Ghost Organ

Exciting scientific work:

Organs and tissues can become decullularized after exposure to ordinary detergents over the course of a few days because the soaps disrupt the cellular membranes, which can then be rinsed clear of the supportive tissue. A series of chemicals are then used to make sure that all cells have been eliminated, leaving only a scaffold of cartilage and collagen. A patient’s stem cells are then coated over the structure and are given growth factors to help them grow and differentiate into the desired cells and the organ is complete for transplant, with no fear of rejection.

This technique is still emerging and has plenty of obstacles, but it holds a great deal of promise. Researchers and physicians hope that in the future this will alleviate strain on those in need of a new organ. In the US, there are currently over 114,000 people waiting on a transplant list, and about 18 of them die every day while waiting for the lifesaving call. Only about 10% of the organs needed are donated each year.

In the meantime, there are other options. Portions of pig organs, particularly hearts, have been used in transplants. Rejection can be high due to a sugar molecule that is not welcomed by our immune systems. This is getting better due to genetic modification of the pigs and medications that suppress the immune system.

A Second Chance Whether Deserved or Not

A Second Chance Whether Deserved or Not

Jerked awake in the stillness of the dark of the night,

I’m soaked in sweat, my clothes clinging to me like a wet sack,

Closing my eyes I attempt to stop my hands from shaking,

Tears slowly drip down my cheeks taunting my grasp on reality,

I choke to breathe feeling the knife once again back at my throat,

All I had to do was lean forward and this torment would have been over,

I can hear his fucking voice in my head, mocking me nightly.

I grab your picture on my nightstand, gazing into your eyes,

Dare I tell you of my feelings of inadequacy, is it what you want to hear,

How can I not after all you’ve shared with me,

Surely I’ll be better tomorrow; I know it is a lie,

My trembling fingers caress your cheek down to the line of your chin,

A tear drops onto the glass blurring your lovely face,

I close my eyes hoping to still see you there.

Alcohol used to always make it easier to get through the night,

Just a drink and I can push these thoughts out of my head,

My body lurches forward at an all too familiar thought,

My stomach gurgles in agreement that a drink is not acceptable,

I glance at my picture of my niece and then to you my love,

Am I so weak that I think a drink or a drug would help,

Years of self-medication die hard, but die they must.

My fingers trace over the scar across my belly,

Someone died so that I might have this second chance,

I cannot and will not make the same mistakes this time,

I won’t throw away a second chance at happiness, at love,

Love the word ferments in my mind as I gaze upon your loveliness,

I feel like I’m disappointing you even considering a drink for an instant,

Do I tell you how weak I am, how scared I am without you.

I’d welcome back the physical illness to get rid of the mental,

I am always so filled with doubt, did I deserve this chance,

I’ve done so many truly horrific things in this life,

Is it possible to be forgiven, can I forgive myself,

People tell me I am so strong, why can’t I believe that,

Did I only fight to prove those wrong that said no,

There has to be a reason I was given the chance to survive.

I’d like to drop to my knees and beg your forgiveness,

I’d like to go back in time and change that decision, make it right,

One desire is impossible, the other simply unfair,

The thought of my disrespect, conjures up my feeling of inadequacy,

Maybe I never deserved you in my life as I half fear and believe,

Would you be better off without me – I hope not,

With every fiber of my being I dream of the day you believe in me again.

Second Chances

Second chances (nine years past my expiration date):

Life is strange, it throws a lot at you testing your resolve, testing your fortitude, testing your fight, testing your will to live. People are fond of saying what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I suppose that is true although I don’t find it terribly comforting and I have enough character. End stage liver disease, throat cancer, ptsd, major depression, and schizoaffective disorder are a few of the hurdles placed in my path.

Today marks the anniversary of the September day back in 2011 I’d receive my liver transplant. End stage liver disease was a battle that as much as I mustered a strong front I really didn’t expect to survive. Survive I did though after two years of muscle atrophy, ruptured esophageal varices, Encephalopathy, near constant hospitalizations, procedures, and surgery. Through the process I was witness to the unbelievable strength of my mother, my caregiver. I would meet people along the way that would touch my life in ways I didn’t believe possible.

Today I pause on the eight year anniversary of my transplant to offer up my humble gratitude to my family, my friends, all the doctors, surgeons, and nurses that made my second chance at life possible. Most of all I am grateful for the donor family whose loss of their loved one provided me with the second chance at life. I am incredibly grateful to a person I’ll never meet, never know who or what they were, but through their selflessness provided me with a second chance.

If you’re not already registered to be an organ donor please register now. You can save lives…

#SecondChance #LiverTransplant #EightYears #Gratitude