So, I had a little freak out the other day. I guess we can call that my Brittney Spears 2007 moment. I just got overwhelmed. The thing is, I’m human. Yes, I’m donating an organ, but that doesn’t give me any super powers. I still have a very normal (busy!) life and sometimes juggling everything is a challenge. I’m doing the best that I can. My babies are always priority, so if they need or want something then I make sure that happens first. (That’s why I’m not always prompt with updates or new information. My “babies” are 1 and 2…) I am so thankful for all of the sweet words that you sent during my less than stellar moment and I want you to know that I do read everything. And, I will respond. It just might take me a little time. I appreciate the questions and comments so much. (Even those of you who say the things I don’t always want to hear.) I have the best support system and for that I’m so thankful. Thank you.
I got a phone call Thursday morning while I was at the gym from my kidney coordinator. She told me that she had the results from my blood and urine work that I did on Monday. My urine looked “good”. I am not sure exactly what they were checking for, but I passed. The blood work showed that my cholesterol was a little too high. It is 209 and ideally they want to see it below 200. My kidney coordinator’s advice was a diet and lifestyle change. I’m not sure exactly what to do with that suggestion. I go to the gym 5-6 days a week and I eat as healthy as I can. I don’t eat a lot of meat, and when I do its turkey. I prefer veggie meats honestly. I bought some fish oil pills to take. There’s not much I can change. I’m not overweight. (5’7 155 lbs, BMI is 24.) It’s something that runs in my family so diet and exercise only do so much. But, I’m working on it the best I can. More fish, more veggies, and more of the good fats.
An interesting twist…. I’ve passed 3 rounds of testing. Normally, I would be finished with testing and our medical files would go to the transplant board for review. BUT… Not this time. They just added a Round 4. I’m the first person to go though this round. Monday morning I go in for a nuclear scan and a pregnancy test. I should get the results next week but my kidney coordinator will be out-of-town. So, it will be closer to a week or week and a half before I know. This test is testing what percentage each kidney functions at. Very rarely will they both function at 50%. This test will decide which kidney I keep and which kidney I donate. I’ll give Jami the lesser functioning one, and I’ll keep the better of the two. After that, we make 3-4 day trips to St Louis in June and then we will hopefully be approved by the transplant board. If all goes well, the transplant will take place the end of June or the beginning of July.
Cross your fingers!
Say a prayer!
Send good vibes!
Brandi called and gave me the news that we were a match just as I was getting off work. My first feeling was bracing myself for disappointment. When she delivered GOOD news, and not bad, I freaked the hell out!
My thoughts –
OMG OMG OMG.
No more weiner!
OMG OMG OMG! Shes playing.
This isnt real! My weiner!
I have to celebrate!
Where can I get chocolate milk!? OMG OMG OMG!
Did I clock out? OMG OMG OMG!
And then I went on a dairy binge to celebrate. So see, Brandi and my reactions were similar. I find we have similar qualities and I can learn a lot from her. She truly is a rare breed. There is no doubt in my mind that we were suppose to meet. God brought us into each others lives on purpose. I havent figured out what the benefit is to her yet but I am excited that she is my partner on this journey. So very blessed.
On Monday I went to the local hospital to have my blood drawn for my first round of testing to be a potential kidney donor. I don’t know what I expected it to be like, but it was easy. And for the most part, painless. Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis had mailed me some blood tubes to take in with me as well as the doctors orders for the blood draw. I think they sent me around 6-7 tubes. I realize now that I probably should have counted them… But I didn’t. So, let’s just go with 7. B-J wanted the blood to test for blood type and tissue matching as well as to check my cell count and stuff like that. Local hospital also had their own blood to draw to be tested here. (The B-J vials were sent by FedEx overnight back to St. Louis) Local hospital is testing for diseases like AIDS and hepatitis. I think the local hospital needed 5 tubes of blood. The lady told me that if there were any red flags on their blood draw I would get a call that day. Since I didn’t get a call, I guess everything was ok for that part.
Twelve vials, y’all.
(Yes, I did pull out my iPhone and photograph this. And yes… The lady did look at me like I was crazy. And yes, she’s probably right.)
The neat thing about going to this particular hospital is that Jami works there. So, after my blood draw I walked to the pharmacy and met up with her. She was headed to get a juice and to do her dialysis so I asked if I could tag along. (By “asked”, I mean forced her to take me along and show me how dialysis works. And I also forced her into a photo.) Since Jami has to do her dialysis 4 times a day, she is allowed about an hour break at work to do it. She goes up a few floors up and is able to use one of the breastfeeding/family rooms. Basically, Jami has a tube in her abdomen that she hooks up to an IV bag. There are two bags… One for liquid to go in (On the IV pole) and one is the liquid that’s coming out (The one in her hand). I think it took about 45 mins total. It’s obviously a much more complicated process than this, so if you have any questions, please ask.
I found out on Wednesday that my blood had arrived in St Louis and that assuming everything went according to plan, we would find out the results by next Thursday. One week from today. This is only round 1, though, so even if I am a match on these tests I still have many more tests to do. I think there are 6 rounds of testing total.
We will find out next week if the journey continues.
Cross your fingers until then…
Right now we are waiting. There’s not really anything going on in the kidney donor world. I found out I needed to be added to my husband’s insurance because I didn’t have a full-coverage health insurance policy. I did that some time last week and it will be official on February 9th. I cannot go farther with testing until my insurance is effective… So.. we wait. About 6 weeks from February 9th we will know if I am a match and what step I need to take next. It will either be surgery to give Jami my kidney, or the not-as-positive news that I am not a match and the search will continue.
I sent Jami a list of questions that I have been sent in by y’all. And I have to say they are really good ones. Stay tuned and I will have that Q&A session posted tomorrow!
As always, thanks so much for all the love and support. xoxo
I guess the most common question that I have been asked is, Why? Why put myself at risk? Why undergo anesthesia? Why take a gamble when I might need this kidney later on in life? Why go through all of this for someone who isn’t blood related?
I believe that life is a risk. Every decision that we make is a calculated risk. We have to weigh the pros and cons and determine what is right with the information we are given. It’s the same with this. I know that there’s a chance I may be on dialysis in my later years. I also know that there’s no guarantee my remaining kidney will continue to function properly. I know there’s a 100% chance that Jami can use this kidney right now. I know that she needs it to live. I don’t know if I will need it or not. It’s a sure bet that she will be able to put it to good use.
There are a lot of reasons I want to be a living donor. It clears a spot on the waiting list for someone else. We can agree on a day and time instead of Jami having to always be “on call”, living donor kidneys have a greater success rate, there are less psychological risks when the donor and recipient know one another. I could go on and on.
Let’s not dance around the obvious. Jami is on dialysis. She is 27. I know that she cannot live a long healthy life this way. I read the average woman can live 5 years on dialysis & I believe that’s way too young to die. Jami is such an amazing woman. She inspires me every day. And it would be a horrible injustice for the world to lose her now. If I end up not being a match I will still fight with her to find someone who is.
I’m not asking that everyone agree with my decision. It’s ok if you don’t. I don’t agree with all of the decisions my friends and family members make either. I am asking for love, support and kindness as I travel into the unknown. I don’t know what the future holds for Jami and I. All I know is, right now I have been handed an amazing opportunity to help someone and I am going to embrace it.
I’m all in.