This is getting old. Immunosuppression sucks

Back in 2011, I said this blog would reflect my transplant journey and would be honest. I like to try to keep things positive but …

I am sick again. No, not liver stuff. It’s just regular stuff. I’ve been sick so often this winter that it has me fatigued.

Yeah, I’m discouraged. I think I may be bordering on outright depression. I get windows of 4 or 5 days and then “whack!” sick again.

I caught Influenza A. I guess the good side is that I never was hospitalized. But, it wrecked me for about two weeks.

I got a almost 10 days of health and got to go to Israel for the trip of a lifetime. That was awesome. But, I travelled home in a metal tube where everyone around me was coughing and hacking. Robin and I knew the odds were not in my favor.

By the weekend I was in Urgent Care diagnosed with Influenza B, double ear infection and sinus infection.

We just had an awesome weekend with our Guatemala team. I led a bunch of training sessions Friday and Saturday and came home with a pounding headache and what felt like food poisoning.

I was up all night, in and out of the bathroom. It was no better this morning when I headed to church to deliver the next message in my series. God gave me the adrenaline I needed but I came home, climbed into bed shivering with the mattress heater on 8/10.

It feels like flu but aren’t we out of flu options? Can’t I just be done with flu? I read that HIV patients and transplant recipients can get the flu multiple times. Seriously??? That better be wrong.

I’m glad to be alive but I am tired of having to suppress my immune system. I’m so tired of being sick.

Maybe this is the last time? Maybe Spring and fresh air is coming. Lord, I hope so!

In addition to the discouragement and fatigue, I find myself becoming fearful of being with people. I want to visit my dad in the Veterans’ Home but I don’t want to get sick. I want to stop by and see my mom but then she goes into a coughing fit when we talk on the phone.

I even find myself avoiding my grandchildren. Yes, much of that has been my attempt to not share my particular illness of the day but, sometimes, I just don’t want to catch something else.

I’m excited to go to church but I dread it too. I know that Monday, my day off, will usually be spent sick after being with 100 or so of my faith family sharing more than worship.

I thought maybe we should move someplace better for me. Then, I pulled up the influenza map and discovered that America is pretty much all covered in poopy, brown. So, I’d be sick wherever we were. Worldwide, Australia and Buenos Aires look good

Widespread, inescapable grossness.

Before transplant we were told that I would need to spend the rest of my life of drugs to suppress my immune system after transplant. I don’t think I had any idea how much crud was floating around that healthy immune systems reject.

So, here I am, just being honest, whining a bit and telling you the level of my discouragement discouragement. No, I can’t take your immune system booster. A boosted immune system will recognize that my liver is not my own and will attack it. Yeah, flu, tissues, vaporizers and Immodium are exhausting but life with no liver is impossible.

What’s the solution? I sanitize everything and have a bottle of super-duper germ killer in every jacket pocket. I wipe down doorknobs and spray everything at church with Lysol. I’ve even taken to wearing a mask more often.

I don’t know. Nothing seems to help.

Man, I’m so tired of this … here on the couch since 4:30 AM with my stomach complaining and my head in a fog.

I just wish there was an escape!

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Be the yellow.

“Be the yellow.” I captured this scene on a side street of a Jerusalem market. Why? Because of the yellow.

The shop doors and gates were all drab and gray. Dim, florescent lights cast their odd haze on the scratches, the rust, the metal overhang above.

And there, in that shaded alleyway, was this yellow, vibrant panel above the entrance of 133.

It made me think, “choose to be the yellow.” That’s my mindset in the midst of dreary days, the scratches and scuffs of conflict and the drab, darkness of cynicism and hopelessness.

In the year before my transplant I experienced some times of pretty severe depression. I felt like a drain on the people around me. At times I felt like they would be better off without me. Thankfully, there were people in my life who brought the yellow and would not let me give up.

Look for the yellow no matter how drab your surroundings. Look for the vibrant patches. Don’t allow yourself to see only the gray. Find the yellow.

And, if you any strength at all, choose to be different. Be the bright spot. Choose life. Choose joy. Don’t let the world squeeze you into its mold. Be the yellow.

Romans 12:1-2

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On top of a mountain?

Last week I climbed a mountain and ended up at about 58 feet above sea level. I was in the Dead Sea region of Israel which is the lowest spot on earth.

Do you know the first thing that came into my mind when I reached to top of Mount Masada? “I just hiked up this mountain in Israel and six years ago I needed a mobility chair to get around.”

The flat top of Masada was once an elaborate, luxurious fortress built by Herod the Great. Then, after his time, it became the last holdout for around 1000 Jewish zealots rebelling against Roman taxation.

The history was fascinating and the archeological digs in progress were giving us clear pictures of life 2000 years ago.

Standing there knowing I was likely standing in the same place David stood at different times, calling it a fortress and refuge, made Psalms more real.

In this spot where David reflected on God’s provision and rescue, all I could think of was how He has been the fortress and refuge in my life. My liver disease battle was intense but my fortress was strong.

I couldn’t believe I was actually standing on top of Masada. I couldn’t believe I was actually in Israel. It was another reminder of the miracle of my transplant journey.

