The Blessings of Transplant by Marie Anderson


Marie Anderson stood out! She glimmered. Maybe it was just something innate. Her husband Wayne said so. She was always special; that’s why he married her. But after her lung transplant, she was even more radiant. She knew something that many of us have forgotten. She knew what a gift every breath and every day was.

Shortly after she died almost 8 years after her transplant, one of our staff rediscovered the following words that Marie had written about the blessings of transplant. Thank you Marie for reminding all of us.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

The blessings of transplant —

—For years, the field and the woods was a view from the dining room table. I now can walk to the woods, pick a rock or a stick. Memories of finding the fox’s hollow, a sleeping deer.

—Just 10 days after transplant, the first time in so many years that I could talk, walk and breath all at the same time.

—Taking a shower by myself.  Had a home health aid giving me showers before transplant. Do you know how difficult it is to have someone come into your house, a woman you have never met before and that person giving you a shower. It also didn’t matter if I was on 3 liters of oxygen or 5 liters of oxygen. Could not breath.

—No more weekly infusion therapies.

—When you can’t breath, nothing else matters.

—Being able to walk up the stairs of my house which I hadn’t been able to do for over 2 years.

—Singing. Can still remember singing Christmas carols the first Christmas after transplant.

—Making my husband’s brown bag lunch the evening after being discharged from the hospital. No big task but was big deal for me.

—There were so many bumps in the road for the first 10 months. I became very angry and then remembered; I prayed for then transplant and being able to take a deep breath once again. I could breath and also had the strength to endure the major medical problems post transplant.

—Keep your dreams alive. I always stated, “after transplant I would purchase a new yellow “beetle” Volkswagen”.  After transplant, living on disability income we were not able to buy such a car. On the second anniversary of being listed for transplant, I rented a “beetle” car for a weekend. How much better could it be —my daughter driving the car on 694, I’m in the passenger seat eating a fresh bagel smear and sipping my favorite coffee. Life is good!!!

—The next year, third anniversary of being listed for transplant, once again rented a car. This time it was a PT Cruiser. How sweet it was! Could not afford the purchase of a car but weekend rental was in the budget (I saved my pennies for this excursion).

—A family vacation in 1999. The first vacation we had taken for 12 years. Walking the shores of Lake Superior with my family. Each of us picking rocks, looking out into the horizon, seeing the ships off in the distance. A family photo from the Light House. Playing games, laughing, eating and reflecting on the past 2 years. My family is one of the richest blessings of life.

—Participating in the planning of my daughter’s wedding. Even included in the beginnings of the “stag” party.

—Dancing at my daughter’s wedding. The photographer even captured a picture of Wayne and I dancing. It had been sooooo many years ago.

—Driving a car once again. Was not comfortable at first – those crazy drivers.

—Meeting some of the nicest people in the world through our Lung Support Group.

—Volunteering at LifeSource. Makes me feel part of the working world which I can not return to as per the physicians. Speaking and spreading the news to one and all about the gift of life. Removing the myths through education we volunteers have received through training at LifeSource.  Wonderful people work here.

—Support. The first anniversary of transplant.  Inviting our family and friends to dinner at a restaurant to celebrate this gift of life. Telling our story. They, giving gifts of money for Second Chance for Life in honor of this celebration ($3,500).

—Grandchildren. New life to love. New feet to guide. What more could anyone ask for.

—The laughter of friends, closeness of family.

—Having the strength to help my daughters and their husbands pack their belongings for moves to different houses.

—Entertaining – resuming card club. We began with this group in 1969 and so desperately wanted to reenter the social world. Dinner, playing cards, prizes. I did it!!!

—Eating. Before transplant it was difficult to consume any portion of food as it would be exhausting. Any amount of food, pressure on your diaphragm, would make it most difficult to breath. Struggling for every breath you take.

—Going with my family to “Mama Mia”. Standing during the encore, singing and crying “I’m Having the Time of My Life”. Truly I was.

—Walking side by side with others needing transplant so they never have to walk this journey alone.

—Faith, fight, family and friends have sustained me each and every day of life pre and post transplant.

—Each and every morning, I give thanks for my donor.

I know not the dignity of my donor’s life, nor the tragedy of their death but I do know I received the greatest gift of all, the gift of life.


Yesterday is history-

            Tomorrow a mystery-

                        Today is a gift!!!


They told me I would never live to see Christmas. Transplantation works. Every day is a gift. Every day is Christmas! Life is good!


Marie Anderson