Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Kidney and Liver Transplant Party!

This Saturday I spent the day with two of my favorite people: my mom and my aunt Theresa, who donated her kidney to me four years ago. We attended a party for liver and kidney transplant donors and recipients, to honor the donors and explore the different organizations all about organ donation. It was very cool to know that we were all gathered because of one thing: the gift of life.

In my day-to-day life, I know about my kidney transplant, and sometimes I tell people about it, but every once in a while, it really hits me: I am walking around with my aunt's kidney. This happened at the gathering when I could see that some of the people we talked to were really moved by our story. The fact that I had two failing kidneys and Theresa donated her own kidney to me is unfathomable.

It was great to be able to be there and honor my donor. We went out to dinner afterward, and we were reminiscing about the moments leading up to the surgery. From the time we found out, to the time we had the surgery, to the time after.

The night before the surgery, Theresa came over to the Children's side of the hospital to say hi and goodbye before the surgery. We had come so far; Theresa had had months of tests, I had had months of tests, and we still had a long road to go, but we were still there, still alive, still silly. Theresa was there for me in every way she could be. The surgeon met us there too, and we all had a moment as human beings about to go into a life changing surgery, with a caring and extraordinary surgeon to take care of us.

Next thing we knew, we woke up from surgery. I remember not being able to believe it was over. I must have asked my sister a thousand times before finally believing that the surgery was over. And the first thing that Theresa said when she woke up was: how's my niece?

I still can't believe her heroism. I sill can't believe everything she risked for me. I stillcan't believe that I'm walking around with her kidney. And here we are, about four years later, still here, still alive, still silly, and closer than ever.

I never thought I would be able to drive a car. I never thought I would be able to do anything that a normal teenager does because of my condition. I was really sick, and I didn't realize it. I can do anything I want with my life because of my aunt. If she hadn't given me a kidney, I might still be on dialysis, not being able to go to school, not being able to spend my summer days at the beach, not even being able to go to my junior prom. But because of my aunt, I can live a normal life. Thank you, Theresa, for my life.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Imagine you're a mother. You have two young daughters, one's five and the other is two. You have just found out the that youngest one has a rare genetic condition that is, in most cases, fatal, and a few days after her third birthday she was going to need open heart surgery. This happened to my mother, the strongest woman in the world. How she cared for two little girls while dealing with heart surgery and not knowing what the future looked like is incredible. But what's more incredible is how she dealt with two more major surgeries to come throughout the years, her other daughter having medical problems as well, as well as everything else that goes along with being a mother. But the most incredible part is that she kept her faith throughout all of it and kept hope alive even in the darkest of hospital rooms.

I would like to thank my mother for everything she has done. I love you so much and thank you for everything you do for me. Without you, I could not have gone through all of the major surgeries, as well as just the day-to-day things I do. You have been a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, and you've been my advocate through everything. I don't know how you have stayed so strong even to this day, but you have and you are an angel. Thank you. 

I would also like to thank my stepmother, who has been there for me as well as my mom, for two of three of the surgeries. Thank you for all of your support, care, and understanding through everything. It's incredible to me that I have three amazing, loving, supportive parents. I love you!

Happy Mother's Day!