes by that I do not mention his name, see his face in my mind, and I give thanks for his life.  And for you all. Michael is our hero. You all are. His whole family. Bless you, his mother, father, family and friends. We mourn with you for your loss, and dedicate our lives to making his life continue to have purpose and meaning in the body of our daughter.  And I know you’d be proud.  Mia is a sweet, kind, and gentle soul.  She truly is a good person….. and I believe she must have been worthy of his Gift. I can tell you that she appreciates every day she has now. Thanks to your son, and to you, and the amazing doctors and nurses who made it all happen.

Finally, to our community, family, and friends……. Please, in your comments, feel free to express your thoughts and gratitude toward Mikey’s family, friends, and community, who are still and forever feeling the pain of his passing. To his sisters, and his little brother, and his parents: Dear Bobbi and Jeff, may the Love and Support that we have received over the last six months be felt and directed toward you and yours. We are forever grateful.

His name was Michael John Allen Dean Fetzer. He was 7. His mother says he was named after some very special people. He certainly lived up to his name. Oh, he liked apple pie. 🙂

To learn more and to see the news clip about Mikey, you can follow the following link:


Megan Rapinoe takes time to discuss soccer strategy with Mia…..


Megan Rapinoe from the USA Womens National Team visits with Mia and Katharina, from Holzkirchen!

On our way to the ReAL Salt Lake Soccer game!! Thanks to our great friend, John Kimball and the ReAL team.  Mia got to meet and talk to Megan today for about an hour before she joins the ReAL organization for festivities around today’s game. She was genuine and sincerely interested in Mia’s condition….. asking several times about how she was doing, and asked about her soccer career.  Of course Mia bragged about the Cheetah’s and the undefeated season, Coached by Dr. Tom Weed, and Brian Barker.  GO CHEETAH’s!!!  Those were the days!

Mia continues to improve and grow stronger! More later! we’re off to the game!!!

GO ReAL!!!!!!

Another 'Clear' Biopsy! (Deep exhale…….!)

Once a week at first….. then, once every two weeks. And now, after today, it will only be once a month.  That’s the day that Mia returns to the Primary Children’s Medical Center for her Cath Lab Biopsy.

It shouldn’t be a ‘Big Deal’…… but it is.  Not only for Mia, but also for me.  And of course her incredible Mother, who is now her full-time, 24 hour-a-day Nurse.  For Mia, it is the last place she remembers seeing her Mom and Dad on the night of May 28th.  We wheeled her down in the bed, telling her she just needed a little I.V., and that they were going to put her to ‘sleep’ for just a little while and carefully place a little wire into her heart………. to make sure it kept beating the way it should.   Yea.  Right.  She ‘woke up’ over a month and a half later, with the tube still in her throat, unable to talk, to drink, or even move.  And when she finally did have the tube removed, she couldn’t drink water or put liquid or food into her mouth safely for another 3 weeks! And, as an extra bonus, she was told she had undergone a surgery that would forever change her life…….. That her heart had stopped. That she had had her heart removed from her body, and was now living with another person’s heart inside her chest….. and never mind those tubes sticking out of your chest and sides.

So, yes….. the Cath Lab is not her favorite place. The people are nice enough. But, talk about post traumatic stress??  For me, it’s waiting for the call from the transplant team….. which comes about 4:30 pm the same day of the biopsy.  After they sedate and intubate Mia, they make a small incision in her already scarred neck, and run a catheter down her vessel into her heart. They retrieve a tissue sample from her right ventricle of her heart……. or several pieces.  They measure the pressures in her heart, and approximate the pressures in the chambers they can’t truly access….. the left side. Then the biopsy tissue is sent to the pathologist, Dylan Miller, who prepares and reads the slides and calls the hospital back with the news.  Todays news: NO REJECTION!!!! of ANY kind.  NO GIANT CELLS!!! …………………… deeeeeeep exhale. Slowly spreading smile.  Little giggle…….. knowing glance between me and Miss Mia, as she listens to the report over the speaker phone.   Today, we love the transplant team.  And I wonder about what it would be like to be one of the people who calls us, the patients, and has to deliver the news when it’s not so good?  And I have already prepared myself for that day……. at least, I tell myself I have.  And I know I haven’t.

Another deep breath, head bowed, and I say ‘Thanks’.

A New Heart and 2 1/2 months in the I.C.U.: 1.2 Million. Waking up in your own bed………. priceless!


THEMBricks on St. John, March 2011. A rare entire THEMBricks photo.


ps.  Mia finally has ALL the sutures out from her surgeries! Last night I took out the last chest tube suture, and Mia insisted on letting Dr. (“He has Angels feathers on his fingers, Daddy!”) Kaza take out the remaining chest incision sutures……. She didn’t trust me with those.  Kids? what are you gonna do with ’em? After all, I forget, I’m NOT a REAL Doctor, anyway.  😉  Gotta love ’em.

So that means that Mia can now take showers! Much to Heidi’s delight!

