It’s been a while since I last wrote and that’s because I have been waiting for the right time to share with you all the most amazing news! I have a potential donor!!
As you are aware, the only “cure” right now for this dreaded disease, once your kidneys have failed, is a kidney transplant. I have signed up to be on the transplant list but as we have very few organ donors in South Africa, I could wait up to 9 years for a kidney.
The other option is for someone you know (related or non-related) to donate a kidney to you as one is able to live with just one kidney. Interestingly enough, some people are born with just one kidney and live a completely normal life without even realizing it!
Unfortunately, none of my family were medically suitable or able to donate and so the only other option was a non-related kidney donor. I have been so lucky to have had numerous people come forward to offer to be tested and I will forever be so grateful for these special people. One of these special people is Laurie…
Laurie came forward after reading my blog and expressed her willingness to help and on her own free will she went and got tested to see if she qualified as a potential donor…and she did!
When Laurie and I met over a cup of coffee, I asked her why she wanted to do this for me? Laurie told me her brother had sadly passed away but he was an organ donor and saved 12 children’s lives with his bone marrow and gave 2 people their sight with his corneas. The impact an organ donor has on ones life is priceless.
The thought of having to wait 9 years for a kidney is so scary, not knowing what may happen in that time, so it is such a huge relief to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and I may be given the opportunity of a second chance at life.
Nothing I say or do will ever be able to thank Laurie enough for this selfless act. It is such an enormous gesture and even though I promised her I wouldn’t “blow smoke up her a##” I will never be able to express the magnitude of my gratitude for the amazing gift she is wanting to give me and my family. I am so humbled by her act of great kindness.
Laurie and I proceeded with something called a transplant work up and the last few months we have been working together with the transplant co-ordinators to determine whether she is a match. This process involves many tests, scans, appointments, discussions and lots of time spent waiting to hear the results of these tests. The process is very thorough and every step ensures the donor is physically and mentally up for the task.
One of these appointments was for Laurie and I to meet with my Kidney Specialist, together with her Mom and my husband. We had a lovely open conversation about everything to do with donating a kidney and life post transplant. The specialist also reviewed Laurie’s medical history to ensure she was in good health to be considered as a kidney donor…Laurie was given the all OK to proceed.
I will never forget what happened in that room that day. The specialist asked Laurie how committed she is to doing this and Laurie’s reply was this…she said she was 100% committed and will not let me down. She said she will walk this journey with me right up until the end and the only reason it won’t happen is if she isn’t a match or is medically unsuitable. Wow!! How amazing and reassuring is that?!
Another set of tests that we had to do was something called a cross match and tissue typing. This involved taking blood from us both (donor and recipient) together at the same time and sent off to the blood bank for testing. It determines whether the donor’s blood is compatible with the blood of the recipient. We had to wait 2 weeks before we received the results of these tests and those were the two longest most sleepless weeks of my life! As we aren’t related nor do we have the same blood type waiting for these results was so nerve-wracking! It could have gone either way…
But it was a match! It’s a match! It’s a match! is what I wanted to scream but I was in such shock when I called to tell Laurie I stumbled on every word and didn’t know what to say. I was in total shock! It was one of the happiest days on my life….and waking up the next day I felt like I was a child waking up on Christmas morning full of joy and excitement. Best feeling ever!
Over the last year I have learned how to deal with disappointment and handle the hurdles that are thrown at you each step of the way. That saying “everything happens for a reason” is so true and something we need to remember in the game of life. There is a reason for everything! So each time the light at the end of the tunnel was in sight and then disappeared I had to remind myself there was a reason for it and I may not know what it was right now but it will come to light and something better may be around the next corner.
This process really humbled me and made me realize that you cannot rush things and when the time is right it will fall into place. And so far it really has… it has just flowed and things have happened so naturally and with such positive outcomes.
This saying was sent to me by Laurie while we were waiting for the cross matching results and it couldn’t have been more appropriate…perfectly said.
Laurie, I couldn’t have chosen a more amazing person to walk this path with. The experience with you so far has been so memorable and no matter what the outcome, I know I have gained a friend for life.
We have a few more steps to take but once we have completed the transplant work up and all looks good to go, everything gets submitted to the department of health for final approval and they give the thumbs up whether we can go ahead with the transplant.
So the exciting journey continues….will be in touch.