When & How Do Recipients Say Goodbye To Their “Original” Organ(s)? Do They?

I do have a question I’d like to pose to some of my transplant friends, of whatever organ or whatever status.  I know that many transplant recipients feel compelled to write their donor families, yet how many have felt the urge to write a farewell note to their original organ(s)?

Maybe because I can be more open about grief, death, & other associated subjects, this doesn’t seem an odd question for me to ponder or ask at this point in my journey.  Or maybe it’s just because today is the day I’ll find out how much mileage is still left on my old lungs & when I can anticipate possibly receiving new ones.

Of course with something so personal (if I chose to do it), I may not make it public.  Still I guess that’s why I’m just even opening this dialogue now to see if anything like this has ever crossed another transplantee’s mind.  I can’t put words in people’s mouths, or express what their organs mean to them, so I doubt I would post the letter, even if I actually do it. At least not here.

I just want to know (mainly) how my fellow members of transplant world feel about this in general? Or if they’ve done it or anything like it? Or even considered but couldn’t for some reason? Please allow me a moment to pick your brains.

I know I’ve been told a few isolated stories of quiet goodbyes & send-offs after surgery when some recipients have been shown their old organ(s). Perhaps that’s their way of doing that in lieu of a note or a letter. Maybe other people have said goodbye in other ways & methods but I just don’t know about them.

It just seems like something interesting to consider doing.  Yet, maybe this idea just comes across as compelling to me because of the nature of my personality & how I usually express myself.

Maybe it’s too harsh, too weird, off-putting, or many other uncomfortable terms to others.

Yet, I’d welcome feedback on the subject from people who have been on this journey just to start a discussion about it.

If it’s too sensitive to comment directly to my blog, maybe it can be arranged for a private offline discussion or conversation.  Or in a private group somewhere. (I do read comments before I approve them & they are  shown).

It’s just something I’m really curious about. I want to see how others would perceive it this idea. If they think it could be a potential healing thing for someone else on this journey at some point or not & why.

Thanks for indulging me.



4 thoughts on “When & How Do Recipients Say Goodbye To Their “Original” Organ(s)? Do They?

  1. Interesting topic ….. being that I’m one of the more rare adults to have been transplanted after being in a coma and finding out POST transplant that my heart had been replaced. I never had the opportunity to think about it beforehand. I do remember a discussion in the ICU once I finally regained consciousness with one of the Dr’s that my heart had been used for research (approved by my wife) and he explained what they had seen. After those first few weeks of the initial “shock & awe” of my journey diminished, I did say a prayer and a good-bye to my heart, and a prayer of thanks for my new heart. I’ve met a LOT of recipients over the years and know of a few folks that had actual “funerals” for their native organ ….. not with the organ itself mind you, but with a picture that a surgeon took at their request during transplant. I think we all, at some level, grieve the loss of the organ …… but I also believe that the OVERWHELMING gratitude we have for the gift we receive buries those thoughts.

    I’m one that has written my donor family many times, even though I’ve never heard back. Those notes have been crucial in my healing process. In my case, the physical healing was way easier that the mental and emotional healing post transplant. Even though the donor family has apparently moved with no forwarding address, I continue to write on occasion.

    I wish you the best today with the hopes of a UNOS listing and a SHORT wait time.

    I don’t know if you are religious or not, but I still believe that a “Higher Authority” decides WHO & WHEN will get the organs….. I’m a statistics junkie and too often I see folks beat “all odds”. God seems to have his own algorithm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for commenting & sharing your story DAP. A few documentaries I watched on transplant showed this as you say & so that’s why I was curious. I guess writing my lungs makes sense to me too since that’s my chosen form of expression most times. My lungs I arranged ahead of time to go to research too & I’m very happy about that. I know the researcher I designated them too will put them to good use, but also knows me & my story so I feel too that they are going to a friend & not just in a bin or just to some entity or a general bank somewhere. I will most likely be listing early next year now which makes me feel a bit better. But I was timed out today at least roughly with data to this point. The timing seemed reasonable to me & actually ahead of what I had thought it might be. Which also put me at ease. I just feel better after what I’ve been through in recent months still being able to have a little bit of a buffer & then not having to list over the upcoming holidays. I’m also glad through this whole process I’ve been nothing but on the same page as my team.


  2. Pingback: Goodbye My Lungs… | AS I LIVE & BREATHE

  3. Pingback: Salute to my Old Lungs | AS I LIVE & BREATHE

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