Your gratitude changes because of organ failure...

Posted by jolinda @jolinda, Nov 27, 2019

Have you noticed that your gratitude has changed both pre and post transplant? I watched a fellow transplant recipient walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding last weekend and I was overcome by the beauty of the moment. I struggled a second time not to cry when the bride made a special toast to the living donor who saved her Dad’s life.

Both the process of becoming very sick and knowing how blessed I am to have gotten a transplant have made me more grateful. I find myself stopping more often and feeling more deeply the little moments in life that I have gotten the pleasure to witness. I don’t think I was this emotional before being sick.

Is it just me? Have you had an experience where you feel more emotional because of this crazy journey? Are we all just more aware and grateful than we were before or is it just the meds talking?

@sallycurrier

Congrats to your liver transplant success. It’s a tough one! Awesome feeling, I know, & I, too, feel grateful everyday but generally not overly emotional. I just spent time with my friend/donor (kidney) and we don’t talk about it hardly ever. We just understand how fortunate we are and we value our friendship and lives highly every day. We appreciate life and do for others as we can!! Continued success and healthy life! 💜

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@sallycurrier, I want to welcome you to Connect. I am happy to meet you and I thank you for sharing your awesome gratitude experience. Organ donation is a gift that gives much more than a renewed healthy life. In fact I have a t-shirt that reads: "Organ Donation is a gift for life". Nice, but doesn't begin to express what it is like to wake up from that surgery, does it?

I have read several members tell about their need to convince their loved to allow them to be tested as living donor. How long ago was your transplant? Do you remember if that was what you had to do? Or, was it the other way around where your friend had to convince you to accept their offer? If you are comfortable doing so, please tell us about the 'beginning' of your journey?

@sallycurrier, Have you had a chance to look thru the Transplant Discussion Group? As a member, you can join in anywhere at any time. Here are a few that I have selected as a starting point.
-Living Donor Process
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/living-donor-process/
-Sweats after a kidney transplant
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/sweats-after-a-kidney-transplant/
-What do you do when your temperature goes Up, Up,..?
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/what-do-you-do-when-youir-temperature-goes-up-up-d/

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@rosemarya

@sallycurrier, I want to welcome you to Connect. I am happy to meet you and I thank you for sharing your awesome gratitude experience. Organ donation is a gift that gives much more than a renewed healthy life. In fact I have a t-shirt that reads: "Organ Donation is a gift for life". Nice, but doesn't begin to express what it is like to wake up from that surgery, does it?

I have read several members tell about their need to convince their loved to allow them to be tested as living donor. How long ago was your transplant? Do you remember if that was what you had to do? Or, was it the other way around where your friend had to convince you to accept their offer? If you are comfortable doing so, please tell us about the 'beginning' of your journey?

@sallycurrier, Have you had a chance to look thru the Transplant Discussion Group? As a member, you can join in anywhere at any time. Here are a few that I have selected as a starting point.
-Living Donor Process
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/living-donor-process/
-Sweats after a kidney transplant
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/sweats-after-a-kidney-transplant/
-What do you do when your temperature goes Up, Up,..?
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/what-do-you-do-when-youir-temperature-goes-up-up-d/

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Hi @rosemarya
Nice to hear from you… I’ll try to answer briefly.
My medical Centre, UCSD, sent information, to names I provided, regarding donating a kidney for me. I didn’t do it personally. My kidney came from a friend who told me she was gonna give me a kidney because she knew she was a match. She was! Even better than my brother. And yes, I kept refusing, but she won. (Well she won that battle but was one of very few ‘bleeders’ and laparoscopy became major surgery.) It was very touchy but she is great still today, 17.5 years later! She’s amazing!

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@gaylea1

@contentandwell ..after reading your reply I guess my situation isn't really all that different. Did you write a letter and give it to the doctor in did you send an email with your letter attached? Thanks for sharing with me.

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@gaylea1 before I was discharged I was given a packet with an address to send it to, and a sample letter to give the patient some ideas for the letter. I was told to not include more than my first name. Those letters are always sent to a third party to maintain anonymity. If your transplant center didn’t give you a packet like that, give them a call. It must have somehow gotten overlooked.
JK

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@contentandwell

@gaylea1 before I was discharged I was given a packet with an address to send it to, and a sample letter to give the patient some ideas for the letter. I was told to not include more than my first name. Those letters are always sent to a third party to maintain anonymity. If your transplant center didn’t give you a packet like that, give them a call. It must have somehow gotten overlooked.
JK

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@contentandwell I will definitely ask them. Thank You!

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@gaylea1

@contentandwell I will definitely ask them. Thank You!

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@gaylea1 if you refer to the response from @colleenyoung further back a little bit, she provided two links. One is a conversation I started, and the second is one that someone started about writing to the donor’s family. In that link I included a picture of the guideline I received, and the name of the organization that I sent the letter to. I think you will find both links very helpful. I had forgotten that I had put a picture of that document in there.
JK

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@contentandwell

@gaylea1 if you refer to the response from @colleenyoung further back a little bit, she provided two links. One is a conversation I started, and the second is one that someone started about writing to the donor’s family. In that link I included a picture of the guideline I received, and the name of the organization that I sent the letter to. I think you will find both links very helpful. I had forgotten that I had put a picture of that document in there.
JK

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Thank you!

