Sunday, April 27, 2014

Lose If You Snooze

I always thought naps were good for you—especially in your older years. Not so says Live Science magazine. “Middle–age and older adults who take daytime naps may be at increased risk of dying, a new study from England suggests.” (April 22, 2014) The logic behind that statement seems to be linked to sleep apnea and the need to sleep during the day because of not getting quality sleep at night. A few years ago, a sleep doctor told me that my daytime napping habit had to go if I ever planned to get a good night’s sleep again. It took a while, but I finally kicked the nap habit. A rainy Sunday afternoon snooze is definitely the exception. 

So what’s the alternative to wanting to nap—staying busy says a recent article on the FOX Business network.  For many older Americans, that means staying in the work force longer than age 65. Seniors are working longer for the financial benefit, but also for the social satisfaction that comes from interacting with people. It’s more challenging to keep or find a job in our later years, but many employers find value in hiring the more dependable seniors who have a strong work ethic. Some folks have even started new careers during their retirement years. You may recognize some of the names below as examples of seniors who hit their stride later in life.
Susan Boyle – Her singing career took off after she was 50.
Colonel Sanders – He invented “finger lickin good” chicken at age 70.
Laura Ingalls Wilder – She first published the Little House on the Prairie series at age 64.
Henry Ford – He built the first car assembly line at age 60.

Today Charles and I talked with his sister, Marion, who is celebrating her 85th birthday. She’s not slowing down one bit. In fact, she was just promoted in her job as head of her local senior center. Charles—the other half of the dynamic duo—goes to work every day determined to sell his devices for reducing aircraft drag to military and commercial operators. 2014 just might be the year.

The best Biblical example of productive old age is the Apostle Paul who was executed close to age 60. (old in Biblical times). He writes to younger Timothy (2 Tim.4:7) “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” That’s a worthy goal for our later years.

Writing this blog has made me sleepy. I think I will go take a nap.  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

No Greater Love

During this month of April, I want to recognize all the heroic families who donate life. Sixteen years ago my sister, Audrey, and I received transplanted livers from unknown donors. We have each been blessed with  additional years to celebrate life with family and friends. Not everyone is so fortunate. I recently joined an international Facebook support group for people with liver disease called “Live, Laugh, and Love Your Liver.” Reading about the triumphs and struggles of others who are so sick pre-transplant and, in many cases, post-transplant I am amazed that we have done so well. 

Heart of Gold Rose
honors donor families
Many ground breaking scientific advances are being made in the field of organ donation. Two recent articles on caught my attention. There is an increase in living donor transplants where the donor gives a portion of their liver to the recipient. The risk of organ failure for both the donor and the recipient can be very high and long-term complications are possible. For this reason the living donors must go through three days of intensive physical and mental screening before being accepted.  If all goes as planned, a half of the healthy liver replaces the diseased liver. Within four to six weeks the donor’s liver will regenerate to 80 to 90 percent of its original size and the donated half will increase in size and restore liver function in the recipient. Except for some ugly scars and livelong immune suppressing drugs for the recipient, both persons have the potential to live normal lives.

I am also excited to learn that scientists are now transforming human skin cells into mature, fully functioning liver cells. The skin cells are regenerated, using a specific cocktail of reprogramming genes and chemical compounds. The hope for the future is that these healthy cells can be inserted into livers to grow and crowd out the diseased cells. Perhaps in future generations, scientists can grow fully functioning livers, thus completely eliminating the need for donor transplants. 

Medical science has come a long way in the sixteen years since my transplant. I continue to pray for the family who made my organ donation possible. A Bible verse from John 15:13 sums it up for me. “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (NIV translation)

I am also reminded during this Easter week of an even greater gift—the ultimate life giving gift—when Jesus the Christ lay down His life for our salvation. No greater love!!

My book "Born Three Times: A New Life, A New Liver, A New Love" recounts how I received three amazing gifts and a second chance at life.  It's available from in print and ebook formats.

My book "Born Three Times: A New Life, A New Liver, A New Love" tells how I received three amazing gifts and a second chance at life.  Available at in soft and ebook