A Very Merry Christmas to All

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My Christmas Miracle

I want to introduce you to my inspiration. The reason I am able to face even the hardest of days with a smile.
Do I have better pictures..Oh yes, without a doubt, but none that means more to me then this one.
Yesterday we celebrated Matt's 57th BD. That number may not be special to you, but it means the world to me. It is a Birthday Matt was never supposed to celebrate. We were told he would not live past 40 and that would be a gift .
The fact that Matt was born with diabetes plays a roll in how his life played out. There wasn't a great deal known about diabetes back then. I can remember boiling his glass needles, checking the actual needle for burr's..Having to mix NPH insulin with regular in order to maintain him throughout the day. Yes, we had a Mom, but at the age of 9 I had read everything I could find and educated the family.
I will shorten this story as best I can, but I think it bears an important lesson. Insulin takes an terrible toll on the body and Matt's kidneys eventually succumbed to the disease . He was put on dialysis, needed a quadruple by -pass or they wouldn't put him on the transplant list. He had the by-pass  and was put on the transplant list , his by-pass failed, he was removed from the transplant list and sent home to die...Why? Because No Doctor would touch him  and perform another  by -pass. It was much too risky. By now he was the father of twins (a miracle in itself) . I made up hundreds of little angels and attached them to a card. I called them Matthews Angel and on the card I asked that people keep him in their prayers. I found it odd, that out of all the strangers I handed that card to, not one person refused it.Through all of this Matt never lost his sense of humor or his hope for the future which I found admirable. A fabulous Doctor in Columbia Presbyterian finally took the chance at another by-pass. It was at that time he was told his wife was leaving him for another man. Matt's response? He didn't blame her, "it was difficult being married to a sick man". He eventually had a double transplant (kidney and pancreas) but the pancreas was short lived. They had nicked it in surgery and after two days in excruciating pain, they removed it, mean while his job shut down, this was a large company where he had worked for over 20 years. Now he was left with no medical insurance. Which under normal conditions would be terrible, but for my brother ,he now faced $2,500 worth of drugs each month with no insurance to pay for them. Medicare does not cover anti rejection drugs. But still he found reason to smile, after all, he was still alive. In due time he did get another pancreas.
People who are faced with the death of a loved one, that can raise above their grief to help another are the unsung hero's of the human race. Not a day goes by that I do not remember my brothers donors in a prayer.
After 10 years, Matt's kidney finally failed and he has been back on dialysis for several years now, while on dialysis he contracted Hepatitis B and until he can get a doctor to pass him, he is off the transplant list once again. The drugs rotted his teeth, so last year we made sure he got new ones...I missed that smile...now he also needs a note from his heart doctor saying he is strong enough to face another transplant. And we all think we have such BIG problems. This is a man who, from the time he was born, has managed to smile at every bit of adversity thrown his way. I am not sure I could have faced all that he has and kept smiling. Could you? Don't get me wrong, he isn't perfect, sometimes he drives me crazy, sometimes I just want to scream, but he will always be my inspiration to face each day with a smile.
There are people in this world that hold a grudge to the extreme, that continue to whine about the silliest of things and cry because there life is so hard or because they are faced with illness. Then there are those like Matt, who at times can't even afford food because he needs expensive drugs to stay alive. People who in spite of ALL the hardships thrown their way still manage to smile and find a reason to be happy.
For Matt it was getting a silly little Christmas Tree (I just had to know he had a tree in his apartment) and celebrating a Birthday that was never suppose to happen.
He is not a sweet eater so his BD "cake" was a brownie. The glass of ice you see, is because he can't drink a lot. His fluid is measured on dialysis, so instead of drinking, he sucks on crushed ice to quench his thirst. And still he smiles...


  1. What a beautiful Christmas story. I hope you have all the luck in the world. God has blessed you dearly.

  2. Happy Birthday Matt!!!!!

    My brother is a diabetic. He will be 73 in January. He has had some bad times but not as bad as Matt. He had a leg amputated two years ago but right now things are good. My dad died from diabetes when he was 62 so my brother feels that he is lucky to still be alive at his age. It's a horrible illness to have.

  3. What an incredible story, thank you so much for sharing. I know for me, when life gets me down I just thank my lucky stars that I have 2 amazing and wonderful boys and life could surely be worse. Be thankful for what you have and treasure it every day.