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recycleBeing a born and bred Oregonian I can’t throw recyclables away. Bottles, cans, plastic containers, cardboard. It’s like a forcefield has grown around my trash can if I even get near it with one of these. Of course the Catholic guilt solidifies the decision.

Where I live now – Cochiti Lake, NM – there is no curbside recycling. We have to haul it 30 miles into town (Santa Fe) and we do. Even though it’s kind of funny balancing the carbon footprint of burning fossil fuel to recycle but whatever. I got over it. So can you.

Last November I had surgery to replace two ruptured discs in my neck. The procedure is called ACDF. I had the option of using a couple of chunks of my hip bone as new discs OR I could use a recycled bone.  I decided to go green and received a donation from two deceased people. Cadaver bones that replaced the ruptured discs.  Someone was kind enough to donate their parts.

After surgery the nurse gave me a pamphlet that had two stickers on it – the code numbers for the two people that now have a place in my heart and my neck. I had the option of writing their families a letter (anonymously) to thank them.

So today I wrote this letter.

Dear Donor Family,

I am writing to thank you for the kind and generous gift of tissue donation*  from your loved one. I am so sorry for your loss, but I want you to know that your decision to donate has changed my life in a positive way.

I needed a tissue transplant because I had two ruptured discs in my neck which caused me excruciating nerve pain and loss of mobility in my left arm. 

Since the transplant, which involved removing my ruptured discs and replacing it with the donation, I have been able to return to full capacity. No more pain. 

For that I am grateful to you and your loved one. My family and I will always remember your act of kindness and generosity. 

*not cool to refer to it as a cadaver bone.

If you are not an organ/tissue donor – please consider it. I mean when you’re dead – you’re either going to bury or burn your parts – so why not leave them for the next generation.

Thank you for listening.

UPDATE: Yesterday (9/11/13) I received a letter from Pathways (the company that facilitates the tissue donations). They received a letter from the donor family that I have the option of receiving. Hell yes I want to receive it. Stay tuned…….

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January 2013