Upset and offended transplant recipient

Everywhere you look people are posting and sharing these “eCards” from the snarky SomeeCards website celebrating their ability to drink a lot, so much to the point that maybe their employers or people who respected them are a little put off.  Some of the people posting/sharing these have been a few of my good friends who should know better… they somehow think this is cool.  My family, friends and transplant community have been personally offended at the nerve of some people posting these all over, or to Some eCards for creating them in the first place.

Some people may be ignorant, but people who know me well know – or know any other transplant recipients – what absolute hell the transplant journey is.

Your liver is not a laughing matter – maybe these folks will find that out when, a few decades down the line, all of that drinking will finally destroy a good majority of their liver and they’ll need a transplant.  Transplant or death will be their options, and if they can’t stay sober or won’t vow to never drink again, then they’ll be dead.  I’m sure they’ll all love their livers then.

Come on, use your mind.  I have had liver disease since age 5 – do you really think all the alcohol I drank from ages 0-5 caused it?  [Sarcasm] Do you think any kind of teenage alcohol binging habits caused me to need a transplant? It was actually quite the opposite. I made it to a liver transplant without even tasting alcohol… you never know what will happen to your body, and how many of you may get hepatitis, have a child with biliary atresia, or something else that would necessitate a transplant?  These will not be funny anymore – to those of you who actually think they are now.

I’m not laughing.

Neither are those who really love me, or those who really love a transplant patient.  Families who still have a mother because of a transplant, new parents whose infant would be dead if it weren’t for receiving a transplant.  I’m positive that anyone who drank themselves to cirrhosis and are now alive and thriving because of a liver transplant and a second chance isn’t laughing either.

Take care of your bodies.  There’s so much more to life than this foolishness.  Aren’t we all mature grownups now where it really doesn’t matter how much you drink, when you drink, or what you drink?  Get over yourselves.  Stop making fun of your liver.  One day it just might be laughing at you.

This is what a beautiful, healthy liver looks like.  [via]

This is what a liver abused by alcohol looks like.  [via]

I exhort us all to start making better, healthier decisions.  And if you are going to act irresponsible and trash your liver, just keep it to yourself.  We don’t think it’s funny in the least bit.

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10 thoughts on “Upset and offended transplant recipient

  1. When people hear that Kai has received a liver transplant I often get asked if I drank during pregnancy… or what I did as her mother to have caused my baby to need a liver transplant. I did nothing. She has liver disease caused by a physical anomaly with no known cause other than a simple birth defect or that she was just one of the “lucky” 1 in 20,000 kids that are born with it. People think you have to do something bad to cause liver disease – and some people do – But for the other 90% of us out there, it was just something that happened that couldn’t have been prevented. Instead of being offended, these days, I just shrug my shoulders, laugh and do my best to inform people.
    It’s like people using the word “retarded” over and over not thinking about how they might be offending people who are friends or family members of people who really are, actually, mentally challenged. It’s ignorance, pure and simple. They mean no harm… they just don’t think, or consider the ramifications.

    • It’s all you can do, Jasmine. I had a nurse ask me – at maybe 19 or 20 – “Why do you have liver disease? Do you drink a lot?” It was the first time I’d even thought about it. I was so furious. I told her I never drank, not one drink ever. She was so embarrassed.
      And blaming the mother? Goodness… So sorry you’ve gotten that response. Some people have no idea at all. Or tact.

  2. Amanda, Your blog post is right on the money. People outside of transplant community (or our families) really don’t have a clue about the seriousness of organ donation. It IS a matter of life and death. Two things always come to mind …..First, there’s the old adage ….. “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” and secondly a little know FACT is that ANYONE is WAY MORE LIKELY TO NEED AN ORGAN, THAN EVER BECOME AN ORGAN DONOR” (I wish you well)

    • Love the adage – and I thought life before transplant was rough. Ha! Doesn’t hold a candle to life now with all I’ve been through.
      And this statistic is amazing as I’ve never even thought of it – ANYONE IS WAY MORE LIKELY TO NEED AN ORGAN, THAN EVER BECOME AN ORGAN DONOR.
      Please read that a few times, everyone.

