Eight Months On, Still Saying 'Thank You'
Hi Folks -
It was only fitting that just after hitting the eight-month mark with Dora, my new liver - the fabulous gift of life from my donor family - that I would find myself again thanking so many people - many strangers to me - for their support and prayers during this past crazy year.
I gladly went along with Nancy to her 25-year high school reunion in Pennsylvania to have the chance to hand out hugs and share some joy - big time.
Of course, we knew we'd see Charlene (The Golfing Queen). With her heart of gold, she's a rock of inspiration and determination. I laugh just thinking about Char, she's that type of person. She was amazing in all that she did for Nancy in helping her watch Alex and Tasha, while I was laid up at NYU. And it was so right that Char was there with Nancy and the kids on the morning when I was able to make ''the call we'd been waiting for,'' telling Nancy on Dec. 19 that they had a liver for me and I'd soon be off to surgery. (And that my wedding ring - removed for the first time since it was put on in 1991 - was around the paw of Alex's stuffed dog 'Courage' - who was visiting with me in the hospital and was - temporarily - hidden away in a cabinet drawer). Char is 1 in a billion and we can't tell her that enough!
We love you!
I was deeply moved by all of Nancy's friends - many out of touch for years until my crisis hit, word spread on the website and emails and prayers poured in. They were so truly happy for us. The prayers worked, indeed they did. One woman told how her 12-year-old son saw her looking at the website - and my yellow-eyed photo (yes, we will update soon, I promise!) - and asked about what was happening. From that point on, she said, the boy included me in his nighttime, kneeling by the bedside prayers (like I know so many of you did, in your own ways). It doesn't get any better than that. She snapped a picture to show him (stranger to stranger) how I look now, fully recovered. Another classmate, battling breast cancer, shared hugs and told how she prayed for us. It's beyond the power of words to relate.
Never, never forget how many good people there are in this world...
A clarification from the last blog posting regarding directed donations.
They are not against the rules, as I incorrectly stated. They are allowed and are generally only done within families, and attempting to influence directed donations runs afoul of the way the organ procurement system is designed. The issue came to the forefront recently when friends of a New York woman - who desperately needed a liver - posted flyers in hospitals and employed other questionable practices in an attempt to secure a directed donation for their friend. (In a directed donation, a deceased person's organs can be assigned to a specific person - again usually family, or family equivalent - i.e. life partner). This issue will be hotly debated within the organ donation/procurement community. The bottom line here is that the woman in question got her life-saving transplant at NYU, through the established working system, without any favoritism or special treatment, despite a broad publicity campaign.
Viewers of the HBO black comedy ''Six Feet Under,'' which focuses on the lives of the Fisher family who own a funeral home, may have been jarred - understandably, as we were - when a character who died was shown in the mortuary with a body-length scar and eyes removed. The character - appropriate to his strong social conscience - was an organ donor. An important point to remember here: the body on the show was at the early stages of being prepared for burial. As we noted in commenting on a New York Times article about organ donation in recent months - being an organ donor doesn't preclude a traditional, open casket viewing.
Now that my 2 PM alarm beeps - and I don't have to stop and take meds - I take a few seconds out instead to say thanks for my life (for the umpteenth time in a day). Why don't you all join me and we'll all think of someone we are eternally grateful for. I'm sure we could stir up the angels and really get something good going!