March 7 - Parent Q&A

Well, I have been kind of dry lately. Not so much across the board, but about organ donation and anything to write on here. As always, I have plenty to say but I am trying to keep this blog semi-focused. I am still wondering about the direction it will take. I am sure that it will still focus on organ donation, struggles with transplantation, others going through the process, and me as well. I am just wondering if I need to expand it a little to include some of my bigger thoughts about other things that I feel should be shared. I don't know. Guess I will ponder it more. Any feedback would be appreciated as well.

As for me, I am doing well. I got a couple of weeks off of going to the doctor which is great. My truck is thanking me that is for sure. I changed my oil 3 weeks ago and have driven 1900 miles since then. I didn't realize I was on the road that much until I started logging it.

I am looking forward to March 7 with much anticipation and nervousness. I have never been really good at talking in front of people, though in the past 4 or 5 years I have forced myself to do it a great deal. For those that know me can attest to the fact that I am painfully shy when the group gets above 3 or 4. I basically shut down in the conversation that is taking place.

On March 7, I am going to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to speak to a group of parents. I will be on a panel of 7 young adult organ transplant recipients answering questions for parents of children who are waiting for a transplant. We will be telling them how transplantation has affected our lives. I feel for these parents who are no doubt worried about whether their child will be able to live a normal life. I am not a parent and don't really understand that side of the card, but I do remember how nervous I was about my own life changing. I am happy to say that it has been the catalyst for the improvement in my quality of life. I have taken up some things that I had given up when I was sick and also made some changes in my life that are much healthier. I hope that through this experience, the parents will be more at ease with how their children will live post-transplant. I am exciting about the opportunity to speak, but I am nervous about opening up in a public setting. I say a lot on this blog that I would never say in person; it is easy to hide behind the computer screen!

Guess I wasn't as dry as I thought.


National Donor Day

Today is National Donor Day! Yes, I know it is Valentine's Day as well and hopefully everyone is having a great one. You girls are getting all the gifts you want from your men and guys.....hopefully you will get whatever you are waiting for from your girl. For just a few minutes though, I want to shift your focus to something that is important to me, organ donation.

On this day that is characterized, thanks to Hallmark, as the day that we show our love to those around us, remember there are some out there who will lose a loved one because of a shortage of donated organs. I am not writing this to change anyone's mind about organ donation, I just want everyone to have some facts about the process.

- Almost 100,000 men, women and children currently need life-saving organ transplants.

- Every 12 minutes another name is added to the national organ transplant waiting list.

- In 2005, there were 7,593 deceased organ donors and 6,895 living organ donors resulting in 28,108 organ transplants.

- An average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.

- 90% of Americans say they support donation, but only 30% know the essential steps to take to be a donor.

I encourage you to evaluate your stance on organ donation today. If you choose to become an organ donor, know the steps to make sure your organs are donated. You can find out your state's requirements by going here. If you live in Georgia, you can become a donor by marking the option on your license and by signing a donor card. In Georgia, your family is ultimately the people who decide if you will become an organ donor. Be sure to let them know your wishes concerning organ donation upon your death.

This being National Donor Day, I want to encourage everyone to donate blood and bone marrow, as well as their organs and tissue. 60% of people are eligible to donate blood, but only 5% of the population actually donates!



Preachers Rock 2/10 3

Today, I did what I have been wanting to do for a long time. I went back to one of my favorite places, Preacher's Rock. This was one of those places that I went to a lot when I first found out that I had a liver disease and it seemed my life was changing for the worse. If nothing else, it seemed at that time like my life was in a blender and I had no idea what this drink was going to taste like when the blades stopped. I used to go up there to just sit and clear my head. It is one of those places for me that I can "breathe." From this rock, the world, it's problems, my problems, and even I seem insignificant. This is the ultimate meaning for the metaphor of being "on a mountain" versus "in the valley." Life seems okay and good when I am up on the mountain and the problems "down there" seem to melt away. I haven't been up there in a little over two years and it was so much better than I remember. I am sure that nothing really has changed in those two years, but my memory had failed me at just how beautiful it is "in my little heaven." I have had some tough times alone on that rock, some arguments with God and myself, as well as some good times with God I will never forget. There are a lot of my feelings up on that rock and today more were left. This time I am glad to say that they were positive feelings.

I went up there today with a purpose of getting a picture of me, an organ transplant survivor, for Kim, a lady who lost her son to cancer shortly after receiving a liver transplant. She is now a strong proponent for organ donation and shares the story of her son, Willam McMahon, with countless others. Kim had sent me a shirt and asked that I take a picture wearing it. I decided I would go back to my favorite place, a place I would never have been able to return to without a new liver. I am glad that I did. I was able to find my center again and realize that what I am going through, though tough and sometimes aggravating, is not so bad. I was able to have some quiet time up there and reflect on how good God has been to me. I was able to say a prayer for Kim and to think about William. This is a public thank-you to Kim, for the shirt and for giving me the reason to return to "my little piece of heaven." I encourage you to read William's story.

If you are not an organ donor, I encourage you to become one. By donating your organs, you could save up to fifty lives.


Organ Donor Waiting List hits 95,000

I just wanted to post this to get you thinking about the need for organ donors. I know it isn't a comfortable topic and not what you want to be thinking about on a beautiful day. There are people out there today who are waiting, wondering if they will get their organ before it is too late. I have been there, I understand. Please consider becoming an organ donor, and if you decide to do become a donor, INFORM YOUR FAMILY OF YOUR WISHES! THEY ARE THE ONE'S WHO MAKE THAT DECISION IN GEORGIA!

Waiting list candidates as of today 11:22am
All 95,066
Kidney 69,983
Pancreas 1,745
Kidney/Pancreas 2,389
Liver 16,988
Intestine 239
Heart 2,857
Lung 2,864
Heart/Lung 135
All candidates will be less than the sum due to candidates waiting for multiple organs

Transplants performed January - October 2006
Total 24,445
Deceased Donor 18,793
Living Donor 5,652
Based on OPTN data as of 01/26/2007

Donors recovered January - October 2006
Total 12,401
Deceased Donor 6,750
Living Donor 5,651
Based on OPTN data as of 01/26/2007


The Dog in the Snow....FUN!!

I took Mia out in the snow for a little bit today. She loves getting hit in the face with snowballs!! I think she has some "special" problems. I got some good pics out of the deal though. Thought I might share!

Here is a pic of Cas, too!

Snow Days in Georgia

Gotta love snow days in Georgia!! This is a ton of snow for us! That is a 20 oz Dasani water bottle in the snow! I have no real desire to go out in it....but it sure is pretty to look at and it got me out of work for a day!