11 years ago today, my sister and I underwent a joint surgery that changed our lives forever.
You see, between us, we were born with four functioning kidneys. Four kidneys that did their job beautifully for over twenty years for each of us. But somewhere along the way, two of our kidneys slowed down. They weren’t as enthusiastic as they used to be. They wanted to shrink and not be productive. They left my sister with more toxins running rampant through her body, not being processed, leading her further into sickness, day by day. Meanwhile I had two perfectly healthy kidneys…
So between our four kidneys, two weren’t doing so well. But we still had two between us!
It made perfect sense to for me to share.
We knew of the kidney disease for many years before 2002. I always said “you can have MY kidney!”, wanting to be the chosen one. This was me at age 10, wanting to be the One. The helper. The hero. But it is so much more than that.
2 months before the alarm of “you need a transplant and you need it now” went off, my sister had a miscarriage.
1 month before the alarm of “your sister needs a transplant and she needs it now” went off, I had a misscarriage.
We were both devastated. At a loss to what was going on in our lives. Why?
And then, the alarm.
Two weeks later, we found out we were a perfect tissue match, and she could have my kidney with an almost perfect chance of success.
We were both so thrilled.
At age 25, going through 6 months of intense medical work up prior to the transplant, I had never been more terrified, but more certain that I was doing the right thing.
I have a minor heart condition (mitral valve prolapse) – what if I suddenly DIED during the transplant?! That would be so annoying!
And what if my sisters body didn’t like my kidney – that would be like the ULTIMATE rejection!
And what if there were complications and SHE died?! Again – so annoying!!
Given that this is 11 years on, I’m sure you can guess that the story is ever-so-rosy.
The transplant was an incredible success. Our kidney settled in to it’s new body so quickly. Within a few hours, it was doing it’s job. Rather enthusiastically!
And 11 years on, the ugly* kidney is STILL going.
Before the transplant, my sister was declared totally infertile. By several specialists.
For 8 long years, she tried. She cried. For the babies that she knew she could never have.
She now has five children.
So, you see, the 28th of August is not only a day of celebration of ongoing health and happiness for me and my family, but it is also a day for celebrating love for family that you never knew you could have, but only dared to imagine.
Happy Transplant Anniversary Day Katie
Love you to the moon and back xoxoxox
PS Can I just plug organ donation here? You don’t have to be an extreme sport organ donor like me. When you’re dead. (Kind of black I know). But seriously, are you gonna need them then? Really? Give them. There are people hoping and praying for the gifts that you can give. Please. Give.
*Ugly you say? Well, that’s a whole other blog post…