of a fitting intro for a serious discussion. Actually I
am not really that serious. I have been around the world
on that issue though. I'm writing this now only because
I am back to the fun loving, future planning, idealistic
person people once accused me of being. Of course it is
easy to make this statement after walking out of the depression
tunnel I stepped into 8yrs ago.
not a religious fanatic or anything (I go to church on Sundays
and thank him personally everyday for what he has done but
that's it)but I have found out the hard way there is a God
and he does help you if you let him.
my life I always flirted with disaster and even got a date
with her a time or two. In high school I rode motorcycles
(dirt bikes) everywhere I went. My friends and I were invincible,
my parents and teachers thought I had been born with a motorcycle
under me. One day while riding like nothing could stop me
a barbed wire fence did. Luckily I hit head on because I
watched it and as I tried to catapult over, it caught hold
of only one leg. It nearly took the leg off but didn't cut
the artery. Because of this they stitched me up (156 stitches)
and took a wait and see approach to how it would do. The
only other thing is they asked me if I had lost much blood
to which I answered I didn't think so. Well , the doc said
"Lets give him a unit of blood just as routine."
I state this in bold because in 1977 a routine unit of blood
was given to anybody who had a severe bloody nose. (maybe
a little worse). At this time a routine unit was given to
almost every woman who gave birth whether easy or hard labor.
I lived the next 18 years proving the doctors wrong about
saying that I would never recuperate much of the leg back
by achieving many goals set by myself. Professional skater
and skier, semi pro surfer.I looked back saying "ha" I'm
too cool and nobodies ever going to slow me down. Its funny
because I always felt God wanted to be present in my life
but I was too busy.
in 1994 while I was preparing for an annual lobster feast
I hosted every year, I had a funny Hic-cup. It lodged in
my chest but other than that feeling I was fine and went
on to the party. Eventually after everyone told me how odd
I looked and my wife finally drug me to the car I decided
maybe I should go to the emergency room. . When a resperitory
surgeon walked by my ER module he immediately recognized
a collapsed lung and next thing I now I woke up on a vacuum
pump for a week. I figured this was probably caused by my
diving and I should re-examine my diving technique. The
doctors looked deeper. At the end of the week and after
many many tests they told me they couldn't find the cause
of the collapsed lung but they did find Hep C. Knock,
knock I stand at the door.
asked me a lot of questions about old habits and old injuries
at which time I told them about my motorcycle wreck. They
asked me if I had received a blood transfusion because of
it to which I stated no. When I said this I was under the
impression that a blood transfusion consisted of them finding
a blood matching relative and taking blood from them and
giving it to me. I was Naive. They sent me home under order
to see a specialist when I got mobile. When I went to see
him we talked about Hep-c and what we could do. Through
the conversation I found out that a transfusion is receiving
any amount of blood from another source besides yourself.
We started interferon treatment 3 shots a week for six months.
This was weird because I don't even like to take aspirin
unless my head is falling off. I didn't respond to the interferon
and the side effects were too much to handle with a full
load at med school that I had been trying to get into for
two years prior to this so I went off. I was feeling ok
without it and I felt I could beat this thing by
myself besides nobody told me this was life threatening.
through four years of med school and went into practice
with only minor ups and downs. It seems The doctors were
making me sicker with all the blood tests. It's funny because
for a while I thought I felt so good maybe the doctors were
wrong and any day now they would find out it was something
far less serious. Then one night I went to a local brewery
with my two best friends to have a beer. After having one
beer at the brewery we decided to go to the apt to watch
a basketball game on tv. When we got there I started feeling
sick. I decided then to go home and left with my friends
protesting that I didn't look well enough to drive but I
reminde them that I had only drank one beer. I got a few
blocks down the street when I really became sick. It was
dark on a dark street so I couldn't tell what I was throwing
up all I remember is asking god to please get me home so
I could at least die at home. I dont remember how I got
home or even walking into the house, I dont even remember
what time it was. My wife came into the restroom where I
was in a traditional "prayer at the porceline altar" position
with blood all over everything. This was followed once again
by a week in the hospital, This time from internal bleeding
due to burst esophegeal varices secondary to liver disease.
Knock, knock I stand at the door.
I am convinced I have a major health condition but I still
am not going to let it depress me. I kept up my usual routine
minus any alcohol and things got better again. Now since
there were documented varices they started bi-weekly blood
labs and for a while bi-weekly endoscopies I was refered
to a hepatology clinic and they talked to me about going
on a liver transplant list. This was scary but I told myself
it didn't mean I had to have a new liver, it was just if
needed one I would be on the list to receive one. I still
didn't think I was that bad off. We continued this routine
for the next couple of years with mostly good times but
a few reminders of the bad times. Through clinic they always
told me how great I looked for being so sick, the thing
is I never really felt sick, nobody could ever say " you
will need surgery in a month, six months or a year, they
just said " you sure look good for how sick you are."
