Reliving my transplant nightmare

PTSD after surgeryRemember that book I was working on writing? I let it sit, untouched, from September 2013 until December 2014 when I gave it to my friend Jan Perry to read and clean up. She was my second reader.

It’s about 60,000 words and 162 pages and is about two-thirds of my story. It is complete up to May 7, 2012 which was the day of my transplant. My plan is to write either through the first year of recovery or at least through my first cycling accomplishment 4 and a half months later.

The surprising thing, now that I have picked it up again and am rewriting and editing, is all of the emotion that is coming back to the surface. That’s probably therapeutic but it’s also pretty painful. Honestly, I’d rather forget.

Last night I woke up in the middle of a nightmare that was recurring after my surgery but has not visited me in about a year. In it,  I see myself lying on a steal table with an apparatus on over my nose and mouth with an anesthesiologist leaning over me. There is a team of at least a dozen people in blue medical gowns, blue skull caps. bright blue rubber gloves covered with vibrant, red blood. They all have green masks over their mouths and wear small, bright lights on their foreheads.

I see the light reflect off an over- sized scalpel and then feel an incredibly sharp pain and tugging while the surgeon cuts across my belly. I try to scream, “Stop! I can feel that!” but I cannot move. I cannot speak. And then I wake up in a pool of sweat with my heart racing. I spend the next 20 minutes in self-talk trying to calm myself.

It is so very real that I have to tell myself that it did not really happen. In my mind I know I did not feel anything but, still, part of me doubts, “did I wake up during surgery?” I know I do not even remember being wheeled in. I have no memory of a breathing tube, no memory of my family greeting me in the recovery room and no memory of the first day in the hospital. My liver transplant survivor friends tell me it is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and is common among us.

I want to complete my book as an encouragement to others living with chronic illness. I still believe that God led me to journal my journey for a reason. But, now that I have budgeted my time to include writing once again, I am not liking the memories. I want to push the emotion down and bury it. But, is that healthy? I don’t know.

I don’t know if my manuscript will ever see book form. Will I self-publish or shop publishers? I have no idea. All I know right now is that I have to finish it. I have to push.

Sometimes pushing hurts. This hurts.

 Each time he said, “No. But I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” Now I am glad to boast about how weak I am; I am glad to be a living demonstration of Christ’s power, instead of showing off my own power and abilities. 2 Corinthians 12:9 TLB



About Scott Linscott

Living life to the fullest, walking in the dust of my Rabbi, creating art through photography and written word, speaking words of hope wherever and whenever the opportunity arises.
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7 Responses to Reliving my transplant nightmare

  1. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Kim. You have a great writing style that is short/interesting/to the point…prob u had practice from ur sermons!

    I am replying later b/c I get ur broadcasts from my friend Dave, who is now gone. I still cannot believe God took someone that good. I always thought of him as a disciple, which ud think god would want around as long as possible in this otherwise crazy world.

    I tend to think that the best thing we can do is help others, but Im getting so confused b/c most of the people I helped were no where in sight for me in my valley walk. And, it just seems that they are lapping in luxury while I am struggling.

    Stress disorder happens to so many that are devastated by job loss or tremendous health issues as uve had…I think that’s worth a hashtag b/c I know a lot of soldiers have it too. Anything that helps u might help many others. Keep writing…book or blog.


  2. GM says:

    One process with PTSD is to share your story over and over until it no longer is as a horrifying event.  And remember it is not happening now. Also you are safe in His hands. I know you of all people know that. 

    I am not trying to put myself in your head or trying to minimize what you must have and are still going through, I just wanted to share with you one clinical technique, that is what you are doing by writing.

    So sorry you relive this nightmare by doing what you feel to be helping others. 

    My job is a living nightmare of sorts some days with families i see but I don’t usually think I am doing the wrong job. 

    I do sometimes need to step away for a few days. 

    Do you think if you spread the times apart at first a little further apart?

    I don’t pretend to know your pain and I will

    Pray for you every day to lessen it and give you peace. 


    Regina P. Marsters MS,LCPC-c, Ph.D (ABD) 207.400.6767 office hours Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10-5. I will return a reply within 48 business hours.

    From:”My Life & Transplant Story: Drinking from the Same Dipper” Date:Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 9:52 AM Subject:[New post] Reliving my transplant nightmare

    Scott Linscott posted: “Remember that book I was working on writing? I let it sit, untouched, from September 2013 until December 2014 when I gave it to my friend Jan Perry to read and clean up. She was my second reader. It’s about 60,000 words and 162 pages and is about two t”

    • Thanks Gina! All good advice. I do think it’s therapeutic for me to write and let it out, even with the stuff it brings to the surface. “Better out than in, that’s what I always say,” said the great philosopher Shrek.

  3. Janice Perry says:

    If I didn’t know you, it would have been tough to edit the first 160+ pages. However, I do know you, and it was tougher than tough to edit. I see you and your whole family in a different light now. You MUST finish the book, Scott. There is so much there…pain and suffering, doubt, encouragement, laughter, sadness…all kinds of stuff. However, the one thing that is all over those already written pages is love and grace…that you survived ALL of that because of those two things. Family love was abundant and God’s grace and love was too. Think of the lives you will touch. Keep writing and most definitely, publish.

  4. Bill Pinson says:

    Scott, I find myself backing away and being pulled back. I get flashbacks when in the hospital and just out of the blue. It is hard to explain to people who have not lived what we have lived. I am proud of you for your courage to admit things that are hard to come to grips with.

  5. Kim says:

    God has given you a powerful testimony. Whether you publish a book or not, you have blessed many people.

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