It’s a Wonderful Life: He Was a Match for Me
Our December blog series will be focused on those who received the Gift of Life during the holiday season. Titled “It’s a Wonderful Life,” ten recipients will share their transplantation stories through our webpage and social media outlets. The thread that ties the series together is this simple question – “My life is wonderful because…”
Always remember, each and every one of us has the opportunity to give the gift of a wonderful life by registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor. We hope that you will read and share these uplifting stories.
My life is wonderful because of second chances, family and love. All those things make me appreciate things more and more everyday.
We didn’t know much about organ donation when either of us first got our driver’s licenses, but each of our fathers made sure that we signed up to be donors. That was our first indication that both of our families believed deeply in this cause.
Jason and I met in 1996 while in college at Shawnee State University. We were married in May 2000 and in the summer of 2002, we found out that our first child was on the way. We were elated as we had hoped to have a large, happy family. However, a few months into my pregnancy we received alarming news.
During my pre-natal lab work-up, my results came back abnormal. After going through batteries of tests, my diagnosis was Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS). I had no idea my kidney function was at 40 percent.
Because of the diagnosis, my pregnancy became high risk and the doctors strongly advised not to have any more children in the future as it would rapidly weaken my kidneys. This was very tough news, but Jason and I agreed that everything would work out and we would have a great future with our baby.
The rest of my pregnancy was managed and I gave birth to a healthy, happy boy in March 2002 named Nicklas.
After the pregnancy, the medications I was on took a toll on my body. The side effects were a lot to deal with, but it kept my kidneys functioning at an acceptable level for my specialists, and allowed me to live a normal life and raise my son.
In 2007 my mother became very sick and needed a liver transplant. Thankfully she was only on the list for a short time – a heroic donor gave her the Gift of Life she so desperately needed. Sadly, just five years later my father became a donor upon his death and he was able to donate his eyes, bones, tendons and veins. My dad’s death was an incredible loss, but we know it was a life-healing gain for his recipients.
Not long after losing my father, I received more difficult news. My kidney function was rapidly deteriorating. The doctors told us in October 2012 that my kidneys had nearly failed and that I would need to consider a transplant or dialysis. My husband once again told me not to worry and that everything was going to work out. He came with me to all the doctor’s appointments and asked a lot of questions about the transplant process.
Jason took it upon himself to go to our family physician and get his blood typing done. We learned he had type O blood, which is a match for every blood type. We couldn’t believe it – he was a match for me. Everyone we talked to throughout the entire process noted how rare this was.
On December 4, 2012, we went to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center for the transplant. My husband was able to give me the gift of life that I will be forever grateful for.
Since my transplant everything has gone well. My husband and I have a healthy, clean “start” after more than a decade of dealing with kidney issues. I look forward to a future with my family and most of all, I am grateful to be able to see my son grow-up and have a family of his own – it’s all I’ve ever wanted.
To say thank you for my Gift of Life, our family has participated in the Dash for Donation for the past two years. It’s a way for us to thank the heroes of donation and to show everyone that living donors are just like anyone else. We plan to be a part of the Dash for the rest of our lives.
To also honor my gift, I advocate for organ, eye and tissue donation. Through the generosity of someone stepping up and saying “yes” I am living the life I want. Please register today!