I am blogging here to keep folks up to date on my upcoming surgery and ask you to pray. On February 15 I will be a living liver donor for Gay Scott. They will take half of my liver and transplant it into Gay. Both halves will grow into a full liver in each of us.
The surgery will take place at Northwestern Medical Center in Chicago. I will be in the hospital for a couple of nights and then stay at a hotel nearby so they can monitor my liver function and other things for two weeks. Gay will need to stay in the hospital a bit longer.
Many have asked how I decided to do this. I have known Gay since we moved to Illinois in 1993 for Rick to attend Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Her daughter Suzanne was one of the first women I met there. She lived around the corner and we quickly became good friends. We all attended the same church. As a couple with two very small children we looked up to Gay and Roger as a Godly couple and wonderful parents.
Gay contracted hepatitis C years ago as a nurse, before precautions like gloves were the norm. Hep C attacks the liver and as the illness progressed her liver function declined. Last fall Suzanne emailed some people and said that her mom was looking for a living liver donor and gave a number to call if we wanted to find out more. I made the call, passed the first round of questions, and in December, flew up to be evaluated at Northwestern. Right before Christmas they called and told me I was a great candidate to be her donor.
Three things kept running through my mind. The first was the amazing fact that God created our livers to regenerate to the exact right size for our body. When babies receive part of an adult liver it actually grows along with the child until it reaches the appropriate adult size! The second thing that I kept thinking was that this is an opportunity to literally save a life. And while I know that God has numbered all of our days and He is in complete control, I have the opportunity to be the means by which he prolongs Gay’s life so that she can live for His glory. The last thing I kept turning over and over in my head is that if I, or someone I loved, were in need of a liver I would hope that someone would do this for us.
So Rick and I talked and prayed and talked and prayed. We talked to the kids. And we decided to move forward.
The surgery, as I said, will take place on Tuesday, February 15. I will head up there on Friday, February 11 for a pre-op workup. Rick will go with me and stay until I am out of the hospital. I will travel home on March 2.
The recovery for me will be the usual abdominal surgery issues, plus some pretty major fatigue for the first month, lessening in the second. I should feel pretty normal after three months as most donors’ livers are fully grown back by the three month mark. I have to refrain from strenuous activity for six weeks and I’m wondering how in the world I will survive without my spinning classes for that long! I may have to go and ride “downhill” after a few weeks of lounging around!
So…I will keep you posted here on how everything goes. You can subscribe to this blog to receive an email notification when we make a new post. Rick will be in the waiting room on surgery day with Roger, Suzanne, and other family members so they will post that day.
Please pray for both our surgeries to go well, for no complications, for Gay’s body to accept my (half) liver and for both of our livers to grow and our bodies to heal on schedule.
I appreciate all of you so much and am deeply grateful to God for my friends and family, literally around the world.