So, I went to the new school to register today, the class is full! I am now the first person a waiting list to get into the school that I am so sure that we are meant to be a part of. God is testing me on this one!! Do I have faith there will be a spot for Acilia next year when the year begins? That's what I feel pulled to do, but goodness that's scary!!
On another note all together, after my meeting with Pastor yesterday, I shopped the book sale that was going on at church. There was a book that I kept going back to. I wasn't sure fully *why* it was pulling me, but I went with it, and bought it. It's one of those "Chicken Soup for the Soul" books. I flipped through it last night and noticed they have a spot on their website where you can submit stories for future editions of Chicken Soup for the Soul books. This excited me!! I have been so eager to get the story of our transplant journey out there for all eyes to see and this was my ticket in to doing just that!
I get online and start checking this out. I found a book that our story would fit quite nicely into. The kicker? The deadline happened to be in less than 24 hours!!! I decided to challenge myself and put together a short story about our journey! I have completed it and will be submitting it later today!
Wanna read it? I thought you would!
Here ya go:
My name is Karrie, I refer to myself as Al's wife. My husband spent three of the five years we have been married on dialysis. Every experience in my life never could have prepared me for the whirlwind our marriage has been. I am grateful to have been blessed with such a unique journey.
Al and I were friends through high school before we started dating. During the course of our friendship I learned that Al had a kidney transplant as a child.
Two years after we started dating, we found ourselves pregnant with our first child. Al chose our baby shower to surprise me with a wedding proposal! Our daughter was fifteen months when we got married and we were knee deep in renovating our first house. I still joke to this day how we did everything backwards. Got pregnant, bought the house, then got married. Luckily for us, it was working. We had successfully completed the renovations on the house and we were moved in and settled nicely as a family of three. Al was working hard as an electrician. He was so dedicated to his work and to providing a stable income that it almost went unnoticed that Al's body started to object to his tough work ethic. He was feeling and looking run down. We thought for sure it was a result of working long hours. One day a cousin of mine brought to our attention that Al's coloring wasn't right. Her worry alarmed us. I made an appointment for Al to get blood work done. The news came three days later, news we could not possibly have prepared ourselves for. Al's transplanted kidney, which had served his body for nearly fifteen years was only functioning at 10%. Our lives changed within five minutes. Al was hospitalized and put on dialysis immediately. We were young, we had a young child, and we were newlyweds. How could this be happening?
Al and I had to work hard to settle into our new lives. We had a huge dialysis machine next to our bed and thousands of pounds worth of solution delivered to our house in boxes each month. Our house and our lives were taken over by dialysis. Al continued to work to support our family, I tried to help him remember that he was a strong young man, instead of a man that felt like he was dying.
We started trying for baby number two, because we decided not to put our lives on hold while waiting for a kidney. Within two months I was pregnant! What a welcome distraction! Nine months passed, and we delivered a healthy baby boy! We were in our glory raising two beautiful children.
Time passed and Al was getting sick more often. Extreme heartburn was plaguing Al so intensely that he was vomiting regularly. To top it off Al came down with appendicitis and had to be hospitalized to have an appendectomy! The stress in our lives started to build and he was taking it out on me. We went through a terribly rough time in our relationship. Finances were tight, stress was high, our relationship was struggling. Al was feeling sick all of the time, I was feeling the burden of having a disabled husband, and in the meantime we were raising our children to think that dialysis was a normal part of life.
We began the journey of being proactive about finding our own donor. We just couldn't sit and wait for our number on the list to come up. I posted an ad on Craigslist. Sounds crazy right? Who asks for a kidney on Craigslist? The funny thing is, I got the idea from someone else that had done it and was a “success story”! Within 24 hours I was contacted by a single, young woman who was very interested in helping us! We praised God for what seemed to be a perfect scenario! We began chatting and getting to know one another, we even met her in person. She went through all of the donor testing and things seemed to be checking out great! The final step came and the rug was pulled from under us! She could not be Al's donor and it broke all of our hearts! You may be asking why I didn't get tested? I had a sick husband, we had two kids and a household to run, if I got tested and I was a match, that would mean we would both be going through surgery simultaneously. What if something went wrong? What if recovery took a long time? Who would take care of the kids? Who would run the house? Who would pay the bills? All of these questions swirling through my mind, but something was still urging me deep down to get tested. What did I have to lose? What are the odds that I would be a match anyway right? There are five stages of testing. As a donor a complete health history is taken, blood work and urine tests are performed and, and, and... the news came about a month after my testing began. Would you believe, I was Al's match? We were literally living under the same roof, not blood related, just husband and wife, and W E W E R E A M A T C H! I never get tired of sharing that great news! I get the excited deep in my gut feeling every single time I share that God is so good news! December 3rd 2009 came. The day of transplant. All that time and anticipation and it past us in the blink of an eye! God orchestrated all of this and we are just thankful that he blessed us in such a phenomenal way! We went in on a Thursday morning at 5:45 am. We didn't sleep the night before...nerves, anxiety, excitement, everything balled into one! I was scheduled for surgery at 7:30 am. I recall getting the oxygen mask and then there is nothing to remember. I was out and before I knew it my eyes were fluttering open in recovery. The rest of the day I could not keep my eyes open. So tired, so out of it. The day is truly a blur. I hear there was a lot of hustle and bustle about Al that night. Surgery was supposed to be three to four hours... it ended up being about eight hours! When all was said and done, Al was stable and recovering, with a NEW...WORKING...KIDNEY!!!! The surgeon told us at one point that he urinated over a liter in the operating room! This may sound odd to mention, but for us it was a huge milestone! Al had not urinated in over two years. Think about it, something you do countless times throughout your life, something you take as "just part of the day"...now, take it away. Imagine what that would be like. Then imagine that being what proves that the kidney inside of you is functioning! It's pretty exciting isn't it??
It's amazing what God does with our Earthly resources!! The fact that we are born with two kidneys, but only truly need one to function completely normal, leads me to believe that we are all meant to find a kidney recipient and share the gift of life!
As I share this story with you, we are four months post transplant, we are both feeling great! I believe we give true meaning to the saying “Match Made in Heaven!”