Alive Again: Celebrating 2 Years of Life, Post-Transplant

I’ve been away from the blog for a while, so apologies to my ones of readers who are, no doubt, scratching their heads and asking, “Who is this “Oberata” and who subscribed me to a stupid blog?”

Regardless, as I approach the 2-year milestone for having had my life-saving kidney transplant, I wanted to give you a good report of my life goings-on, which are the direct-result of receiving the gift of life.  I also wanted to say another epic thank-you to the heroes in the story.

When I tell people about my kidney transplant experience, I make sure to tell them the blunt truth about the year leading up to it: “I was dying.”

But as you might hope, two years later, I’m alive and well.  Since that fateful day on 12/6/11, I have thrived, and it’s all because of some beautiful, selfless people I can hardly repay.


Here’s my donor, Laura Horelica, and I during the moments leading up to the surgery.  I never, ever saw any fear, hesitation, or doubt in her.  Always laughing and smiling, she told me, “I always knew I’d do something like this!”  She sounded as if she were about to go bungee-jumping.


Here we have my ‘actual’ donor, Nadia, and her sister, Susan, who received Laura’s kidney.  The swap was done in order to maximize the results for the patients.  Nadia was a better match for me, and Laura was better for Susan.  You can not understand how awesome and beautiful these people are.  So loving and caring and understanding and cool and amazing.  OK, I’m gushing, but come ON.  We’re talking about REMOVING PERFECTLY HEALTHY KIDNEYS FROM THEIR BODIES.

YES, I am alive, alive, alive! The last two years?  Amazing.  Here’s proof:


I’m teaching high school Spanish full time.  What a blast.  ¡Es fantástico!


I’m also about to start my 3rd year teaching the varsity tennis team.  Does it get any better?


I am also feeling well enough to play tennis, and usually get out about twice a week.  Here’s my doubles partner, Tyler Hamel, and I last November.  We won a doubles tournament at our local club, and advanced to Colorado Springs for the 2nd level of the event.  Awesome stuff!


I went to the US OPEN!!!! Last year, Colleen and I were treated by my mother to these ridiculous court-side seats.  Colleen took the picture from her seat. . . it was right there!  I could have high-fived Djokovic when he came in.  NYC was great.


I get to enjoy stuff like this!!!

IMG_0574 And this . . . 15 pounder!


I get to see Josh win district!!


Did I mention I get to see these munchkins off to another first day of school?


OH, and most importantly, I get to enjoy life with my beautiful Colleen.  In case my doctors are seeing this, that’s a non-alcoholic Corona.

Speaking of docs, my amazing and comical hematologist  told me recently that, in her circle of medical professionals, they never say, “X patient has died.”  It’s too coarse, I suppose, or maybe too morbid for daily repetition.  She said that, instead, they say, “Mrs. Wilson went to Chicago.” 

Guys, I am NOT going to Chicago.  I am alive, I am here, and I’m fortunate enough to be embracing life and doing what I enjoy.  So if you’re down, or hurt, or suffering for any reason, maybe this can give you a bit of hope, comfort, joy, or strength.

Thanks to all of my loved ones and friends.  Thank you Laura and Nadia.  Onward we go . . .

12 thoughts on “Alive Again: Celebrating 2 Years of Life, Post-Transplant

  1. Great Stuff, Jeff! Great to see you last week, too! Let me know if you get around to planning that Oregon trip we talked about.

  2. Thanks for the wonderful update and photos Jeff… truly ARE a miracle and it’s SO amazing that you were given the gift of life by these wonderful women. Great writing, you had me crying and then laughing at the end….I love the “Going to Chicago”. Keep enjoying life and the Blessings that you have and been given….kidney, family & friends.
    Love, Ann

  3. Always great to hear about you Jeff and so very happy that things are going well!! What a wonderful family and life you have!! Hablamos pronto primo! Muchos besos y saludos! Tammy

  4. LOL yes I know I’m not big, but it’s fun for us Spanish hackers to massacre the language. I, for one, am glad you’re not in Chicago, for who else would get FSHSHSHSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS?!???

  5. Jeff, your enouragement and inspiration made a huge difference in helping me hang on until my transplant in January 2013. I do tell people that I was dying this time last year and I could feel it happening. Remembering that and contrasting it to how I feel now, 10 mos post-transplant, is simply mind-blowing! It’s a tremendous experience to go through such a miracle firsthand! Words cannot adequately express it. The courage and love of our donors is a profound example of the finest of humanity. Again, thank you deeply for the help and positive outlook you shared with me in my own journey. It is wonderful to see the pics of you with your students and family! You had a really tough journey and your triumph has been a gift to all of us who know you.

  6. Jeff:

    You are so awesome to pay tribute as above. As your only Aunt, I am so proud of you and all of your accomplishments…and I am very happy that you are around for us to enjoy you and your adorable family. Thanks to your Mom and Dad for always being there too! Love you, Auntie Gayle.

  7. Dear cousin Jeff, what a terrific recounting of all of the joys you have and which we should all stop to appreciate. Congratulations!!

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