two years ago I was feeling odd and my wife noticed that
my color had gone almost transparent ( how can you have
transparant color) so once again we took off for the emergency
room. While there a doctor came in and started to explain
what was going to happen and he showed me by holding his
hand next to mine, I had no color to my hands or arms. My
clinic doctor told me that my liver numbers were very bad
and that I neeed to be transplanted right away. He said
that I had been on the list long enough and it was coming
up on a holiday when accidents lead to donated organs. This
was terrible news as well as morbib because I always thought
of myself being the galant one who would give up his life
to save another. I spent yet another week in the hospital
waiting but again not feeling that sick so I didn't consider
this to be real. As fate would have it, San Diego had it's
safest labor day in history with 0 traffic fatalities, therefore
I got to go home on monday after they pumped me with 5units
of plasma and 3 units of white cells and numerous other
cocktails. Once again I felt great. Knock knock I stand
at the door.
the last year I quess was the worst. I'd started to actually
feel worse, My energy level dropped to next to nothing which
I had considered the outdoor work I did around my house
as the element that kept me healthy. I started getting winded
everytime I had to walk further than a couple of blocks.
My friends started looking at me with pity in their eyes.
It had gone on so long that I had finally accepted that
this was my fate, To slowly wither away and die. They had
finally convinced me that I was sick and I wasn't going
beat it by telling myself I alone wont let it happen. I
still remained active though, I took a volunteer job at
a golf course as a marshal which required driving around
out doors on the course and observing play. During this
time I began to think about my relationship with God. I
realized that though I believed in him and I was praying
to him a lot, I didn't have a personal relationship with
him. I didn't have a holy revalation or anything like that
but as I began talking with him daily I began to feel a
peacefulness form. I still got sick. I still went through
tests, and I still had problems with my home life but things
had somehow changed. Knock knock I stand at the door.
the really awesome thing happened. Sunday morning my family
and I were getting ready for church. We were running late
but I wanted to iron my shirt. My wife had asked if I had
batteries in my hospital appointed beeper ( the one they
give you exclusively for the liver transplant cordinator.)
I lied and told her yes when in reality I had got the batteries
but I had stuck them in my pocket because I was in a hurry.
I putting on my shirt to walk out the door when my wife
came up to me with a look on her face like someone had died
and the phone in her hand. She told me it was the transplant
cordinator and they had a liver, I needed to drop everything
and get to the hospital ASAP. I stood there looking at her
in disbelief, I wasn't even feeling sick this day, how could
I need this surgery now. Anyway I started thinking quickly
about all the things I wanted to do before going in, family
and friends I needed to talk to just in case I didn't make
it out. At that moment I feel God stepped in and told me
to just relax and let him take care of everything, so I
did. I really dont remember them preping me for the surgery,
I just sat down and had a conversatiion with God. It wasn't
a pleading, crying, scarred talk. It was more like a couple
of friends getting together just for companionship.You
have but to open the door.
was the fastest (5 Hrs) transplant on record. and my hospital
recovery was the shortest ( 5 days). I went in on that Sunday
and was discharged on the following Saturday. All of the
tubes were removed within the first 72 hours and I was on
semi solid food the 4th day. I was in pain but it was nothing
I couldn't handle myself without pain killers. The only
problem in the hospital was I couldn't sleep so for 5 days
I watched the world go by. I found out a couple of funny
things that happen while most of us are asleep. Live morning
news and other live broadcasts are really stupid as far
as they act as if they were just called in from a new years
eve party to do their work. Anyway I went home on Saturday
and everything has been great. I have had 0 complications
and have been able to reduce my med intake to two anti rejection
drugs a day. I went back to work after six months and have
return to normal life around home.
walk with God every day but again it is not a fanatic walk.
The biggest thing about this is when it all started I was
diagnosed with Hep-C which I thought Oh-well since I have
to I can live with this. All along I never could get reliable
answers from the doctors. A couple of the docs had actually
told me they didn't think I would ever need a transplant.
Even on the internet I got some of the most scary imformation
or the most out dated imformation.
way I look at it is, The lung collapse was Gods way of telling
me there was a big problem coming up. All of the trips to
emergency rooms were his way of preparing me for what was
to come. The two years waiting on the list was the time
he spent standing at the door knocking and when I finally
let him in we sat down and talked about how things were
going to be alright now.
this ran on longer than I had expected, I started it to
just drop a line to say hang in there to all of you btu
it kind of turned into this story. I do feel that it taught
me a few things and since experience is the best teacher
now maybe I can share with anybody that might have questions.
My case went to the extreme because most people with Hep-C
dont go as far as needing a transplant, frankly because
a lot of them die before they are diagnosed.
advise I will throw in here for all to read is, You may
not need a transplant but if there is any concern, get listed
right now. They dont have a criteria to get you on
the list but they do to get you an organ if you need it.
I spent two years on the list, I wasn't in the hospital
dying when my name came up but I met 4 of the other 5 criteria
(there are 5 complications to the Hep-C before you are transplanted)
The only one not met was I wasn't in the hospital dying.
This is what I credit with my doing so well ( also a closer
walk with God) so if nothing else talk to your doctor about
is interested or has any questions please feel free to E-mail
me at Legmkr@home.com.
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