From the Bottom of Our Hearts

I’ll never forget the day that the nephrologist told me Mike’s diagnosis in the hospital. I knew absolutely nothing about kidney disease. Being the realist that I am, I asked her to tell me the worst case scenario. She said, The worst case scenario is that you can’t afford the care that he needs. This is an expensive diagnosis. I assured her right then and there that would not happen. If I had to sell everything we owned to make sure he got the medications and treatment he needed, well then that’s what I would do.

As a middle class American family, we’re blessed to have everything we need. At the end of the month, there’s even a little left over to save. We felt like we were “making it” before this diagnosis, but this is something you really can’t plan for. You can pay the mortgage and the car insurance and all that, but there’s not enough left over to pay for outpatient surgeries, constant doctor visits, and a kidney transplant. Mike’s medications alone add up to the equivalent of another car payment each month. One of the hardest things about dealing with a serious disease in your family is that while you’re worrying about taking care of your loved one, you have the added stress of the financial burden it brings. It’s sad that things have to be that way, but that’s just how it is.

The truth is that even though we’ve spent thousands on Mike’s health care, we’ve been incredibly blessed that it hasn’t meant financial ruin for us. Part of the reason for that is the support system that we have. I’m telling you, it is unreal the number of people who have been there for us during our journey. We have the most amazing family and friends. Mike was barely home from the hospital when our family had  a trust set up so that money could be raised for all of the medical bills. When the hospital called and told us we had 24 hours to bring them $2,500 for Mike’s first surgery, the money was there in that trust. I can’t express to you what a relief that was. To know that even though the hospital is telling us how crazy expensive a transplant is, we have people willing to have bake sales and yard sales and people just giving of their own money to help us, it’s unbelievably comforting.

I was trying to send out thank you notes, but I couldn’t even keep up with everyone who has helped us. Some people have given anonymously, so I have no way to thank them personally. I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.I don’t have the words to say what our hearts have felt these past few weeks as we’ve experienced the outpouring of support. Each and every Facebook post telling us that you’re praying means something to us. Every person who donated time or baked goods or yard sale items has made a difference in our lives. And to every person who has written a check or gone online to give, we are honestly just so humbled at the kindness you’ve shown our family. I’d like to think that all of this is not only a sign of how good people really can be, but also an indication of how people feel about Mike. He is kind. He likes to make people laugh. He hates to see people hurting. He works hard. Even in stage 5 kidney failure, he continues to work 50 hour weeks, because he loves his job and the realtors he works with. He is an enthusiastic, fun husband and dad. I’m so proud of how he has handled this trial in our lives. If anyone I know deserves all of the love you guys have been handing out, it’s him.

So once again, THANK YOU! Words just can’t express how grateful we are. Thank you for making us feel loved, for not making us choose between paying our mortgage and getting Mike the care he needs, for your prayers, for helping this diagnosis to not plague us with debt for years to come, for hours volunteered, for meals brought to us. Please know that each person has been a blessing to us, and we can’t imagine what it would be like to face this without our family and friends. Thank you for helping me have the freedom to focus on Mike instead of money. I can’t wait for the day that I’m writing a post to tell all of you how great Mike is feeling with a new kidney!

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