Jacqsworld's Blog

Dialysis, Kidney Disease, Living life with Chronic illness

3 Month Milestone!

I wish there was a way to throw “Internet confetti” because I’d throw handfuls of it to all of you reading the blog. I have had my new kidney three months now and it’s working, “very well,” (a direct quote from my doctor). These three months have been full of activity – doctor’s appointments and a few surprises.

For those of you who have been following the blog, you know that I had some serious problems adjusting to the anti-rejection medications. For the first two or three weeks, I had little or no appetite and had insomnia like I invented it. Now, thanks to the Prednisone, I have my appetite (and a couple of other people’s) back and also thanks again to the Prednisone, I’‘m still not sleeping much but I do catch a couple of hours here and there.

Also in terms of medication, a few more of my mine have been taken away and/or have been reduced, which makes me very happy. I think I’m getting closer to what will eventually be my “maintenance dosages” – the meds that I will be on for the rest of my life. Those maintenance drugs will be adjusted (as need be) based on blood work results.

This three-month recovery period has been like a roller coaster ride and surprise party at the same time. You’ve all read about some of my ups and downs while I’ve been on this journey but the surprises didn’t bring smiles to my face. Let me explain: The first surprise was the sudden appearance of what my son lovingly called,  “my peach fuzz.’ I called it a mustache. The day I noticed it in the mirror, I had to look twice to see if I was really seeing what I was seeing. So I guess it really was more of a peach fuzz thing as my son said but since I wasn’t expecting it…surprise! I was able to take care of that pretty easily though and so far it has not returned.

My next surprise wasn’t so easy to take care of and really isn’t within my control, which is difficult for someone like me, who tends to be a little on the control freak side.  Surprise number two was the return of my “monthly visitor,” who had stopped visiting a year or so after I started dialysis!  To be honest, I hadn’t missed my “friend” and was more shocked than surprised by the visit. But I had been told that it could return and it did. Isn’t it amazing what a new organ can do to a body?

Another major change that has happened is that my visits to the University of Michigan Hospital have now been reduced from once a week to once every three months. That’s a pretty big deal for us because when I was first told that we’d have to make that trip once a week for a while, all I could thing of was the expense associated with that and hoping that I could get early morning appointments so that my husband would be able to make it to work on time. I’d like to mention again how blessed I am to have family and friends who have offered to drive me to any and all of my appointments (especially Anne & Ann).

As I continue to go through the recovery period, I’m learning a lot about myself. For those of you who know me, you know that I love to read and I love the Internet. I usually research everything that peaks my interest and although that can be a good skill to have, it can also be something that causes a lot of anxiety. One day I spent too much time on a website reading about other kidney transplant patients and problems they had that caused them to lose their new kidneys.

Needless to say, I let emotion take over fact and logic. I knew that I had excellent blood work results from the moment I received the kidney. I knew that my doctors were more than pleased with my recovery and I also knew that I felt better than I had in years. But I let other people’s stories scare me and stress me out. Fortunately I have very wise and supportive people in my life, one of them being my Aunt Claudia who told me, “Jackie, those people aren’t you” and my doctor, who said, “ Jackie, stop reading those things, you don’t know if those people did what they were supposed to do to take care of their kidneys.”

It always helps to have people in your life that can remind you that you are as unique as the gifts that are given to you. It’s also important to listen when those people in your life give you insight. So I listened and now I’m not as quick to compare everyone’s story to my own. I still read blogs and leave comments being as encouraging and positive as I can. I know that it helps me when people read my blog and leave the same kinds of comments.

Three months is a milestone for me but I’ll be the first to admit that it hasn’t all been easy. It STILL has all been worth it though. I don’t know what the next three months will bring; I’m still working at what to do with my new life. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. I don’t want to waste the gift and the opportunity that I’ve been given – I do know that writing makes me feel like I am using one of my gifts to help others.

I can tell you all that I hope that at some point in the next three months (or sooner) I hear from my donor’s family and I hope that they received some comfort from the letter that I wrote them, thanking them for the generous donation I received from their family member. I also hope that during the next three months, I continue to stay healthy and get stronger with each passing day. Of course I’ll continue to keep you all updated in future posts.

