A Salute to Caregivers

By Sophia Washington

About five years ago I went in for my annual physical. It was determined through my blood work that my liver enzymes were elevated. As a result, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that was destroying my liver.

My doctor gave me medication to slow down the disease progression, but eventually I was listed for a transplant. I was excited knowing God had given me a second chance to live when the transplant surgery went well! However, several days later there was no blood flow to the hepatic artery and the transplant failed—I was once again placed on the transplant list. My second transplant was a success. It has been two years, and I'm very happy and healthy. I returned to work part-time.

It's at home during recovery where the healing process takes place. Though I often feel gratitude toward my transplant teams, doctors, and nurses, I would like to give honor and thanks to God and my donor. And another very important person to thank is my caregiver: my mother.

I honor my mother for her commitment to help save my life. It was through her dedication and loyalty I can now smile again. She never left my bedside, and upon returning home, I attribute part of my recovery to her faith, prayer, kindness, and the love that only a mother could give a child. She put her life and health on hold to see me stand tall once again. I salute my mom, husband and caregivers everywhere. I salute and thank God for caregivers because of the time, care and concern they share during the difficult time of illness. This article is dedicated to all you angels.

Sophia Washington is a 41 year old transplant recipient and an educator in the school system for 11 years. She volunteers with an organ recovery agency (Organ Procurement Organization), the Gift of Life, in Michigan.