Every day is indeed a bonus day.

Life is good. My biggest challenge is that I am growing so tired of catching every cold and virus going around. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired, but, it’s better than being dead!

I’m a people person so the standard “avoid crowds” advice we immunosuppressed folks get just doesn’t work for me. Without people, I get lonely and depressed. People energize me. Going to church fuels my faith and renews my purpose. Withdrawing from people isn’t why I got a transplant!

So, sniffles, coughs and Sudafed are my winter reality. Hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes are my pals.

If you’re discouraged waiting for transplant or your recovery is going more slowly than you want, please keep pushing on. Life can be good again. I’m doing things I never imagined possible. Last week I rode a camel in the Negev Desert of Israel with new Bedouin friends!

Every day is a bonus day.

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We have so much

We have so much. We’re rich by world standards but, by American standards, we’re middle class. That boggles my mind.

My little girl, Damaris, has a family income of $187 a month. My little girl Tanya’s family lives on just a little bit more.

Last December, I spent a day playing with children in a Yalu neighborhood. Half of the children there do not own a single pair of shoes. Walking down a dusty, dirt street with a shoeless child smiling at you and holding your hand, changes you. It just does.

Third-world poverty is crushing. I’ve rebuilt homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, I’ve worked with families in the Appalachian region of Tennessee and I’ve served in inner city programs in Portland, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts. Poverty is alive and well here in America too, but it is nothing at all like third-world poverty.

I’m compelled to help in any way I can here at home too, so I volunteer for food distribution programs, donate socks for cold feet, buy Toys for Tots, sell Christmas trees and serve meals. But, it’s different here and I’m thankful that it is.

I have so very much. Opening my refrigerator this morning and seeing it overflowing gives me pause. There are two, fresh-baked pies nearby on the counter and a carrot cake on the island. We can’t possibly eat it all.

A few days ago I sent each of my Guatemala girls $25 and designated it “for family needs.” My friends at our school will probably buy each family a bag of corn for tortillas, cooking oil, flour, pasta, cereals and a variety of other staples. I know their moms will thank God. They know it’s from Him first and me as someone he has invited to join in His mission.

I’m thankful for my life-changing events. I’m thankful that my transplant experience taught me that nothing is more important than relationships and that stuff is just stuff. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to serve in third-world poverty to have my eyes opened to how most of our planet lives.

I’m thankful that my faith is so much more than a weekly pew-sitting, performance-watching, pep talk. I’m thankful that it compels me to live differently and rewards me more than I can even explain.

Today, I will rough-house with my precious grandbabies and zerbert their bellies while they laugh hilariously. I’ll watch Shara and Kristen be incredible moms and I’ll take note of Josh and Jake loving their wives and kids. I’ll goose my amazing wife of 33 years while she leans over to baste the turkey and she’ll scold me and swat me. I’ll miss my restaurant son and his wife but be thankful for their love for one another.

And, at some point, my eyes will fill with tears of thanksgiving remembering this is all a gift that almost didn’t happen. In March of 2012 I came within days of being released to hospice care. But that didn’t happen and I am so very, very thankful.

“God must have plans for you,” more than a few people told me. I have no doubt that is true.

New friends & new neighbors, an awesome church family unafraid to get involved, new family members, new experiences and a new sense of purpose were part of God’s plans. My personality profile shifted from the “field marshall” ENTJ to “the campaigner” ENSP after transplant. I shifted from product to process: from results to relationship. I’m thankful for that change.

And now this is more me: “It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for – and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool – for love – for your dreams – for the adventure of being alive.’ Oriah Mountain Dreamer.

I want to invest myself in this mission of following Christ beyond empty religion and ritual. I want to invest myself in loving God and loving others. I want to remember to be thankful, no matter what.

No matter where I’ve been, third-world poverty or crushing crisis, natural disasters or beautiful beaches, plenty or little, I’ve met true Jesus lovers who are genuinely happy no matter what. I’ve met people who can truly say, “the joy of the Lord is my strength.” (Neh 8:10) It’s not about stuff at all.

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

I’m thankful for you. No, really … I mean it.

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CLEAN WATER: I’m still setting goals, big goals.

It’s been almost 5 and a half years since my liver transplant. When I look at my packed calendar and all we are doing today, I can’t believe how very blessed I have been. My life today is certainly full. January will bring the birth of our fourth grandchild: granddaughter number two!





Robin and I will also travel to Israel in January for the experience of a lifetime. And then, in April we will spend a week in Guatemala once again working with children trapped in crushing poverty. We now sponsor two little girls, Tanya (10) and Damaris (5), through AMG Guatemala and will be able to see each of them again.

This will be my third trip to Guatemala . It feels so good to be alive and able to invest my life into activities that are improving the lives of others. Between my church family, my community stuff and my relationships in Guatemala, my heart is even more full than my calendar. I am so very thankful for the gift of life I’ve been given!

When I went to Guatemala in December of 2016, I set a goal to raise enough money for 100 “Bundles of Love” at $20 each. Together, we provided the funds for 123 bundles! It was such a blessing to then be part of a team delivering the gifts to AMG centers and see the children receiving them.

