Rebecca Duvall

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Giving the Gift of Life

This Wednesday, October 23rd, Robert and I will be celebrating our Anniversary.  Not our wedding anniversary, that was last week.  Remember?  We’ll be celebrating the 1 year anniversary of our Kidney surgeries.  I had my left Kidney removed and given to Robert.

heart beatIn 2008 Robert was told his Kidneys were failing.  He was unable to have a biopsy done to find out why because he was also having heart problems.  The doctors decided it was more important to stabilize the heart before figuring out the kidney.  They would monitor his kidneys through regular visits to see a Nephrologist (Kidney Dr) and medications.  Robert’s kidneys slowly deteriorated over the next few years.

By the end of 2011 Robert’s kidney numbers were getting bad and he was getting very sick.  A biopsy was finally done.  It was confirmed, the heart and his unexplainable high blood pressure had caused the kidneys to fail.  Before Christmas that year, Robert was put on Dialysis.

I had heard about Dialysis but never knew anyone who needed it.  I remember Robert telling me they took the blood out of the body, cleaned it with a special machine and then put it back.  Robert received Dialysis a few times while at the hospital, but I wasn’t usually there when they did it because they tried to keep the room ‘germ free’ while doing it.  I had no clue how hard it would be on his body.  After each session he would usually sleep for a full day.  Dialysis was 3 or 4 times a week for 4-5 hours each time.dialysis pic

The first time I took Robert to the Dialysis clinic was surreal.  There were a few rows of recliner like chairs for the patients.  I remember the room being very cold and the nurses/doctors wearing masks and gloves.  Each patient brought a blanket and pillow to stay warm and comfortable as possible, considering the circumstances.  Robert said the Dialysis process made him very cold on the inside.  Dialysis reminds me a lot of the Chemo my mom went through when she had Breast Cancer.

2 puzzle piecesI look back now and can’t believe how selfish I was not to be tested to see if I was a kidney match sooner.  God knew how stubborn I was going to be and how to get my attention.  Thankfully God took care of Robert while he straightened me out!

It is so amazing what doctors and surgeons can do today.  Unfortunately, they can’t do it all.  They need the help of a Kidney donor.  I was recently reading the stats about Kidney transplants on the Living Kidney Donors Network and National Kidney Registry websites.  Did you know there are currently about 80,000 people on the Kidney Donor list?  That is crazy! What’s even crazier is they typically wait 5 years for a deceased kidney donor and about 4500 of them die while waiting.

I know it sounds insane to donate a kidney to someone if you don’t have to, but you can dramatically change someone’s life.  I have to ask, wouldn’t you hope for someone to do it for you or a loved one?   I’m not telling you to go out and get tested.  I am asking you to pray about it.  Talk to your friends and family about it.  Help get the word out about being a live donor.

A donor who receives a kidney from a deceased donor extends their life about 15 years.  A donor who receives a kidney from a live donor extends their life about 25 years.  The recipient of the kidney is less likely to reject the kidney from a live donor.

Not everyone can be a donor, but everyone can help spread the word about the need for live kidney donors.  Maybe you can make a cash donation to one of the kidney organizations.  You could even contact your local Dialysis center to see how you can help them and their patients.  Please check out the websites listed below and see how you can help change a life.

My prayer for us today ~ Lord, I thank you for the special gifting you give doctors and nurses. I pray you reveal to us how we may help those physically in need, Amen


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