Sheriff Sarah

Sheriff Sarah

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Things That Matter

I've been seeing the photos and news stories this week about the many fires burning in the western United States. I'm particularly stunned by the huge fire the Colorado Springs area. We have friends in the area and were able to visit there a few years ago. It's a gorgeous part of the country and to see the destruction wrought by these fires is heartbreaking. Thousands have been evacuated and many will lose their homes.

This is a sobering reminder about what is really important in our lives. Some of us grumble day to day about not being satisfied with this, or about someone who is always doing that. We can become frustrated at the most trifling things. And we begin to take life for granted. I doubt any person leaving behind their home is taking anything for granted right now. They might return to a pile of charred ruins. Their memories will forever hold reminders of their loss.

So, let us pray for the firefighters bravely waging battle against the flames and for those who have to evacuate, that no life is lost. Because in the end what really matters is what we carry in our hearts and the people around us.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Real Heroes, Part 1: Our Liver Kids

For those of us who live in the world of liver disease, we speak often about those who’ve impacted our lives for the better.  These people are our heroes.  I’m starting a series this week about these heroes. The first three segments will cover my own personal journey and a bit of Sarah’s story. The follow-up segments will include other liver families who’ve graciously offered to share their own stories. I hope to see you here often and feel free to chime in with your thoughts and comments.


It may seem odd to include the very ones most affected by the myriad of pediatric liver diseases. After all, they are often infants and toddlers. How they could be heroes? Ask any parent of one of these kids and you’ll discover why.

One of the most eye-opening things I witnessed during our journey from biliary atresia through transplant was Sarah’s strength and joy. You could never tell she was a sick by her behavior or sunny disposition. She always had a charming smile ready to brighten someone’s day. She wanted to play and see other people. And she loved her siblings so much.

Our kids exhibit qualities many adults struggle with or lack: perseverance and the ability to adapt to any given situation. Adults like to fool themselves into believing we can adapt to any situation but our liver kids resemble chameleons. Need to be poked several times per day for labs? No problem. Sarah reached the point she’d hold out an arm and say “pokie”. Have to sit there in the bed and be poked & prodded by doctors checking out their tummy? No problem. She’d just flash her trademark smile and generally let them do what they needed without complaint. These kids don't see uncertainty in their future, only the possibilities.

These little warriors seemingly ignore what lies before them, insisting that each day IS precious and to be lived to its fullest. We can learn so much from their determination and their unwillingness to give up. These kids are small but they fight well beyond their stature. I have yet to meet a liver child who doesn't have a beautiful and charming personality. It's almost like they're more concerned about the people caring for them then they are about themselves. That's love. That's strength. And those are only a few things that make them heroes in my mind. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Saying Goodbye

It was a sobering weekend in BA land as we lost another precious angel, Riley. This little girl was a fighter. Those of us who live in the world of liver disease know what determination our kids carry as they battle various diseases. I like to tell Patty that these babies are so more resilient than adults. But these kids, they battle and claw and fight. Riley was at the top of that class.

She battled through not one but two liver transplants and may have received another if her little body hadn’t finally absorbed so much damage she was unable to go on. Riley was a little soldier, unwilling to just give up. She owes a lot of that attitude to her parents, who fought alongside her; who sang songs, prayed and refused to give up.

Each time we lose one of our precious angels it’s so painful. It’s more than a punch in the gut. It’s like a piece of us has been torn away and the wound will never heal. It couldn’t possibly do so.
But then you think of the little angels. I believe in God and in heaven where all things will be made whole again through Jesus Christ. The precious ones we lose are now free of pain, free of medication, free of IV’s and PIC lines, and all the other foreign things that invade their bodies on a daily basis when battling for their lives.

The wounds may be slow to heal but they will heal. Because we carry the special memories of these little ones with us for the rest of our lives. No matter how brief their stay with us, we have all been blessed to know them. Our lives would have been so different without them. We wouldn’t trade knowing Riley and our other angels for anything in the world. They are our priceless treasures, and like our other children, the very gifts of God.