The month of December 2010 was one of enormous change for me. Not in the sense that I have learned anything I didn’t already know, more in the fact that I fully confirmed what I already knew and now am going to use that knowledge to guide every decision I make from now on. I am going to show more gratitude for everything in my life, the big and the small.
My brother finally got his liver transplant on Dec 4, and I will admit it was the single most overwhelming day of my life. Not only did I not realize the extent to which the wait for the transplant had created stress on me (my family, my brother and his wife), but I also realized just how lucky I am to have such an amazing family and friends. I have one of the strongest support systems that I could ever ask for. Friends that I have known for years on end and my new friends from school showed me just how much they care.
People still often think that liver disease is only caused by alcohol. This is such a huge falacy! My brother’s diet was good, he has always been extremely athletic, and never much of a huge drinker. Yet he ended up with a failing liver and without a transplant, would have died within the next two years. Many factors cause liver disease and my brother’s condition was Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). I do not hesitate to tell people that my brother had a liver transplant in hopes that I will be able to help people understand liver disease and allow them to see the many positive aspects organ donation. Many people didn’t realize how easy it is to sign up to be an organ donor and how it can make such a difference in so many people’s lives.
The night of my brother’s transplant, after seeing him in the ICU, I went out to celebrate my best friend Lima’s birthday with her. I wasn’t originally going to go as it had been such an exhausting day, but I figured I could go for just a bit to say hi and then had back home to bed. It wasn’t until I got to the restaurant that I realized just how much my friends worried about what I was going through and how much they supported me. As soon as I saw Lima we hugged for a good five minutes straight and I had one of the most emotional cries of my life. I have never had an experience quite like that one before. There were so many emotions running through my mind at that moment and knowing my friends were all there for me was such a huge help. Lima wrote a blog post about her birthday epiphanies that does such a wonderful job of explaining the situation from her point of view. I suggest you read some of her other posts as well, she truly is an amazing person and a wonderful writer.
We don’t always tell people how much we think of them, care about them, support them. But when the time of need is really there, if you just reach out to your friends, they will be there for you. My family and friends are the most important thing in my life, so I want to give gratitude to every person that was concerned for me even if you never said anything to me. Knowing we are all connected in some way is the most amazing part of humanity.
My brother had a few complications while he was in the hospital, but he is doing quite well now and is back home so I am looking forward to seeing him get better each day. It is nice to have a guy who resembles my brother before he got sick starting to show up on a more regular basis. Him being in the hospital give me the opportunity to drop everything else and just spend time with my family and my brother. It was great to have one on one time with him where we got to talk about anything and everything. I feel so lucky that my brother got his transplant and that I will now get the opportunity to spend even more time with my family.