Video and transcript here:
Toward the end of 2012, I was introduced to Intermountain Donor Services (idslife.org) through a new friend who works as a procurement technician for bone and tissue donation. I signed up to participate in their volunteer training, learn how to best tell “my story” to a group, and assist at health fairs and speaking engagements. My motivation to be involved aligned two major needs I was feeling; 1.) to give some kind of purpose to my purposeless life, and 2.) find an outlet for expressing my emotions for a yet unidentified donor.
During the same time, two sisters-in-law encouraged me to do some writing to share my thoughts to be published on their two very popular food blogs...I finally came through in February. That article was seen by another new friend, and producer at KSL, Candice Madsen. She asked about doing a story and I trusted her to make it about organ donation and I felt like maybe this would be an opportunity to educate just another small handful of potential donors.
We arranged for filming to begin 3.13.13, and a small group attended my Heart Failure Clinic appointment IMC. It was odd having a crew there for one of my hardest appointments so far. We talked about my increasing Pulmonary Hypertension pressures, the risks of dementia and alzheimer's due to Atrial Fibrillation, radiation poisoning from the excessive images and scans necessary to monitor my care, and the hard fact that not every patient lives to see a donor.
The appointment was heavy, but I had agreed to continue filming back at the house and so I boxed those gloomy emotions for later.
At the house Candice asked great questions, some of which I had thought through many times, others I’d never considered. We wrapped things up and as Candice and Darren packed up their gear, Candice joked that now filming was complete, I was free to get my heart. I thought she was funny, but inside my “emotional box” was already spilling open.
Typically I call my parents following each appointment and give an update. They were vacationing in the Bahamas with John and his family, and I was glad that I would have some time to organize my thoughts before I would have to share with them the loss of hope I was feeling. With a little prayer and quiet time to think, I decided to set some short term goals so that if I really only had a few months left, I would be able to finish some important things on my way out.
The next morning, Thursday 3.14.13, in a haze of confusion, I found myself sending the following text to Candice: “I have a possible donor. Waiting for a final call from hospital, but it may happen today!? You are a good luck charm!!”
Candice and her cameraman Darren came during my 9 hour pre-op wait to capture a little more footage and speak with Brett and Ryan who had come to wait it out with me. The shots she used from that interview, were the hardest for me to watch during the final story...I looked terrified! Two weeks later, Candice played along as the doctors teased a discharge date every day for the next 4 days then came to interview my mom and capture my release (courtesy of the outrageous MA, Torg).Personally, it was really uncomfortable to do, but as a gesture of gratitude to the woman who made a choice that saved my life and gave me the gift of a new start at life, it was worth it.