A New Adventure, Stella and Terrie’s Kidney Transplant Experience
Well today is the first time I’ve ever written a blog/hub! I thought it would be helpful and I needed a place to share our story
First off it wouldn’t be a story without a little history
Stella and I met 30 years ago while I was working at I Hop as a waitress. I was newly single and to make ends meat I rented out a room to one of the cooks I worked with, Gary. He was dating Stella and we met and became instant friends. Meeting and befriending Stella would prove to be one of the most important relationships of my life. We immediately hit it off, and long after Garry and Stella split we continued our friendship. We always have always called each other “best-est friends”. Through divorces, life hardships, and joys, Stella has always been here for me, if just to make each other laugh or have a good cry, never has a time gone by when Stella has not been here for me. I have felt closer to Stella than anyone and consider her my sister.
I recently read a book titled ” Snow-flower and the Secret Fan” a story of the Chinese custom of lay-tong which means my same. That is how I feel about my friendship with Stella we are ” my same”
So when I was not feeling well three years ago and after numerous visits to Kaiser I was finally diagnosed with a kidney condition called IGA, Stella was the first person I called. I remember telling Stella and as always Stella reassuring me we would get through this together. At the time my doctor thought I could be treated with diet and medications, I’ll never forget the day I called Stella to tell her I would probably need to go on dialysis as my kidney condition had worsened. She listened and broke into tears, and after a long cry assured me I could do this and again was my rock!
I then began looking into what my options were , and had surgery to do the first part of the fistula needed for dialysis. Some days I would be so tired I could barely force my self to get out of bed. Along with the extreme tiredness, I always say it is a tired all the way to my bones, I began weekly shots and infusion for anemia to help with my exhaustion. Between the tiredness, the nausea, the constant itching, the leg cramps that keep me up at night and malaise feeling everyday I was also suffering with horrible migraines. Some days the depression was so bad I would just call Stella and cry. As my kidney function started to get worse, I started to try to mentally prepare myself for the next surgery and then dialysis, in the meantime I sent in all my information from family and friends to see if anyone was a match to possibly donate me a kidney. Of course they checked my children first and right off the bat eliminated two of my children, one because of a high level of protein in the urine and another because of several kidney stones. My youngest daughter was a match but was afraid since she was a single mom and still in school to become a nurse. So when Stella offered and told me she was type O blood as well(Type O being a universal donor, but only able to receive an O for blood or transplants making it harder to get a match) I was ecstatic! So then all the testing began, Stella started her testing in December and we found out sometime I believe in January, maybe February the she was indeed a match. Stella called me at work and a day I will never forget. Stella’s exact words were” of course I’ll give you my kidney”. What do you say to someone who has just offered you a chance to not be on dialysis, and chance to live a more normal life. I know forever I will be grateful, and I believe that we all have a purpose in this life and Stella has been an inspiration to me certainly made me more aware each and every day of how precious my life is. I am so proud to call her my friend and continue to grow and learn from her each day.
My husband, and children used to tease me about how cute we are with each, and to now to think I am going to receiving one of her kidneys is truly a blessing.
July 9,2008, Friday while on the phone with a work colleague I missed a call , as I listen to the voice message I replay it three times. It is a voicemail from Sarah one of my renal transplant coordinators at UCSF letting me know thy reviewed my case and everything is a go and what day would I like to schedule my surgery. I just remember hanging up the phone and shaking, and crying for joy. I dialed Stella and told her the news and we were both in shock. Wow it is really going to happen. We set a tentative date for August 14,2008 and will firm everything up on Monday. So now the real journey begins. Words cannot express how I feel right now.
So what’s next?
Child and Adolescent Crisis Program