Posts Tagged ‘anniversary’

Four years and still not dead

Sunday, August 8th, 2010

“A transplant patient with an autoimmune disease? That’s impossible!”

–from an episode of House

I just passed the fourth anniversary of my transplant, or as I prefer to spin it, my fourth new birthday. When the count of years starts getting out of hand, it’s nice to have an alternative, even if it costs an organ.

A scan of my not-so-new liver was tumor-free and the annual draining of the blood showed my various counts lingering near acceptable ranges – acceptable for me if for nobody else. It seems I’m good to go for a while longer.

My hepatologist is brilliant: I could not be in better hands. But even she’s a bit mystified at my continued presence. Oh, she’d probably deny it, but I’ve seen her expression during the bad times, I’ve parsed her careful choice of words. My continued presence is a continuing wonder.


Three years and counting… count.

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Today I sat in the courtyard by the Nurses’ building at UCSF talking to someone whose partner lay in a room above us on Nine Long, the liver transplant floor of Moffitt Hospital, waiting, suffering, hoping for a new liver that might save his life. The man I was talking to was distraught, grasping at hope as loved ones and caregivers do coping with such suffering. I offered what I could, listening and answering his questions. 

He asked a lot of questions. As his partner in that hospital room had said a few minutes earlier, meeting someone who has actually been through the craziness of a transplant is more helpful than reading medical abstracts. (I felt an immediate bond when he said that: one wonk can always recognize another.)

As I answered questions about my experiences I realized it wasn’t approximately three years ago when I learned about the cancer in my liver and my own quest for a transplant began: it was exactly three years. To the day. 

After we parted I walked to my car, secreted in a relatively unrestricted area near Golden Gate Park about 10 minutes away. I kept walking, right into the park and all the way to the AIDS Memorial Grove. I wasn’t planning to go there. The grove is a quiet area in a small glen filled with beautiful plants. It has been there long enough that the young redwoods can now be called trees.  

I took some pictures – my own solace and serenity these days – then returned to my car and came home.

I’ve been fretting about the economy and my diminishing place in it the last few days. Who isn’t? Listening to that troubled man… meeting his stuggling partner in the uncomfortable bed on Nine Long… in a hospital room I’ve been in myself… remembering that telling phone call three exact years ago…

Three years count so much more than numbers on a financial spreadsheet.