I am so, so happy to be writing this post. On this day two years ago, Mike went in to an urgent clinic thinking he had food poisoning, but instead ended up in the hospital with renal failure. Two years after diagnosis, eight months after joining the transplant waiting list, and seven months after beginning dialysis, Mike is finally getting a transplant! We are still in shock. We had pretty much given up hope of a surgery happening any time soon. We found out on Tuesday that everything was approved and we just needed to choose a date for surgery…..in the month of JULY. Yes, this is happening in just a matter of weeks.
The story is just crazy enough & bizarre enough to make you know that it is meant to be. After two of the guys that are closest to Mike and have always been healthy got rejected as donors by the hospital, we were just at a loss. We had no idea what was going to happen, and I was pretty depressed about the whole thing. Even after I found out that our friend, Tim, was going to get tested, I still didn’t let myself get my hopes up. Two major disappointments was enough for me. I really had put it so far out of my mind that I didn’t even remember to ask him for the results of his days of testing. Tuesday afternoon, my dad called & said that we needed to come over to their house right away. Of course my first thought was that someone was dying or there was some other family drama. (I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist, remember? ;)) Thankfully, it was happy news! Tim and his parents were waiting to tell us that everything had been approved and that we had to choose a date for surgery and we had to choose immediately. It was June 26 and the first date on the list was July 5. Holy cow. Too soon. We opted for the following date option that the hospital had given us so we could have a few weeks to get things in order, so surgery will be on Wednesday, July 18.
My family has known Tim’s family for a long time; twelve years to be exact. Tim and his siblings were all in the youth group that my dad lead at our previous church. Tim always hung out with my brothers ,Michael & Fred. Tim’s younger brother, Robert, is Tyler’s best friend. And the youngest son in the family, Will, is friends with my youngest brother, Chris. (They also have a sister, Jen, who like me, always tried to steer clear of the brothers when they were together) The seven boys between our two families have spent countless hours together and probably eaten about 12 tons of my mom & Ms Pat’s groceries over the years. I was honestly shocked when Tim first asked me how he could apply to be a donor. He & Mike have known each other for years, but Tim is really friends with my brothers more than Mike since Mike is several years older than him. I think that firstly, it shows that Tim is incredibly generous, and secondly, it’s really a testimony of friendship between two families. My family & the Carlisles have each been there for each other in different ways over the years, offering support whenever the other family needed it. Of course, donating an organ now tops the list of nice things they have done for us :)
The past few weeks before we got the good news were admittedly very discouraging for me. There has been a whole list of things driving me crazy in life and making this control freak feel utterly out of control. Earlier this week I actually looked up devotionals on what to read when you feel depressed. (Yes, I know that’s dramatic, but it was that kind of week) The verse I was lead to was Psalm 42:11, “Why, my soul, are you so downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior & my God.” That was exactly what I needed to hear and focus on, because my soul was definitely feeling downcast. I am so thankful that God decided it was time for something positive to happen for us in the area of health for our family, because I was really needing to feel like something could go right. I know that for whatever reason, this is what was supposed to happen. One really amazing thing that the doctors at Florida Hospital told Tim during his exams was that he happens to have extra large kidneys, which will be a positive for both Mike & him during this process. They actually said to him that it was like he was made to be a kidney donor. So God knew all along that Tim, not a relative of Mike’s but a friend of our family, was somehow the best match for Mike. Crazy, but I’ll take it.
Finally, (if anyone is still actually reading this) I want to say thank you. First, thank you to Mike’s brother and to Mike’s best friend for both being willing to go through testing. Both guys wanted to donate and were really disappointed when the hospital decided it wasn’t going to work. So thank you to you guys and your families for the hours spent in Orlando getting tests done. Thank you to our huge support system who tirelessly worked to raise money to make sure this surgery could happen and would happen without making us bankrupt as a family. Thank you to our families for constant support and encouragement when we needed it most. And finally, thank you to Tim and to the whole Carlisle family for your selflessness. You are giving us a great gift, and that is a chance at health for Mike. I can’t wait to have my husband back once this recovery is all said and done. The past few years have been the most difficult of our marriage and lives. I am so ready to move past this phase, to see Mike looking and feeling like his old self, to no longer have to lose precious hours every week with him while he’s sitting in a dialysis chair, to see my husband have energy and actually feel like a 31-year-old. I am so ready. Three weeks and counting.