In other “Mia News”, Bob McCarthy and Marsha Merrill, the beautiful people at The Garage, a road-house style bar on Beck Street in N.Salt Lake, and Miss Angela Brown of SLUG Magazine held a silent Art Auction and fundraiser evening last weekend. It was a blast and a great success. The many artists who donated works of art, including my own cousin Joseph Brickey (incredible artist and painter of many LDS Temple’s Murals and other religious oriented art) and gave of themselves to benefit our Mia.  She continues to be one blessed and lucky young lady.

Heidi, Angela, and Marsh at The Garage



Mia has also begun Strength Training in earnest, three times a week, with our dear friend Paul Holbrook. He’s not in very good shape, and he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about, but the price it ‘right’.  😉  So, we’re working hard and looking forward!


Paul Holbrook helps Mia get back her Black Belt Soo Bahk Do strength!


Oh, and another piece of great news,……our new and good friend, Miss Kendra Muller, is getting OUT of the N.T.U. and PCMC on Monday!!!!  Yippeeee!!  After 3 months and 2 days, (Kendra came to the I.C.U. one day before Mia) Miss Kendra will be leaving the PCMC and rejoining her family at HOME.  🙂  Having been on the other end, I know her family and parents are happy, and worried all at the same time.  But, thanks to a very kind and generous offer from a friend and patient who has a brand new electric wheelchair that they didn’t use, we are going to deliver this SURPRISE gift to Kendra and her family when she gets home!!  She has a loaner from the hospital,…… but this will be her very own.  And I hope she’s not reading this before Monday??………… if so, Kendra, pretend you never knew. 😉 and you’re Welcome! you deserve it, and so much more. We love you!

Mia and Kendra’s Dad, Black Beard (aka Jamison) Muller on the day Mia was ‘released’, or discharched. 😉




Arts for Heart, A Benefit for MiaBella Brickey

“Arts for Heart”, A Benefit for MiaBella Brickey

Silent ARt Auction at The Garage, a local road-house styled bar and music venue, located at 1199 North Beck Street, S.L.C., UT.,  Saturday August 20th, 2011, from 5-9 p.m.  21+yrs only.  Sorry, kids must stay home for this one. ;-(  But it’s time for the adults to have fun!!

Marsha Merrill, sweetheart (don’t tell her I said that!) and all around good lady, along with Bob McCarthy, partner and fellow entrepeneur and owners of Club Jam, Stone Ground Pizza,  and now The Garage, have joined forces with Miss Angela Brown, Publisher and ‘Queen Bee’ of SLUG Magazine, one of Salt Lake’s oldest independant magazines supporting the local music, culture, and action sports scene, and founder of Craft Lake City (which was held last weekend at the Gallivan Center), to throw a party and benefit for MiaBella.

Marsha contacted me some time ago about doing this, and I expressed to her the fact that I am so grateful for everyone’s support and concern, but I also know that there are so many other children in this world that need our collective love and support? and Marsha  said, “I want to do something to help your Angel. Your ‘World’.  Next year, I’ll do something else. But, right now, I want to help ‘your World’…….. and Mia is your ‘World’.”   So, of course, after I wiped my nose and stopped crying, I said, “Thank you.” And, “Yes”.

Combine this effort with her dear friend, Angela Brown and the folks from Craft Lake City, who just collected $348.00 at last week’s event, and you can see what an amazing, special community we live in?!  We are SO BLESSED!!! SO LUCKY!!! to know all of you.   I have NO idea how many Karmic Points I have spent in the last 3 months?? but I know I need to spend the rest of my life in the service of other’s just to break even!! 😉

Bottom line, people:  I want everyone to know that I can’t thank you enough. There are SO MANY people who have expressed their concern; who have sent cards, letters, emails; who have given Mia stuffed animals, gifts, and well-wishes.  There are people I don’t even know? Whom I’ve never even met! Who have sent gifts, money, and the all-powerful prayers to support and elevate my precious daughter from the brink…….. the edge.  YOU have saved me from despair so many times. YOU have lifted my spirits and reminded me of how much we are loved and of the Beauty and Power in the Human Spirit.  Heidi, Eli, and I have been given a second chance to walk this life with MiaBella…….. as Paul Cardall says,  “for a little longer”.  I hope it’s a LONG ‘little longer’!!  And I think of you all nearly every day. And I am committed to ‘giving back’. To helping other people, other kids, and we know that Mia is NOT the only kid on this planet that needs help. 

If your support helps you to remember that fact, and if your support of Mia helps you to extend yourself, and helps you to understand that it is through the Giving to others, in the SERVICE of others, and that in the extension of one’s ‘self’, that  we strengthen the very FABric of our Humanity, and our collective spirit- this experience we call Life, then I am happy, and grateful for this, and for you.

With profound Gratitude, we give Thanks for our Blessings.  We give Thanks, for you. See you at The Garage, 1199 N. Beck Street. Saturday, Aug. 20. 5-9 pm.  Come join me for a Celebratory beer!……. or juice! 😉

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