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@rosemarya @contentandwell … I finally wrote my letter of gratitude to my donor family and submitted it to my transplant coordinator.for mailing. Here it is:

Hello Dear Family,
On November 28th 2018 two very important events occurred changing both our family's lives dramatically.
You lost a loved one and I was extended another lease on life.
My family and I send you our deepest sympathy. It must have been very difficult losing a loved one especially at that time of the year.
For my family it was the opposite. As you were saying goodbye we were rejoicing with the special gift of a life saving organ.
I was very ill the previous three years.
I am the mother of two children, a sister a daughter an aunt and a wife. We had much to celebrate as I could now live to see grandchildren and spend more time with my family.
Because of the liver transplant I am now regaining my health and hope to live a long and happy life.
That day I received the greatest gift a person could ever wish for – life.
We can not thank you enough for your loved one's selfless act.
A part of your loved one resides in me and I will cherish it and never forget the wonderful person who gave me the gift of life.
Most Sincerly,
Your organ donor recipient.

I hope that they get at last a little solace with this.

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@gaylea1

@rosemarya @contentandwell … I finally wrote my letter of gratitude to my donor family and submitted it to my transplant coordinator.for mailing. Here it is:

Hello Dear Family,
On November 28th 2018 two very important events occurred changing both our family's lives dramatically.
You lost a loved one and I was extended another lease on life.
My family and I send you our deepest sympathy. It must have been very difficult losing a loved one especially at that time of the year.
For my family it was the opposite. As you were saying goodbye we were rejoicing with the special gift of a life saving organ.
I was very ill the previous three years.
I am the mother of two children, a sister a daughter an aunt and a wife. We had much to celebrate as I could now live to see grandchildren and spend more time with my family.
Because of the liver transplant I am now regaining my health and hope to live a long and happy life.
That day I received the greatest gift a person could ever wish for – life.
We can not thank you enough for your loved one's selfless act.
A part of your loved one resides in me and I will cherish it and never forget the wonderful person who gave me the gift of life.
Most Sincerly,
Your organ donor recipient.

I hope that they get at last a little solace with this.

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I’m quite a wait until I received a transplant (my MELD is not high enough for Duke to place me on their list). I have long thought about the person and family who will be suffering the loss. Your note is quite well written, and I am sure with great sincerity. I’m glad to have this as a model for me in the future. By the way, I celebrated my 70th with my family this Thanksgiving. Congratulations on your anniversary.

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@gaylea1

@rosemarya @contentandwell … I finally wrote my letter of gratitude to my donor family and submitted it to my transplant coordinator.for mailing. Here it is:

Hello Dear Family,
On November 28th 2018 two very important events occurred changing both our family's lives dramatically.
You lost a loved one and I was extended another lease on life.
My family and I send you our deepest sympathy. It must have been very difficult losing a loved one especially at that time of the year.
For my family it was the opposite. As you were saying goodbye we were rejoicing with the special gift of a life saving organ.
I was very ill the previous three years.
I am the mother of two children, a sister a daughter an aunt and a wife. We had much to celebrate as I could now live to see grandchildren and spend more time with my family.
Because of the liver transplant I am now regaining my health and hope to live a long and happy life.
That day I received the greatest gift a person could ever wish for – life.
We can not thank you enough for your loved one's selfless act.
A part of your loved one resides in me and I will cherish it and never forget the wonderful person who gave me the gift of life.
Most Sincerly,
Your organ donor recipient.

I hope that they get at last a little solace with this.

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@gaylea1 This was a great submission you sent in. When you were finished, how did you feel? For Bill [my husband] when he wrote his donor family, it was a difficult task, as he is not prone to voice his feelings, but he felt compelled to let the family know his thoughts and gratitude. I am sure the donor's family will be happy to hear from you, even if they decide to not communicate back to you. We never heard from our donor family, unfortunately.
Ginger

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@gingerw

@gaylea1 This was a great submission you sent in. When you were finished, how did you feel? For Bill [my husband] when he wrote his donor family, it was a difficult task, as he is not prone to voice his feelings, but he felt compelled to let the family know his thoughts and gratitude. I am sure the donor's family will be happy to hear from you, even if they decide to not communicate back to you. We never heard from our donor family, unfortunately.
Ginger

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@gingerw it has taken me months and months to decide what to say. At first I started out telling them about my journey that led to a transplant but it was just depressing. So, I decided to make it a little more uplifting thanking them and focussing more on my donor. It was cathartic and I feel so much better knowing that I reached out. If I hear back it would be nice but if not at least they know how grateful I am.

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@gaylea1

@gingerw it has taken me months and months to decide what to say. At first I started out telling them about my journey that led to a transplant but it was just depressing. So, I decided to make it a little more uplifting thanking them and focussing more on my donor. It was cathartic and I feel so much better knowing that I reached out. If I hear back it would be nice but if not at least they know how grateful I am.

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@gaylea1 Uplifting was a great decision, as it uplifted you and will them, also. Very proud of you for taking the step to reach out! We have so much to be grateful for.
Ginger

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@gaylea1

@rosemarya @contentandwell … I finally wrote my letter of gratitude to my donor family and submitted it to my transplant coordinator.for mailing. Here it is:

Hello Dear Family,
On November 28th 2018 two very important events occurred changing both our family's lives dramatically.
You lost a loved one and I was extended another lease on life.
My family and I send you our deepest sympathy. It must have been very difficult losing a loved one especially at that time of the year.
For my family it was the opposite. As you were saying goodbye we were rejoicing with the special gift of a life saving organ.
I was very ill the previous three years.
I am the mother of two children, a sister a daughter an aunt and a wife. We had much to celebrate as I could now live to see grandchildren and spend more time with my family.
Because of the liver transplant I am now regaining my health and hope to live a long and happy life.
That day I received the greatest gift a person could ever wish for – life.
We can not thank you enough for your loved one's selfless act.
A part of your loved one resides in me and I will cherish it and never forget the wonderful person who gave me the gift of life.
Most Sincerly,
Your organ donor recipient.

I hope that they get at last a little solace with this.

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@gaylea1 That's truly beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes. You expressed so well what we all feel.
JK

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