This is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada and we have so much to be thankful for. I guess we all have our own reasons to be thankful, such as the life we enjoy and the country we are privileged to live in. But as someone who has been rescued from death by a life-saving organ transplant, my reasons to be thankful are many and profound.
On a Saturday morning, April 20, 2002, I was given the Gift of Life by receiving a single-left lung transplant. I will be forever thankful to my surgeon, Dr. Shaf Keshavjee and his wonderful team at the Toronto General Hospital. I will be forever thankful and grateful to my donor and my donor's family who made the courageous decision to give me the Gift of Life. I've never met them and do not know who they are, but they will remain in my heart forever.
I'm also thankful to the nurses and other support staff at Toronto General Hospital who cared for me and made me feel that I was important to them and part of the hospital family. I managed to get quite a few photos while I was in recovery and plan to do a major article about my transplant which I will post here soon.
Oh God, am I ever thankful to so many other people; my family, friends and relatives who supported me and prayed for me during my ordeal and continue to do so; those who called and sent cards, gifts and letters and who still call to ask how I'm doing; my family physician, Dr. Rob Williams who diagnosed me with having end-stage Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and got me plugged into the health care system for immediate attention; Dr. Gerry Cox, my Pulmonary Specialist who confirmed the diagnosis and got me an interview with Dr. Lianne Singer, Lung-Transplant Pulmonary Specialist at Toronto General Hospital, who initiated the process to get me on the waiting list for a transplant.
I'm also very thankful to the Trillium Gift Of Life Network, The Canadian Transplant Association and all those groups and people who have been so actively promoting organ donation awareness. It hurts and saddens me to no end when I see people die while on the waiting list for a transplant.
I am thankful and grateful to be blessed with all the new friends and acquaintances I've made in the transplant, medical and hospital communities and some of these friends have become very close and an important part of my life.
So, when we have the family over for the traditional turkey dinner this weekend, I can truly say that I have much to be thankful for.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. Merv.
P.S.—Do you have a Thanksgiving message that you would like to see posted here?