* Please continue to visit and read Anne Rau’s blog at:    http://anne315.wordpress.com/

Anne  is waiting to hear when she will donate a kidney to a patient that needs one. Anne is an altruistic donor – donating selflessly to a complete stranger because she understands the need that is out there. For those of you who don’t know Anne, she is a smart, clever writer whose blog about being on the other end of organ donation is very interesting.

**Interesting fact:

One bit of information that my doctor mentioned to me at my last visit is that there is a “National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry” out there.  I found it remarkable that after having transplants, some women actually got pregnant and carried babies successfully. How wonderful that women who had dreams of motherhood,  after being on  dialysis and having  transplants, could have their dreams realized.

Six Weeks And Counting

It’s been six weeks (today) since I had my transplant. It’s hard to believe because the time has been flying by. Some wonderful things have happened to me in the past six weeks, one of the best ones, and I can’t say it enough, is no dialysis. To be free from that is something that is hard to put into words. I still wake up on certain days, as if I still had to be there at 6:30am but then I remember that I don’t and I am able to actually go back to sleep. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss some parts of dialysis…like the people. You don’t see and communicate with people for 5+ years and not become attached to them, especially when you have something so serious and personal in common with them. I have gone back for one visit since the transplant. Unfortunately it wasn’t on one of my dialysis days.  I “dropped” in to see and thank the staff members who took excellent care of me.

As I said, this past six weeks has been filled with so many things. One of them has been a lot of activity. For the first six weeks after the transplant, I am required to go to Ann Arbor once a week (on Tuesdays) to see my doctor in the Transplant Clinic. I also get blood work done there. I have been fortunate enough to get early morning appointments so that Doug can go with me and still be back in Lansing in time to go to work. In addition, I have to  visit a lab here in town every Thursday to get blood work done and those results are sent directly to the University of Michigan Hospital.

Another six weeks issue that I am dealing with is one that I’ve been told is common for some transplant patients. I’ve been having a build up of fluid around the new kidney. The area gets very swollen and has gotten to the point where it has actually drained itself, with no warning…kind of like when a pregnant woman’s water breaks. Unfortunately the fluid returned and I had a procedure done where a doctor aspirated it with a needle. After that procedure, the fluid returned but drained itself again. A surgeon looked at it last week and has decided that in case the fluid returns again,  he has put me on the schedule for  outpatient surgery.  I don’t want to have the surgery but I’ve been told that it could take care of the fluid problem once and for all.

I consider one of my biggest six weeks milestones,  the change in my anti-rejection and other medications.  Some medications were changed, some of the dosages were increased and some were reduced. I am tolerating them better but there’s one that is a battle for me every day. Prednisone. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with this drug but it is a powerful, life-changing drug and although it is a necessary drug for many health conditions, it has some side effects that, like the new kidney, have changed my life. One example is that before the kidney transplant, I was taking oral medication for diabetes, after starting Prednisone; I had to start taking insulin shots. Something that my doctor says I may be taking for the rest of my life. Prednisone also affects your mood, can cause acne and don’t even get me started on what it can do to your appetite – one night at about 11:30pm, I went into the kitchen and made some fried green tomatoes. That is an unusual thing for me to do.  And I’m ashamed to say that  for about a week, I got to know Ben & Jerry better than I should have.

Six weeks seem like a very short time but in many ways, for me, the days were packed. I spent more time with family and friends than I’ve been able to do in years. I’ve often said that my transplant happened at the right time and I still believe that because what would have been a better time than  my son Justin being home for summer vacation. After the transplant I was told that I couldn’t drive for six weeks, so while Doug was working, Justin was my chauffeur. I couldn’t have asked for a better driver and lunch companion.

In these six weeks Justin (and Doug) have been able to see me with more energy than I’ve had in a long time – up close and personal. Justin has been able to see me laugh more, be more silly than he remembers, sing ( like I use to)  and see me as I recover from my surgery. He’s back at school now and I think that since he knows I’m doing well, he can concentrate on his classes and his life in Ann Arbor.

