I made it through a kidney transplant and the medical care which followed because I allowed others to be a part of my life. They gave generously and supported me in every sense of the word. We did not go it alone and others were willing to be an important part of seeing us through.
Things have gone well with the transplant, but we hit a setback. I had a cyst rupture in one of my old kidneys. It was painful and resulted in an emergency room visit. I had a slight fever after that. My blood-work-numbers have been off a bit as I recovered from that and one number in particular was climbing. It concerned my doctors, so they have scheduled a kidney biopsy for Monday to get a better idea of what is going on and how to fix it. It is scary, but I appreciate their vigilance in monitoring and treating my case. We have to return to the transplant center for a few days over the Fourth of July. Possibly longer depending on what they find. We are hoping and praying for the best.
Many have reached out to us and asked how they can help. The answer to that question is at the bottom of this post. So many people reaching out and asking reminded me how important that question has been in my life: HOW CAN I HELP? I thought it was important that I talk about the question before I get to the answer this time, if you will indulge me.
I posted about this earlier on Facebook, but my wife and I have a rule that if someone asks if they can help, we answer that question honestly. It’s the only way we survived the transplant. It’s a good rule because it keeps you connected with people who care about you and there is an important growth in a relationship when you are honest and vulnerable about your needs and someone reaches out in compassion and love to help. It builds up both people involved in that exchange. It builds community and family bigger than the family you are born into and bigger than where your house is located.
During my lowest points, being honest in answering that question reconnected me with old friends, made new friends out of near strangers, it helped keep me positive, and made me better at reaching out in compassion to others. Nothing was ever lost by the giver or the receiver by truly answering the question, “How can I help?” I recommend taking this rule for yourself no matter how proud or independent or private of a person you may be because isolation is destructive while giving and experiencing care is ultimately and consistently uplifting to everyone involved.
Even in your weakest and most vulnerable moments and sometimes especially in those moments, you can still be an inspiration to others and you can be an important part of their journeys and how they grow. I say all that to say this: I appreciate all the private messages, e-mails, comments on threads, and calls. And I’m going to follow my own rule now and answer the question for those who have asked it and haven’t had it answered yet. Even now it is tempting to go back to saying “We’re fine” or “I’ll let you know” because that is safer and more comfortable than being honest and vulnerable when people ask how they can help. I didn’t get here doing that though, so I’m going to open up to those who asked and let them help, if they feel led to do so. It’s the right thing for me to do on this side of the exchange of need and compassion.
We have to get a hotel in Charlotte the day before the biopsy so that we can be there at the transplant center first thing in the morning for surgical check-in, tests, pre-op, etc. We’ll need the room at least one more night after that. It is over Fourth of July (because I cannot seem to plan my medical disasters for convenient times) so that adds a little to the cost. We checked on housing provided by the hospital for families, but again, I timed this badly so it has to be the hotel this time. The cost at this moment for those two nights is $400. If I have to stay a couple more days, we’ll get out of holiday prices, but it will be a bit more than that. There may be follow-ups which require overnight stays instead of day trips. That is our need for those who asked how they can help. We keep a tight budget these days with the daily transplant meds and other medical costs that go with staying alive after a transplant, so anything given will be appreciated and used wisely. Thank you for asking and thank you for reminding me that we had this rule about answering honestly for a reason. Thoughts and prayers are appreciated in this family too, so don’t forget those either.
Thank you for being part of my community and family in the broader sense and thank you for asking. It reminded me not to isolate and not to go it alone and not to neglect answering the important question which builds community and relationships: “How can I help?”
Supporting a Life
We have been blown away by the support of friends, family and strangers during Jay’s kidney transplant. Thank you! Thank you for your support, for the love and for your overwhelming generosity!
Donations will go towards Jay’s life-long need of anti-rejection meds and any other expenses that may occur related to his transplant. You may select an amount from the drop-down below or select “Other Amount” below and type in the amount you would like to donate. Be sure to click the “GIVE NOW” button and complete your donation.
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