Our last update here on heart and kidney transplant recipient Bill Coon was from back in October when Bill had just received his transplants. I recently checked back in with Bill to see how things have been going. Below is a letter from he sent back along with a few recent entries documenting his recovery.
I apologize for my recent hiatus from this blog. I returned home on November 2, 2009 for the first time in seventy days. Since returning home, I have been very busy trying to get my life back on track, as I have been noticeably growing stronger with each day. Much of my time has been preoccupied with writing thank you notes, and a large amount of homework that I am behind on from my online courses.
I have recently read many of the comments from the September entries, and I want to say thank you to everyone who had written such beautiful messages to me. I truly appreciate your prayers and support.
In an attempt to make up for lost time, I have included two exerts from my forthcoming book “Swim”, and I plan on becoming a much more frequent blogger now that I am filled with a form of energy that I have not felt since December 2008.
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I wish you all an even better holiday season.
I hope you all enjoy,
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Today is my one-month anniversary of receiving my life-saving heart transplant. I was thinking about what I wanted to say in this entry, how I could possibly express my gratitude to my donor, and that’s when I realized that I can’t. The best I could do is simply describe how wonderful I feel.
I have come a long way since surgery; in fact, I have come a long way since last week. I feel revived. I run up-and-down stairs without thinking, I can eat anything I want without thinking twice about sodium. The only pain I experience is muscular pain in my shoulders, and even that is decreasing as the weeks go by. My life is back on track, my future has once again been restored, I am finally happy again.
As much as I want to vast in the glory of my survival, I can’t. It has dawned on me several times throughout the day that though my entire family has been writing me emails congratulating me on my “one-month”, I realize that somewhere in this country there is a an entire family in pain. They are faced with the gloomy realization that a month ago today they lost their loved one. Obviously, I don’t know what the family looks like, but I continuously get this image of four women sitting at a table, as their tears fall on the picture of their lost family member. I can’t shake the image; it’s just stuck in my mind.
Thursday, November 26, 2009 – Thanksgiving Day
What am I thankful for on this Thanksgiving? I should definitely start with the obvious, I am thankful for my donor. I am thankful for the unselfish generosity of his/her family. I am thankful that they were able to look outside of themselves during their darkest hour and make a decision that saved not only my life, (but I can only assume), the lives of many others.
I can imagine that they spent this day struggling to find something to be thankful for. Everything positive in their lives must have no comparison to the sadness that they felt on October 21st, and the sorrow that they are still without a doubt experiencing. I wish I could do something to help ease their pain, but I know that I cannot. This thought tore at me as I tried to indulge in the ham and turkey throughout the day. It’s 4:02am and I still haven’t been able to shake the thought from my mind.
The only minuscule comfort that I can find for the family that saved my life, is the fact that they have forever joined a community. They have joined the community of those touched by organ donation, the same overwhelmingly loving, and supportive community that reached out to me during my time of darkness, offering their support, stories, and words of encouragement. The very community that on this Thanksgiving I give thanks to.
On this Thanksgiving I am thankful to no longer feel pain when I move my legs. I am thankful that I no longer have a catheter protruding from my neck, and that I no longer have to take Morphine to get through the day. I am thankful for my unbelievable support system of family and friends, and for the staff at Northwestern who took a man who was in shambles, and with the power of modern-day medicine, pieced him back together stronger than he has ever been.
On this Thanksgiving, I am thankful to be alive.