Keith’s Story: How To Keep a Positive Attitude While on Waiting List

So you feel like you are never going to get the call and you are only wasting away waiting. I, Keith Crupper, had those same feelings and thoughts and all they did was make me depressed.


I woke after another surgery that wasn’t the one I needed to get my life back. My Crohns disease was doing everything it could to make my life a living HELL. I was done allowing my continuous hospitalization to affect my mental health any longer. Time to adjust my attitude and lose the self-pity and realize that I had a lot of people that cared about me and my health journey. I had more than just family and friends: I had everyone that walked into my room or every person I came into contact with.


I have never been an extrovert. I wasn’t shy but I didn’t just open up to people. I am now going to be an open book and let everyone in. I’m going to try a build friendships with everyone I come into contact with by asking them how they are doing. First thing, get to know my nurses, my aides, the cleaning staff, and the kitchen staff because I see these wonderful people everyday and know nothing about them. My room became basically the nurses lounge and I got to know about where they were from, where they went to school, and about their families. Doing this allowed me to stop thinking about my situation constantly.


Next I started make plans for what I wanted to do after I was given my second chance. I read about places I want to go, food I wanted to eat again, and new foods to try. I started listening to all genres of music, I took recommendations from everyone and in the evenings I would play all the new music that I found that struck a cord with me.


It was an amazing transformation, I had become a happier patient and I truly felt better. The nursing staff could see the improved health because I started taking less pain meds and started getting out of my room and pushed myself to get in the best possible shape I could before I was knocked back down from the transplant.


Everyone seems to ask about how I kept my Faith waiting for as long as I had and being inpatient for six years. I always believed that I was going through this because I was strong enough to take anything because I wasn’t ready to die. I lost my mother after she had a liver transplant that never took and this all happened just nine months before I started getting sick. While I was on the waiting list I lost both my grandparents. I have four nieces that I wanted see graduate high school and college and get married.


I truly believed that once I got the surgery I would be fixed. It wasn’t that easy even though when I came off the sedation and started waking up I felt that all the weight I had carried on my shoulders was gone. I knew the fight wasn’t over but I was on the road to having as normal life again. I was ready to eat again. It had been 8 years since I last ate something and was so looking forward to that first bite. I had been watching the Food Network Channel almost nonstop. I was writing down food and places I wanted to eat. Cleveland has an amazing food scene, so I was ready to explore the city I had been in for 8 years but had only experienced in the hospital.


We, as intestinal and multi visceral transplant patients, have one of the hardest recoveries because our organs are foreign and we have more chances for rejection. I was in hurry to get out, but I had several setbacks.  I never allowed myself to dwell on what was going on now, rather, I continued to focus on the future. I made plans to travel after my one-year anniversary and to see family and friends. I have stayed in contact with so many of my team because they never gave up on me and I can’t thank them enough.


Every day we get is a blessing and not all days are going to be easy, but we must look at what we have been through and we see that we are still here fighting for our lives and our futures. I see so many of us accomplishing the unimaginable. Stay positive and do whatever you need to get your life back. There are so many of us that there is always someone who will listen. We are a strong community of survivors and our futures have no limitations.