Author Archives: suzana

Second Chance

“You have less than five months to live.”

The violent blow set off an alarm in my head that blustery day in March 2002.

I was dying of liver disease. For two years the doctor had tried different medications to cure the disease eating away at my liver and now he was telling me the treatment failed. I gulped in all the air in the room hoping to prolong life beyond his words.

“All I can do now is put you on a waiting list. This is your only hope for survival,” he explained.

“A waiting list?”

“Yes, a transplant list.”

“No, it’s not a transplant list, it’s a death list,” I said. “I’m on a list waiting for someone to die so that I can live.”

“Basically, he said. The sympathy in his eyes annoyed me.

He made another prediction.

“There are 1400 Texans waiting for a liver, and it’s likely you’ll die waiting.” My only hope for survival–how absurd. He put me on the list and I went on with life. I was not about to give up that easy.

Things looked pretty hopeless for me. As I had done other times in the past, I put this catastrophe in God’s hands and prayed for a miracle.

Miracles do happen.
Unlike other transplant patients, I didn’t have to wait for a cadaver to get a new lease on life. In September of 2002, my youngest daughter saved my life.

The surgeons took a lobe of my daughter’s liver and implanted it in my body. What is so miraculous is the capacity of the liver to regenerate to a fully functioning organ after it has been divided. Both of our partial livers grew to a complete organ. She, like other donors, is the epitome of self-sacrifice, and unselfish giving. This child, that I gave life too, had now given me life. With that done, I became liver transplant patient #73 at the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver, Co.

But not everyone is blessed to have a living donor. Today there are 1600 on the waiting list. The quest to obtain organs and tissue is endless. About 21 people die every day waiting for transplants because of the shortage of donated organs.Unfortunately, donor blessings are often concealed behind the veil of overwhelming grief. I know that when an unexpected tragedy strikes a loved one, anguish is all consuming. The miracle of transplant is one thing–but having the vocabulary to address the grieving survivors is another. There is no easy way to approach people in this situation. It is important then, that before tragedy strikes anyone of us, that we keep our words and our actions human by giving permission beforehand that contributes to the legacy of life. This gesture of love keeps the surviving family from feeling victimized. Donors are heroes, they give hope to thousands awaiting the transplant they need to enter into a new Genesis.

We all have the capability to make life possible for others. It’s incredible but one donor can potentially save eight lives and improve the lives of 50 others. Our potential is so awesome. Donors affirm my faith in the basic human desire to help others even beyond life. I wouldn’t ask anybody to do what I wouldn’t do. I’m a registered donor. Although my liver is no longer usable, I have a heart, lungs, bone, skin, tendons, cornea etc. that I can contribute to a waiting recipient.

I share my story to give hope to those that wait in anticipation of a second chance and to encourage those of us that have the potential to brighten someone’s future. Leave behind the gift of life. Register today at organdonor.gov/register or at your local DMV–give your driver’s license a heart.

It’s been 16 years since I walked into the doctor’s office that blustery day in March 2002.

Death Sculpts me

In 2002, I received a liver transplant. I was in the end stage of liver disease. My doctor put me on a “waiting” list. It’s so sad, I thought. What the waiting list means is that I’m waiting for someone to die so that I can live. Someone, unwilling would make a great sacrifice for me. When someone makes such a huge sacrifice we can’t be so casual about life and yet we are.
The casualness of sacrifice came into my mind this morning as I spent time with the author of my life. It’s through his death, I gain eternal life. My sinful nature put him on the waiting list. When life weighs me down when I feel enough is enough! When I ask why? Why? I have to admit to his ultimate sacrifice. It’s the sacrifice that consumes negativity, pessimism, and hopelessness. My addictions, my bad behavior, the casualness of life are on the waiting list. Death sculpts me. #sculpt#liver#life#endstage#sacrifice#addictions#list

Litany of monkier arouses Suspicion

Times have changed.

In this world of uncertainty and chaos skepticism is rampant. Someone is watching us. I found out when I tried picking up my prescription. The pharmacy staff couldn’t find my script. They discovered i had four different profiles and a new employee created a fifth one. All this commotion is the result of others spelling my name incorrect. In the past I tried to fix this error but the attempt was futile. People continue to willy-nilly my name. Having a litany of names attached to me arouses suspicion. I don’t need to get into details as to the, “why” of it. I’m sure we can all agree it’s not a wise choice to have a list of monikers attached to you.

I’m on a name quest. It’s an adventure I didn’t anticipate–all my life I’ve been known as, “Suzana<” aka “Suzi.” My parents and siblings called me Suse (emphasis on the “e”) and Suzana forewarned me of the impending chancla if I didn’t change my attitude quick. It’s in the Spanish pronunciation of Suzana that most non-Spanish speakers get lost (even now spell check wants me to spell it Suzanna).

I don’t have my birth certificate and “No” i have never been out of the country. I can’t remember having to use it for any reason. Back in the day we didn’t have to prove ourselves like we do now. Recently I came upon my baptismal certificate.
I’m flabbergasted! Since it’s highly confidential, for obvious reasons, I won’t tell you the names, yes names on it. One thing I can say for sure; I’m not related to some rich and famous somebody. I’m a native of New Mexico but now I’m not sure where I was born–somewhere in the great Land of Enchantment. I’m thinking I’m an entity from the flying saucer that crash-landed in the Roswell desert in 1947.

It’s research time. The Department of Vital Records in Santa Fe is somewhat helpful. It’s the names on the baptismal certificate complicating my efforts.

As I wait for the search and rescue of my identity I will answer to Suzana aka Suzi