Hello, thank you for stumbling upon my scrappy little blog where I hope to encourage and help those who are somehow dealing with a chronic illness that is hindering their life in an awful way. If you click on the link above, you can get a brief overview of my story and why I am doing this. I felt like the best way to help people and reach those who I don’t see on a normal basis is to write and share with the world. In this first post I want to give you, the reader, the run down of my story and how I got to where I am now, so thanks for reading and I hope this helps you or someone you know in a meaningful way.
In September of 2015 I was a normal 19 year old guy, I think. I was in school studying communications, I was active with my church by being in a discipleship program that they provided, I was working at a local pizzeria in Portage, MI and at the church’s thrift store, and I thought I had it good. I was active and was hardly ill. Then in early September, I was at the thrift store on a Saturday working and I lifted a box and then I felt something go wrong. I felt something in my side pop, and I thought I pulled a muscle, something I’ve done countless times, so I kept working. I quickly realized something was wrong when I wasn’t able to breathe.
I hurried over to the ER while the pain in my side was so violent that I had a hard time steering my car. I get there and the doctors run a few test to see what was causing the pain, and they find some spots on my liver. They try to encourage me by saying it is not threatening, but my mind is racing. A few days later and a few tests later, I received the diagnosis. Epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (just rolls off the tongue doesn’t it) is the type of cancer they found in my liver. They said there isn’t a treatment option because of the rarity of the tumor. So I had to continue to live and continue to find joy in the little things because I didn’t want my fear to rule my life. I was making cancer jokes almost 24 hours after the diagnosis, because I believe that laughter is truly the best medicine. Trust me, I was terrified and I wanted to cry every night and I want to scream at God asking why He did this to me, but the Bible says that every good and perfect Gift is from God and that He provides abundant life, so I knew this wasn’t from Him, but He would get me through it. Amen?
So weeks go by I dropped out of classes, to focus on my health, I worked minimally and tried my hardest to be as normal as I could be. But the thing is about being diagnosed with a chronic or terminal illness is that everyone looks at you differently so it is hard to NOT act and live different based on all of their opinions and views of you. As I’m trying to be normal, I find out the only real treatment is a liver transplant, so I started believing for that to happen. Then one cold March morning in 2016, I got a call from University of Michigan that after months of waiting, they found a liver for me that matches my body!!!! You better believe I cried when I found out that, then I did a small praise dance because I knew that day would mark my new life. At 11:00pm of March 24, 2016 I received a liver transplant and my life hasn’t been the same since. I beat one of the scariest diseases to be on this planet.
I will keep writing about how I made it through a quite literal life threatening situation but for this post I wanted for you all to get a brief overview of my story, and I hope it gives you hope that you can also make through whatever you are going through with laughter, joy, and Jesus.
John 10:10- The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy but I have come to give life and life full of abundance.
Harrison Pluta- cancer survivor and liver transplant recipient.