Joined at the Kidney, Part 1

I named it Three.

Cassie’s kidney now lives inside of me and I decided to name it Three. Three is such a powerful number. Three is the number of the Holy Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three makes a family. And of course, three…is a magic number (any Schoolhouse Rock fans?). I’ve already told One and Two to make Three feel right at home and to play nice and so far it’s been going well.

But I’ve skipped quite a bit ahead in the story. When last we left I said over the next few weeks I would share some yummy recipes with you – and I will. But the next few weeks ended up in a blur of activity which led up to us having the transplant surgery. It was a tenacious few weeks, too. Full of anxiety and uncertainty along the way. We went in for our final evaluations on April 12, the day after I posted the last article and like I imagined, the weigh in was VERY close. I was at 237.4. Only a little over a pound away from the goal. Would that be enough?

The doctors were really impressed with my effort and ability to lose the weight naturally and everyone asked how I had done it (I should have just referred them to the blog). I shared my story with them and it made the biggest impression on the doctor who would be my actual surgeon, Dr. Busque, because at the evaluation meeting he was telling them all about it and how much it showed I was a good candidate for the surgery. Still, we had to wait a week for the results. In the meantime, the situation between the hospital and the nurses came to a head and the Stanford nurses union, CRONA, announced that they would be going on strike.

We waited.

The next week came and we were told we were approved! And then came the BUT…. But if the nurses went on strike it could be postponed indefinitely. They would of course fit us in as soon as they could. My surgery was what they called a preemptive transplant which would put us ahead of those already on dialysis, but for how long would it get delayed? In the middle of all of this we were getting ready for a move to a new church (more on that later) and we had to plan around that as well. It just seemed like our whole lives were in chaos! The strike happened and it looked more and more like they would pull the plug and reschedule us for some time in the future. We checked in constantly for any news, none of it good, and updates were few and far between. But thank God, the two sides came together before the end of the month and agreed on a new work package, literally the day our team was meeting to decide our fate. They approved our surgery and we had to check in the next morning!!!

Us checking in to our rooms

My mother-in-law, Carol, bless her heart, flew on the latest possible flight on a moment’s notice to be here for us. We picked her up at the airport, came back to the house, got in a quick sleep, and headed out the next morning. It was exciting and at the same time a bit nerve-wracking. After all, we were about to go under the knife for major surgery. The success rate was very high. For Cassie, only 1 in 3000 ended up in fatality. Mine wasn’t as high, but still at over 99% you can’t really complain. Plus, we were in very good hands. The odds were as good as they were going to get. When we got to the hospital, it was time for even more tests. More blood work. Another COVID test. An EKG and chest x-ray. Thankfully, we passed all of those, too. Cassie and I were taken to separate rooms on the same floor – just two doors away. But with so many tests and other things going on we didn’t see much of each other until night time. She would be going in first at around 6am and I would follow some time around noon.

We went to bed. I didn’t sleep much. I was too excited and nervous and wanted to be sure to be up to see Cassie off to her surgery. I watched as she went down the hall, and then just waited to hear how it went. I knew her medical team was one of the best, but it was still a relief to know she came through with flying colors. Our post-op recovery would be in the main hospital so I would just have to wait until mine was done to see her. Wow…soon I would start life with a new kidney!

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