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Recipient Stories

A Gift from my Donor and a Blessing from God

My name is Mater and I love to sing. I am a Christian soloist with a music ministry and love to tell people about the love of Jesus Christ. I have been in the prisons throughout Ohio, and have had a ministry in eight nursing homes within the inner city. I sing for church services, retreats and fund raisers. My music is a very important part of my life, but because of serious illnesses I have had to put my music on hold at various times and three years before my transplant, I thought I would never sing again.

One day in my late twenties, I found myself itching from head to toe. After blood tests, I was diagnosed with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis of the liver, which is when the liver is functioning at a slow rate and cannot remove all the toxins of the body, and the body begins to break down. I was told that it is a rare liver disease, that I was eventually going to die and all they could do was to follow the progress of the disease and treat my symptoms such as the itching and joint pain.

I could not believe this devastating news and would not accept it. I did well for the next eight years, but in November 1987, I thought I had caught a bad case of the flu. I was a divorced parent and had just picked up my sons (who were in elementary and middle school) from school on a Friday evening. When I got home, I thought I would lie down on the bed for a few minutes and then fix dinner, but when I awoke, two hours had passed. By Monday I was still sick. I was dehydrated and began hemorrhaging and had a great deal of pain in my stomach. I could not eat or drink. I was placed in the hospital and tests were run. They found my white blood cell count to be so high and said there had to be an infection in my body. They performed exploratory surgery, going in where I was having the pain, and they found that my colon had ruptured and gangrene had set in. I was about to die from all the poison going through my system. Parts of my colon had died, so they removed sections of my colon. I was glad to be alive. I thanked God!

Unfortunately, one month later I ruptured again, and this time my surgeon was afraid to operate because I was so weak and he was not sure I could handle the operation. Fortunately, at that time the hospital’s best hematologist was in the maternity ward in labor. My doctor went to her during her labor and told her my dilemma. As soon as she had her baby, she began running tests and found that my blood had clotted from my head to my toes, including the arteries of my colon. They took me into surgery and removed additional sections of my large and small intestines. Praise the Lord, I made through that surgery! I had just enough colon to function normally. I was placed on coumadin, a blood thinner. The hematologist said I was lucky to be alive because a clot in my brain, heart or lungs would have killed me. Praise God for watching over me!

I did well for nine more years, but I began losing weight and became weaker and weaker and was in and out of the hospital. I was placed on the list for a liver transplant and was on that list for three years. I could no longer sing or do the normal activities that were such a vital part of my life.

I received a liver transplant on August 12, 2000 and my life was completely changed when that very special family gave me the gift of life. We now consider each other to be family members and not strangers. During their grief they saved my life for which I will always be grateful.

I am now able to work with mentally disabled patients and I volunteer to help local elderly citizens. I have been fortunate enough to watch my two grandchildren grow and return to singing in a Christian music ministry. I have also taken up photography as a hobby. Memories are very important to me, so I photograph the important events of my life.

I have so much to look forward to in the future. God is good!!

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