I don’t know what the next six weeks will bring. I do know that at this point, my visits to Ann Arbor will change from once a week to once every two weeks, which is GREAT because gas prices are no joke. I believe that surgery or no surgery, the fluid build up will be a non-issue and if there are other “bumps in the road,” I will deal with them as they come – if they come. This recovery period isn’t an easy process, but it’s so much easier than what I was living before.

It’s Not Like They Put a Kidney In And You’re Good To Go

One of the things I promised myself when I started writing this blog is that I’d always be honest about my experiences on dialysis or my problems and pain associated with my illness. I wanted to educate people who weren’t on dialysis and I wanted people on dialysis to know that there are other patients out there who go through similar experiences.

So, I don’t want to do anything any different when I write about the transplant process. I am starting the second month of my transplant and for the most part I am still doing really well. My blood work as been so good that even the doctor has been surprised. I still, for the most part, feel great or I should say, felt great up until about a week ago.

I am currently having an issue that I’ve read 1 out of 10 transplant patients have – the area around the new kidney is very swollen and my doctor says that she can feel fluid around it. The area is very noticeably swollen and hard and quite painful to me right now,  more painful than the actual surgery was.  From what I’ve been told, sometimes this problem can be taken care of on its own – and from what I’ve read, it can also be drained, if it needs to be.

To be honest, it bothers me. I’m not sure why it does because I know that there are a lot of issues and side effects associated with kidney transplants and I knew that when I got on the list for one. I do believe that the risks outweigh getting a kidney and I’m still very happy about the transplant. I also know that this is just a small “bump in the road” and this will be worked out soon.

I guess the point of this blog post is that I didn’t go into the transplant process thinking that it would be easy or that there wouldn’t be problems. That wouldn’t have been realistic and if nothing else, I consider myself to be realistic. When I saw my doctor last week and I told her of my concerns,  she reminded me that it’s only been a month and that  I am walking around with an “extra” organ in my body. Isn’t it weird that they don’t remove either of the bad kidneys? They just put the new one in and they don’t put it in the back near the other kidneys…they put it in the front. ( Just a couple of interesting kidney facts for all of you who didn’t know that:-)

I’ll keep you all posted on what happens – as always, prayers are appreciated.

*I want to thank everyone that has sent me well wishes from Facebook‘s National Kidney Foundation page. I’ve heard from some people who have shared their experiences with me and that helps me in so many ways!

Write On

The night of my “kidney party,” I was questioning whether or not I should continue on with my blog. I didn’t know if there would still be interest in my new experience, as a transplant patient and in many ways it seemed like a whole part of my life had ended. When I mentioned this to some people at the party, they were very positive about me continuing with it, as I’ve mentioned a few hundred times,  I’m blessed to have so much wonderful support from my family and friends.

Later that night when I got home,  I still hadn’t made a decision about the blog.  And then I checked my email. One of the reasons that I loved writing this blog is that I’ve been able to help people…that’s been very important to me.  In my email there was a  comment for the blog and it had a lot to do with my decision to continue writing –  from a different perspective – I guess I’d call it the next chapter. The comment was from a man who had received a transplant, six days after mine:

“Congratulations: Appreciate your comments and experience. I was transplanted on 7/27/10 and am doing well so far. My selfless niece was my donor. I appreciate you sharing your experience with the side effects of the medications that we now have to take. That has been my biggest challenge but each day it seems to get better. Hope it is that way for you as well.”

John

 

It was great to hear from someone else who is basically going through the same thing I’m going through at the same time. I know that no two patients are the same but it’s good to have a shared experience with this person.
And he’s absolutely right about the medications being one of the biggest challenges. I’ve had one of my anti-rejection meds changed in the past week and then increased in the past two days. I’m on insulin now and my blood sugars are all over the place due to one of the medications. So there are definitely big obstacles to deal with and conquer.

It has been a month (today) since I had my transplant. Sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday. Other days it seems like I’ve always had this kidney. The amount of energy that I have is incredible – but also misleading because I find myself overdoing it and then paying for it the next day. So this is all an ongoing process…it’s an adjustment. But like anything else I’ve dealt with, I’m ready to face it.

So You Get a Kidney and Then What? You get a Kidney party!

I have to say that life with a new kidney, just keeps getting better and better. On August 14th my family and friends came together and threw a “kidney party” for me. You might be wondering what a kidney party is – I didn’t know myself. It was actually the “brain child” of my cousin Nanette.

