Have you ever been asked to weigh the costs of a decision? Maybe you have tried to weigh or count the cost of getting married, or having a child, or buying a home, or becoming a follower of Christ?
I haven’t posted since April 9, 2015 because I have been in wait mode as far as donating part of my liver to Lupe. Then in July, I was finally contacted by University of California San Francisco Medical Center (UCSF). After a week of playing phone tag, I was scheduled on August 18 and 19 to test.
Wait mode was over and it was time for action! On August 5, I received information that I would need tests from my Primary Care Physician (PCP) and I understood these were due before I could test at UCSF. I contacted my PCP immediately and to my amazement, I was scheduled within 2 days to get a pap/physical, plus orders were placed for me to get a mammogram and a PPD (blood TB test) to be done with results to be expedited. By Aug 11, I was finished testing with my PCP. On Aug 14, I found out that I would need another mammogram and possibly an ultrasound on my right breast because a possible 6mm “something” was showing. Ugh!
UCSF was not phased by my mammogram results and asked me to continue to move forward in the process. Aug 18, my friend Lisa picked me up early so that we could get to San Francisco by 7:30am. I had to sign a waiver saying I understood that I was taking a risk. Before signing, Ana Maria, a Nurse Practitioner, informed me of many things that could possibly happen as well as tell me the odds of them happening, praise God I had read the seven pages of information prior to going. She then described the surgery, the recovery at the hospital and expectations post surgery.
After signing, I had 16 vials of blood drawn as well as a urinalysis followed by a CT and then 1 more vial of blood taken. Meet with Sandy, a Social Worker; get a chest x-ray; blow in a tube, it’s called a pulmonary function test; Electrocardiogram, my favorite of all; and an MRI. The next day was a much lighter day, an abdominal ultrasound and a treadmill stress test with electrocardiogram then breakfast before meeting with Ana Maria again for a physical and medical history. The next Tuesday I would be meeting with Dr. Lau, a Psychologist. And Wednesday I had another mammogram to find that there was nothing there.
Weighing the cost to donate:
I was asked the following questions by Ana Maria, Sandy and Dr. Lau: What if you die from this surgery? What if Lupe dies? What if something goes wrong and I need to be placed on a liver donor list for my own transplant? What if Lupe’s graft doesn’t take? What if Lupe’s graft does take but he abuses his new liver? What if my future husband or child needs a liver transplant – I would not be able to donate to them because liver donation is a one time thing? What if I have bad reaction to pain medications or anesthesia? What if my back injury flares up? What if I go into depression again or have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)? What if my work will not take me back or help to file with assistance? What if those who said they would donate decide not to and what if no one else helps, how will I pay my bills?
I understand they were doing their job. They weren’t trying to scare me, they were trying to make sure that I understood it wasn’t an easy decision and there is more of a cost to me than just giving part of my liver and taking a couple of months off to recover. I had to have an answer for every question. And I realized that the biggest thing that needed to happen is that I would need to give my liver as Christ gave His life – no strings attached and trusting God.
The same week, I started getting similar questions from friends and family: What if I have inconvenienced people (especially my roommates and church friends)? Who will care for my cats? Who will care for me? Where will I stay post surgery? Who will bring meals/food? What if no one is available to help? What if I am isolated?
I have to admit, I don’t know all the answers. I pray that I am not inconveniencing anyone and that I do not have wrong expectations of anyone or the wrong motives. I have been told by many people that they would like to help, but that doesn’t mean that they will or that I expect them to just because they have said so.
Can I pay the price that I will ultimately pay? Not in my own strength I can’t. It reminds me much of Luke 14:28. We are to count the cost to following Christ. But in the end, we will find that it is He who paid the price so that we might follow Him.
This past Sunday, my Pastor, Joel King preached about “Our Faith and Making a Difference”. We are in a series called, “Extra, Extra” and the sermons are based on headlines from each week. This week, 4 men saved the day on a train in France when a man with a gun came out of the bathroom. The men were credited as being heroes and received the Legion of Honour award – Frances highest honor.
One of the men counted the cost for getting up. He could “either stay where he was and probably die or he could get up and do something and probably die”.
The men didn’t think they were heroes, they were just doing what seemed like the right and good thing to do. They risked their lives to disarm and detain a gunman before he was able to shoot people on the train.
Pastor Joel asked, “Is the cry of your heart, ‘I want my life to matter'”? If so, it takes courage and faith. And faith is action.
I do not consider myself a hero, but while I was getting tested on August 18 and 19, I was told by many that I am. I know to Lupe, Hilda, and their family and friends, I am. I’m not doing it to be a hero. I stepped up because there was a need that no one else seemed to be able to fill. Or maybe that no one else was willing to fill. I am stepping in faith and courage, one step at a time to see what God will do. I have offered to Him that I am willing to donate part of my liver but surrendering the cost to Him.
September 1, I got a call from Ana Maria at UCSF. I have officially qualified to donate part of my liver to Lupe. I am extremely excited that God is allowing me this opportunity, this privilege. We have to meet our surgical teams and then a date for surgery will be set!
***** 2 Samuel 24:24, Is 55:1, Luke 14:28, Hebrews 11-12:3, Matthew 5:16
****I was asked to make sure that I am not doing this with wrong motives but to make sure that God is in it.
****Lord, we can never fully grasp the cost of stepping in faith. I can not, in my own strength, pay the cost, but I believe You have gone before me and it is paid in full. I pray the benefits will far outweigh the sacrifice for all involved.