IX YEARS AGO, I rarely thought about organ
donation and transplants. However, I am alive today because a stranger
signed an organ donor card.
Here is my story. Several years ago, I was diagnosed with colongitis
and biliary cirrhosis, an inflammation of the liver. I was referred
for more medical tests. It was confirmed I had chronic ulcerative
colitis. It was then I learned a liver transplant was probably in
Knowing little about transplants, I was apprehensive. I came home
feeling better physically, but with a lot to think about. For five
more years, I managed to cope with my illness. Too sick to work,
I retired from my job as a trust officer at a bank and found pleasure
in gardening and needlework. I took classes and researched my family
one day my doctor said I would not have another five years without
a liver transplant. I wanted some guarantees. How long would I live
after a transplant? What quality of life would I have? I even thought
I could avoid a transplant altogether by taking care of myself.
I learned all I could by reading and talking to other transplant
patients. I found out that survival rates were good and about 50,000
people benefit from transplants each year. When it became necessary
for me to have a transplant and a suitable donor was found, I even
signed my own organ donor card when I was admitted to the hospital.
Today, my new liver is functioning well, and my doctors say I have
an 85 percent chance of leading a full and healthy life.
It hurts me to know that someone died so I could live. I’ve often
thought about what I would say to the donor’s family. There are
no words to express what such an unselfish gift at such a sorrowful
time meant to my family and me. I hope I can change the life of
another person one day by having signed an organ donor card.
Jean Head Hall
CHRISTUS St. Michael Health System