So she, along with my cousins, aunts and friends did one of the most generous and heartfelt things that any group of people have ever done for me. They made some awesome food, they gave me wonderful gifts and they truly celebrated me and my new kidney…my new life.

I should say that the kidney was highly showcased. We had a “guess how many kidney beans are in this jar”  game. One of my cakes even had a cryptic, “Life Cant Kidney better than this” message (Life can’t get any better than this), I even received a can of kidney beans along with one of my gifts…and I can’t forget to mention the gourmet “kidney shaped cookies.” (Thank you Tammie)

One of the best parts of the night was the laughter. At one point, I looked around at all the faces there…all the people from so many walks of my life, laughing and enjoying the celebration. I also observed something else that night. Just like these people were there for my celebration, they have been there for my ups and downs too. I realized though that I just didn’t call on them much during my downs.

Do you ever get that “light bulb” moment when you think that you wish that you had gotten it much sooner? I had one of those during the party.

Sometimes when people are dealing with an illness, they don’t want to bother their friends and family by asking them for help. I know I’ve been guilty of that. It’s hard to ask for help. I’ve been on the other end and I know it’s easier to offer help than it is to receive it. But when we don’t ask, we are doing ourselves and the people who love us, a disservice. I love the people in my life. I am surrounded by people that I know would do anything they could to help me out. Those are the kinds of people you’re supposed to have in your life. So why don’t we “utilize” these people more than we do. Is it about pride? Do we feel like we’re being “weak” for needing help? Maybe it’s a combination of both.

As I’ve gone through certain parts of my journey, I’ve learned a lot about myself, my friends and my family. They say that I’m amazing, “a rare treasure.” But they are the true treasures to me because they give of themselves, selflessly.

 I had a great time at my Kidney party. It was such a labor of love and I felt every bit of it. But I have always felt the love from these people.

*Please ask for help when you need it. It doesn’t just help you. – It helps the people that love you too!

Special Thanks: Nanette & Rick, Aunts:  Carolyn, Claudia (Earthquake Cake – Yummy), Marjorie and Daisy.  Traci, Cheryl, Anne, Ann and as always Doug and  Justin

The Rest of the Story

The Rest of the Story

I was in the hospital for four days. Doesn’t that seem fast to have a whole organ put in your body and then have them send you home three days later? I was surprised too. I wasn’t sure I was ready to go home. I was still overwhelmed with how fast everything went,  from the phone call to the discharge day. I had been given so much transplant education and even quizzed on it during those four days. The amount of “anti rejection” medications scared me. I had a chart so I knew when to take them and what they were for but I just wanted to make sure I had it altogether.

I was assured by teams of people (including a social worker) that I was ready.They all made things as easy as they could for me. I joined the “Transplant Pharmacy, “who equipped me with a U of M duffel bag, filled with ALL my medications.They even included a blood pressure monitor, a thermometer, and every item that I would be using. The pharmacy will also ship my medications to me every month.

And so…I went home.

I have been doing extremely well. I am not saying it’s been easy. The anti-rejection medications really kick my butt on a regular basis. There’s so many pills and so many side effects. One of the pills tends to make people moody and emotional – Doug said, “yes, we need more of that in the house.”

A couple of the other medications make me unbelievably nauseous. As time goes on the medications will be tapered off to a life-time maintenance. I also have to go to the U of M Hospital once a week for six weeks and to a lab here in Lansing, once a week. Those things will change too.

But I can’t complain because I got a kidney! I got a kidney.

There’s so much more that I want to say about this experience because it’s on-going but from a different perspective now. This morning I woke up at 5am – still on that dialysis schedule:-)

As I sat at my computer with the house all quiet, I started writing what I guess you would call a “thank you” letter to my donor’s family. Thank you doesn’t seem like it’s nearly enough though and there are strict guidelines that I have to follow when writing to them.

I finished the letter, very mindful that two weeks ago I got a kidney and they lost a family member. I told them how much I appreciated the selfless gift that I received and what this kidney means to me and my family. I also wrote that I hoped my letter brings them some comfort. I asked them if (when and if,  they felt it appropriate) they could write to me and tell me about the donor.

