Today Yesterday, Derek and I headed down to Lahey for his regular, I’m-on-the-transplant-list, check-up. This appointment was scheduled the day we found out Derek was officially on the transplant list back in November and it was meant to be a check-in as well as a meeting about live donor options.
The live donor option, as we now know, is me! After the regular transplant recipient questions from Derek’s transplant nurse–How do you feel? Are you still working full time? Do you have any physical restrictions?–Derek’s doctor came in to talk to us. His first question to us was, “So when do you want to do this?”
We looked at each other, and then back at the doctor and said, “Well gee, we kind of hoped you would tell us.” And here’s the thing. He can’t. It really is my decision and to some extent Derek’s. Like if I said, “Let’s do it Monday.” Derek could say, “Hmmm, Monday doesn’t work, I have a big meeting, but how about Tuesday?” Plus, we have been talking about this and trying to decide what date would work best for both of us. But still, we wanted the doctor’s perspective. From his standpoint, all things are equal, so…all things being equal, the sooner the better! Why put it off if we all know that a new liver is what will solve Derek’s faulty liver problem? He then said, “But for you, all things are not equal.” Which means the decision falls back to me.
I’m going to attempt to explain my thinking here on timing, and it’s an evolving thought process, so please bear with me. When I first found out Derek was listed, my first thought was to get tested immediately so I could be ready for surgery as soon as possible. The process of testing is a relatively long one, understandably, and as the process went on, I started to realize that I was going to need a little more time to prepare. While school is not the most important thing in my life, I would like to give it my best effort, so once the winter semester started, I felt like the soonest I could reasonably have a part of my liver removed would be at the end of the term in April. Derek’s school schedule is identical to mine, so it made sense for him as well.
While that thought was rattling around in my head, I also wondered if June might be better for timing. For a variety of reasons it seemed more ideal to me. For one thing, my sisters, whose schedules are linked to the school year, might have an easier time making the trek east to help out for a bit if it’s in June. Additionally, summer is traditionally when people have more flexible schedules at work, and might be better able to take vacation time to visit and/or help out.
I should stop for a minute and make it clear that Derek and I know that no matter what we choose for a date, we know that our support team will be there for us to help. I’m not trying to put the onus on anyone else to decide, or help me decide when to do this.
Now there are these two floating time periods out there: April and June. When faced with the choice, I lean towards June. And while initially I may have thought, “Oh. June seems more convenient for everyone else, lets do that.” After talking to Derek
tonight last night, I realized that June is convenient for me. It is likely about 85% mental. April or June? June gives me more time to mentally prepare, so I pick that one.
I want what is best for Derek, obviously. I don’t want to put him at any additional risk, and that’s why I made sure that picking a date didn’t mean our decision was final. In other words, if we pick a date in June, but in the meantime Derek takes a turn for the worse, we can absolutely reschedule. And as soon as they can get 4 transplant surgeons in the hospital at the same time, which Derek’s Dr. assured us is not a big deal, we can do the surgery.
An exact date has not been picked yet. Next week I will talk to my transplant team and work on a date to schedule the surgery. This is the hardest decision I have ever been in charge of making. My brain is whirring at about 5000 rpms right now. I am mentally choosing a date and then imagining what it would be like to do it then, then picking another date and imagining that. It’s how I can mentally process all of this and actually decide. As always, when we have news we will share it here. Thank you again for all of your support. I know you’re all out there, and I know you will be there for both of us.