Sunday, June 12, 2011

Imagine Me and You

Dear Donor Bob:

Happy anniversary!

One year ago this Saturday (June 11th) your family -- perhaps on your prompting? -- made a decision that changed my life forever. I remember it like it was yesterday, really. Sitting at an upstairs table in a busy NYC restaurant with my mom, dad, and sister, all of sad wondering if that crazy little miracle called transplant would ever come our way. All of us, that evening, had our doubts. All of us had fears, many of which we were too tired or terrified to even admit. We were testy with each other, fed up with the process, and we were waaaaay over the whole "dry run" thing. I personally recall feeling an odd mixture of grief and acceptance; after so many failed transplant attempts (and one very rare near-miss for organs) I had silently and secretly decided that perhaps new lungs just weren't in the stars. I didn't see how I could come so close so often without a match if I were truly supposed to get an organ. I was disheartened, and more than that I was really, really tired.

Tired of not being able to breathe.
Tired of missing out on my own life.
Tired of watching my family struggle.
Tired of the unknown.
Tired, most of all, of the waiting.

That all changed with a single decision, a single act, a single, precious gift from someone who had never even met me -- who was, in fact, unaware of my very existence. It changed, quite literally, in a phone call, in a breath, in a heartbeat. My sister claims she knew the second the phone rang that this was "THE Call." I was admittedly a bit more skeptical, and all through the hectic race to the hospital and then the even more hectic scramble to get me to the OR in time, I was fairly certain that, once again, something would come up that would keep me from receiving this priceless treasure of new life. I was, to say the least, a little bit jaded by that point in the process.

But I was also wrong. (And never, by the way, have I been so happy to write those words.) We were a match made in heaven set up by something far larger than ourselves -- and with a little help from some very clever matchmakers at my hospital. And if I sound a little overly sappy with that statement, well, I guess you're just going to have to bear with me on that one, because I can honestly say that you and I were meant for each other.

Bob, you came into my life at the perfect time, rescuing me not just from failing lungs but from a failure of spirit in one sweeping, gorgeous motion. I went to sleep that night somewhat broken, and I woke up not just restored, but also amazingly -- and irrevocably -- blessed. Because when I opened my eyes again on the morning of June 12th, 2010, I was not only wholly myself again; I was also imbued with at least a little bit of your light. And that, my friend, is a truly awesome thing, let me tell you.

And I really have to say, Bob, I couldn't have asked for a better partner for this journey. I mean, come on, how many men do you know who would tolerate a woman with some super disturbing little live-in "friends" (yes, pseudo, I'm totally looking at you) and put up with constant attacks from her very moody sinuses? Not many, in my experience. And yet you, friend, have weathered it all with a grace, good humor, and determination that even I find inspiring. It's truly breathtaking to watch you bounce back after every obstacle in a way my old lungs, wonderful and loyal as they often were, could never have done in a million years. I mean seriously, dude: way to breathe! And rest assured that I find it all beyond impressive -- even when the road gets, well, a little bumpier than you (or I) might have originally planned.

So today, beautiful soul, we celebrated you. And in case you missed it (which I know you didn't, because I could totally feel you with us): it was a celebration worthy of a hero. All of my friends absolutely loved you (they've had such fun getting to know you over the past 12 months, and were excited to finally raise their glasses to the man behind the magic), and you were a big hit with my family as well. All of which means, of course, that we're going to have to stick together. We're just too good an act to split up now. And hey, let's face it: we'd never be able to live without each other, anyway.

So to my friend, my hero, my beautiful stranger/soulmate: thank you for everything. I could never say it enough, but I hope that you know that because of you, I will forever breathe in beauty.

I have your lungs, and you, my friend, will always have my heart.

With Deepest Love and Gratitude,


  1. I've never commented here before, but that was beautifully said. Happy Anniversary with many more to come. Be well.

  2. 28 year old daughter is sitting beside me as I recite your words to her. Carla is currently status 2 on the transplant list with 1 dry run under her belt (almost 3 months ago). Your words at the beginning of the blog resonated with her in a big way. "TIRED"! So encouraging to know that she is on the cusp of a new life, a life that you were given 1 year ago. Love reading your eloquent, honest and of course, funny blogs. Stay strong and healthy....
    Deborah, Mom of Carla (future double lung transplant recipient).

  3. What a year you and Bob have had! Hoping next year brings you even more joy and much less medicine-y things to deal with.

  4. Well written with great tribute and appreciation for the unselfish deed which made you really live again. Enjoy reading your blog and wishing you continuous good health and anniversaries for many, many years.