Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A New Chance

"They grow up so fast."  "Before you know it, they will be in school."  "Enjoy every minute."  At some point, we have all heard or said these words when referring to little ones.  It is true; they do grow up fast.  Now imagine missing out on half of that short time.

That's what life on dialysis is like.  Half of your days are spent in the dialysis unit.  Your dialysis day begins at 4:30 a.m.  You need to eat a full meal before you leave the house, even if you are not hungry.  When you get to your dialysis unit, you will be weighed, then hooked up to a machine.  They have two choices on how to hook you up.  It can be painless, through a catheter into your heart.  Yet, this is dangerous, as it has a higher chance of infection.  Oh, and if you have the catheter, you cannot take a shower.  Ever.  Don't even think of swimming in a pool with your little ones.  AND, you have to be careful when you play with them to make sure they don't bump it or pull it out.  Your other choice of being hooked up is by a needle.  I'm not talking your everyday, little, wimpy needle.  I'm talking about a needle so big that you can see inside the shaft!  Two needles to be exact!  One to draw the blood out and one to put it back in.  Painful doesn't even begin to describe this method.  Don't forget the scars.  As your body begins to develop scabs and scars, they will work their way up your arm.  The artificially created super vein in your arm is pretty big also, so you will probably wear long sleeves to hide all this; even in summer.  Dr. Kamash said it best when he told us, "dialysis keeps you alive; not normal."

When you are done with four hours of torture dialysis, you are weighed again.  You now weigh 2 pounds less than when you came in.  Where did it all go?  They sucked it out of you.  Literally.  You feel drained, have a splitting headache, and cramp up.  All you really want to do is die.  But then your little ones come home and you know you must fight on for them.

Yet, it doesn't have to be like this.  There is an alternative.  Kidney Transplant.

We are born with two kidneys, yet we only need one to live.  How amazing that God gave each of us an extra kidney.  In a kidney transplant, they take one kidney from a healthy donor and put it in the recipient.  The donor needs to hang around the hospital for about 2 weeks for follow-up appointments, to make sure everything is going well.  After that, it's pretty much life as normal for the donor.  For the recipient, it's a whole new chance to live.  A new chance to be there for their little ones.  A new chance to see them grow up.  A new chance to be "daddy".

The average age of a dialysis patient is 60 years old.  At 60, you have worked, are nearing retirement and social security, have raised your children.  At 44, you still WANT to work, are nowhere near a retirement paycheck, and have little ones at home.  Joe is 44.  He desperately wants to work.  Yet, with 3 days per week on dialysis, cannot work.  If he can't work, he can't bring home a paycheck.  If you didn't know already, teachers don't get paid much, but at least we can make our rent payment.  We rely on friends and family for our groceries.  But more than any of that, at 44, we still have little ones at home.  Little ones who love their daddy.  Little ones who love to be thrown into the air.  To wrestle.  To hear bedtime stories.  To snuggle into daddy's chest when they are scared.  On dialysis days, we don't have "daddy".

We have already come so far.  We almost lost him in December.  Dialysis is keeping him alive.  Our insurance is paying for everything.  Praise the Lord!  We were referred to the best, THE BEST, number one ranked transplant hospital in the country.  They tested him extensively and deemed him a "kidney transplant candidate".  Now, we need a healthy donor.  For a list of the requirements to be a donor, click here.  If you do not meet the requirements or if you don't feel this is right for you, please pass this along to others.  More than that, please pray for a donor to be matched with Joe.  Pray for a New Chance.

Some people have been asking about Joe's condition.  It is called Membranous nephropathy.  It is genetic.  We never knew he had it until three years ago.  It is a rare form of kidney disease, affecting only 2 in 10,000.  What is more rare is that only 20% of patients with MN progress to end-stage kidney failure.  Joe should get a medal for making it there in record time.  We feel blessed in the midst of all the uncertainty.  Yet, dialysis is not agreeing with Joe.  His catheter in his heart is starting to get clogged up.  His super vein doesn't run quite right.  His arm swells up to three times it's natural size and then turns black and blue.  Please pray for a transplant soon.

where Glory meets my suffering