We headed to Massachusetts last Wednesday night to avoid hitting the road at 4:30 AM. I was pretty nervous so I worked on keeping my mind occupied with reading and doing some paperwork. I slept maybe 3 hours.
Some people tell me I shouldn’t be nervous, like I have a little magic wand I can wave and make me excited to face major surgery. Um, is that even realistic? But, I’m also excited and hopeful. Maybe I have bipolar emotions? If I don’t get the transplant, I’ll die. It’s a simple fact (except for divine intervention.) If I have the surgery I may have a long and relatively normal life ahead of me. I like the sound of that even though the thought of removing a piece of me and putting in a new one is scarey.
Anyway, Day One at Lahey had me checking in, peeing in a cup and then sitting with a few other nervous families waiting for the day to start. For the first 2.5 we learned about liver transplants, livers, the clinic and the staff. Though the room was FREEZING (I’m always cold), the staff was friendly, welcoming and very patient with all our questions. I didn’t feel like a number. Instead, I felt cared for and at ease.
Robin and I went to the cafeteria for lunch. Everything looked great but my low-sodium diet trimmed my options to mostly tasteless stuff.
After lunch I had interviews with a nutritionist, the director of transplant nurses, a psychologist, the director of social work, the director of immunology. One after another they came in and told us what to expect. My butt went to sleep.
We ended day one with bloodwork and then a pneumonia vaccine. We got some dinner and groceries and heading back to the hotel. I was absolutely mentally exhausted. Nervous for the tests of the next day, I did manage 5 hours of sleep.
I started day two having 21 vials of blood drained from me. Then I went right to an MRI to lie in that tube for 40 minutes. The IV hurt as usual. I hate IV’s!
Then I headed up to have a chest X-ray and then went directly to an EKG. We didn’t have to wait at all in any spot. It was amazing and, from what I understand, not at all a common occurrence. We then met with the financial planning director and finally one of the primary transplant surgeons.Our 4pm day was done by 1pm!
The most encouraging part of the two days was Dr. Lewis telling me my MRI looked great, my portal vein was “pristine” and no one saw any reason I would not be good candidate for a live liver donation! Of course, I still have another test this Thursday and then will travel back to Lahey Jan. 20 when I will get the final answer if I am in or out, but things are looking good!
Nervous? Yes. Hopeful? Absolutely! I’m not sure why I’m walking this path but I do know that my God is the same come what may. I do know that my without my faith, I would not have made it this far.