In 2008, I was admitted to the intensive care unit at a local hospital while planning to celebrate my 40th birthday. Years of juvenile diabetes was causing severe damage to my organs. My blood glucose levels were out of control and my kidneys were failing. Doctors informed me that I needed to see a nephrologist to monitor my kidney function.
A few years later, I received a referral and was screened for a kidney transplant. I also asked my coordinator about receiving a pancreas transplant. After completing the medical exams, I was placed on the kidney and pancreas transplant listing. In the meantime, doctors scheduled me for peritoneal dialysis (PD) which allowed me the flexibility to work during the day and take dialysis at home nightly.
Allen, a 23-year-old talented musician, passed away and his mother consented to saving six lives by donating his organs. On January 29, 2013, I received a telephone call from the University of Kentucky Transplant Center requesting that I come to the hospital. I was transplanted with two of Allen’s organs (a kidney and pancreas) on the morning of January 30, 2013.
My future is brighter than my past thanks to the power of prayer, the doctors and nurses at the hospital and dialysis center, the donor’s family, and supportive family and friends. Nearly two years later, the kidney and pancreas are working exceptionally well. I am no longer on an insulin pump, I do not need dialysis and my blood pressure is normal. I am enjoying 23 years of marriage; watching my five children mature as young adults; seeing my three grandchildren exploring the world around them; and working a full-time job with the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
I am grateful for the second chance/gift of life through organ donation.