Since my liver transplant in 1991, I’ve been taking one drug to keep me alive. The drug is called cyclosporine. It is an immunosuppressant drug. For thsoe who are not medically incline, cyclosporine lowers my immune system. Since my body treats the liver as a foriegn host and will try to attack it, cyclosporine lowers my immune system and body thus able to accept the liver. It is quite amazing when we think about it. This drug is created from a fungus. How did the scientist figured that out, I had no idea. With three little pills, the size of M&Ms (but definitely not taste like M&Ms!), twice a day, it keeps me alive.
When I tell people about my medication, those who are in the medical profession will often be amazed that as a transplant recipient, I am taking only one drug. Transplant recipients often have a cocktail of medications to boost their immune system to keep them healthy. The first year after my transplant, I would take a whole bunch of pills and liquids. Yet, sometimes, someone will ask me what are the side affects of taking cyclopsorine. I would tell them in the most serious tune, ‘yes, there are some major side affects. I am alive. It is not easy to ‘live’ with this but I finally get use to it.’
With all joking aside, not taking cyclosporine, my body will attack my liver and Cliff will see Jesus very soon. Thus, this is important for me to take it every 12 hours to make sure there is a good cyclosporine level in my blood.
Ever since Wai Jia and I were married (one and a half years ago), I often wondered why she never made the effort to remind me to take my cyclosporine. After all, she’s a medical doctor, she should know all the 101 side affects of NOT taking cyclosporine. Doesn’t she care? It never really bothered me but sometimes I just wonder.
Then a few days ago, I had a revelation. Wai Jia is also taking some medication as well (not cyclosporine, thankfully. This drug is already expensive for one person!). As I reflected upon this, I realized I rarely made an effort to remind her to take her medication.
So the whole thing turned around. I realized that by asking how come she doesn’t care, I am actually looking at a mirror and asking myself, do I really care her?
Over the weekend, we went to the church’s Marriage Preparation Course (MPC) to give a testimony as to how the course helped us as a couple (which for all those who are about to get married, definitely consider taking a MPC. It helped Wai Jia and my marriage.) I am once reminded something a trainer said in my MPC. He said that we are actually very selfish people. In our own mind, we have a perception of who that person should be to us when we are married. We will consciously (and unconsciously) force that person to fit that mould in our head.
As Christians, we often talk about agape. Agape is a Greek word that means sacrificial love. That’s the word we use to describe Jesus dying on the cross for us. It is a love that costs one person something for the sake of another person. With marriage, we often use the same word to describe how we treat our spouse. In fact for Wai Jia’s engagement ring, I etched agape on it.
Reminding me to take medication in the whole scheme of things is very small. I’ve been doing this for twenty years. It is like breathing to me. However, it reminded me how self-centre I still am and there’s still a way for me to learn to love sacrifically.
Last night, I shared my relevation with Wai Jia. She said that she purposely chose not to remind me because she doesn’t want to nag me (like my mom. I will be honest. I don’t like my mom nagging me but I know she does it out of good intention!). So for her, by loving me, choose not to remind me to take my medication.