The letter doesn’t go directly to the family. It goes to a group called,”Gift of Life.” The group then forwards the letter on to the family. If they choose to write to me, it goes through the same process. The group does not allow you to tell the family any personal information like your full Name, Address, City or State. I could only sign my first name. I think that changes when both sides decide they want to communicate on a regular basis.

I hope that I do hear from them. I’d love to find out what my donor’s hobbies were, what kinds of things made he/she laugh, what they felt was special about their family member. I already know what I think is special about the person.  He/She…saved my life.

So there won’t be a “to be continued…” because you all know the rest of the story. I would really like it if you all who have been a part of my journey – by praying for me, showing your support and reading this blog, would comment with questions for me. I think that would make a good next blog.

It Hurts So Bad!

My first thought once I woke up from the anesthesia was that some poor woman was screaming and that someone should be helping her. Then I realized that poor woman was ME! I don’t know how many people know this about me but I have a high threshold for pain. I’ve never been a screamer (even in labor). But along with that, I tend to think of medical procedures like the “before & after pictures” that you see on television. I don’t really think of the pain associated with the procedure. So even with the kidney transplant surgery all I could think about was going in and coming out with a new kidney.

Screaming…loudly. Suddenly there were nurses surrounding me telling me that they were going to help me – did I scream, “Help me?” They began taking my vitals and asked me to rate my pain on a scale of 0-10. I (again with the screaming) replied, “250.”
At that point, pain medication was given through the IV and almost immediately the pain started to subside. I stopped screaming and felt embarrassed – until the man in the bed next to me woke from his anesthesia and screamed much louder than I had.

Being in the surgical recovery room, which is a huge room full of people who just had transplants or just donated their organs. There were husbands donating kidneys to wives and vice versa. There was a son donating to his mother; friends donating to friends, strangers donating to strangers and just like in my case, patients getting cadaver kidneys.
To be amongst that made me forget myself for a bit. There was every demographic you could imagine in that room. I wish that everyone could have gotten a glimpse of the amazing things that were happening…it would change your life.

Some of you have commented how you’ve cried when you’ve read my blog…well this is the part where I’m crying as I’m writing this. I once read a book called, “You Were Born For This.” (Bruce Wilkinson). The gist of the book is that miracles happen and can happen every day because God works through people to make them happen. The author says that people need to know that they are capable of assisting God when it comes to making a miracle happen.

While in the recovery room, I wasn’t only a part of that; I was in the middle of it too. There were miracles all around me. I know there will be people who will read that line and think, “how can those be miracles, everything was planned and scheduled, etc” But just to let you know something that I rarely talk about – when I first found out that my kidneys were failing and needed dialysis, I approached a few people about being tested to see if we would be a match. I knew that it was a scary subject for some people so all I asked for first was the blood type testing. I had no hard feelings against the people who said no. I actually felt like it wasn’t supposed to work out in that way.

I became a part of a miracle in another way and I really believe it was supposed to work out the way it did – so that I could witness what I did in that recovery room full of people who worked with God to help people who needed it. I can’t even tell you how many people were in that recovery room but there were many. Just imagine the lives that were being saved and changed. It overwhelmed me.
It didn’t take long before my guys were able to come back and visit me. The smiles on their faces were the biggest ones I’ve ever seen. Doug told me that the doctor said the kidney started working as soon as they put it in. More smiles. The nurses also told me that I was doing extremely well. And I felt good. I did have a little pain pump thing that released medicine every six minutes – but I really did feel good.

The hospital was absolutely packed that day and there were no rooms available. Which meant that I spent 12 hours in recovery until they found me a bed. I was tired and I was worried about Doug, Justin and Julian because they had been there about 20 hours and I wanted them to go and get some sleep. They finally found a bed for me and the boys stayed another hour and then went home.

After they left I couldn’t fall asleep. I had so many thoughts rushing through my brain. “It really happened. Thank you God. What happens to me now? I’m so happy but I’m scared. I wonder why I have this needle in my neck? Someone died and that’s how I got this kidney.”

I know all my thoughts and fears were normal but how are you supposed to feel when you get what you’ve wanted for so long?

