So John hinted that he thought I should also write down what my experience is about. Reader beware, I am not the writer that he is and I like to be kind of a smart ass. First and foremost I believe that this is John’s journey and I am fortunate enough to be along for the ride. He is also very correct in stating that our experiences with this are widely different. I don’t have to face my mortality every day.
For years Eric and I have said that if given the opportunity to give a friend or family member a kidney we would do it. It is almost as if we knew this opportunity was going to present itself. When Rebecca emailed us about John’s condition I immediately asked what his blood type was. John is O- and can only receive a kidney from someone with type O blood. Eric is A and I know he would have stepped up if he was compatible.
So for the next couple of months I went through the testing without John’s knowledge. We even trained for the Ogden Marathon while I grilled him about his kidney disease and dialysis. I was also trying to figure out who my “competition” was. For those of you that know me, this was probably the longest I kept ANYTHING a secret.
Then at the beginning of May Rebecca invited me to attend a transplant orientation. When John saw me walk in his thought was, “Oh no, has something happened to Grandma Joy?” Grandma Joy is mine, Shelly Logue’s and Ali Barber’s grandma, but functions as EVERYONES. I thought that was very sweet. Then I said, “surprise!” John’s reaction was that he had been hoodwinked.
Throughout the meeting I could tell that John was uncomfortable with the turn of events. At that point I decided to tell John what my motivation was….
When I was five years old my mother was diagnosed with a stage four brain tumor and was given six months to live. Ali was just eight years old and little Brad only 2. Very similar to the devastation that John, Rebecca and there three little kids have had to face.
My parents were not going to accept this death sentence. They spent the next few years traveling back to the University of Maryland getting cutting edge and sometimes controversial treatments for my Mom. They were gone for a week at a time and in the early years this was every month. My extended family all took part in raising us. I imagine John’s dialysis is having a similar effect on the Maws.
During this time my Mom was unable to qualify for much insurance. Back then you could be kicked off of your insurance if you had a terminal illness. It took nearly a decade for my Dad to pay off the medical bills, even with help from my Grandparents. This nearly bankrupted my family, but my Dad being awesome and amazing always made it work. This type of thing can financially destroy a family.
My Mom passed away in 1991 when I was 16 years old. She had several brain tumors at her time of death. I am very grateful for the extra 11 years that we had with her. It seems humorous to say, but no one could have donated a brain to save her life. However, if that was possible I know someone would have. I feel that I have the opportunity to help the Maw children have long and happy lives with both John and Rebecca. To help give them back that time that dialysis takes from them. To help give John back his energy and so that he can even eat pizza again, of all things. To help give them back their Dad the way I wish someone could give me back my Mom.
Going forward I am not fearful, but excited. I think I have always known throughout this process that I would match and this would work out. I am meant to do this. Cheesy I know, but it is how I feel. I am thankful for my much supported husband, family and friends. You are all the best!!!!
So on Tuesday Billy the Kidney will get a reprieve from diet coke and go to a more aspartame free home. He is trading up. Billy will be leaving behind my right kidney, The Sundance Kidney. She is left to fend for herself, but they both will be stronger and more productive than ever before!