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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Super Six Months and Donor Letter

I can hardly believe it has already been six months since my transplant. I cannot even begin to tell you how happy I am and how wonderful I feel. I went to my six month check-up and everything looks wonderful. I am still struggling with blood sugars some time, but I have an Endocrinologist I am working with in Clear Lake for this issue. I figure both my parents are diabetics, three of my medications cause a spike in blood sugar, and I am still overweight. I am struggling with finding time to exercise all the time now that I am back at work full-time, but I haven't given up. I just look at Thomas sometimes, and I would rather do stuff with and for him, but I know that the best thing I can do for him is get in the best shape possible. I am down to just the following medications:  Prograf, Cellcept, Magnesium, Calcium with Vit D, Protonix, Ursodiol, Metformin, and Bactrim! I feel like life is getting back to normal, I occasionally wish for a moment where I don't have to think about so many things, like what type of food will be served at a party, what way will the food be served, will it be a lot of people in a cramped space, what kind of water will we be swimming in, do you have well water, etc.. It can get overwhelming sometimes!  I am so very thankful for the past six months that my precious donor has allowed me to live to the fullest. Below is what my letter said, minus a few really personal things, I hand wrote the letter sent to the family as well as enclosed pictures of me with my son and family. Please keep praying that they will want to meet me some day.

To the Most Wonderful Family I Have Never Met,

     I have to admit, this is one of the hardest letters to write. Why?  Because it is the most important letter I have ever written. I don't know words good enough, honorable enough, thankful enough to describe how I feel about your son and your family.  What do I say to the most selfless, loving people I have never met, but I feel so bonded to. I received your son's liver and on February 23rd, my life forever changed. I received the greatest gift anyone has ever given me besides God's gift of Jesus Christ.  While the phone call I received that night made me rejoice and get on my knees thanking God for this miracle, I realized at that moment that your family just received the most devastating news because you lost someone so special to you.  I wish I knew his name, his interests, what he looked like, and I really wish I knew everything about him.  I imagine him as a son, brother, uncle, nephew, friend, grandson, boyfriend, cousin, and I know he played so many roles in all the lives he touched. 
     I figure that you want to know a little about me too. I was born and raised in Pasadena, Tx. I have been married to my husband Paul for the last four and a half years. I have an older sister, Patricia, and a younger brother, John. I am a cousin to many wonderful people that helped me so much during my journey, I am an aunt, a daughter, a granddaughter, a niece, but my most prized role is that of being a mother to my son Thomas John Bennett.  He is 22 months old at this time and I am also a mother to my twin angels in heaven.
     When I found out my Autoimmune Hepatitis had turned into Cirrhosis and then liver cancer, I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me. I had such strong faith, I believed God would heal me with a miracle, I just didn't realize my miracle would happen through your son. He is my miracle. Every second after my diagnosis suddenly became so important to me. I wanted to leave such an impression on my son.  I wanted to make lasting memories with him, but mostly- I wanted to LIVE. The only reason I have a future to raise my son is because of your son.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Those two words just don't seem like enough.  I wish I could hug you and meet you and show you just how grateful I am.
     I think of your son every single day.  I live my life different now.  I desire to honor him and his precious life.  I just can't thank you enough.  This whole experience has changed every aspect of my life because I am now a better nurse when I go to my job, I honor your son.  I am a much better wife and mother- I want to be more selfless like your family. I eat better, I exercise regularly now, I want you to know that I am taking the best possible care of my liver that I can.  I have followed my doctor's orders to the tee!
     I would love to meet you, if you would want to meet me and my family.  I would love to know his name, to be able to speak it, to be able to tell others about him and call him by name.  I am enclosing pictures of my family and I hope you are at a point in your grieving where we can have contact. 
    I often think about if I was put in your shoes, would I be able to make the same decision if Thomas was the one that would be the donor.  I know I now would make the same decision you did because I know firsthand how precious a gift an organ is.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.


While typing this up, I realized there are places I could have improved the letter, but I am happy I completed it and sent it off.  I am currently thinking about a way to honor him every year on February 23.  I never want him to be forgotten. 

A few things that have happened lately that make me smile.  Today, as I was rocking Thomas to sleep for his nap, I kissed him on the face after I thought he was asleep.  He opened his eyes and said,"One more Momma," this melted my heart, tears started flowing. I am so happy to have moments like this. I didn't just give him one more kiss, but several more kisses. 

I am sick of all the election stuff going on right now, because I think what I have realized is that change really does start with myself. I want to stand up for what I know is right. I am tired of hearing filth every where I turn.  What has happened to modesty? What has happened to people feeling ashamed of bad behavior? Why is it OK for people to make excuses for everything they do wrong?  Why are people so mean? I feel like I can make a change by making my voice heard more often, but I don't want to hurt others in the process. I hope I get better and stronger every day.

On a total different note, I watched the series New York Med for the past couple of months, and if any of you were able to watch this show, I loved it. It was so touching. I cried every time I watched it. They showed a liver transplant and everything the man that received the liver felt, struck a cord with me.  His son told the doctor before his dad was wheeled off, "Please take care of my hero." I just balled.

Thomas' Birthday is coming up on September 30th, my baby will be two. It has flown by, but every second of being his Mommy has been wonderful.  He taught me all about a love I never knew before.

Until next time.


  1. Katrina,
    It is so great to hear that everything is going so well at the 6 month mark. Your sense of gratitude is contagious. Sarah and I will continue to pray for yall. Tell Thomas Happy Birthday.

    C.J. Brown

  2. Thanks C.J.! I am so very thankful, there really aren't words fitting enough to express it. I read your blog and your wife's too and love keeping up with your family.

  3. Love you and thank God for your faith and continued strength. I love you!