Mixing Metaphors and Organs


It’s been my experience that the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel isn’t sunshine or a train- it’s a carrot. A metaphorical carrot, of course. It’s the light that keeps you moving forward, plodding like the donkey with that goddamn carrot hanging just beyond his reach.

Of course, also in my experience, the carrot is attached to the nose of a train that’s coming right at me.

For more than two years, the light at the end of this tunnel has been a liver transplant for my sister. We knew that it was pretty much the only thing that could save her life. It’s been such a long tunnel that most days we couldn’t even see the light. And plodding forward in the dark after a carrot that’s just a rumor is hell.

On Sunday we caught a carrot made of light that’s attached to a train and shaped like a liver.

On Sunday, my sister had a transplant.

I’ve been writing everything down, because it happened so quickly and I know none of us will remember it all. I want us to remember that I almost hung up on the transplant call because I thought it was a wrong number. And my niece writing a message to the surgeons on my sister’s skin in Sharpie marker, only she wrote it in the wrong place and they never saw it. I want to remember the nurse calling my sister’s room hours into surgery to tell me, “The organ is in.” and the heroic willpower that kept me from replying, “That’s what she said.”

We’re not out of the tunnel yet. My sister has already had some complications and will be in ICU for several more days. Transplant recovery is long, especially for someone who has been so weakened by cancer treatments.

But for the first time in a long time, and I’ll deny it if you ever tell anyone I said this, I can almost believe that it might be sunshine at the end.

At this point though, I’d settle for a carrot.

15 thoughts on “Mixing Metaphors and Organs

  1. “Carrots help you see in the dark!” You can now see the sunshine – what a hard time you have all been through and I pray that your sister continues to strengthen each day. You are the Guiding Star – be strong and safe.
    Huge bear hugs

  2. God! Don’t ever stop writing, whatever else happens. I wish you, your sister and your family much good fortune for the road ahead. I love your art; it’s inspirational — but omg.. your words! Best, m


  3. We donated my sister’s organs when she died. I didn’t know it’d be such a heartbreaking and difficult process, but it truly is, even when you feel it’s the right thing to do, even if you always planned on doing it. But I’ve had one friend live (and have two babies since) after a liver transplant, another live after a kidney/pancreas transplant, a childhood friend just got two new lungs after a lifetime of cystic fibrosis and now this wonderful post from you. Those are the bits I remember.

    So happy to hear this news. Sending my good juju in your general direction and a special thought for the donor family.

  4. /me loves liver. I’m kinda vegetarian but always make an exception for fish and for liver. Everybody should! Liver is also super healthy as Whiskey’s sister just proved to us.

  5. Why, Whiskey, is that an actual note of optimism I detected at the end of that post? Don’t worry, I’ll never tell. lol
    Thank you for sharing this great news with all of us! All these wonderful comments have said so well all the things I felt reading this post. “That’s what she said” was priceless!
    Your writing about the darkest experiences still always has a ray of light peeking through.
    And who knows, maybe this post will provide a carrot for someone else out there going through a similar situation.

  6. wonderful! You wont believe the change in her….it will start with pink cheeks, and bright eyes! Enjoy!!!! I’m glad your writing it all down. I hope for you one day…you can look back and read it ..with out worry with out fear…..hugs to you and your sister!

  7. I was starting to think the Geek Squad had put your computer out of your misery. Instead we get this excellent and joyous news. And still we can tell it’s from Whiskey. Tell your sister we all said hey. ;)

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