Friday, October 23, 2009

Oct 23 - News Update

So, I got a call yesterday from Baylor Medical in Dallas, who will be doing the transplant when the time comes. Finding a good transplant hospital is a lot like going on a few dates to figure out how well you like each other before you commit to anything other than a goodnight peck on the cheek. They check you out to see if you're a healthy enough candidate for this level of surgery, etc. You check them out to see what their stats are, much like picking players in a fantasy football league: "Oh, you guys have about an 85%-90% success rate for transplants, even better for younger, otherwise healthy recipients? Nice. Let's get in bed together."

Baylor Medical thus far has been all that. I spent some time with them about a year ago to get in the system and get ready for the eventuality of a transplant. At the time, I was still quite heathy, so we decided to wait a bit to get me on the list until things progressed. Well, here we are.

I met earlier this week with a Dr. Guo at Baylor Medical, who seems to be quite brilliant and has a very reassuring quality to his demeanor, which certainly helps when you're facing some of these scary realities. He seemed to think I was a great candidate at this time, and would recommend me to the board for getting listed as soon as possible. Not a day later, they called me to get me scheduled for the final round of tests at the end of November, afterwhich I will hopefully get on the list for a new liver. Yay!

Besides all that crap, I wanted to make sure I use this forum to reflect on some of the things that we often take for granted or forget about, and hopefully gain some new perspective. If this stuff helps even one person, I'll have done my job.

So, to that point, I went out for one of my first few public outings last night since getting out of the hospital. Understandably, it's taken me awhile to rebuild my strength and maintain much of an energy level after getting off work... I'm usually in bed by 10pm now, which is quite early for me, historically speaking. The upside is that I've lost a good bit of weight... I'm as slim now as I was in my mid-20's, down to about 190 lbs. on my 6' 4" frame. No love handles anymore! As long as I look good, I don't mind feeling like shit, so at least I have that going for me. I'm kidding, of course. But my ass does look pretty good anyway, ya'll.

I digress: I met Amanda at a new seafood restaurant on the Eastside called the Shuck Shack for a birthday dinner. I really did not know what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised when friends began to trickle in over the course of the evening until we finally had about twenty or more close friends filling up this teeny restaurant.

I do not make a big deal about birthdays; in fact, I really hate them when they're happening to me. But this was a reaffirming occasion. Most of these people I had not seen since my hospital stay, and they all wanted to spend the evening letting me know how much they loved me, wanted me to get this transplant, how they could not imagine a life without me. It all sounds hokey, I know, but that extra reaffirming charge from people close to you can make all the difference in the world and wipe away any dark, lingering feelings about giving up, at least spiritually, on the tough road ahead. It's a fine line... when one day you're thinking, "How many more Springs and Falls do I have to see? How many more times will I decorate a tree and put on the Charlie Brown Christmas album? I'm so freaking tired." People. Friends, lovers, children... that's what brings you back into the ring of life.

I want to live. I want to grow old. I want to have a kid. I want to raise said kid and show him/her all the cool things this world has to offer. I want to continue grow in my career. I want to give more back to my community each year. I want to travel more and more and more... I want to buy a motherf*#@in' boat! There's still so much to see and do! Can I buy a little more time, please, God? You know where to find me.


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