  3. I can’t even begin to count how many times people have just assumed drinking was the cause of my liver disease. “Oh I guess drinking does run in the family” or “I know we drank a lot, but didn’t know we were that bad” or my favorite “didn’t you learn from watching your parents that drinking so much is bad”. Actually I got a blood clot in my liver and alcohol thins the blood, so it obviously wasn’t because I was drinking a lot. I could go on and on venting about this. And the kids of twitter and FB that joke about how they should just “sign up” on the transplant list….aahhh. I’ve actually said something to a few of them and most get mad and make some smart remark back. I feel sorry for them. And for some, they really didn’t know. There really needs to be more information out there about transplant and organ donation. And even more so about Liver disease.
    This was a great post. Hope that you are doing well! Much Love!

    • So true, Kim. It’s just a big joke – let’s party all we want now, get a new liver later! WOO! Umm, that’s not how it works. There needs to be education in school, in drivers education class, and my family doctors. So much needs to change. Hang in there, doll!

  4. Unfortunately “drink and you will have fun and drink more and you’ll have more fun” is a part of society. I find the cards tasteless attempts at humor but once upon a time I, myself, thought this way too. I can see why they think it would be funny. I use to party and drink myself. I am a liver transplant receipient. I was diagnosed with congenital hepatic fibrosis back in 1995. I stopped drinking. I know that drinking did not cause my liver disease but I certainly did myself no favors by drinking as much as I did. I can laugh at this poor attempt at humor because I know they are obviously ill informed as I was long ago. Yes, educating people of the facts is really important. You get that chance when someone does something like this. If someone sent me a card or a friend posted it with intent of finding humor I can only laugh. Then explain to them the facts. Then feel the change in their expression. It’s not so funny anymore. Then I get to giggle a little more. Now maybe I’ve changed an opinion. Made someone understand or maybe I’ve not. Wow. I’ll lose sleep over something like this. Uhhh…..not!!!

    • Hi Steve, thank you for sharing your opinion! It definitely is a new (and welcome) perspective. We need to use our experiences as a vehicle to educate people on the importance of organ donation and establishing healthy habits at every age. Honestly, this isn’t something I will ever find myself laughing about, but I think that’s what happens when you grow up with liver disease. I don’t have that partying/drinking experience and can’t even pretend I understand it. I hope these tasteless cards have at least facilitated some sort of education! Some people need a reality check.

      • I’ve read your story and it’s amazing Amanda. I’m the new guy at TRIO. I’ve met some of your fellow members at the two meetings I’ve attended and they are some wonderful people. I’m just not letting anyone make me angry or get me upset over things like this. Your the one who feels it not them so I laugh. Laugh because I know if I actually get to talk to people about this they stop thinking it’s funny. People will be…well….tasteless. Can’t help it. Can’t stop it.
        And how about this. Four days before you got the call I got the call. August 27th, 2010 I received my new liver at the Cleveland Clinic. Which begs the question. Were you in G110? The Special Transplant Unit?
        You need to get down to a TRIO meeting.

      • YES I was on that unit! I got discharged the Tues after Memorial Day. Shoot me an email – agoodwin2010(at)gmail(dot)com I handle AC TRIO’s website, check it out! http://trioakroncanton.blogspot.com and re: meetings, I don’t get there too much due to distance and college/work, but I love when I get to! Will you be at the Lifebanc Walk/Run? Please consider it – it’s an AMAZING event, so inspiring! Videos are on my blog a couple of posts down and here is a link to my team http://bit.ly/KCEPyT We would LOVE to have you! I’d love to hear from you and hear your story. 🙂 Can you imagine we had our transplants so close together?!

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