Where were you?

I know exactly where I was when the World Trade Center was attacked. My dad can tell you exactly where he was and how he felt when he heard that JFK had been shot. And, more personally and recently, I have a very clear memory of what I was doing on August 28, 2014. I was in my son's hospital room, waiting for the surgical nurses to come get him for his life-saving liver transplant surgery.

Tyler and Roo the cowdog.
One year ago today...I can barely believe what we went through last summer. Looking at Tyler today, you would never guess he was fatally ill just a short 12 months ago. I still can't believe the roller coaster we were on. I didn't blog about it much, but I have a few posts here:

Tyler just had his one-year checkup with the hepatologist at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He is doing so well that there are no changes in medication, no follow up tests to be accomplished regarding the liver, and he doesn't have to go back to the doctor for another year! That is pretty amazing just one year after transplant!

So he is now free to be himself. He is a college student at Kansas State University, majoring in Agricultural Technology Management. Tyler has always liked to build things and fix equipment. I know my other kids can also fix things, but this has been Tyler's focus. He is the kid that when we are going to haul cattle, he is checking the tires, changing the oil and lubricating the joints on whatever trailer and truck we are using. He is the man in charge of some of our equipment--when the salesperson delivered it to our ranch, they trained Tyler in how to use it. He, in turn, trained us. That's just how Tyler is.  He is a goofy kid who tells stupid jokes, but has a wonderful sense of humor. He has always preferred talking to adults instead of kids. He has more adult friends that any other kid I know.  He is a typical kid--who, by the way, takes medicine morning and night at 9:00 on the dot! No big deal.

Tyler and his dad and brothers are absolutely awesome at building fence!
They spent much of the last three summers building fence around our ranch.
And he now has TWO birthdays to celebrate each year. October 20 is the date he was born--along with his identical twin brother Eric. That was a momentous day and I do remember exactly where I was then too (duh!).  And August 28 is the day he was given a second chance at life.  Today I celebrate Tyler and the man he has become. I also celebrate someone who I have never met, who gave my son his liver so he could be this amazing man.  
Tyler is taking a selfie with a banner that has a picture of himself to
promote Organ & Blood Donation at the recent National Jr Angus Show.

Although I have no information about Tyler's donor or their family, I know that person is always with Tyler and I feel their presence as well. I will always give thanks that in a time of unimaginable grief, they chose to give life and hope to numerous people. One of the few things we know is that they were able to donate multiple organs--saving many lives that day! I think that the best thing Tyler can do to honor his donor is to live the life he originally intended. I will write to the family from time to time, as will Tyler. But I think of them daily and hope that knowing that my son is living a good life because of their gift gives them comfort in their grief. Their loved one is now OUR loved one, as well. They are my hero and today I celebrate them.

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