My name is Maggie Shook, a professional jazz piano player and my story begins in June 2009. A year after being diagnosed with End Stage Liver disease, I had resigned myself to a very short but full life. My parents were none too pleased with my decision and sought guidance from the Liver Support Group at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. They left the meeting with not only guidance but hope.
Encouraged by their enthusiasm I submitted my records to Mayo and began evaluation on June 28, 2009. After extensive testing and meeting with numerous doctors, social workers and counselors, I was accepted and listed for liver transplant on July 27, 2009. Thus began the waiting period. As my health continued to decline so did my ability to perform. I became a virtual 29 year old shut in, only attending support group meetings when possible and hospital visits when necessary. While waiting I experienced major bumps in the road, one of which required removing my name from the list until I was well enough to be listed again. Those of us who have experienced waning health have a sixth sense of the end – perhaps a revelation. In October, I knew my time was limited. That changed in the wee morning hours of October 12th, I received “THE CALL”.
I arrived at Mayo Clinic around 2 a.m. and was sporting a brand new liver by 2 p.m. that afternoon. Columbus had discovered a new country and I discovered a new life. Thus, I became a member of the Mayo Family. Every individual involved in my care and recovery has become an important part of my life. I can never thank the decision makers at Mayo for the opportunity of a second chance at life.
As I look forward to being able to play piano again, I consider each day a gift from God and the ultimate gift from my donor, whom I will honor each day by treasuring the gift of life.