We’re fighting for each other

May 5, 2024

“This is Clyde. I call him Clydesdale. He’s eighty percent deaf and blind. We’re both in bad shape. I’m walking Clyde trying to condition my heart—working on what’s still good inside of our bodies. We’re fighting for each other.

I was born with NASH, a non-alcoholic liver disease. It caught up to me younger than my transplant team expected. I’m in stage-four cirrhosis. My liver is barely working. My body sees my dying liver as a foreign object and a threat, attacking the left side of my heart and disintegrating it. I take a pharmacy-worth of pills at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If I don’t take them, the pain of my insides gets to me. I’m fighting my way out of a prison of darkness every morning. Sometimes I get there; sometimes I don’t

I have a transplant team. But I don’t have a good chance of living, even with a liver transplant. There’s a chance that even if I get the liver, my heart dies, and then I will need a heart transplant. There’s also the chance that my body is too weak to accept the transplant. I’m walking to strengthen myself.

I have a lot to fight for: my family. I’m giving my two wonderful adopted kids the good childhood that I didn’t have—with a father who loves them and is there for them. Also, my adopted parents, Pam and Eric, who took me in so that I wouldn’t be on the streets. Pam and Eric live in Clarksdale, Mississippi; my wife and kids and transplant team are in Lawrence, Kansas. I go back and forth. Right now, I’m helping Pam and Eric open their restaurant, Den Again, in downtown Clarksdale. I’m doing all I can for my family while I’m still here.

I’ve also accepted that I’m dying. I’m teaching my children everything I can, readying them for a future that I probably won’t be a part of. When I go, I hope they know their Dad didn’t let something kill him without a fight.  But life has rode me hard; sometimes giving up sounds better than fighting.

I have to keep going. If I quit, I die. So I get up every day and thank the Lord that I’m still here. Love is all I have left to give.”



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