Sept 17 - 21 is Assessment week
And we are beginning to learn something interesting about this process along the way; that there is a sort of "family" that begins to happen. Not our words, but those of Hélène Campbell who we met on Monday morning while waiting for some tests.
I'll be honest, I wrote back in late July about my excitement to meet a fellow Oakville native, Rob Alexander-Carew who had just been through his double lung transplant and I was super excited at the opportunity to learn from him. When I rolled Keith in to the lab on Monday, Hélène was there and I was, well, starstruck.
|Keith, Sarah, and Hélène|
Keith and I were fortunate enough to have about 10 minutes to chat privately with her, about her experience, the amazing job she did of rallying her friends to help raise awareness for organ donation, and the work she continues to do to raise the profile for IPF (Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis). She and Keith both share a love of Reese's peanut butter cups, and she is an incredible young woman who will continue to do great things for people affected by lung disease in the years to come; of this I am sure.
In addition to meeting Hélène, we met other recent lung recipients. I was actually introduced to two people as "they are singles (single lung)" and this was when the concept of the family was explained. You become a family because you share something that few others can completely relate to.
Keith and I have spent the last three days going from appointment to appointment in the hospital. We have had the privilege of meeting many more people in the transplant program, from people waiting on the list, to others being assessed to be listed. We know their names, we are learning their stories, and the connections are being formed - no matter what happens. We care what happens to them, and already I find myself thinking about how things will be in 3 months, 6 months, and beyond; for us and for them.
This truly is about Keith, about his health, about his journey, and about ensuring that he gets the care and treatment that he needs to continue to live a long and healthy life. Keith is my hero. He accepts what is with a resolve and strength that I don't know if he realizes he has. As we continue on this journey, I know for a fact that the heroes are every single person who works in the transplant department of TGH, from the technicians in the lab, to the social workers, to the rehab workers and the surgeons doing this incredible surgery, and of course, the Trillium Gift of Life program that coordinates and makes it all possible. Thank you.
I will post an update later this week with specifics of the assessment process. Until then, thank you for all your good wishes and prayers.