Ch 2 of 5: “This Is The Day That I Die” – Part 1
There's A LOT to unpack in this chapter so I decided to break it up into a few parts for time reading constraints.
16 October 2019
“Hey Mr Gutierrez! We’re SO glad you called — you’re approved and a PERFECT match, do you still want to proceed with the testing?”
So went the words of the lovely Mrs. Claudia from the UT Transplant Center.
What seemed like 60 seconds to respond, the word, “y—e—s” slipping from my lips like the remaining bit of honey you can’t quite get off your spoon.
I mean, even though I could — I knew I couldn’t say “no”.
In my heart I could feel this was something God was calling me to do, something he’s been preparing me for the past 40 years.
7 days prior...
Testing was set for 9, 10, and 11 October 2018 with several follow ups and trainings leading to the surgery.
Gosh, there was SO much testing:
- CT Scans
- Blood draws
- Potential biopsies
- More blood draws
- Psycho-analysis to ensure I was of sound mind.
There was a moment when I met with the chief surgeon who’d be performing the surgery.
After all the testing — we sat down.
He set expectations for us of what we could expect moving forward to the surgery.
Over course we covered “the risks”...
... and it was at that moment EVERYTHING changed — sh*t got REAL — FAST!
Liver failure was a possibility, meaning — I could be in the same position as my wife’s uncle and I myself would need a Liver transplant.
Even though it's never happened — it was a possibility.
Eh, whatever — I wasn’t too worried about this one.
What shocked my entire body with chills was...
... Death was a "possibility"!
In over 3500 cases they had 5 deaths (I don’t have the exact facts in front of me) — of which happened post surgery.
Each death had it’s own unique reason.
But still — DEATH was a possibility.
He then turned to my wife and asked her what she thought about everything (I’m sure you can imagine her emotional response).
He asked me again, “Are you still willing to do this?”
My answer was, “Y-E-S”.
Setting the date
The surgeon assured me I had complete control of this procedure and could set whatever date I wanted — because I was their #1 priority and...
... I could change my mind at anytime — even as I’m being wheeled into the O.R.
(That’s was comforting, kinda).
But what he said next was bone-chilling.
“Mr. Gutierrez, I’m gonna be upfront with you - your wife’s uncle is NOT well.
This operation is only performed on Tuesday’s, the rest of October is booked, November my colleagues and I will be out of country doing research on this procedure, December is also book, and...
... we don’t expect him to live into January.
The only option is — and we’re making an exception for your wife’s uncle — is to perform the transplant on a Wednesday 31 October 2018.”
Well, sh*t — there goes me “having full control”.
(Again, looking back, it was God’s will)
He asked me again, “all things considering, do you still want to proceed?”
My answer was the same, “Y-E-S”.
So now — we’re in business — this is REALLY happening!
Mind you, we did all the testing anonymously, we wanted NO ONE to know — not even my wife’s family.
I remember heading up to San Antonio for the initial test and we told her parents we were up here for “work”.
Kinda felt like a 16 year old sneaking around, LOL.
I remember talking to her mom while we were there — and she told me, “Hector, have you heard?! There is an anonymous donor for my brother!”
I said, “really, that’s amazing, how do you feel about it?”
With the BIGGEST smile on her face in the last 5 years — she said, “oh my God, it’s a miracle, I don’t know who this person is, but it’s an angel of God from heaven.”
UGH — it was hard holding back my emotions as I faced her.
I’m tearing up right now as I right this to you.
I knew we had to tell them, they deserved to know.