Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I awoke in the wee hours of Sunday morning. Fumbling through the darkness, I showered and dressed and made my way to my car in the windy, cold morning. I arrived at the station early, in time to brew a cup of coffee before I sat down to my second television interview of the week. http://kvue.tv/1dKJEA1

Although the studio lights were blinding at that early hour, I could see the tears form in Jade's eyes as she recalled talking to my surgeon two years before and learning then that I had only hours to live when my gift of life came through. http://kvue.tv/1ljPHTS

Sunday marked exactly two years since my life-saving liver transplant. In that time, I have grown healthy for the first time in my life, launched a nonprofit to help increase organ donor registration, lost my marriage to the trauma that ripped through our lives like a wildfire out of control, and have started to reassemble the broken pieces of my former life into a new one.

Later that day, I celebrated my second birthday in the best way possible: with organ donor families and recipients who had come together to share their stories, mourn their losses, and rejoice in the gift of life. I watched as a mother grieved the loss of her twenty four year old son and celebrated the life of the young woman who received his liver. I watched as that same young woman, whom I had met during recovery at Baylor Medical in Dallas, tearfully thanked her donor family for saving her life. I rejoiced as the Mayor Pro Tem announced a city resolution to promote organ donation that will be on council agenda this very week. And finally, I humbly stood as a room full of gentle souls applauded my life and my work, marking my transplant anniversary as a true milestone.

The next day, I awoke anxious and tired. I could not put a finger on what was eating me, but I felt restless and unsatisfied. For the first time in months, I had no obligations looming on my calendar. I had steered my department through a very successful promotions campaigns during the Oscars. I had served as project lead on KVUE's media tent during a three-day outdoor music festival at Butler Park during SXSW. And now, just a week later, I had finished an emotional event to help save lives. So why was I so wound up? I arrived at home after work and immediately crawled into bed. Within minutes, I decided I had better shake this feeling off with some physical exercise, and went for a long walk. I arrived back at home later and felt physically better, but mentally I was even more upset than before, as if getting my blood circulating had only agitated this growing feeling of malaise surrounding me.

And then it happened. The bookend to years and years of unbelievable sorrow, anguish, misfortune, pain, and loss. For the very first time since before transplant, I broke. I wept uncontrollably for what seemed like an eternity. My body shook as all the trauma of what I had experienced finally caught up with me, feeling more real that ever before. I wept for the loss of my innocence. I wept for the loss of my father for the first time, an emotion I had not had time to process since his death was followed almost immediately by my own demise. I wept for the loss of my wife and her family, who had been by my side throughout the most difficult time in my life, knowing that I would never see many of them again, or experience the calm of knowing that I had a strong family support system to take care of me if all else failed. I wept in recognizance of the fact that I had been to war, and although I had won my life, the resulting casualties would make that victory seem much less sweet. And I wept lastly because it's over now. Because finally, my feet have landed. I'm going to be okay. And I have absolutely no idea what comes next.

Today the sun shone brightly as I rose. Today music sounded more rich, with more promise, than ever before. Today, I begin.


  1. Pat...in honor of you, your journey, and for all beings who have been to war and prison of any kind, or endured the hero's journey...I thank you; I cheer for you; I am humbled by your grace and strength and courage, your sharing the rawness of your experience, and the depth of character it takes to walk the path you have walked, and are walking as you live into your own mysterious unfolding, blessing others as you go. <3 Mary

  2. Thank you for telling your honest and vulnerable human living. You are beautiful. Namaste.

  3. Thank you, for sharing your emotional journey. As I also have PSC it is so hard to find anyone willing to talk about the emotional, spiritual and physical toll this journey takes. The pressure cooker of just staying alive day by day, the change of the marriage relationship, and all other relationships.

    The loss of the person I was before this journey, the way many "friends" walk out of your life and the cruel things they do/say when you fall short of their expectations.

    Scared of what the future holds and if trading PSC for transplant issues going to be worth dragging myself and my loved ones through more trauma. And hopeful that one day I will land on my feet too, and it will all be worth it.