Saturday, August 28, 2010

Where I Am An Everyday Hero

It's true, I have been up to something. Something pretty wonderful. Last Tuesday I donated a kidney for my father-in-law.

Before you freak, we are both recovering well.

I got home last night and am being pampered in bed; John is still in the hospital getting poked non-stop but hopefully will be home soon.

He didn't actually get my kidney though; we are part of this amazing program at UCLA called a Living Donor Chain. Over a year ago we found out that Dad needed a kidney transplant and that he was waiting for a deceased donor.

None of his own children could donate, and my mother-in-law is a paraplegic with a host of medical problems (sorry mom) so as much as she wanted to donate, it was out of the question.

In secret I wondered if I could donate. I read up about it online and learned that the screening process is extremely rigorous. Before I said anything about it to anyone, even Marc, I made an appointment with my doctor for a super duper physical and to ask if she thought I was likely to be a good donor. And by "good" I meant able to be a donor with little or no actual risk to my own health 'cause, you know, I've got kids and stuff. She said I was very healthy and she saw no reason I couldn't go for it.

Later that night I whispered to Marc what I had in mind and was surprised that he was not so gung ho as I. He was worried. He didn't want me having a major surgery. He held me and said he didn't want to talk about it.

I told him how safe it was.
He doubted.
I told him I was going to do it.
He pouted.
I said to pray about it.
He admitted I could do what I wanted but he didn't have to like it.

A few months later I went to UCLA for my first round of tests and got some bummer news, I wasn't a good match for my father-in-law. Then the doctors asked how I felt about being a part of a chain...where my kidney would go to someone who I matched, and our dad would get a kidney from someone he matched.

This video explains it really well.

So now, about a year later, I finally got to do it! I donated to a gentleman from Southern California. His wife recently donated to a little girl on the East Coast. All in all our chain is the longest in the world and is up to 44 people.

Everyone wants to know how I feel.

I admit it, I am feeling pretty pleased with myself.

15 comments:

  1. That is seriously so cool. I'm speechless. In a strange turn of life events I recently moved to a new place an met and made a new friend who donated her kidney a year a go in a chain kind of thing for her Uncle. I wonder why I've heard this story from two different people in the same week. I have the chills.

    Thank you for sharing your story. And, for your amazing selfless sacrifice.

    Stopped by from MMB.

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  2. Shelly, thank you for sharing the wonderful story. Thank you, thank you.

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  3. You ARE a hero. I never heard of a kidney chain before--glad to be educated. Saw you are from the Bay Area. We were there 6 1/2 years--love it and miss it. Happy recovering to you!

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  4. I have two translate stories in my family--and my nephew is now an RM thanks to a liver transplant when he was a year old, so this hits home. (Okay, so I'm even crying.)

    I hope Marc's okay with your choice now--I'm pretty sure my husband wouldn't go for me being a donor, either.

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  5. what an absolutely wonderful post...teary eyed! I never knew such a thing existed as the kidney chain...so inspiring and how wonderful to be part of it..you sure are an everyday hero! Naomi.

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  6. Holy Cow Shelley. That is amazing! We hope and pray for speedy recover for you both...L & L

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  7. Shelley, you are my hero! HERO! I've always wanted to do that, but stupid mad cow in stupid Europe where I stupid lived means they won't even consider me. I will live vicariously through you (like I didn't do that already).

    God bless you, Shelley. What a beautiful gift. I pray that you & John both get better soon.

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  8. Shelley,

    I’m in tears right now and praying for your swift recovery. I’ve known you for a few years now and have the pleasure of having you as my visiting teacher.
    I must tell you, you are and have always been an inspiration to me and I have always enjoyed our sweet moments together. But this Trumps them all!!
    You gave something that is from your very body, the holy temple that God has granted you to use while on this earth and gave life to another child of God.
    With sweet moments like this you have shown me how I can better become more like our Savior Jesus Christ.

    Aloha nui loa,
    rose

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  9. I cannot believe you just donated a kidney...well, actually I can, because that is the kind of girl you are. But man alive, that's pretty amazing. Sure miss you!!

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  10. I can barley control my sobs....! I am so glad that everything worked out so amazing. You were guided to do this amazing thing. You touched all these lives with your act of kindness! I love that you always follow your heart! xoxoxox~Sara

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  11. Wow Shelley - you are truly amazing. But then, I knew that already and this just makes you more amazinger (in my book that's a word) than you were before. I hope you have a speedy recovery and that you get a warm fuzzy feeling everytime you see your father-in-law because of the selfless sacrifice you made.
    Love you!

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  12. wowzers. I always knew you were super duper cool; but you are truly amazing. I'm in awe. And seriously inspired. xoxo.

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  13. You made me cry...and that doesn't happen often! You are a rockstar! Love you girl

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