My Three Year Anniversary

Today marks the three year anniversary of my liver transplant. It also marks the day that my son would have turned three.

It amazes me just how far I have come- both physically and emotionally:

There was the week long coma I had to recover from with my own realization of what I had just been through. The learning of new medical terms and medications. The month long healing from the operation. Dialysis every week while waiting for my kidneys to start working again. The staples and tubes getting removed. Four months of physical therapy to learn how to walk and feed myself. Bi-weekly blood draws and Prograf level changes. Learning to take care of our son with his own set of disabilities. Being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Watching our son die and somehow finding the strength and will to carry on. Writing that first letter to the family of my liver donor. The volunteer work with the American Liver Foundation. The willingness to share my story in hopes of helping others. Finishing the sweater that was meant for our son and in doing so, rekindling my love for knitting. Joining the Boba knitting group and meeting Cookie A.. Coping with my Sickle Cell Anemia and its attack on my new liver. Accepting the fact that I could never get my old life back, but must now learn to create a ‘new’ life for myself.

I’ve come a long way, but it has not been a lonely journey. I would not be where I am today without the love and support of my doctors, family and friends. My biggest thanks goes to my husband. He is the person who has allowed me to lean on him so much without complaint or showing any sign of weariness. I always knew he was the love of my life. I just never knew he would become the hero of my life as well. Honey, I love you!

To Cory, my donor, and to all those who have made the decision to become organ/tissue donors- I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Without your selfless act of kindness, I, along with thousands of others would not be here today. Thank you for making the choice to give someone you may never meet, a chance at life.

You are welcome to join me tonight in raising a glass in celebration of my anniversary. May these three years be just a small part of the many years of happiness and good health to come!

Salut!

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April Is National Donate Life Month

 

As the title says, April is NAtional Donate Life Month.

This month is dedicated to honoring those who have chosen to be organ donors and the lives they have saved.

Donate Life is an organization that helps to dispel myths surrounding organ transplants and educate the public about the importance of becoming an organ donor. You can find out more about them at http://www.donatelife.net

I want to share a little story with you-

Cory was a loving brother, devoted father and proud grandfather. Cory loved to go fishing and was always the joker. On August 8, 2008, Cory , at the age of 44, died of a brain aneurysm.

A few states away lay a young woman in the hospital. She was 30 years old, a wife and mother. She was also dying. An acute liver failure had put her in a week-long coma, unaware that her life was slowly slipping away. The doctors had only hours left to find a suitable liver that could save her life. Two previously offered livers were not a good match. With only a handful of hours left before the high toxin levels in her body would render her brain dead, a liver was found. The transplant was a success!

That liver donor was Cory and the young woman’s life he saved was mine.

To honor my organ donor, Cory, I have made a pair of socks for him.

For the entire month of April all profits made from the sale of the sock pattern will go to Donate Life. If it was not for Cory’s decision to be an organ donor, I would not be here today. Everyday, I am thankful for the selfless act of Cory and all those who have chosen to be organ donors. Thank you!

Cory's Socks

If you would like to purchase the pattern you can click on the link here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/corys-socks

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: Better Off Not Knowing

All this week my postings are a part of the 2nd Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week. To learn more about it, just click here.

Strolling through my local thrift store the other day, I came upon a hand knitted hat hanging on a hook. I pull it down to examine it closer. It was small, pale blue and  knitted in simple stockinette. It was made for an infant. I wondered about the story and life behind this little hat. Maybe a grandmother had knitted it for their new grandson. Now that grandson is all grown up and headed off to college. Or maybe, like myself, some kind stranger knitted it for charity, hoping it would warm the head of a poor unfortunate child in need. Hopefully that child has grown up to become someone willing to help others the way someone had helped them.

Then a thought struck me hard in my heart. What if this hat was never used? What if the intended recipient never got a chance to wear it? At home at the very bottom of my stash box I have a small dark grey sweater and a half-finished white baby blanket. Both items were meant for my son. Neither item had the chance to be used.

I had a lot of grand knitting  and crochet plans while I was pregnant, but those plans were brutally interrupted with my acute liver failure and the untimely birth of my son at only 26 weeks while I was in a coma. Instead of showing off  my bundle of joy wrapped in some fancy crochet blanket, we both laid in the hospital fighting for our lives.

His christening gown would never be finished. Instead, he was baptised while covered in tubes and wires a day before his death at the age of only six month.

There would be no fast clicking of needles or the magic of my hook making cloth out of thin air. It would take me a month to learn how to feed myself and another three months to learn how to walk without assistance. My son would spend the first three of his only six months of life in a hospital, never to fully recover from his early birth under such extreme conditions.

My son and I would become known for being the hospital’s  first successful rare back to back liver transplant and child birth at 26 weeks. I would have rather been known as the mother who knits her son way too many socks.

I look back down at the hat in my hand. Maybe I’m better off not knowing the story behind this little hat. Besides, I carry far too many unfinished stories of my own.