Updated: Apr 13, 2021
It is hard to believe that in just a few short days I will be 21 years post transplant. On December 31, 1999 my family got the call that a new liver was ready for me. After the one hour drive to Atlanta, my parents learned that my transplant would not be start until that night. With some time on our hands, my family and I attended the hospital New Year's Eve celebration. The slogan for that night's celebration was "Out with the old and in with the new!" How fitting of a slogan that was. That night I went into surgery and woke up the next day with a new liver in a new millennium. While the surgery was over, things were still not all clear. After transplant, my transplant team was concerned because my body was not accepting the new liver. In fact, my transplant team expected to do an emergency surgery to remove my recently transplanted liver. In anticipation for this emergency surgery, I was never fully closed up. In one minute, my transplant team and family all waited to see how things would develop. Then the miraculous happened, my body began showing signs of accepting the organ. My liver has been going strong for 21 years since then. While I am thankful for my gift of life, I recognize that not everyone is as fortunate as me.
In the 21 years since my transplant, I have been truly blessed with my new life. However, not all of my transplant friends have been as fortunate. Many have had to have multiple transplants, and some have also passed on from this world. Four times in my life, I have had to say an abrupt goodbye to my fellow transplant brothers. When each of these friends passed, I was reminded just how blessed I am to be alive. Even today, I look back in awe because by all accounts I should be dead.
21 Years (A Reflection)
You won’t walk.
You won’t talk.
You may not even see.
So you tell me, who am I going to be?
21 years post and here I am.
Don’t say I am a victim because I am not a fan.
I prefer to say I can.
I can walk.
I can talk.
I can see.
So, this is how it is supposed to be.
Today marks 21 years
But with a new year comes new tears.
Others have passed, so why am I here?
Is it to make money, to have a career?
Or is it all this for something more?
Transplants are a fascinating thing.
Rarely do the good times come before the sting.
The sting of pain.. The sting of loss.
I guess everything in this life comes with a cost.
Today marks 21 years
Today, I live with no fears.
Today, I celebrate the life I have while fully understanding the cost.
For I know my life was gained because another was lost.