This is Noah Swanson. Read his fascinating and beautiful story about his life and the liver transplant that saved his life! Thank you Noah for sharing your story with us!
Thank you all for supporting our cause Organ Donation Awareness. Noah is also advocating, educating and encouraging people to take a stand for organ donation awareness. You will find more about his amazing work here www.atransplantedlife.com
A Transplanted Life
Before I was born, my grandfather passed away from a failed liver. When I was two years old, my father passed away from a failed liver. And when I was thirteen years old, I found out that my liver as well was headed for the same demise.
The summer before I began high school I came down with cough that wouldn’t seem to go away. As weeks turned into months, my sickness didn’t seem to improve. In spite of my objection, my mother decided it was time to see the doctor. As I walked into the clinic, I assumed I would be walking back out with a prescription to cure my cold. However, as the doctor began to run his diagnostics he soon discovered something more serious than a cold. An x-ray of my chest revealed pneumonia. However, my blood work uncovered further issues that my doctor was unable to diagnose. Instead of cough medicine, I left that day with unanswered questions and a referral to a specialist.
After seeing specialist after specialist unable to diagnose my sickness, I began to feel like I was trapped in a terrible dream. In a matter of days I had gone from never stepping foot in a doctor’s office to taking a citywide tour of every hospital in the area as we searched for answers. After being transferred from one doctor to another, I was finally diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis at the age of fourteen.
The next two years consisted of countless tests, procedures and a good amount of time spent within the walls of multiple hospitals. I often balanced a line between fear and frustration. The formidable years of high school were being jaded by sickness that had come out of nowhere. So many new questions and thoughts flooded my mind. I began to acquire new perspectives most teenagers never obtain.
The first two years of my life was the only time I had been given with my father and it left me with very little memory of him. I thought about my father often, but the only recollection I had of him consisted in picture and stories my mom had shared. But throughout this journey, I often wondered if I was sharing a similar experience that my father had gone through. “Did my dad feel the same frustration I am feeling,” I often thought to myself. I had always known my father passed away from liver disease, but never imagined I might go through a similar experience.
As my journey progressed I sank deeper and deeper into reality. My blood work that revealed an abnormality was the first step into this new reality. And then I had my first minor operation that forced me to take one step further down into reality. My diagnosis had been given and my doctors began to discuss the possibilities that lay ahead. They had promised every option would be considered to prevent me from having an organ transplant. But as my health continued to deteriorate and my options had been exhausted, my doctors informed me of the inevitable – the last option I hoped I would never have to face.
My liver was rapidly failing and my doctors had exhausted all of the alternatives to a liver transplant. But as I began to go through the process to be listed on the national organ donor list I discovered a whole new hurdle we would have to overcome. My insurance company informed me they wouldn’t allow me to have my liver transplant at the hospital I had been receiving care for over two years. My parents went back and forth with the insurance company and even high-ranking government officials tried to plead my case. But in the end the insurance company wouldn’t change their mind.
I was forced to transfer care to another hospital six hours away from home. Frustration seemed to compound upon itself, but God is good. It wasn’t long before I once again found myself in the hands of incredible doctors who were more than prepared to perform my surgery. After going through the process again, I was placed on the organ donor list. An incredible answer to prayer brought my liver transplant sooner than we had expected.
My surgery was a success and now, standing here fifteen years later, I can thankfully say I am alive and well.
To read more about my story visit www.atransplantedlife.com.