Life as an organ recipient with Sara Everts

Tuesday, May 15th

What if you were told you needed an organ transplant in order to live?  It happened to my neighbor, Sara Everts.  She's an on-the-go mom of two, who received news that she had cancer, and could only survive with an organ transplant.  She tells her incredible story, and has a powerful message about organ donation.  

00:26:35

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Imagine waking up and living life like any normal day only to receive devastating news that same day. When they came in and told me not to tumor cannot like. How can this be you know no. Not me I don't have I have time for this I don't want says and then I'm like let's give doubts they had mentioned at that point if that can't be done you know then we probably can look at transplant for him. And as Ike relief a chance clearance you know you don't wake up every day thinking someday I'm gonna have a transplant. So what you're told you only had one to two years to live and the only way to live longer is with an organ donation well that's what happened to my guess their efforts and 2015. You're gonna hear cirrus incredible journey from when she was first given a timeframe on her life. To receiving a liver and living happy today I'm Tony radar past and misses on the radar. Sarah thank you for coming in today's there's actually my neighbors and we live next to each other for about sixteen years now I think south Sarah came over with the cookies I remember when we moved to ask. It was very yet I still remember those docket of cookies you've brought over and said welcome to the neighborhood. Absolutely and I every now and then I'll give is Smart cookies. So I Serra had the Bakken 2015. I remember walking my dog giddy with my life Jess minute rant here your husband Greg. We've been married to 4 o'clock Tony three years only three years can grants and he had two kids Syria Jerry and Jessica can't doesn't as a sophomore college you know I'm Gerry as a senior nice cars and graduate and then tell Randall Gregg and and so how are things going and just off the top of your heads as to do with neighbors and you walking in the street are things going ill. This regular chit chat and he's a well shares in the hospital and taken the hospital. And what he had told me was incredible news I couldn't believe it what happened that week bleeding. To was at Thanksgiving to swing. Getting your as the Tuesday B for Thanksgiving and and Monday actually did happen Milliken Amir and dot my I's like to yellow. Mean I'm generally you probably shouldn't have that's on current doctor and they say once commend it to my work so did that Tuesday morning and Tuesday evening by 7 o'clock he called me and my cellphone Wentz and that was really odd. And he told me go right to the emergency room on your numbers are off the chart am I numbers at that point I didn't understand this and but they ended up being done numbers that tell you how your liver is functioning. And so we chose a hospital. Went there I am that guy went into the emergency room and they started running tests. And come to find out later the reason to go to the hospital was he could have run on these past spent essentially when you go to a doctor they ran tests you wait for the results. Which might be a couple days than it ran another tasks wait for the results. And his there was great advice. Go there they'll do at all right away. And you get an answer zodiac and you'll get an answer okay so on that was Tuesday night and I they did admit Meehan and hospital on the prep planned to do a procedure to check. Basically colonoscopy to check what was going on inside. And what is going on inside your head at this mall and you go into all these tests it down well and Greg was pretty Sarah had hepatitis. Essentially because I I've been traveling advent of China in the last year I was just in Germany two weeks before. Our work. I climbed to the top of a church you know 200 plus stops a time it wasn't like I was feeling bad. And so was really I sent his neck I think he got hepatitis and south. You know bank okay will double checked as they ran some tests and actually that Titus came back and neck cancer that's when they decided to go in and take a lax. And so that happened the next day and now and they found out something was in the way essentially something which turned out to be a tumor. And by that they. They weren't sure at that point when it wise and sound it I spent all of Thanksgiving and a weak and basically no food. Unseating two of the because they didn't want anything in my systems went to check it out when everyone else is stuff in their bellies Greg Thanksgiving food you had to sit there and not eat I was eating nothing and it's amazing scene. How many commercials on TV are out about food Africa seriously I like pizza and you know and you're just laying off some nice rally in Canada just funny find out what's wrong with me and and I just raise rain sound the next day or the next Monday they did an MRI where they found the tumor in my violent acts so it didn't diagnosis was cancer the wildcat cancer in the Nile packs it's also Colin big long -- clan GO carcinoma. You find out that you have cancer the bile duct ones lose the next thing is it an oncologist that comes and tells you that yeah I actually got my first and only ambulance rights are far they Transmeta freighter at that point because some I was not a traitor and Tom. There's specialists there who'd. Does surgery and oncology