I can’t believe that it’s been eight months today since my transplant! It’s true what people say; time really does fly. I remember when other transplant patients would tell me the length of time that they had their kidneys and I would say that I couldn’t wait until I could say I had mine for three months and then six months and here I am four months away from my one year mark.
My new kidney has been working great and I have gotten to the point where I have my anti-rejection medications and dosage times memorized. I’ve also been able to tolerant them and the side effects that go along with them, much better. If you all remember that was a very difficult challenge for me. Now it has become a habit. I am still battling the Prednisone (steroid) but I realize that will be a life-long struggle.
Those of you who know me, know that my transplant and the journey leading up to it, as a miracle. I believe in miracles and I don’t think that they have to necessarily come into your life as a BIG occurrence; sometimes they can sneak up on you.
I also believe that regular, everyday people create and facilitate miracles – I’ve seen proof of it and I’m sure if you think about it, you’ll realize you’ve seen it too. Whenever I am fortunate enough to experience, learn about or hear about someone who has created a miracle, I want to share it with others.
Recently I have been reading about miracles in the form of “multiple organ donations.”
A shining example of multiple organ donation(s) is Christina-Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl killed in the tragic shootings in Tucson. Although I don’t know what specific organs were donated, I have read that Christina’s corneas were used to save the eyesight of two children. Christina was a true blessing in life and she’s an angel in heaven now.
Not being a sports fan, I had never heard of a young man named Chris Henry who was a receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals. On Dec. 16, 2009, Chris suffered an accident and passed away. He hadn’t filled out a donor card and from the things I’ve read, had never voiced an opinion about organ donation. However his mother, Carolyn Glaspy made a heart-wrenching decision to donate his organs. She said that Chris had always been a “giver” and because of her mother’s decision, his organs – his lungs, kidneys, heart, pancreas and liver saved the lives of six people. Chris is definitely a MVP.
There is a reader of this blog who has become a friend of mine. “VC” is the wife and caregiver of a dialysis patient in a nearby city. Like so many caregivers, VC has her own health issues but she assists her husband with his dialysis journey in every way she can. In November I received an email from VC just checking in with me to see how I was doing. We emailed each other back and forth that night and in the course of the emails, I found another “every day” miracle in her.
November was a hard month for VC and her husband, “B”. Not only was she dealing with her own health issues, her husband was in and out of the hospital dealing with kidney related difficulties and an ulcer. During that month her brother also passed away. Knowing the importance of organ donations, VC sat with her siblings and discussed the decision to donate all of her brother’s “usable” organs.
As you can imagine, it was one of the hardest decisions they had to make as a family but it helped that because of what her husband, B was/is going through VC convinced them to do the donation. She told her siblings that, “if his organs were able to be donated that we should do it so someone else would not have to depend on the machine and it would give them a better quality of life.”
Even during one of the most trying times in her life, VC was thinking about how she could help someone else – or in this case, more than one person. During our emails she shared something with me that made me think about aspects of donations, one that I hadn’t given much thought to:
“We even donated his hands. We found out that there was a veteran that was a perfect match for his hands but unfortunately the soldier couldn’t have that transplant because he had an infection.”
VC and her family created miracles. You won’t read about them in the newspaper or see them on CNN and if you walked past them on the street, you wouldn’t know that you just walked past someone who saved lives. VC and people like her inspire me and strengthen my belief in miracles every day.
March is National Kidney Month
April is Organ Donor Awareness Month
June 12 is the 2011 Kidney Walk – Cooley Law School Stadium (1:30pm)
If you’re thinking about donating to a cause this year – besides your own of course – please consider donating to the National Kidney Foundation or sponsor my group, “Freda’s Kids,” for the Kidney Walk on June 12th
(It is tax-deductible)