Guate water filter goal announcement with buckets
What is my goal for this Christmas giving?
I am setting my sites on raising $3500 to for EcoFiltro units which will providing clean drinking water for 100 families. My personal commitment is to provide 10 of them and then I want to connect with others who want to join me. Each filtration unit will provide clean drinking water for a family for 2 years.

What do you say? Will you help me meet this crazy goal?

If you would like your contribution to be TAX DEDUCTIBLE, you can give through our church online at by selecting the CLEAN WATER category

To contribute by Paypal, visit:

I know, $3500 is a crazy big goal but I figure, if I can somehow enlist the help of friends, former students, faith friends, Rotary International friends and neighbors, we can improve the lives and health of hundreds of children in a hundred families for the next 2 years. It’s less than 5 cents a day.

Will you help? Sponsor filtration units as a family, a small group, a school group, Rotary Club, Scout troop?

Thanks so much for considering it. I believe we can do it! I can’t wait to show you pictures of the distribution when we return to Guatemala in April.

Scott Linscott



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At night is when my mind races and my heart pounds when the numbers come back bad. I try to reason, “it’s probably nothing,” but then, the what-ifs come to the surface.

Last night I laid in bed chatting with God thanking him for five awesome years and asking him for a bunch more.

Then came the question of whether I will even seek another transplant if things go south. I want to say yes but I wonder if I have it in me.

The mind goes crazy. I don’t even know anything yet. Lahey has not called to schedule a biopsy to check for rejection.

I wish my mind wouldn’t immediately go to the worst. One of my liver numbers is 3x what it should be. It could be that I am fighting an infection, it could be a reaction to recent drug changes, it could be rejection or it could be that the NASH that destroyed my first liver is back.

I’d like to sleep tonight. My prayer is for peace and faith. I wish I had an anxiety switch I could turn off at least until we have a plan and some answers. I’m pretty sure it’s like this for all of us who have received transplants. It’s part of living on the edge of the woods.

It’s been a great day – 18 miles of pedalling, sitting on the beach of a beautiful lake with good friends, collecting my grandson at the airport …

I want to fall asleep thanking God for all He has given rather than worry about what tomorrow might bring.

Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

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Finding Beauty in the Rain

Some people are the “glass half empty” type. Others are “glass half full.”  Me? I try to be happy that I have a glass at all. Even an empty glass has potential.

It’s easy to focus on the negatives in life.  and all over Facebook. Negatives work to stick to us like burrs in a field. They try to weave into the very fabric of our hearts and minds.

We focus on things we can’t control and we obsess over stuff we cannot change. The only thing we can control is how we react to those things.

Life includes an abundance of hard things. We lose jobs, people we love pass away, accidents happen and sickness hits our frail, human shells. The sun shines on the good and the bad and times of rain come to each.

Sometimes the rain just keeps coming and it feels like it will never end. It can cause us to forget about the sunshine and even think it will never shine again. But, even in the rain there is beauty if we will look for it.

We went through a very, very rainy 18 months in our lives. I lost my health, I lost my income, we lost our house, our savings and our retirement fund. I lost my energy, needed a mobility chair and came to the point of wearing adult diapers. I even lost the hope of having the liver transplant I needed to survive when docs took me off the transplant list in March of 2012 saying I was “too weak to survive” the surgery.

It rained pain, it rained financial hardship, it rained embarrassment, it rained questions and it rained discomfort day after day after day.

But, one thing remained unchanged. We sing these words at our church,

“Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me …
On and on and on and on it goes 
Yes it overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never, ever, have to be afraid
‘Cause this one thing remains… Your love never fails…”
~Jesus Culture, 2015

It was my faith that got me through those rainy times. I’m not talking about meaningless religious ritual. I’m talking about living, breathing faith that grew stronger the harder things got.

There was beauty in life even during those brutal times. I found beauty in my family, beauty in my awesome wife and beauty in so many of the people I met.

We’ve had a lot of real rain this Spring. The ground is saturated and rivers are running high. Gray skies have been the dominant theme and most people get into somewhat of a lethargic funk when that happens.

I decided I needed to find the beauty in the rain yesterday so I grabbed my camera and crawled around in the puddles a bit to photograph the flowers in our front garden. I was drawn to rain droplets that somehow made the flowers even more vibrant and beautiful. The rain that I was so tired of brought the incredible beauty in front of my lens.

Photographing droplets on flowers made me think of another favorite song we’ve heard in our church:

“All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change, at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found?
Could a garden come out from this ground, at all?

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us”



I would not wish the storm we lived through on anyone. But now, I see so many beautiful things that came up from that ground. I’m thankful for changes in me and the depth of my faith. I’m thankful for all the people now in my life as a result.

I know more rain will fall. I know more hard times will come as part of life. I pray they are not as hard but, even if they are, I am confident that beauty will still be found whatever is ahead.

The old book I like to read says,

“Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.  And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you.” Luke 12:27-28

My life has taught me that that is Truth.

Look for the beauty today. It’s out there.

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