In 1992, at the age of 29, and with a 4 year old son, I was told that the one kidney I had remaining was failing due to 22 years of juvenile Diabetes. (The first kidney had been removed in 1987.) I needed a transplant. Not only a kidney, but also a pancreas, to get rid of the Diabetes that caused the problems in the first place. My remaining kidney was removed in September 1992 and I began dialysis. I was extremely sick while on dialysis. I was literally dying. We had to move in with my parents because I was too sick to take care of myself, much less a 4 year old child. You have to be in relatively good health to be put on the transplant waiting list and I was not. Two weeks after my kidney was removed, an ulcer ruptured in my colon and I nearly bled to death. As they wheeled me into the OR, the doctor, standing at the head of my bed, told my parents he couldn't promise I was coming out. They removed six inches of my colon, and as usual, I made it through! I coded Three times while on dialysis. I literally spent more time in the hospital than I did at home while waiting.
Finally, on December 14, 1992 I was well enough to get on the waiting list. It was very hard for me to pray for someone to die so that I could live. All I could say when I prayed was, 'Please let me get my transplant soon.' On the night of January 9, 1993, which was really the early morning of January 10th, I was having trouble sleeping in my bed, so I went to sleep on the sofa. I was laying in a very dark, quiet living room and I started talking to God, out loud, as if He were sitting right next to me. It was about 1:00 a.m. For some reason, this time the words were different. Instead of saying the usual prayer, I said, 'God, I don't want someone to have to die so that I can live, but, if YOU choose to take someone's life in a car accident tonight, please let their organs match mine.' I'll never forget those words, because at 5:30 a.m. my phone rang. A 17 year old boy lost his life in a car accident and we were a perfect match. For a kidney transplant, there are 6 criteria that have to match between the donor and the recipient. They will use the organs of 4 of the 6 match. It is very unusual to get a perfect 6 match from a non©related donor, but that's exactly what we were. Only 27 days after getting on the waiting list, I received my new kidney and pancreas from a total stranger who is now my hero. I no longer have Diabetes and I am now living a normal life.
I thank God and pray for my donor and his family at least twice a day. Because of his family's unselfish decision to donate his organs, I am alive today. My donor is my hero. He is the wind beneath my wings!