Snapshots of hope: Life on the other side of transplant.

Posted by Lori, Volunteer Mentor @loribmt, Feb 24, 2022

My husband snapped a photo of me walking on a beach this morning. I was running through the surf, picking up shells, smiling and feeling on top of the world with unabashed joy for being alive and healthy. So what?
Well, it’s a photo that wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t had a bone marrow transplant. It’s a snapshot of hope!

Three years ago today I was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, an aggressive blood cancer and fighting for my life. Prospects of ever being able to walk a beach again seemed beyond reach.
With a lot of chemo, I achieved remission, but my only hope for a future would be a bone marrow/stem cell transplant as the cancer would likely return. Let’s just say, that procedure isn’t a walk on the beach but it gave me a second chance at life and well worth the arduous journey it took to get here!

Along this journey, I’ve been able to help inspire and give hope to others who have faced my same battle. I’m alive, surviving and thriving because of a gift of life from my anonymous donor.

When facing a transplant, whether it’s stem cells, or a solid organ, it can be a daunting prospect. I think a gift we can give, as transplant survivors, is to share our positive transplant stories with anyone who is about to undergo the procedure or is in need of reassurance in their recovery.

Show me your Snapshot of hope! What photo do you have that wouldn’t exist without your transplant?

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) & CAR-T Cell Therapy Support Group.

@loribmt

Welcome, @bigjoek! Your beautiful, eloquent poem moved me to tears as I’m sure it will for others who have been gifted with a second chance at life. We don’t often get the opportunity for a do-over and to re-set our priorities. Every day, every moment is a gift to be treasured. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

I hope you’ll be a regular contributor to the transplant group. There are many here who have had liver transplants and your survival story of 32 years will be so inspiring to them and for others who are waiting to have a transplant. Congratulations on such a successful procedure!

This conversation is a good place to start sharing if you’d like:
Liver transplant - Let's support each other
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/liver-support-group/

I also see you posted about attending the transplant picnic. Have you attended in the past?

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My entire life post transplant has been dedicated to giving back, and supporting those who follow the path I had to walk. When I was given my second chance, there was no internet, no support groups, and no mentors. I vowed to do all I could to help others get through their journeys with the support that wasn't always there for me. I met many people, and supported all who needed an encouraging word, a smile, or a hug. I joined transplant support groups on Facebook when I finally connected there, and now am an admin for many many transplant related groups. I also signed up to be a mentor to those who are about to walk the same path, or are on the path and need someone who understands the process, setbacks, and trials of this miracle. I am a very gifted writer, having penned over 300 pieces of poetry, also a singer songwriter, with several organ donor related songs recorded. I am the father of 5 (2 biological 3 adopted post transplant) grandfather to 4, and married to my bride, my support, my life partner for almost 41 years. My two older children were 4 1/2 and 6 when I had my transplant at age 35. I have done much since, Scoutmaster for 10 years, playing in bands, working, promoting organ donation, being a husband, and father, and loving life!
If allowed I would be happy to share a link to one of my donor songs!!
Thank you for the kind words about my poem. I have a page on FB dedicated to my gift of poetry also!

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@bigjoek

I had a life saving liver transplant at Mayo in Rochester! As life often does, I was gifted with a surprise...I became a very gifted poet! Sharing one of my many poems of gratitude because it so well fits your story!
Thank you for sharing your story, and giving me a chance to share a touch of mine!
Joe Kralicek
Mayo Liver Transplant #397
11/01/1992

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Welcome, @bigjoek! Your beautiful, eloquent poem moved me to tears as I’m sure it will for others who have been gifted with a second chance at life. We don’t often get the opportunity for a do-over and to re-set our priorities. Every day, every moment is a gift to be treasured. Thank you so much for sharing with us.

I hope you’ll be a regular contributor to the transplant group. There are many here who have had liver transplants and your survival story of 32 years will be so inspiring to them and for others who are waiting to have a transplant. Congratulations on such a successful procedure!

This conversation is a good place to start sharing if you’d like:
Liver transplant - Let's support each other
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/liver-support-group/

I also see you posted about attending the transplant picnic. Have you attended in the past?

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I had a life saving liver transplant at Mayo in Rochester! As life often does, I was gifted with a surprise...I became a very gifted poet! Sharing one of my many poems of gratitude because it so well fits your story!
Thank you for sharing your story, and giving me a chance to share a touch of mine!
Joe Kralicek
Mayo Liver Transplant #397
11/01/1992

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Many of you have connected with @stephanierp in the Transplants Support Group. Perhaps you were someone like @jolinda who greeted, supported and encourage her when she first arrived on Mayo Clinic Connect. Or perhaps you were a grateful recipient of her experience and kindness, like @matthewmcbrien @kidneybean1 @juventus and countless others.

Today, Stephanie is the featured Member Spotlight. Get some of the background scoop about Stephanie through @rosemarya's interview. You'll learn how she found hope and help through Connect, pays it forward, as well as her passion for dance as a performer and teacher.

- Embrace the improbable: Meet @stephanierp https://connect.mayoclinic.org/blog/about-connect/newsfeed-post/embrace-the-improbable-meet-stephanierp/

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Happy Spring! Happy Donate Life Month!
Happy "Time to post a Snapshot of Hope!"

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I am not a picture taker. I just don't get it as I try to enjoy doing things and not take pictures of doing things. And I admit to being an anomaly and intentionally marching out of step with the crowd. If I did post a picture, it would be of my heart donor's family, his mom, grandmother, brother and his new wife. We have known each other for a few years now and recently got together for a fun "new family" Saturday.

That picture, not shared as I do not have their permission to post, would definitely not have happened without the transplant.
Best always,
s!

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@vollenweider6154

Thank you! Your post is so encouraging. I look forward to being able to share my own snapshot of hope. I'm on the lung transplant list. I feel my situation slowly deteriorating but I remain hopeful and encouraged.

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@vollenweider6154, Here is a link to a new Spotlight Interview that will interest you:

- Dancing til my feet hurt with new lungs: Meet @chickytina https://connect.mayoclinic.org/blog/about-connect/newsfeed-post/dancing-til-my-feet-hurt-with-new-lungs-meet-chickytina/

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@vollenweider6154

Thank you! Your post is so encouraging. I look forward to being able to share my own snapshot of hope. I'm on the lung transplant list. I feel my situation slowly deteriorating but I remain hopeful and encouraged.

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Thank you, @vollenweider6154. I can’t believe that today is year 5 already!! My goal in starting this discussion was to offer hope to anyone going through a transplant. So I’m happy that you’ve joined the forum.
It looks like you’ve been with us for a few months but this is your first time posting. I hope you’ve been finding your way around the support groups. We have quite a few members who have had lung transplants and doing well.

I understand being on the transplant list can take a while. If you haven’t already, this discussion is a good place to visit with other members who are also waiting. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/lung-transplants/

Sending wishes that you’ll be able to post your own snapshot of hope very soon. ☺️

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Thank you! Your post is so encouraging. I look forward to being able to share my own snapshot of hope. I'm on the lung transplant list. I feel my situation slowly deteriorating but I remain hopeful and encouraged.

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@gerryp your story and picture made me cry. Congratulations to you!

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