The search for a miracle went nationwide but, in the most ironic of coincidences, the godsend turned up to be no farther away than in his high school yearbook.
Adam Hyman had been waiting months, if not years, for a kidney donor match.
There were one or two close calls but eventually the former Newtown resident had to set his jaw and recently began dreaded dialysis treatment on his failing organs.
And then, just when it seemed all hope was lost, the clouds parted and who should appear on a white horse but his former classmate at George Washington High School, Mike Green.
In the ultimate gesture of friendship, Green agreed to give Hyman, who turns 46 on Friday, a birthday gift to remember.
The transplant operation took place last week and so far so good for both gentlemen.
Hyman, a former sub-three hour marathon runner, hopes to complete his rehab in a couple months and be back as fast as ever.
But the most important thing is that a health battle, which extends back to the last century, might finally be coming to a blessed end.
Hyman was born with something called Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome, a condition where the body produces too much acid. When he was a young teenager, doctors had to remove his stomach and part of his intestines due to the malady.
Eventually, the problem also took its toll on his kidneys, hence the operation.
Hopefully, this transplant will be a success and the endless trial of will is over.
“I feel like a different person, it’s crazy,’’ Hyman said with a laugh on the day before his release from Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia.
“Mike and I go all the way back to Loesche Elementary School, then Baldi Middle School and Washington High School. His brother had donated a kidney three years ago. I sent Mike the forms, it was a match and thank god it all worked out.’’
Prior to the surgery, Hyman was cautiously optimistic. He didn’t want to get his hopes too high because he had been left disappointed before.
“They say everything happens for a reason,’’ he said. “It (the previous failed attempt) was devastating. I swore I would never do dialysis (being hooked to a machine for four hours three times a week).
“This (transplant) saved my life. Being hooked to a machine like that, it’s almost like being in jail.’’
Hyman is employed at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (nurse navigator in the cancer unit), so he’s no stranger to the type of courage needed to overcome medical adversity.
He sees it everyday.
“With dialysis, you can’t swim or run or anything,’’ he said. “It was probably the worst seven months you can endure.’’
Through this trying time, Adam received constant support from his family, including his dad, Mike; his mom, Sandra; and his sister, Shari.
“They’ve been wonderful,’’ Adam said. “I come home from dialysis everyday and I’m saying ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ They would say there’s going to be light at the end of the tunnel. Something will work out.’’
Of course, the kids and nurses he works with provide inspiration, too.
“Everyday they would say hang in there,’’ Adam said. “Everything will be OK. They’ve all been great.’’
It’s safe to say Hyman and Green are now more than just friends – they share part of the human condition and are a testament to that great experiment known as life.
“It’s unbelievable,’’ Adam said. “It’s like he’s my life-saving angel.’’
Somebody out there reading this might be standing in Hyman’s shoes. What is Adam’s message to that individual?
“You have to stay positive,’’ he said. “There’s always hope at the end. There’s someone there who’s willing to give you that gift of life.’’
Green didn’t have to do this but chose to help a friend.
“He just said it was his turn to step up,’’ Hyman said.
The two went out to dinner to celebrate and plan to make it an annual event.
Safe to say Adam will be picking up the tab for a long time to come.
Saturday, Aug. 17
20th annual Ivyland 5K, 8:30 a.m. Contact www.ivyland5k.org
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