Donate Life Texas

Viva La Vida

My story’s different from many on Donate Life because medication started my illnesses. I was prescribed a medication dose we later found out was higher than I needed. After taking this medication for just weeks, it began to have severe medical consequences. My liver began to fail, which caused Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (aka NASH), which then lead to Cirrhosis. This began a four-year long process of starting new medications and patiently waiting for a liver transplant. During this four years, one physician recommended I didn’t need the transplant despite my dramatic physical decline and massive weight loss. In order to place me on a waiting list to be seen by the Transplant Board, they recommended I attend 12-step meetings during this process, despite my complete abstinence of drinking or drug use. I was severely sick, some days questioning if I would even make it. Finally, my prayers were answered by the Lord and I received a Liver transplant. The Lord saved me and I had been given a second chance at life. God had a plan for me. Months later, my doctors were shocked to see the unbelievable progress I made in such a short period of time. With God’s grace, I made it through the darkest period of my life with questioning all avenues, a loving husband and prayer. My purpose is to help others, especially LGBT people who may have similar experiences. I’m very clear that I thoroughly enjoyed my youth, but after having this experience and seeing the lack of consideration and stereotype by doctors, I felt I had to advocate. I think back to the doctor whose position was to not place me on the transplant, and realizing I would have surely died had I taken that advice. Having overcome a near-death experience, I felt like I had a responsibility to pour my heart out and share my experience. Since receiving my transplant, I’ve been volunteering for Donate Life Texas and educating others about the importance of organ donation. I have been in discussions with several non profits to provide speaking and educational opportunities about Liver Transplants for LGBT organ transplant issues. I feel thoroughly fulfilled reaching out to a marginalized community, both those waiting to receive transplants as well as the LGBT community, to help shed stigma and advocate for all people to help others. I’m a rare person in the sense that I’m a transplant receiver and a person willing to share my story. I can’t help thinking to myself that the younger generation must know that this life is so very precious. We’ve overcome so much as a community – from Equality to the AIDS epidemic and now we’re facing a massive drug problem as a community – and need to be cognizant that the current generation’s actions can have severe consequences. My hope is that by sharing my story, advocating for healthier lifestyles across the board, and by being a face for people having received transplants, that I may be able to bring awareness and shed stigma.

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