The Gift that Gave Me My Future
This was written by a tissue recipient named Trisha.
I think as people look back on their lives, they will be able to identify defining moments – pivotal choices or experiences that completely altered the course of their lives. One of my defining moments came on December 14, 2010, the day I became a tissue transplant recipient.
Nine months earlier I had sustained a traumatic injury to my knee, tearing my ACL, meniscus, and a large piece of cartilage from my femur. In June, I had surgery to reconstruct my ACL and repair my meniscus, but without the cartilage repaired, my rehabilitation quickly plateaued. By October, I found myself in tears in physical therapy as I still had too much pain to walk without crutches, and I began to face the uncertainty of my future. As a young adult, I wondered about the things I might never be able to do again – things like hiking, kneeling to play with my nephews, and even walking without severe pain. A few days later, my orthopedic surgeon presented a ray of hope – a second surgery that would place a graft of juvenile donor cartilage in my knee. Because the cartilage would come from a donor who was twelve year old or younger, the cartilage would continue to grow when transplanted in my knee.
On December 14, after nine months without any significant improvement in my levels of pain or function, I awoke from surgery with the gift of donor tissue in my knee. Three months later, I was walking without crutches. Six months after that, I began jogging, jumping and doing things that my physical therapists never thought I would be able to do. Through the course of my surgeries and rehabilitation, I became interested in the field of physical therapy. I want to help others as I have been helped. I am especially interested in working in neurologic or pediatric physical therapy. I want to end each day of my career feeling that I have made a difference and helped to improve someone’s life. I will begin the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Utah in May.
People talk about organ donation being the gift of life. Although I received a tissue transplant and not an organ transplant, my transplant is still my gift of life. The transplant may not have saved my life, but it made my future possible. Every patient I ever help as a physical therapist I will help because a family made a decision to turn the tragic loss of their child into a blessing for others such as myself. Each step I take without pain is a miracle to me. I want to help others become aware of the benefits of organ and tissue donation. I know that I will never be able to repay the gift I have been given, but I want to do all I can to serve others through my career and through promoting awareness of organ and tissue donation.
To register as an organ, eye and tissue donor, log on to www.yesutah.org.
This entry was posted on Friday, March 23rd, 2012 at 3:10 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.