Fourteen years ago…sometime around 4:00pm…March 20, 2003…I entered one of Vanderbilt University Hospital’s operating rooms to receive two lungs generously donated by a grieving family. Sometime between nine and twelve hours later (March 21, 2003)…I would be breathing through lungs I wasn’t born with but graciously received from that family’s deceased twenty-two year old son. As I continue to tell people, it’s only by the grace of God that I’m still here. I’ve done nothing special to help out my endurance. In fact, I’d say I’ve done more to shorten my lifespan than extend it. Whatever the reason(s) for God keeping me around…I thank Him. I give thanks even in the face of physical pain and mental anguish. I give thanks for all the memories I’ve “not” missed with wife, children, family and friends. I give thanks for all the blessings, all the wisdom, and most of all…I give thanks for all the forgiveness. Organ transplant is not a cure…it’s just trading one disease for another. Some of those around me understand that statement…others have yet to figure it out.
God has a purpose for us all. If you asked me what I think my purpose is…I’d tell you, “To share my testimony. To share how God has continually played a critical part in my life…whether I knew it, didn’t know it, or simply wouldn’t accept it.
Lord, I thank you…but I still ask, “why me?” Certainly there was someone else on this planet more deserving of the gift I received. None of us know the number of our days…but as Heather would tell you…I owe her thirty more years. Strange thing is…I’ve been owing her thirty years since the day I married her. Must be that “new math” or something. Even now, at fourteen years post transplant, the mortality rate still hovers around 50% at 5 years. As far as I know, no one can tell why some organ recipients have longevity…while others don’t. All I can do is written above…give thanks.
Let everyone you know your thoughts and/or wishes concerning organ donation. Please give blood regularly (if you can).
Thank you and may God bless you.