everyday life · Inspiration · Life Changes · Medullary Cystic Kidney Disease · Words to live by

That time I knocked over a grocery store display. And also {slightly less important}, that time I needed a kidney transplant.

This has been an interesting season of life for me. I’m actually the healthiest I’ve ever been. I’ve been working out so I am the strongest I’ve ever been, which makes me feel invincible and fierce. Unfortunately, I’m also the sickest I’ve ever been, what with my kidneys being wack and all. If you’re just tuning in, you can read about my genetic kidney disease here and its more recent progression here. So unfortunately, I’m not invincible and only sometimes fierce. But even in my moments of failure and weakness and fear, you guys…. God is SO good.

I had begun feeling stressed about this whole process recently, mostly due to a lot of wait time and unreturned phone calls and miscommunications and just a whole lot of ‘not great feels’. But God delivers what I need, when I need it. This week I was needing my phone calls to be returned from the transplant center and I just wasn’t getting the responses I needed and it was frustrating and stressful. But my prayer warrior mom and her prayer warrior friends prayed big prayers for immediate call-backs for me one morning. And I got those call-backs. Immediately. As in within the hour. Prayers answered.

You know what else God has given me? Breath in my lungs and the ability to place my feet on the floor and get out of bed each morning. This is not what I thought kidney failure would look like for me as I approached transplant. Granted, some days I am so tired I can barely make it to 1pm before laying down. And my appetite is a crazy rollercoaster that takes me from eating all the things one day to forcing a smoothie down just so I don’t pass out the next day. The nausea is annoying and the metallic taste in my mouth is disgusting. The headaches are debilitating and are the result of iron deficiency and not being able to eat enough. And the foggy brain makes me fear for my sanity, since my short term memory seems to be non-existent.

All that laid out, it’s still just headaches and nausea and exhaustion and foggy brain. I endured all that and more while pregnant with Charlie so I can endure it again on a larger and more severe scale with kidney failure, no big deal. Somehow God provides me with enough energy to sustain me when I need it. And on those days when I am not able to do all the things, He has provided an amazing support system who picks up the slack. My mom comes over often to help me stay on top of laundry and cleaning and life in general, my co-workers let me ask them redundant questions when my brain fails me, my job schedule is flexible, I have my own personal workout coach who gently prods me to come and work out, and my husband allows me to sleep when I need it without a single complaint.

Somehow, things still get done. For instance, on Thursday this week:

I worked {as a pediatric speech pathologist}, and

got a flu shot {which caused the hypochondriac in me to start feeling flu-ish aches by mid-afternoon}, then

had a phone conference {which zapped some of my mental energy allotment}, then

vacuumed my floors and got a load of laundry started when I got home {with kids hanging on me like little leeches}, then

worked out at the YMCA {total beast mode}, then

went grocery shopping with both kids, and

gave in and let the kids have the ‘car cart’ {for once not being mean mommy by saying no}, then

crashed the big dumb ‘car cart’ into a display of sunflower seeds {because its turn radius is nonexistent}, knocking the display over and scattering the packages all over the aisle, then

finally got out of the store and put all the groceries away when we got home, then

put the kids to bed by myself because Chris was at band practice, then

fell into bed.

The end.

Evidence of the ‘car cart’ ruckus pictured below:

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Not every day is that successful. Honestly, most of them are not. If I get a load of laundry washed and into the dryer each day then that’s a success, even if the load never makes it out of the dryer. I’m just too tired most of the time.

But I can still have adventures with my family and workout and handle toddler tantrums and play with my kiddos and supervise homework and work at a job which I love and volunteer at church and hang out with friends.

I’m sick, but I’m alive and life is still good. I can’t believe I’m able to do all the things I can do as my kidney’s fail. Each day I’m thankful for the joy and love and happiness that wrangle more space in my mind than the fear and anxiety and depression. Ain’t nobody got time for yucky vibes. God offers me peace and comfort daily, so I’m clinging to that as things progress.

Yesterday I spent all day at the hospital having tests completed (Echocardiogram, EKG, ultrasound, lab work, and x-rays), then Chris and I met with the transplant team and the surgeons.

The next step will be to try and find a living donor match before I have to go on dialysis. That’s where you all come in. The deceased donor wait list is approximately 5 years long, with nearly 100,000 people in the US waiting for kidneys transplants. I am praying bold prayers that God will provide me with a living donor kidney before I have to go on dialysis. Please share this post for me. Please pray for my future donor.

And please consider donating, even if it isn’t to me. You can read about “non-directed” organ donations and “paired” donations from UNOS { www.unos.org}, in which you can donate a kidney to someone who is waiting for a kidney transplant in the US, even though you don’t know them.

Potential living donor candidates for me must have Type O blood {positive & negative factors do not matter}. You can fill out the Health History Questionnaire if you are interested in finding out more and want to begin the process to see if you are a candidate.

www.sentaralivingdonation.com

{You’ll need my birth date, which is 05/04/1985}

If more than one living donor becomes available to me, further medical testing {lab draws and health exams} will determine which match is optimal for all parties involved.

Thank you for rallying around Chris and I on this journey. Sometimes I hear from people that they’ve forgotten I was sick, which I believe is a testament to how God has sustained me. I know He will continue to sustain me and will provide a living donor kidney for me. I’m speaking it out. And God hears and He will deliver. amen.

XoXo,

Ashley

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