Troy: bigger than that



Hi everybody. I'm glad that you stopped by to read my story.

My name is Troy Evans, I'm 14-years-old, and I live with my family in New London, Connecticut.  I like my town because I live near the beach and can go crabbing and fishing, which is a lot of fun. My dad's best friend and I go fishing all the time, and we have contests to see who can catch the most fish. Of course, I always win! 

I'm in the seventh grade, and my favorite subject is gym. Don't worry, my next favorite one is math. I play volleyball, football and basketball, so I guess you could say I'm a sports nut. I also like to watch sports on TV. My favorite football team is the New York Giants, and my favorite basketball team is the LA Lakers...Kobe Bryant is my favorite player (so I hope that he reads my story). When I grow-up, I want to be an NBA basketball player, because if I got on the team, I would be real, real famous, and people would say, I know him, I use to go to high-school with him. This would give them a good memory.

Rhea is my little sister.  She is seven, and is like my best friend.  She treats me like her big brother. She has problems of her own, and is not home right now, but after a while she will be because she is making great progress. Kevin is one of my big brothers, and he is 15-years-old.  He is a clown.  When I go to the hospital, I know that he is missing me and waiting for me to come home. My big sister Eboni is 22-years-old and is a certified nursing assistant (cna). She's going to school now to be a licenced practical nurse (lpn).  She worries about me, and tells me that she is so proud of me, since, she says, she could not take half of what I have to put up with. I'm proud of her, too. My big brother Gary Jr. is 30-years-old and has been in the Navy for 12 years now.  Because of him, I am Uncle Troy. I have a 9-year-old niece and a 3- year-old nephew.  I have not seen them in four years, since they live in California, but I talk to them on the phone.  Besides my sisters and brothers, I have a silly red-nose pitbull named Cheba (really friendly).  She acts quite human and her personality is awesome and funny.  We are teaching her how to dance. 

When I'm home, I love to go to our local pool hall and shoot pool. It's great to watch my father play...he is really good at it. And I had the best time at my birthday party--you guessed the pool hall. It was tons of fun! 

I love my home. Mommy wants us to have a place where we can feel good.  She says anything can happen outside, but at home you should feel safe and happy. When my friends come over to play video games with me, my mom jokes that we take over the living room.

Let's see, what else can I tell you about myself? Well, when I was a baby, my parents learned that I had been born with a rare disease called biliary atresia. This meant that my liver couldn't do the work it was supposed to do, which made me very sick. They learned that the best way for me to get better was to get me a new liver. And so they did! When I was 14-months-old, I had a liver transplant, though I really can't tell you much about it because I was so little at the time. Do you know what it's like to have had an organ transplant? I'll tell you a little bit of what it's been like for me. 

I have to take medicine all the time that helps my body treat my liver like a guest instead of like an invader. That's not so bad, but I have to be extra careful when I get sick. See, if my brother gets sick with pneumonia or something, he can go to a doctor, get medicine, and come home. But if I get sick, I have to go to the hospital. If one of my friends at school gets chickenpox, I have to go to the hospital to make sure that if I catch it my body will be protected. And if I forget to take my medicine, I have to go to the hospital so that the doctors and nurses can check my blood levels. 

I bet you've already guessed that most of my first Christmases were spent in the hospital. They weren't so bad because my mom and dad stayed with me all the time, but I really would have preferred to be  home with my brothers and sister. If there's one thing I've learned about being in hospitals, it's that there are lots of people to take care of you! Sometimes that can be annoying, though. I mean everyone who has ever been in a hospital knows that night or day, the doctors and nurses are there to wake you up, to see how you're doing! I mean, am I right, or am I right???

Here I am with my mom!
Here I am in the hospital with my mom!

Because of my medical problems, there were a lot of things I had trouble doing in school, and on top of that, because of my transplant, I was very short. You see, in order for the new liver to be happy in my body, you remember that I have to take some strong medicine. Well, the medicine not only did what it was supposed to do, but it interferred with my growing as well. I got picked on for these differences, even though I couldn't control what had happened to me, so I cried a lot (I bet most kids would have, had they been in my place!). I told my parents that I did not want to go back to school, but mommy and daddy kept telling me that I was bigger than that, so now I am in the seventh grade.  They were right. I like school. When I was little, I wished my classmates had known that when they asked questions, I didn't always have the answers, and when they asked to see my scars, it was not so easy to do.  I wonder why it wasn't enough for them to just being my friends.

I still have to go back to the hospital a lot, but now it is not so hard because I have been there so much...I've become a sort of expert at hospitals, so if you want to know what they're all about, just write to me and I'll tell you. The best thing is that when I return home from being there, my school friends and my friends at home tell me that they missed me. My big brother Kevin misses me the most.  He did not say that, but I know it.

I hope that you'll write to me. I want a lot of mail, because I want a lot of friends.  Hope I hear from you soon, Troy Evans

Here I am with a student nurse
Sarah helped me write my story!

Would you like to learn some more about biliary atresia?

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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor Of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: November 16, 2004