Transplant Recipient, Minnesota
My name is Marsha Meunier and I received the gift of a new liver in July of 2003. I am single and am the oldest of 4 other siblings. I was employed by ‘Ma Bell”, Qwest and Century Link for 36 years.
I will be forever grateful and humbled by the heroic decision of my donor family. I would not be here without them.
In April of 2002, I was diagnosed with end stage liver failure and immediately listed for transplant. I was very much in denial at that point as to what this meant and the difficult journey ahead for both myself and my family, many of whom became caregivers as the disease progressed. For the next 18 months, I attempted to continue working in spite of the many hospitalizations and losing the ability to live on my own. It was a long road and without the love and support of my family I may have lost hope.
During the week of the 4th of July 2003, I took a turn for the worse and was immediately hospitalized. I was very near the end of life having gone into a hepatic coma and my only hope was that a liver would become available. On the evening of July 31st, the nurses came in to my room about 10 p.m. and said a donor had been found and that I would be going to surgery at 1:00 a.m. What a whirlwind that was – many emotions. I was afraid of the surgery, happy that the day had come and at the same time in tears that someone had lost their life and were giving me the ultimate gift.
After 2 surgeries to replace my liver, I recovered in less than a week and went home. I returned to work six weeks later and felt better than I had in a very long time.
At work after transplant, I was feeling that there was more for me to give in this life and I started volunteering for LifeSource. That feeling continued and in 2006, I decided to retire from Century Link. Shortly thereafter, I was lucky to be able to accept a position at LifeSource. I work in Accounts Payable at LifeSource and am so passionate about our mission. It has allowed me to attend many events for donor families, work to increase donor designation and is just a way to “give back”.
My second chance at life has allowed me to be present for family weddings, the births of great nieces and nephews and to be a caregiver for my mother in her last months. I competed in three Transplant Games – Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and Houston winning a bronze medal in bowling. This gift has given me 11 years more of life with more to come!
I have written to my donor family thanking them for the courageous, selfless decision they made to donate but have not had any response. I am OK with that – I have met many donor families through my work at LifeSource and I so admire all of them for their generosity and continued support of donation.
I have always had “Donor” marked on my license but never thought in a million years that I would be at the receiving end of that decision made by someone else.
Always in my thoughts,