In December 2014, I fell ill with sepsis, as a result of having had strep throat. My organs had already started shutting down, so I was life-flighted to St. Thomas West in Nashville, TN. There, I spent 73 days in a medically induced coma, hooked to countless machines, fighting for my life. The infection attacked my heart, lungs, and kidneys. I recovered but was far from being normal. I spent one month at a rehabilitation hospital learning to walk again and regaining some muscle strength.
Once back home, I made monthly trips to all my specialists to check my heart and kidneys. My heart eventually healed itself, however, my kidneys never regained function. After trying countless medicines, my nephrologist did a biopsy on my kidneys and learned I had IGA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s disease. It was determined that I would have to start dialysis.
I began dialysis and knew in the back of my mind that I would eventually like to have a kidney transplant if that was an option. I made an appointment at the transplant clinic at St. Thomas for June 2018. There, I had the transplant education class, met with a few members of the transplant team, and had some bloodwork done. I set a goal to lose a certain amount of weight before I was officially ready to be added to the list, only to increase my chances of finding a match. I continued doing dialysis while working on my weight loss goal.
On July 12, 2019, I had my final testing done and met the remainder of the transplant team and bloodwork done to hopefully be added to the transplant list. My case was presented on July 17th to the transplant team and I was officially added to the list on July 25, 2019. I was excited but knew there could potentially be several years of waiting.
On July 31, 2019, I started my day like any other day. I went about my business and at 10:30 am, I received a call from the transplant clinic. At first, I was hesitant to answer because I figured they were calling to tell me there had been a mistake and I wasn’t actually on the list just yet. But none the less, I answered. It was my transplant coordinator with news that they had a potential kidney for me and I was to be on standby. “What does that even mean?”, I thought to myself. He told me to just keep my phone on me at all times and he’d keep me updated throughout the day, but it could potentially be a couple of days before anything happened. I tried to go about the rest of my day as a normal day, but I struggled so much. I wanted to let my friends and family know I’d gotten a call but also did t want to jinx anything. So I told my immediate family only. At 5:20 that evening, I got THE CALL!! They were ready for me to make the journey to the hospital and to get prepped for surgery. By 8:00 pm, I was admitted and in my hospital room. The nurse came in and told me that there was another lady there who would also be receiving a kidney and once the crossmatch process started, whoever’s came back first is who would go to surgery first. At midnight, neither crossmatch had come back, so we continued to wait. At 3:50 am, an OR nurse came into my room and informed me she was there to take me down for surgery. I was transferred to the operating table and prepped. The next thing I remember was waking up back in my hospital room. I asked if I had a new kidney and was told that surgery had gone perfectly and the kidney started working as soon as it was put in. Since then, things have been great!