To be continued…

“You’re Not Supposed To Be Here Yet.”

When we got to the hospital, a half-hour before I said I’d be there, I followed “Chad’s” instructions. The first thing they told me was that I wasn’t scheduled to be there until the next morning at 10:30am. I explained that my surgery was scheduled for 4am…six hours from that point. I was surprisingly calm. They had us sit in the ER waiting room and less than five minutes later someone from hospital personnel came in and told us to follow him and he took me right into a room.

As a side note I want to say that as soon as I walked into the door of the hospital, I felt like God put my hand in his and calmness completely took over. I also felt my mother’s presence right there, next to me. My mother had been on dialysis for a very long time and when Justin was 2 months old, she had a transplant at that very hospital. So I knew she was there for mine.

Once I was in my room, things started to go very fast. They took my vitals and asked me if I had dialysis that day. I told them that I hadn’t. I’m a, or I WAS,  a MWF person and it was Tuesday night. The nurse told me that they had to do some blood work to see if I would have to have dialysis before the surgery and she left the room. I didn’t get upset. I said a silent prayer that I didn’t want to have dialysis. My usual “run time” on the dialysis machine is 3:30 and it was already 11pm. I didn’t want to go directly from dialysis to surgery with a weakened body.

When the nurse came back 20 minutes later, Justin asked if I was going to have dialysis…she said,” no.” Another prayer answered, another hurdle…avoided. The closer I got to my surgery time, the more transplant team doctors and nurses and social workers came in and out. One thing that was very apparent to me about U of M hospital is that they are truly a Hospital of Excellence. Every medical professional that I came in contact with scanned my hospital bracelet – like a barcode system. Every employee that spoke to me, from housekeeping to my surgeon,  treated me like I was the most important person there.

It is also a beautiful place. The art on the walls throughout the facility is amazing. When I was first shown my room, Doug pointed out that one of my favorite paintings (Monet’s “Water Lilies) hung directly across from my bed. And before you all think that I’m some art knowledgeable aficionado, I took an art class many years ago and remembered certain works that I liked.

Before I knew it, it was time for me to be wheeled down to the surgical area to get all the good drugs and to claim my kidney. The staff was kind enough to let my guys stay with me in that area up until they administered the anesthesia. The surgical area was very relaxed; we were actually laughing and joking with the team that would be in the operating room. I remember at least one doctor and one nurse asking me, if I knew what I was there for and I sat up, starting to think, “Oh this is the part of the dream where I wake up”.  But I said,” wait a second, don’t you guys know?” They knew. They just had to check to make sure I knew.

My surgical nurse told me that I had a good surgeon and that he was fast. I replied, “But he’s good, right?” I don’t think I was so concerned about the fast part as much as I was about the good part. I guess the average time for that kind of surgery is about 4 hours.

And then it was time.

Doug, Justin & Julian kissed me and told me how much they loved me and off they went to the family surgical waiting room. The last thing I remembered was the anesthesiologist telling me that I probably wouldn’t remember anything from that point and then he asked me if I was ready.

He had no idea how ready I was.

To be continued…

Getting Ready for the Hospital

After I hung up the phone with Chad, I turned to my son Justin and he said, “You got a kidney, didn’t you mom.” I couldn’t speak, I just shook my head yes. I can’t tell you how much my son loves me. He has prayed things for me that I didn’t even know he was worried about. He once told me that he prayed that I would only have one dialysis access until I got my kidney – and I’ve only had the one access my entire dialysis time.

Justin sprang into action and asked me what I needed. I started listing off the things Chad told me. I also told him to take the dinner out of the oven and for he and his cousin (Julian) to eat dinner before Doug got home. I then ran upstairs, fully intending to pack a bag. But I felt frozen in place. I was still in shock. I remember falling to my knees and just thanking God over and over again.

