Piece of You

Logan answered her view of the question, “What is your latest thinking about the fact that Derek will literally have a chunk of Logan living inside him after the transplant?” a few days ago and now it’s my turn. I read the question multiple times and my response is – I like the idea of having a healthy liver. But this doesn’t answer the question you’re really asking. I don’t have an answer for that question and let me explain.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I came to the semi-obvious realization that not everyone’s process of thinking is the same as mine. It was during one of my management classes on aptitudes and personalities where the textbook laid out in plain english examples of differing personalities. It was a real ‘Aha’ moment that I finally could see that some people are black-and-white, others care about feelings and community, and others don’t have the ability to see both sides of an argument. I’m still trying to understand how I think and what it means. Maybe this is what drives a person to major in philosophy or psychology. I went into Friday’s meeting with the doctor believing I was in denial and told him, “I need you to convince me of the risks and the reasons I need a transplant.” He tried multiple tactics and made very convincing cases.  I listened, but my brain faltered.

“Most people realize the severity and are convinced they need a transplant when they have variceal bleeding.”
—“But that was months ago, and I feel ok now.”

“You’re not sick in the conventional definition, but you need a replacement organ to live.”
—- “Sorry Doctor, all I heard was ‘you’re not sick.'”

“Based on your MELD score, you have about a 5% chance of dying in the next 3 months.”
— “So that’s a 95% survival rate?  Sounds pretty good to me.”

“Your liver cirrhosis is at a 4 – it doesn’t get any higher than that.”
— “If it’s that bad, how am I still a functioning human?”

I left our visit more confused. I’m more than willing to go through with the transplant, but my brain is failing to comprehend some things. After talking through some thoughts with the most patient and understanding of people, Logan, I think I have a partial answer: I’m not in denial. I fully understand the risks and necessity of a transplant. If another person had all these symptoms, I would conclude exactly what the doctor’s have told me:  A transplant is needed. But, I’m not that person with the symptoms. There a disassociation between ‘me’ the mind, and ‘me’ the body.  My mind operates in it’s own little pleasant aether. My body is not mine. I control it, but it doesn’t belong to me. Let me try to differentiate. When I received my license and signed up to be an organ donor, it wasn’t because I thought “I am willing to donate my organs,” rather, “the organs associated with me can be of further use to others.”

Back to the question: “What is your latest thinking about the fact that Derek will literally have a chunk of Logan living inside him after the transplant?” I cannot comprehend the idea of Logan’s liver and my body.  I can comprehend the idea of “a healthy liver and the body associated with me,” which is why my answer is: “I like the idea of having a healthy liver.”  I can also comprehend the selfless act of live organ donation, but the fact that a person would be willing to go through anxiety, an otherwise unnecessary medical procedure, and the associated pain is close to incomprehensible.  I have infinite awe and love. Correction: I have infinity divided by zero awe and love.

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4 thoughts on “Piece of You

  1. Cindy says:

    Derek, I am hoping you will get a call and the decision is made for both of you. I wish I could wave a magic wand and all of this would be over. Everyone loves you, and I believe great things are in the future for you both. Love Mom

  2. Derek Janiak says:

    Thanks Mom!

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