When Antonio Gonzalez was diagnosed with hepatitis C
in Geneva, Switzerland, doctors told him if he didn't get a new liver
within five years, he didn't stand a chance at a long life. As he waited
for a new liver, Gonzalez thought about all the moments he'd miss. He
wanted to be around for his son's graduation.
Gonzalez hadn't even heard of hepatitis C when he was diagnosed,
and didn't know how he got it. A Native American and member of the
Comcáac nation, he surmised that he was probably infected with hepatitis
C while fighting in Vietnam, where he suffered from many major open
While he was sick, Gonzalez put together a box of things that
people could remember him by after he passed away. When he finally got
his liver transplant in 2005, he was able to unpack the box and begin
living again. "So beautiful to receive a liver and to unpack, like, 'I'm
not going anywhere!'" he said.
Labels: Native Amercans, Personal Stories