I haven’t written a blog post in months. But 2014 has been a year of transformations and I’m standing at the beginning of 2015 with an armful of new beliefs about myself and my path in life.

I’m planning on and working toward a liver transplant this year. I have started some research on where and how I can have one done.

Last year my hepatologist recommended, after several months of infections, procedures and hospital time, that I look for a live donor. I did, with some success. A nephew stepped forward and said he would do it. But he was disqualified because he’d had gallbladder surgery which leaves a scar in a strategic place on the liver. Then a niece said she would be my donor, and she passed all the evaluations except for the final physical exam here in Denver. Then she had some things come up in her life, and felt she should forego the surgery.

I continued to think of finding a live donor. But it’s difficult to ask – for both the one asking and the one being asked. I believe it leaves a tiny scar in the relationship. I began to wonder about better ways to find a live donor.

I called United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) and asked them some salient questions about altruistic or anonymous liver donation. Kidney transplants frequently have altruistic donors who are unknown to the recipient. Since UNOS did not have a policy against the idea for live liver donors, I asked them which transplant centers have done such transplants.

The answer – there are at least four current centers who have performed recent transplants involving a non-biologically related anonymous live liver donor. And there’s a longer list of 13 centers who have done it in the past 25 years.

My plan? Call the four centers on the recent list.

And then I am also going to put my plea out in the world of Facebook and see what happens. According to my transplant coordinator at University of Colorado Transplant Center, I am not “allowed” to use Facebook to find a donor. I must “know” the person, even if we are blood-related. Well, we can get to know each other.

If this sounds all technical and unemotional, guess again. I’m just taking on one tiny step at a time. And I’ll keep you posted. This is my Year of Transplant – watch out for the new me!

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