Category Archives: Family

If You’ve Got It to Give

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My sister who has been through so much is being assessed as a transplant patient.

Her doctors now believe that her spleen is enlarged due to the beginning phases of liver failure.  It’s working overtime to try to take some of the stress away from her liver but that’s not the way the body is supposed to work.

Caitlyn has an appointment on January 4th with her surgeons, social workers, counsellors, nurses and transplant coordinators to discuss her status and her position on the transplant waiting list. 

There are some positives here.  Shes’s in much better health than the last time she had this surgery (six years ago) and they may consider a live organ donation.  Her husband has volunteered to be tested.  So have I. 

I have always felt like this was meant to be.  Six years ago, I felt like I should donate but not only was there not enough time, I was morbidly obese and not eligible. 

Thank God I changed my life – I should have no problems qualifying to donate a portion of my liver this time around.

My mother and I discussed this, she would rather it was Jason, my sister’s husband.  My mother said that she had no idea how she would survive the two of us being in there at the same time.  I know, I just know in my gut, that I am going to be a better match and my liver will be healthier.  I’ve never smoked, I drink only in moderation (last Saturday night excepted), I eat clean and I exercise regularly. 

I only hope I can give her this and it turns out well.

Sometimes Life Sucks

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My sister is really sick. 

It’s hard to think about anything else.  Caitlyn had a liver transplant almost six years ago.  Life did not really go back to normal, at least not the way I expected it to.  I guess it’s a bit of a fallacy, based solely on what I’d seen on TV and in movies, but I really expected my sister to just start living a normal life, maybe taking medications to prevent rejection but mostly the way it was before.

It didn’t happen.

She’s struggled with health issues all along – from rejection episodes to unexplained seizures and now it’s gotten worse.  She’s been diagnosed with portal hypertension and her spleen is enlarged to four times the normal size.  She has to have her spleen removed and is now on a no-salt, low protein diet.  They are also discussing putting a stint in her hepatic artery to improve blood flow to her liver. 

According to my mother (I live quite far from my sister and mother and have not seen Caitlyn in person), she moves like an old woman.  This is complicated further by her doctors assessment that her other organs (specifically her kidneys) are so taxed from everything else that they’re not sure how much more they can do if these treatments don’t work.  Her kidneys are functioning at the level of a 70 year old’s right now.

It’s so freaking scary.  I am worried constantly.  It’s not fair.

IT’S NOT FAIR.

She is 23 years old and recently married.  She’s already been told she cannot have children, why can’t she catch a break? 

I walk around feeling like I have a time bomb burning a hole in my throat.  I can’t breathe around it sometimes.  I lay awake at night and think about all the “what ifs”, which is horrible, counter productive and useless, but you try NOT doing it when something horrible is going on in your life and let me know how you accomplish it.

I don’t want to live in a world that doesn’t contain my sister.  She’s the best of my family, everyone agrees.  Caitlyn never speaks ill of anyone, she’s funny and generous and open-hearted.  She makes the world a better place.

I’m trying really hard not to talk about this stuff out loud.  I feel like its jinxing things or somehow I’m prophesying something.

But I had to spew it to someone.  And since no one reads this blog, it feels safe.  If my chance someone stumbles on this, please pray for my sister, even if you don’t believe in prayer. 

Caitlyn needs every good thought you can send her way.