In early November Lisa and Steve Douglas relocated in Durham to participate in the Duke Medical Center lung transplant program. Their journey began months before when they decided to see if he would qualify for surgery. The criteria included the stage of disease, current physical and mental fitness, adequate support from a primary care giver, and the willingness to relocate in Durham as well as endless other considerations.
Last week on my way to see my mother, I stopped in Durham to visit. During the conversation with Lisa, I learned about protocols, a smidgen about the donor pool, pre-op and post-op care, and benchmarks as well as expectations in the months to come. Steve has been doing intense physical therapy since they moved. Both of them have been attending classes so that they will know what to expect after the surgery.
I walked away from the conversation realizing that a transplant is a rigorous process. Years of research, trial and error, and medical advances make this an option. Complex systems and ethics have been developed to make the process as fair as possible. Care and compassion have been given to families whose loved ones give life through the donation of organs. The commitment of the caregiver and medical team is substantial. The process is not for the faint of heart. Everyone has to be all in, every day, 100% of the time.
The next time I heard from Lisa over the holiday weekend was to say Steve was in surgery.
As I have been thinking about Lisa and Steve, the donor and family, the medical team, and all that is involved-I realized this is what resurrection looks like. From the darkness of disease, from the grief of death—comes new life. With patience and courage, with persistent care from Lisa and the medical staff, Steve moves from death to life. The months past and present will focus on hitting each benchmark until Steve and Lisa can return to Goldsboro.
Loving God, you made our bodies as part of your good creation, and you sent your Son to share our humanity. We are thankful for the gifts given that are the source of life and health for others. We pray for Steve and Lisa; for strength, courage, patience, healing, and new life: through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.