surge her surgeon. On the liver in particular and so today that the hard part about clan geo is the sharp words for it. Is that it's it's usually not found right away with and so by the time it is discovered it's usually pretty well advanced so because it's not something new again. It's acting and until you the symptoms early show up. I'm at that point you're pretty far alliance of the tumor had probably been growing for several years and you had no clue no Clinton need change and Justin are few and we were you know looking back has asked me mom did you were you not assess where you did you have any Keenan Mike I didn't really many pain I did have probably three occasions where I thought yeah I'm not assess the and I didn't really know why but you know. My aide at a food track. Sound you know there's always a reason right could come up with for that. But I did have. Its sting out of the palms of my hands and my feats. And just kind of all over it started to spread and I that when I travel online to I have the bugs as there's weird shampoo that I views share any of that. And actually when I was in Germany that itching subside and so I thought but I think it's he was just happening at nights because of the time change Scotch yeah. So. When I look back and when I told them that their Iconia that's a sign because basically nearby el. The assaults. Is building up in your body and then that makes it sound but you had no clue at the time it's an allergic react like slain yelling I mean again it's saying. My mom would save your palm's hitting that means money is coming to usable land lottery can't. Citadel and personally for you though wasn't a very bad I let him answer all those are all hindsight things that and then that now and then. It was rather surprising too because I'm a woman I was 48 at the times I'm young. Didn't smoke religion drink never did drugs so they were our kind of like really none abandoned my note none and then you know just. Work NN Vienna mum just on the Ambien among west Alice in less than radar. So what we hear your first thoughts once you've heard and those words you have cancer in the bottom and it's the first thing that came to your mind chemistry off followed. And my brother and I was actually in the room when they came in and told me about the tumor channeling. How can this be. You know Knoll. Not mean I don't have I have time for this I don't want tests and then I'm like let's get outs. Rights and how we were really hopeful that money went to see that oncologists. The surgeon that she would say yeah we can get an out. So is that the first initial thinking was we're gonna operate yet taken out in your going to be healthy yet. Yeah so it traitor they really work as a team and so there's there's actually like a tumor border cancer group that gets together and they look and I your scans. And really assess whether or not it they think they can be success fall. So you I waited and I think they sent me home and I waited a day or two and and I got a phone college it was an opera ball because it was in their so good and had grown to such a point stand for them to get it you know when you removed cancer you need to get the margins around the humor. So that. In because it can get into different you know parts of the body are spread into the tissue. So they can't if they didn't think they can get a clear margin they can't do it. I mean they can get out but it's still grow back and it had been growing for awhile so writes I was really glad I got the news yet. So in Savannah and they had mentioned at that point that if that can't be done you know and then we probably can look at transplants for him. And I was like really a chance we aren't you know you don't wake up every day thinking someday I'm gonna have a transplant. I think one of the and then that down the next and most devastating news that I heard from your husband Greg not only that you're in the hospital on that one time. On the was at this point in your treatments when he told me about the timeframe they just gave you if you did nothing at all into his life. Most people in Maine get diagnosed with Colangelo live. One year to maybe two years like eighteen months because of the advanced stages that cancer once it's discovered. And there's two kinds of this cancer it can manifest and as a tumor American manifest with in on the small mile backs of the letter. Luckily for me mine was that to learn in a very specific spots. So. If it was in on the mild shocks me because the bile backs really spread out throughout the written liver and they get really small towards the ends. That's I transplant can help but it's RD and so many different places that it's from eight. It has I think a better chance of spreading so as has spread like pass the last session so luckily mine was very contain I guess you could say. You're the lucky in in sort of weigh in now that they give you that that time frame. And you go home and tell your kids this time frame you know and that had to be just in as Irvine emanates. And it's hard to OK now it's okay when I look back get a pell. We hind. And I said said the kids we sent to go on your SH a vibrant person. You're busy. And like you said I think that the biggest thing that I can take and mrs. he said don't have time for this rates this is not gonna take me down and kiss a live four rounds I have my cousin lived for. And I love my life and you've got a great job you got so much to live for yeah that's true and dumb I think throughout my whole journey. I really