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29 years coaching experience/Worked Camps/Clinics on 5 Continents

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Aunt Megan is a Fighter

(Aunt Megan on the far left with our family a few years ago)
I cannot imagine what I might feel if the pediatrician came to me when my daughter was 2 years old and said "your child has a form of viral cardiomyopathy.  One side of the heart is growing and the other side is not.  We have two options; a heart transplant or death."  I don't know if that is how the actual conversation went with my mother and father in law about my sister in law, but it was something close to that.  My wife's sister was diagnosed at 2 years of age with this option.

My in laws chose to have her transplanted and what began with bad news started a rough journey that has led to many blessings.  My sis in law, Megan, was transplanted and lived in Pittsburgh, PA for many weeks at a young age after the transplant.  My wife who was in the first grade lived for much of that early life without her mother who was staying in Pittsuburgh, understandably so.

Megan was a pioneer in many ways.  In the mid 1980's there hadn't been too many 2 year old heart transplants.  So just about every day that she has lived has been a form of medical history.  As she grew up, she dealt with many issues from having to take 30+ medicines per day to the ocassional bout of rejection.  But as she grew up, she showed an academic ability higher than average and a love for working in a hospital...for children.

Megan went through high school, college, and became a Nurse Practictioner which is just one level below a doctor which means she is pretty smart.  She is a NP for children and has helped many children dealing with transplants and other illnesses.  She is able to draw from her experiences to help others and to allow the children to be blessed by her, but more importantly in many cases, for the parents to see that it can be "all right". 

Megan is known at Aunt Megan, May May, Aunt May May, etc by my two children.  They love her more than the usual relative and often, I think, many sort of consider them to be her children too.  My daughter is so much like her it is scary and they have a deep bond.  Again, she has been a blessing for so many people.  Her parents made the right choice when she was a child because she has helped so many people in her young 30 years.

Megan is a fighter and is fighting a huge fight now.  A few years ago, her heart started to be affected by the medication that she has taken for most of her life.  She has had multiple heart caths and stents put in.  She has had a pacemaker inserted and a swan (some type of medical thingy), but her heart in the last few months has gone downhill considerably.  The doctors didn't know what else to do other than transplant her...again.  All the years of medication has also hurt her kidneys, so they transplanted a new kidney also.

This past week, Aunt Megan, underwent a double transplant.  A new heart and a new kidney to try and give her a better quality of life and, well, to extend her life because without them, she would have died.  The surgeries were successful, but now is the hard part, really.  The healing.  The pain and mental turmoil she is in is considerable, but she will continue to fight as she always has, but that doesn't make it any easier to deal with now.  My wife has been understandably upset, and I have been as well, but I told her that some of the things going on now will be things that we will laugh about in 5 years.  How do I know this?  Because I wasn't around for the first transplant, but I have heard many stories that bring smiles to the family now about that time then.

I believe in God and have zero doubts that everything happens for a reason.  We may not understand right now why, but eventually it will show itself.  Why did Megan get viral cardiomyopathy?  Because she was going to need to be help for others in the future.  Why did the family have to go through this?  To be strong to help others.  I have no doubt that God put Megan on this earth to help people and for my mother  and father in law to be great Christian examples in dealing with adversity.  To not see His hand in this is unbelievable for me.

Finally, I think it is important to thank the hundreds of people who have reached out to our family during this time.  It is amazing.  I can put an update on Facebook about her and just watch as the support rolls in.  But I think it is just as important to remember that for Megan to live there have been two deaths.  Is one death worse than the other?  Dependent on perspective, but the young child that died when Megan was 2...their family was dealing with a terrible death so that Megan could live.  The same could be said for recently.  It is a true blessing that in these people's deaths that they could save Megan.  Not just her, but others, too I am sure. 

For Megan's sake, for potentially my sake, your sake, my chidlren's sake and just because it is the right thing to do, be an organ donor.