Today marks the second anniversary of my liver transplant. A lot has happened in the past year – – we completed the filming of our documentary, we led International NASH Day activities in Pittsburgh and we took every opportunity to raise awareness of non-alcoholic liver disease.
I remain indebted, and always will be, to my liver donor who was unselfish enough to donate his organs upon his passing. I owe my life to that donor. I also remain dedicated to the task of trying to prevent others from following my path which led from NAFLD to NASH to cirrhosis to liver cancer, and finally a transplant. Healthwise, I am feeling good.
We celebrated my first anniversary last year by hosting a dinner for family and friends who were part of a large support system that enabled me to find my way to a transplant. The dinner was held at my favorite Italian restaurant, eating all the great foods I should no longer be eating.
Our celebration this year will be quite different. As a result of COVID-19 we are practicing social distancing and the other recommended precaution. For a celebration dinner, my wife Betsy and I will splurge on a take-out pizza for the two of us. Other than having to cancel several meetings that were scheduled for this week, the social distancing is not really a big deal for me. Those who know me best might say I have been doing that most of my life.
I am in good spirits about COVID-19 despite being in the high-risk group. Betsy tends to do the worrying for both us as I am always overly optimistic about the outcome of events. My stress level is low; Betsy’s is higher.
One of our daily activities is to watch the COVID-19 briefings. I particularly enjoy hearing what Dr. Anthony Fauci has to say, and not just because he is a fellow old Italian guy. Early on, Dr. Fauci said something that has stuck with me and seemed applicable to my own activities. This is not a verbatim quote, but he said Wayne Gretzky was a great hockey player because he was able to anticipate where the puck was going and head there, rather than go to where the puck was at that moment.
This reinforced my feeling that where I should be focusing my attention is not just on the current group of people affected by NAFLD and NASH, but I should be looking for ways to make children and their parents aware of the importance of good liver health. That’s where the puck is going. Events of the past week have slowed our efforts in that area, as meetings with potential local allies were cancelled. Increasing parent and child awareness, though, will be a major focus for NASH kNOWledge in 2020. We will soon be announcing more details regarding our plans.