focus on living life because. In me and it's now that I'm on the other side of this I think you know life like you there's no guarantees or any of us and so. Every day you have to approach it with France Canada happy hearts and just do whatever you can do and enjoy a what ever your life may be at that moment to really give you drive though to say I wanna be does Elena absolutely absolutely. You know we actually that night we played we went downstairs and played some games. And down just had a great time and I had a had a good stiff drink that night. West has probably one of my last ever because now I don't drink at all because as Carson have a new liver and really don't want to to. Do anything to hurt it right the but that's fine so on but we just we had a great ninety. And then we moved on and now it at this point. You are is it is it a listen to put on enough how do you go about getting a new liver yeah it well so don't would be. Transplant people have to accept you and think that your good candidate for stock. Then you go through a myriad of tests. I spent one whole day there and and they check on everything from head to toe so you do they check your lines at check your heart. They do all sorts of black and think about 35 vials of blood were dry and so they check for all sorts of infection is what you neighmond. And once you get past some last tests if your good then they. Except you I guess you could say into the program. And then you're registered on the Nationalists. So and you're given a number and I am a lever you're given a score it's called a meld score and and the higher your score than that. Closer to the top of LSU are besides winning kidney I think you're often like in order of how you got on the list okay. Little granddaughter it's really it's Tenet then they need to that drives it and sell my need was cancer related. So mine liver wasn't feeling. But I would. Over the course of my treatment and get to a point where every three months my score would go up by a couple of points sound. By the time I got my transplant I think it was about to be a a meld score 31. The top this Ford. Wow and so if there's somebody had a view at there's a liver harvested from a donor program gallon terrible situation. That person's gonna get it over you correct where there any times that you were called in who has a back up where he just might work for you yes four times. Fourth mar times and they Kyle you and apple were animate nominates one was on my way home from work. Has almost driving right by the hospital at the time because it just shut yourself off the assets and they basically hand. May tell me I was a back up so as and then I guess expectation was somewhat sex but you still very hopeful. Gammons said and whenever you go again. As a back up our as the actual primary and they again poll tonnes of black and from you about 23 miles. And so I went through this for a time cents and and that's not just an overnight stays a year now all of a longer yeah I I am one time I was there for two nights. Because it. The situation as depending on when the the donor. Is ready to Ian and then they're able to obtain or again. And transported to area are. So they know that an organ is coming that common people and so they're ready to go because essentially wants organ is are they want to start the surgery and if the organ is in Wisconsin that's great but do you think goal. All around the midwest around the country to find you know where are part of our region and so Minnesota. Oh annoying were on there's I think Iowa and North Dakota are part of our region. And so that organ could come from. North Dakota. Okay could come from northern Wisconsin that could come from Milwaukee. And they ask somebody above you on this list that some rally getting it delivered but that doesn't work for them they're on the back a rant as you write for four times start times him. I'm after the fourth time and what was your feeling yeah. Well I had heard that somebody went in ten times so at least I had this while I'm not to that number yet right. It it gets. Even 1000009 in the back up it was always kind of a let down and you go home but you know unfortunately. That's what what went on my event. When it and somebody said to me when it's your time GE will not believe the emotions that you concert and so then it became years' time it's and what was those emotions out well. Strangely enough I was at a point ours feeling really bad. And so the day before. I AM. Most of my days because I was nineteen moment every other week. Most mornings I'd get up. Get ready and then sit in the chair in the living room and take about a thirty minute nap before I get my contract to work because I was so tired to exhausted chair and that. If I do get the current surge and indoor Paris time. So in guiding dork and I'm like I do not feel fine today Unita side is just not feeling well on and had some other issues leading up to it just had key moment. So I column the doctor and I can just you know this is not happening and they said look playwright actress as the nurse. She coming Magnus and we want you to command an outside literally just arrived in my office and Mike to I have to come right now. Silly me the fact that now like yes so I turn around drive back to trader and and by the time I got there they decided to admit me and they were going to do. Scope and check out my stomach without Maine had an ulcer or something going on. On the mound and I nurse to a nurses came in my her arm which is odd. And