I then realized that I had every woman’s nightmare…no clean underwear to pack. For some reason that kind of threw me off and I just stood there in the middle of my bedroom. Justin walked in and asked me what I was doing and I told him that I didn’t know. He picked up my bag and basically told me to “snap out of it.” I only needed one change of clothes so I started throwing things in my bag with one hand and picked up the cordless phone with the other. I called Anne R first, who happened to be on vacation at Hershey Park. I got her voicemail and in between tears and gibberish, told her that I was on my way to Ann Arbor to get my kidney. I then called my other friend Ann, who was at the movies…I got her voicemail too. I started to think, “what’s the deal, the most important thing that’s ever happened to me is happening to me and I’m getting people’s voicemails???” I had better luck with Sue, my aunts and everyone else I called after that.

I was still standing in the middle of my bedroom when Doug walked in with the goofiest smile on his face. For a split second I felt like I was dreaming. I actually felt like I was Dorothy in the “Wizard of Oz” and I thought the room was going to start spinning around. I gave my bag to Doug and sat on the bed. And of course, Justin walks in (again) and says, “Mom, what are you doing?”

As we made our way downstairs, I asked him if he and his cousin had dinner and he told me that he had put the food in individual Tupperware bowls and that he and Julian would eat in the car on the way to the hospital and Doug could eat his once we got there. I have often asked myself where this kid came from.

I still wasn’t ready to go though. I asked the guys how I looked and I started searching for lipstick. Again, Justin said,” mom, you never wear lipstick, let’s go!”

On our way out of the door, my friend Ann and her kids were on the porch.  I believe they may have  pushed the speed limit to get  across town to give me hugs before I got on the road. At that point, the whole cell phone voicemail thing was forgiven.

As we pulled out of the parking lot, it hit me that the next time I walked through my front door, my life would be different. I was going to be different…a new Jackie.

 And then we were on our way to get the kidney that I had been waiting 5 years and 7 months for.

To be continued…

Mel Gibson who???

I could be wrong but last week I think that I was the most talked about person on the internet, more than…Mel Gibson. Alright, well maybe not Mel but I was talked about – a lot. For those of you who haven’t heard yet, I got a Kidney. I got a kidney.
I think I am going to take a couple of days to blog about the experience because it is still quite overwhelming to me. First, I want to thank everyone again for all the prayers that I received. Not just the ones prior to and during the surgery but also for the ones that I have been getting since the beginning of the time when I started sharing my story.
I am a very prayerful person. I am a deep believer in prayer and I know it works, I’ve seen it work many, many times for so many people.  And if you don’t get anything else from my writing, I hope that you do understand that prayer works and you have to keep your faith…even when there are days when it seems impossible.

And… thank you all for every single time I popped into your minds and you prayed for me.

July 20, 2010 – The Call

My day started like any other day. I spent a lot of time online. I paid some bills.  I spent time with my son and my cousin who was visiting and I had dinner in the oven.  I was also waiting for Doug to get out of work.  At about 7:45pm the  phone rang. Being a slave to “Caller Id,” I  looked at the phone and noticed that it was a cell number but no name. I usually don’t answer those kinds of calls. But by the third ring, something told me to answer it.
On the other end of the line, the called asked me if I was “Jacqueline,” and I said, ‘yes.” He went on to say that his name was Chad, “from U of M.” My first thought was that he was calling from my son’s school about a 50 dollar donation that my husband and I pledge each year. At the time I hadn’t sent the payment in and I was sure he was calling about that.  So as I sat and waited for him to do his “fundraising spiel,” my mind kind of wandered.
He then repeated, “this is Chad, from U of M.” I then said, “alright.” “Jacqueline, do you want a kidney.” My mind was still not altogether with what he was actually saying and to be honest, I kind of thought, “how does this guy from Justin’s school know about me and my kidney issue. But then it slowly sunk in…”Jacqueline do you want a kidney?” I stuttered, “yyesss.” And he said, “good because I have one for you.”
At that moment, I started crying and screaming, “Oh my God, Oh my God,” over and over again. Clearly I appeared to be a crazy person because he asked me if anyone else was in the house with me. He  had instructions to give me. But I told him that I already had a pen in my hand. I shakily wrote down all the information. He told me that my kidney was on its way to Ann Arbor and asked me how long it would take for me to get there. I told him that I could be there by 10:30pm if that was alright…he told me it was and the last thing he said to me was that by the time he got to work the next morning…I’d have my new kidney inside me. Hearing those words, gave me goosebumps.

To be continued…

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