"A brother is born to help in time of need" Proverbs 17:17
Or should I say "sister"? Joe has five sisters and we couldn't have made this journey without them.
Perla was born with a condition known as Prader Willi Syndrome. She always had the mind of a three year old. Other than that, she was pretty healthy. That's why it came as such a surprise, one December morning, when Kayla, our niece, woke up and told her mom about her dream. She had dreamt that Perla was going to die, but give her life to Joe. Angie was upset at her for saying such things. After all, Perla was fine. The very next day, Perla was in the hospital with some infection. The doctors were trying to figure it all out, but Perla had a hard time communicating. Within two days, the infection had spread to all her internal organs. The day after that, all the family was called to say their final good-byes. Joe was able to see his baby sister one more time before she passed on Christmas (her favorite holiday). Up until that point, Joe was so tired of battling the kidney disease that he just wanted to give up. He didn't want to keep fighting and feeling miserable. Yet, when he saw his sister pass, he realized that he had to choose to keep fighting. He chose life.
The life expectancy of a person with Prader Willi Syndrome is twenty years. Perla lived into her forties. No one knows why she lived so long. We do know why she passed when she did. She gave her life for her brother. A sister is born to help in time of need.
Joe's other sisters have helped us tremendously also.
Diana came a week before the transplant to help us rest up and prepare for the surgery.
Angie came to watch our boys for the week following the transplant.
Pat watched them in her hometown and made El Paso look like Disneyland.
Finally, Carmen came to our house for two weeks to watch the boys until I could return home.
It was long planned that I would return home on Saturday, the 28th. I was looking around the chamber of commerce websites (FULL of great fun!) and saw that the Itty Bitty Olympics were scheduled for the 28th. I conspired with Carmen to take the boys to the Olympics and I would walk up behind them to surprise them. What fun, huh? The best laid plans..........
They went and had fun. Carmen said they competed against each other and hugged after the race. Awwwww.
Turns out, we have very athletic boys. And all this time, they believed that I would be arriving home that night.
As I was nearing Show Low, Jill Tinkel pulled out the winning name for the little quad Jeep that she had been advertising all. summer. long.
She called Carmen's name! At first, Carmen didn't believe it. She had entered the contest, not expecting to win AT ALL. I mean, there must have been hundreds of names in there from all the events all summer.
Jill didn't recognize Carmen's name, but as soon as she saw Carmen walking forward with Jack and Josh, she knew this was special. (Jill is our insurance agent/friend and had just sent a cuuuuute get well card to Joe in Phoenix)
Jill handed the microphone to Jack to ask where his daddy is. "Phoenix". She asked why. "He got a new kidney". I wasn't there, but I hear that people in the crowd started to cry. Jill explained to the crowd that the boys had not seen me in a month.
And. just. at. that. moment.....
I walked onto the field. I wanted to run to the boys but Jill was talking, the boys were on stage, I wasn't sure what was going on. Turns out, our reunion was quite public. The photographer was snapping pics and telling us we were going to be featured in the local newspaper. A lady had me sign a waiver, to be used in a marketing campaign. We were told we would be in a national magazine. Used at local events. Hollywood couldn't have written a better story.
I am home now and enjoying quality snuggle time with the boys (when they aren't riding their new Jeep). Joe still has 18 more days. I can't WAIT for that reunion! I'm sure it will be unforgettable.