Friday, June 03, 2005

Why I'm Walking...Funny

Hi Folks - This is the story of why I'm walking in Sunday's Liver Walk...and why I'm walking funny in the meantime.

On Wednesday morning, I had laparoscopic surgery to repair an inguinal hernia on the right side of my groin. It's a souvenir from massive swelling in my abdomen caused by the build up of fluid before my liver transplant surgery. I've had the hernia since November and the fact that the transplant docs cleared me to have it taken care of now is in itself a sign of my rapid recovery. This is just a pebble in the shoe as I march down that road.

The hardest part about the surgery (for me and Nancy, my designated driver for a change) was getting up at 5 AM. We were home by 1 PM after Dr. Obi did his work. (Alex is convinced this is a character from Star Wars and that a light saber was the instrument of choice). I was on some strong painkillers early on, but now there's just a sensation of tightness and mild discomfort more than anything and the effect of those drugs is, how do I say, binding. This is a typical Friday AM surgery/back in the office without issues on Monday. I've just got a couple more scars in the constellation across my belly.

I'll be up and at 'em for the Liver Walk in Liverside (er Riverside) Park in NYC on Sunday morning and that's the real story here.

I'm proud - proud of all of you who contributed so generously - so far, with contributions from 50 donors, I've raised $3,920 - smashing through my lofty target of $3,000 - and there are still more pledges coming in.

Right now, thanks to your contributions, I'm the top ranked fundraiser for the NY area Liver Walks, even outpacing team efforts.

But it's not about rankings, it's about helping people who need help.

Liver disease can strike anyone - men, women, children - and does. There are more than 100 different liver diseases. It ranks among the top 10 causes of death in the U.S.

Fortunately, my battle with liver disease began just less than a year ago. My condition deteriorated rapidly over a period of weeks last autumn and winter and gloriously culminated in my life-saving transplant just six days before Christmas. I'll be on medication for the rest of my life, but there's nothing to prevent me from living a normal life (although that prospect scares me - who wants to be normal?)

Others aren't so lucky. There are tens and hundreds of thousands of people who have been living every day of their lives with liver disease - many are children born with the debiliating illness.

Some are unsuspecting folks like myself who were healthy one day and struck down the next - without any determinable cause for the source of their hepatitis.

I've read all of the stories posted by my fellow walkers on their fund-raising websites and each are compelling. Many are participating in memory of a loved one that they lost to liver disease; others have a family member facing an uncertain future due to the illness; some are stricken with manageable forms of the disease now, but face the prospect of joining the currently 18,000 people on the transplant waiting list. And others, like me, have dodged the bullet and are now trying to keep others out of the line of fire.

I'm well aware of how blessed and lucky I've been in getting a liver transplant and recovering well - I expect to learn Monday that I'll be cleared to return to work this summer. I'm in constant gratitude to my donor's family for their life-saving gift. My job, now, is like the theme of the wonderful movie from 2000 - don't pay it back, ''pay it forward.''

Why am I walking in the Liver Walks?
Because I can.

Still plenty of time to donate on-line in any currency at

Contact me at for information on how to donate by check.

Liver Walk NYC - Riverside Park - 83rd St/Riverside Dr. - Sunday June 5, 2005
8:30 AM registration - 9:30 AM starting time - Music and fun for the whole family!

Liver Walk New Jersey - Liberty State Park - Jersey City - South Terminal Building
Sunday June 12, 2005 8:30 AM registration - 9:30 AM starting time - Music and fun!


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