Your Health


Commentator Jeff Moyer is dealing with a life-threatening situation, although the life at stake is not his own.

Mr. JEFF MOYER (Writer, Musician, Disability Advocate): The group email arrived in January. It was a plea from a close friend for his adult daughter, Julie, who needed a kidney.

I was gripped by a terrible dilemma. Julie's blood type was my own. If I volunteered and was accepted, I could save this woman's life. But I didn't want to go through the transplant surgery. I was afraid of the pain, of the loss of control. I began turning over every rock, looking for a valid reason not to offer.

Much to my relief, a local transplant center told me that at 61, I was a marginal candidate. But then Julie's transplant center said I wasn't marginal at all. So I signed up. Deep inside, a part of me hoped that I would flunk out and a perfect, younger donor would be found. But the few other candidates didn't pass medical muster.

I went through a series of rigorous medical evaluations. One doctor demanded a nuclear stress test to prove my heart could be shocked back into life if it stopped during surgery. A social worker questioned my motivation.

Challenged at every turn, I found myself wanting to overcome these obstacles, to be selected as the donor. More importantly, I began empathizing with Julie. And rather than flunking out, I passed all the tests with flying colors.

The day I received the news that I was accepted, I was genuinely elated. Now, very soon, after our final medical exams and last-minute blood matching tests, I will play my part in this remarkable sharing of a human resource.

Since receiving that group email last winter, Julie and I have become friends. I have found a new courage and steel, maybe for both of us. Now, together, we wait.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: Jeff Moyer is a writer, musician and disability advocate in Cleveland. He's going to check in with us again, after the transplant surgery.

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