Walking on an unfamiliar path . . .
A few days ago, this unfamiliar path brought me to some very good news! Just five days after my week-long medical evaluation at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, I received a phone call saying that I have been approved for the transplant list. That means that I could receive a kidney very soon, they estimate three to six months. And, yes, I am overwhelmed that the transplant is moving closer.
The sudden diagnosis in 2014 of end stage renal disease changed my life completely. In so many ways, this illness has been an unpredictable journey of rough roads at times, smooth paths at other times, and a lot of waiting along the way.
That memorable year, 2014, was a time of great fear and uncertainty. I spent more than 50 days in the hospital or rehabilitation institute that year, and found myself fighting life-threatening sepsis on several occasions. Those were times when I literally came close to death. When I came out of the crisis, I did not even know my husband. I was unable to walk, write, or name my colors. For a writer and an artist, that was an enormous loss.
The many weeks of rehabilitation were difficult, but I am grateful for the physical and occupational therapists who helped me regain all of my abilities. Soon I was settled into a routine that included eight hours of dialysis every day. I adjusted to that quickly and began getting stronger, strong enough apparently to be placed on the transplant list to receive a kidney.
Gratefulness . . .
In five years of waiting for a kidney transplant, I have been humbled to receive the encouragement of so many friends, family members and wonderful medical caregivers. I am very fortunate that my circle of friends extends to many U.S. states and across the globe. For all the prayers and positive thoughts you have sent me, Fred and I are truly grateful.
Transplantation can be overwhelming in many ways. The Georgia Transplant Foundation has encouraged my family to plan ahead for some of the uncovered and unforeseeable costs. Through my involvement with the Georgia Transplant Foundation, I am eligible to receive matched funds up to $10,000 for every dollar that I raise, which can be used for my post-transplant care.
I truly appreciate the financial support that many of you have offered already. This $10,000 match is a wonderful opportunity to maximize your gift. We have raised over 80% of our goal already.
You can make an online contribution by clicking the “Support Kathy” button.
Or you can mail checks to:
Georgia Transplant Foundation, 2201 Macy Drive, Roswell, GA 30076.
Be sure to enter my name in the memo field of your check.
(Please note that the webpage does not view correctly on a mobile phone and may not give you a “Support Kathy” button. Please use a desktop computer, a laptop or a tablet.)
Braver and Stronger . . .
As I face some of the fear of having a transplant, my heart is braver and my faith is stronger because so many of you have graced me with your thoughts and prayers. Thank you so very much for holding me in the light. I will keep you updated along the way.
Blessings to you,
Rev. Kathy . . . Whatever name you call me!
Please visit my blog at kalliopekathryne.com.
My Personal Web Log
Standing in a new place . . .
Dr. Christina Klein said this: "99% of people who call interested in donating are screened out by phone and 50% of the people who do the full-day evaluation are screened out."
And then a friend, who is both a kidney transplant recipient and a nephrology nurse of many years, reminded me that it is no small thing for a living donor and a recipient to both be determined healthy enough for a transplant.
So I am standing in a new place, a place that is very different from the place I stood before I knew that a transplant was possible for me. The incredible gift of a kidney from a living donor put me squarely in this new place of possibility and hope. Given the odds as stated above, could this be a miracle? It makes one wonder!
Just a part of my journey . . .
Writing this first blog post feels very much like the beginning of a new journey. Or maybe just a fork in the road on my journey of many years. The thought of a kidney transplant is very frightening. So I step onto this fork in the road only because I know that many of you will walk this path with me and, most of all, because I know that God has set my path and is near as I move forward.
Today in Macon is a day of bright sunlight, blue skies and gentle breezes. Life cannot always bring blue skies and gentle breezes. Sometimes we must endure gale-force winds that disrupt the journey. But the God who walks beside us has the power to calm the most ominous storms we face. Thanks be to God.
And thank you for being willing to take this journey toward a kidney transplant with me. Your presence minimizes my fear, increases my resolve, encourages me to be brave.
Maybe, just maybe, on this part of the journey, I will enjoy nothing but bright sunlight, blue skies and gentle breezes!