“A Mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth,
back and forth. While she rocked him she sang: “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”
That baby grew and grew....as the famous Bob Munch children’s story goes, he grew into a 2 yr old, to become a young boy, a teenager and a young man who moved across town. But regardless of his age or whereabouts, every night when he was asleep the mother picked him up and rocked him back and forth and sang...I’ll love you forever...
Then one day the mom called her son and said I’m very sick!
March 22, 2015 will always be a milestone day in my life. I was rushed to the hospital with internal bleeding when a blood vessel ruptured in my esophagus, which rapidly evolved into a multi system breakdown. In just a few days we would hear the words: “liver failure” for the first time.
My liver failure was an evolution of cirrhosis, diagnosed 4 years earlier....the result of two autoimmune diseases that unknowingly attacked my liver for many years. Now 5 of my bodily systems had broken down in a matter of days. I spent almost 7 weeks in ICU like settings, being managed through some very complicated daily manoeuvres using 9 powerful medicines.
The conclusion was that I needed a liver transplant very soon.
With no cure for cirrhosis we understood that at some time in the future I may need a transplant....but why now? How could this be?
Our 18 year old equestrian daughter was right in the middle of trying to make the Canadian Eventing team for the Toronto Pan Am games. Our son in law was running for the Federal Government seat. Craig’s wife Heather was expecting their first child. My busy executive husband was leading a significant organization.
My main goal in life was to be a supportive wife, mother and friend, and here I was completely dehabilitated- letting everyone down--bedridden, being nursed through the nights with my husband tying a string to our wrists so that I would not wander to the top of the stairs in my confusion. I had aged dramatically in 3 months –and on many days I didn’t recognize my family as the unfiltered toxins hit my brain.
So I was at a precipice and without a new liver I could not live.
Craig........At the time, I was managing some our family businesses, so I was able to accompany my parents at my mom’s medical appointments. It
was through this that I learned about the opportunity to be a living liver donor.
I was excited to be the one selected to undergo numerous tests and procedures to determine that I was fit to donate my liver. It was an absolute honour. Once the team at Toronto General confirmed that my liver was suitable, in my case, I had a final step, which was to lose 40 pounds in 6 weeks.
For me, the decision was easy. There was really no cost to me, and, at the same time, it was one of the most fulfilling decisions of my life.
When I think about making this decision, I think it’s important to consider the life of the person or people you could save. Think about someone’s son or daughter, father or mother, brother, sister. What if it’s your family member or friend? Or could you imagine yourself needing a donation? What if tomorrow ended up being your milestone day? What if tomorrow you learned that your life depended on the generosity of someone else?
Most donors are not alive when their organ transplant occurs. But, in my case, I could not only imagine my mom’s need, I was right by her side witnessing and experiencing it. Because it was a living transplant, I have had the great opportunity to be on this side of the experience and to see how it has restored her life.
Whether you are there for that moment or not, signing up to be a donor could be one of the most critical decisions you will make that could lead to an incredibly fulfilling legacy. And, I would urge you to take this night to do just that.
Fay.....Many in our circle of friends and family prayed for a miracle. Well that miracle came for me through medical science and the brilliant minds of the doctors and nurses who could orchestrate a most amazing surgery and recovery process!
On August 5th – my 61st birthday – they removed 65% of Craig’s liver and transplanted it into me!
Here is an entry Don made in his journal the next morning:
“Fay spent a long night in recovery with some complications and just
arrived in the step down unit at 6:40 this morning. It was quite an
emotional moment when we stopped her bed at Craig's door and they were
able to say hi to each other! Craig had been restlessly waiting for some hours to see her go by and in her case she was anxious to see for herself if we were telling the truth that he was OK! The hall was quiet and it took a while for Fay's eyes to focus. But once she caught Craig's gaze she returned his wave and Craig wished her a 'Happy Birthday' and told her he was 'Glad She Was His Mom!' She thanked him for the incredible birthday present and even the heartiest of the nursing crew couldn't hold it together... then, off she went to her own team awaiting her in a room at the end of the same hall!
So now, every morning, this once sick mom, wakes up grateful to be alive!!