In 2012, I was working for a landscaping company. I got a couple of hernias and went to a surgeon to have them fixed during our offseason.
I had to do regular blood work for the surgery. That is when my doctor called me in and said, sit down.
The next few minutes turned my life upside down. I was told I had elevated liver enzyme count. I spent about two years lying on a couch feeling horrible. I would get the sweats, the shivers, and everything in between.
I finally went to the right doctors at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, MA. I spent 2 and a half years getting tested, poked, prodded, and what felt like bloodletting. I spent two years not being able to do much, sick to my stomach and dizzy much of the time.
Then, on Thanksgiving Eve, my life got turned around again. At 9:30 pm I got “the call.”
It went like this, “Bob, this is UMass, what are you doing and how close to the hospital are you?” I told them I had just gotten in from dinner with my wife.
“Well, we think we have the perfect match for a liver transplant for you, how soon can you be here?”
At 11:30 that night, I kissed my wife and was wheeled into surgery. Two days later, I opened my eyes to see my wife smiling and a few doctors standing with her.
This was so bittersweet. I have been given a second chance, but for that to happen, someone else had a tragedy in their life.
It has now been one and a half years since my transplant, and I have only had a couple of bumps. I have been blessed by something. I now live like my donor is watching, I take much better care of myself. I look at every day as what can I do to help others that are in the situation I was. There were times when it was very dark there.
I am very, very grateful for the hospital staff, my wife, brother, son, and a number of other people who helped me get through this. It was no walk through the park, but it is getting to be.
Best wishes for all of us that are going through this life-altering process.
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