he's been in the hospital so many times and you it was odd. And they it's flipped on the light and they said we might have a liver for you. And RI RD in the hospital already in the hospitals wow so it's almost like fate it's almost like fades and by aid in the markets and I was 3 in the morning. I asked if I was primary because Greg had gone home. His eyes it's no bread and sleeping in a hospital room with no fear that not in the bed he liked the food in the hospital that's what I heard but he did he was able to go Manning gets Simon doesn't usually I mean I usually don't eat in the hospital because they. Say you don't get to because we're doing tasks are never south. Column up I said guess why there's a liver and they told me I was though no one knew it was an army. So he came back. But 4 in the morning. And am I in the morning they've kind of changed a decision while we think you might be more of the back up this time it was hard to tell but. In the morning my surgeon came in he said he is hopeful. So we were trying to up and down up and down reining them most is a roller coaster of emotions that you're going to be crazy not only the four cents and you knew you were the back up but now even here breast brain and you know having felt so bad. It was kind of like a cash witnessed the Assam is an RV over. We texted a few people we can't their parents time and just put him on alerts like this might be happening. And down and then he came minute tenement in 10 in the morning and said it's yours and it's just like. Holy cow right and this is and what point of the timeframe that the doctors give you your first diagnosed where you and that time I. That I had been on the transplant lists for just about a year or so it would have been about a year and a half. On hearing means five months six months into and that's pretty close to the to dinnertime from yet giving gas I was definitely on my way to getting sicker and sicker and and the key moll had I am resents him pretty hard came home and is on really gone downhill so this livers yours yet here we are back in the ER how long of those. And an operation. Yes so interesting my French and attacks and that 959 and texture and said it's mine and I think by a ten tiny I was in the hour and out but that they had prepped me I was basically ready decal which is the whole theory. And so. I think it was about 7 PM when they came and told Greg they were done. And he thinks Tommy around 9 PM. And as he says you were hooked up to the tower of terror at I disease and that tubes and and I was still inundated and so. What happens is and they told assesses that often they'll do one the means surgery. And then a couple of days later they'll do a second surgery and can hook finished packing everything up so in lecture body rest a little bit all your plumbing gets stuck break. An exact match. And sound made it took me out there respirator Venice on the tube down my throat and down there are pages putt twenty pages of paper where I roads it's a one sided conversation because some people were coming to see me on that Thursday a share. And I had lots of questions and I wanted to tell people things and I had this thing in my mouth signing talk which was terrible. And then Friday morning they came in I had another 4 hours surgery Friday morning and then. I started to heal while I'm do you remember waking up the first time in realizing yes. It was weird is all over yeah. And actually recently had a flashback clinched am and I thought about going into the surgery at you know I was not worried at all. Announcement that now and I'm sitting here thinking and I am I'm logic Colin you know coherent and I might pain that was a major surgery and I made you know. Anything kind of cap and shirt I could have been nets yeah I mean the sometimes and when I know when my kids went in for a for the titles to be taken out by a way to go here there's a risk and stuff and you just don't think about that's a minor surgery. This is in majors a lifesaving surgery yen and really it took. Nine hours in to complete him plots another day death of certain downs in life that. And and I was just like OK you know I guess total trusts in the team. Now I hadn't as I'm going to have to know our if you think about national TV show Horry they show people like playing on a stretcher going are on your watch in the ceiling by LA absolutely happened to me I'll get an around their like talking an announcer and nothing in I don't mean and I wake up. And I'm Mike Hall at just happened. And you are receiving new liver and this is my just 2017 francs a year and a half after you received the news yeah that he would need a new lever. Did anybody tell you the name of the donor or the family or anything like them no good good question though. It's very well protected and it's it's completely private so when you Larry a donor or the family and the donor. That it's that information is canceling nine given. I know it was a young woman. Obviously for me it had to be a liver that would fits me. They kept telling me all along that my liver west's mom all of our livers are different sizes so in other words I guess I couldn't get a liver from probably Micah. 