Four Livers and No Funeral
Living with a Deadly Illness and Beating the Odds
Perfect Bound Softcover
I had always bounced back from my fears. Always. This didn’t feel the same…it didn’t seem possible to go through another very complicated surgery after barely surviving the last. How much can a single body take? I was strong, but this was a third major, very major surgery, the same one that had gone horribly wrong ten years ago. Considering the odds, although this one could save me, it was much more likely to kill me…
In the summer of 1989, I flew to Pittsburgh for a checkup. As I made my way down the hall towards Dr. Starzl’s office, my stomach was in a knot. Damn, why am I feeling this way? Maybe it’s because I’m happy to see Thomas.
After the blood test, we sat and chatted about Los Angeles, my health, and of course my boys.
“Gloria, I want you to take this medication in addition to anti-rejection drugs.” He said.
“Okay. Did I tell you, I only speak French with Adam and Daniel? I continued, disregarding the prescription I held in my hand, and eager to continue our conversation about the loves of my life.
Back in Los Angeles the new drug waited at Thrifty’s, a large box with vials and syringes. I unfolded the instructions/information. It was much too complicated.
“Thomas, why am I taking this new drug?” I asked, when Dr. Starzl picked up the receiver.
“You’ve developed Hepatitis B. The best drug we have to slow its progression is Interferon.”
My hands began to shake. My head pounded. My knees gave way. I slumped onto the bed.
“Are you sure? How’s it possible? You mean I went from C-Hepatitis to B-Hepatitis?”
“We need to conduct more tests, but now, I don’t think you ever had C. You probably had B all along and it’s recurring in the new liver. Unless the new liver already carried the virus or maybe one of the blood transfusions. I can’t say right now. We’ve had good results with Interferon, though. That stuff seems to work so I wouldn’t worry if I were you.”
“I’m not worried.”
The hell I wasn’t.
I felt hollow, empty, numb. My legs trembled. I sat and stared at the white wall. The pain in my heart shook me. I rose slowly, and headed down the stairs like a zombie to the second floor. I sat on the landing and watched Adam and Daniel play. They crawled over to me, smiling and giggling. I folded them into my arms and squeezed them tightly against my breast, but not too tightly. Their soft, sweet skin against my lips revived me. The sun filtered through the windows, bringing out the vivid blue of the patterned carpet with games woven into it.
The room was sparsely furnished with plenty of space for the boys to crawl around. They wriggled themselves free from my grip. Here we go again, the silent killer is back. Three and a half years, time to believe it was all over, that I was finally healthy. Three and a half years, time to appreciate the miracle of my children, the stability of a career. Three and a half years where I tried my best to forget illness because I was healthy. Here I am facing death, again. I sensed it. I felt something. My intuition kept me checking within. Shortly after the transplant I already knew. It was all too good to be true.
Born of American parents and raised in Germany, author Gloria Edel attended French school until graduating from college. She moved to the United States permanently in 1984 prior to the first of three liver transplants. In a coma for six weeks after her second transplant, Gloria underwent five surgeries while unconscious. She also had two hip replacements and two knee replacements. An avid sportsperson, she has always enjoyed physical activity, including instructing spinning classes after receiving her replacement body parts. In 2008, Gloria underwent her third liver transplant and her first kidney transplant. Her husband, to whom she is married for eighteen years, helped her through two of three transplants. She holds the title of First Woman In The World With A Liver Transplant To Have Two Children. Gloria also has another passion—learning and speaking languages: French, German, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew and Russian. Currently she is learning Chinese, her eighth language. She lives with her husband and two sons in Los Angeles, California.
Perfect Bound Softcover (USD)
Dust Jacket Hardcover (USD)