I sit and try to put into words what my transplant has meant to me. Why did I receive this miracle of life? Hey I don’t know. I feel I ‘m one lucky human being. I get to get up in the morning and brush my teeth. I get to hike up Aspen Mountain for the Summit for Life event. I got a new hip. I got to ride 62 miles for Team Transplant at the Elephant Rock Bike Ride. I got to hike to the crater of Mt. St. Helens. I get to see my family more. I get to eat good food. I get to be a Big Buddy. I get to work everyday. Well you get the picture now I GET TO BE ALIVE. And through being alive I get show people that transplants do work... I feel I’m the everyday person who has had a transplant and continues on facing the daily trails and tribulations of life. The special thing is I am alive to experience more life. So to continue on here's what got me to this point in my life.
First I would like to say my transplant would not have been successful without the support of my friends in Washington State, my family and the great medical folks at the University of Washington. Also I would not be here without the awareness and kindness of my donor family in their time of great sorrow. I owe them huge debt of gratitude. I am humbled.
My troubles actually started when I experimented with drugs when I was 17 or 18. I used the needle a few times. Knew it was not the right thing to be doing and stopped. Who knew at the time what those few times would lead to?
Flash forward to the summer of 1994 I started to put on a lot of weight. In about a month and half I ballooned up to 246 from 185. I was a walking water balloon. I went to the hospital and was diagnosed with end stage liver disease. It was a nice way to say I had cirrhosis and hepatitis C. It was not a comfort to find out I had an incurable disease. At this time a transplant was not considered an option.
Flash forward to January 1998 and I had been floundering along and decided something needed to be done. So my doctor sent my records to the University of Washington to see about any medical studies I could get on to treat the Hep C. A week later I was told I was not a good candidate for their tests and that I needed a liver transplant. That was my only option to get in better health. I was evaluated and put on the waiting list in October 1998.
I was told I would have 2-3 year wait which didn’t sound to promising. I had a mantra that I said to myself everyday “Positive Thought Breeds Positive Action.” It was important to stay in a positive frame of mind because it was easier to deal with the illness. I wouldn’t have to fight through the negative vibes.
I took a turn for the worse and in October 1999 and was moved to the top list A-1 and after that things moved pretty fast. On December 2, 1999 I received my call for the transplant. I was ready to go. During the pervious week I was called twice to be a back up transplant patient in case any thing went wrong with the original person selected. That was a crazy week.
I spent 26 days in the hospital. I was in intensive care three days. Wasn’t able to use a phone for about 2 weeks. The nurses thought I was a pretty goofy guy as one time I though I was riding on a bus around the city of Seattle and the bus driver wouldn’t stop at the hospital to let me off. So I buzzed the nurse and ask them if they could get off this bus and take me back to my room. They came to my room and said Mr. Wells you never left your room and it dawned on me medications were making hallucinate. We had a good laugh over that one
December 2, 2012 will be my 13th year and the transplant has been very successful. I haven’t had any rejection episodes. The only other problem I have had was hip replacement surgery. So to those waiting on a transplant keep a positive attitude if you are reading please sign an organ donation card and let your family know your wishes.
Miracles can and do happen everyday.
Also I want to say that I am truly blessed to receive the “Gift of Life” I have never meet my organ donor’s family but I send them blessings everyday I take a breath of air.
This brings me to the Transplant Games of America. The games are important to me because thru athletic competition I get to show my appreciation of my of my donor family. That is the important thing about the games the celebration of life and showing appreciation of all donor families.