300 pound man because it wouldn't fit in my body okay. And so it was a liver that fit mean I would imagine the person might have been a smaller person. They went what they do I need to do is send letters to family. In this case as a family because my donor was a deceased owner. And I have to send it right the latter can't put I can sign my first name but I can't. Give any other personal information and make and then I turn it into the hospital. And then they they send an on from there. It despite what you may think. When I'm told is that most people who receive an art and don't actually meets. Their family in the donor families more for Hollywood and T yeah and I think it happens on occasion but the percentage of all the transplant says happened only a small percentage actually go that round to mean I would love it if someday could. Gimmick has really at all my life to them and according to your FaceBook page supporting the efforts earned the message you put out there is sure I and this is a gift for Meehan and thank you for praying for me and also pray for the donor faring so well because they had to lose somebody writes I did lose somebody Perry to YouTube to survive. Absolutely so and I'm celebrating my one year post transplant they're celebrating the loss of their their lifetime. And you know they're going through Christmas and Thanksgiving and I'll be in the holidays on those things that we'd love to do with our families. They can't do anymore with that person and south. You know hopefully vein now all somehow the impact that they have on people on and who received. The organs because I'm I'm guessing I don't know and I'm guessing that somebody. Also receives may be the hearts and the lungs and kidneys of this person. It's an incredible journey that you're on and you continue beyond although a year you're living like happy and help absolutely. Is there any type the messages out there that you thought of telling people or something you live by. And now day. Yeah it someday is not one of the days of the week so if there's something you really want to do or need to do are always wished she could do I would say do it. But it's interesting unmanned one year anniversary of my transplants on March 8 friend in my network has gone on those daily calendars that she rips off. And and the march 8 that said start each day with a grateful hearts. And investigated Simien and that that's on my board I see it every morning and that's really I think what you have to do is. No matter what you're doing that day could be the most mundane work you know somebody don't let the person who cuts Jaffa traffic get too down just. Enjoy the fact that you are going about your life and that you know every everything everything you do is really against. And and there's no guarantees for any of us really you really make me feel guilty now because somebody just. On the up and half the other day and and now I didn't caught my heart but I was yelling in the car but yeah that's something that taking consideration and say you know let's. But Deco there's other things is to worry yeah. It's and and small things are there are really important you know going out for dinner are. And going going to steer kids in their concerts 'cause I tell you I missed a ton amounts I was in the minimum to get off the couch. A lot of days and I site couldn't go to things. And that made me really sad. And I went a soccer game in accordance day the whole time because I just couldn't take its couldn't sit on the bench even on a beautiful day was really knots. I and my body just was not happy some. And now so he's trying to make up for that resolutely. And everything you did everything everything else on the gridiron contest and every I drew on. Do fine I mean I think the other. If pirated says say one other thing is I mean I'm I've been an organ donor never really thought much about it but. It being anyone who has made an out there creeped out by editor has censor whatever it's it's such an amazing. Gifts to to leave its own legacy really. Loved ones live on in other people you can really sigh I mean you could save more than eight lions potentially with an art being and being an organ donor. It's amazing it's the it's against that is is incredible of giving life to somebody else absolutely or stealing them or giving them sites or you know people suffer a long time I. Ayman in the grand scheme of things I've probably suffered. A shorter amount of time at people who have like chronic liver disease or some of these diseases they've had on their lives. India they've suffered every day forever and cover and and so when they get that new or again that totally meal helps them breathe and take a deep breath. Mean imagine the feeling of that what if you've never done that your whole life right it's incredible right. And then thank you for it that having the courage to tell you story and so I know it's it's it's in your mind and we started from. In beginning all the way to end and there are some rough parts and in the middle but thank you for sitting down and and talking about this and bullying message out about organ donations sign the back of your. And your driver's license Delhi India. At the DMZ okay and a sound mind and donate life Wisconsin's. Has on the stuff story you to follow us well and I think to get you give everybody who's listening to this by guess and definitely to me because you're my neighbor is I guess live live life to its fullest. And don't sweat the small stuff don't let that little stuff happen it's to get you down thank you so much for joining us here welcome. If you like this podcast there's more on the way all you need to do to subscribe to you on the radar is open up your podcast apps on your iPhone or on Google play. And thanks for listening to on the radar.
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