By Steve Svetovich
Jennifer Dolphin was preparing for the fight of her life when she was diagnosed with Buldchiari Disease in 2012. It is a disease that weakens the body and leads to end stage liver failure.
But Jennifer had two things going for her. She had her baby daughter Mackenzie and husband Billy.
Billy has been her anchor, and what an anchor. He has been by her side ever since the initial diagnosis.
Daughter of James and Georgette Mecca, Jennifer learned of her diagnosis at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia in 2012. She was told her liver would gradually deteriorate, and she would become weaker as the disease progressed.
“I was told it would lead to end stage liver failure,” Jennifer said. “I lived with it for a time until my liver finally failed. Finally, the doctors decided on a transplant. I was told to get the transplant or I would die.
“I waited nine months for the liver transplant. I was lucky. Most people have to wait longer, sometimes for several years. I received the liver transplant July 18, 2015, at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.
“I am starting to feel stronger. Everyday is a better day. It takes nine months to a year or longer to recuperate from a liver transplant. There are setbacks, but I am improving.
Billy and Jennifer Dolphin were born and raised in Dunmore. Son of Bill and Marilyn Dolphin, Billy, 41, graduated from Dunmore High School in 1992. Jennifer, 35, graduated from Dunmore in 1998.
Billy makes a living installing ADT security systems for Defender Direct, Wilkes-Barre. The company is an authorized dealer of ADT security systems.
“He has energized me,” said Jennifer. “My husband has been by my side every single day since my diagnosis. And he has cared for our daughter, Mackenzie, who is now four.
“And he never complained once. He completely gave up on himself to focus on me and our family. He does nothing for himself. He no longer golfs or even goes to the mall for himself. He does nothing that he likes or interests him. And that is his personal choice. He only wants to care for me and our daughter.
“He is such a good man. He is a wonderful father and great husband.”
Jennifer, courageous as she fights her own battle, sees her husband as the hero in his role as the caregiver.
“He is my Apollo and I am Rocky. I was in the hospital a total of eight weeks in Baltimore. I was there four straight weeks and then back again twice for two weeks each time. My husband took a leave of absence and stayed in a hotel. He was at my bedside from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every single day. I would wake up and he would be right there next to me.
“Everyday he would help me get dressed, shower and prepare my food. He would walk with me in the hall for my rehab. I heard his words of encouragement every day. He is the greatest.
“There were the little things he would go get me at the store like fruit and yogurt. He would do that for me while I was in the hospital.
“He made this all about me. He was by my side with every hospital stay, every trip to the emergency room and every time I was ill. He would not have it any other way. And not one word of complaint about not having time for himself. He continues to stand by me and take care of me and our daughter as I recuperate.
“If we can make it through this, we can make it through anything.
“It means a lot to us that we come from Dunmore. I want to get better and do the things we did together like going to football games.
“But for now, I am just so thankful to my wonderful husband. He never leaves my side. He is so special, a great man.”