Thursday, September 23, 2010

Becoming a Living Organ Donor

About 16 1/2 years ago, I took Chatty to Arkansas Children's Hospital. Hubby was still in Virginia. The girls had been born at 27 weeks gestation. They got out of the hospital the day they turned three months old, and about six weeks later after I'd nagged and nagged the pediatrician, we knew something was seriously wrong with Chatty's liver (it's a lengthy post, but includes links to the girls' birth stories and the explanation of Chatty's surgeries - just don't forget to come back and finish reading this one because you don't want to miss it either).

For the better part of a day we thought she had biliary atresia, a non-correctable liver disease where the bile ducts constrict and don't go back to normal. It would require a liver transplant. At the time she was 6 1/2 pounds, 4 1/2 months old, although they adjusted her age to 1 1/2 months due to prematurity.

After an ultrasound later in the day, everyone was doing the happy dance. They found a cyst in her bile duct. Surgery, although lengthy and some cutting and pasting would be required, would correct her problem.

We know that all the places we've been God has placed us. We can see His hand in it. So now to tie everything together...

Mari was one of my first blogging friends. I've since met her now that I live in Michigan too. Of course we met at Ikea! Goody for me that I live closer to it!

Well, last year around the holidays I realized that one of Mari's other blogging friends, Cathy, lived close to me. We exchanged a few casual emails. I told her where my church was located and she said she didn't live too far from it. I was in the car shooting the emails back and forth on my blackberry. I even mentioned it to Hubby casually while he was driving. I started following Cathy's blog.

In June of this year, just one day before our 25th anniversary, Cathy posted of the need for a liver transplant for her daughter, Heather. They were looking for someone with the same blood type, O+. That's what Hubby's is.

I asked him how he felt about being a live liver donor (I think I might have told him it was local and for an only child), he said to find out what he needed to do, and that's pretty much the beginning and end of it.

On November 15, my husband and Heather will both be having separate surgeries with separate doctors in the same hospital at the same time, which of course is local because we all live right here. Who had that all planned out?

Hubby's recovery will be 4-6 weeks. He'll be in the hospital about a week. They will be taking out the larger, front lobe of the liver (65 percent) and leaving 35 percent. It will regenerate to the normal size in six weeks.

My husband is a nice guy. He's pretty laid-back. He also has a great sense of humor. It's hard sometimes to show complete personalities on a forum like this. You can see his silly picture with Caboose and Mr. Excitement at a monster truck show on my sidebar. That's him. But sometimes it's a little more subtle. For example, I had him go pick up an ice cream cake at Dairy Queen on Father's Day for himself. Well, for all of us to share. This is what we ended up with:

I'm sure he had the lady at DQ laughing with that request!


The Stylish House said...

You know me a little bit by now. I cried when we talked the first time and tears are streaming down my face now. Thank you, I'm so very grateful these words will never express how I feel towards you and Robert giving my beloved Heather this Gift Of Life!

Ursula said...

What a guy ....wonderful post and deed...
best wishes for all ....

Mari said...

This still gives me goose bumps! I think it's wonderful and amazing how God worked this out. He had everything planned out perfectly!
I thought Robert was great when I met him and this just shows how right I was!

Teri said...

What an incredible story! It sure does point to how big and awesome our God is!

Alum Groups of Delta Delta Delta said...

Hi Kayern, Thank you so much for
your family's story through the
years. I am Cathy's MIL, Myke
and Heather's MiMi. I am SO
grateful to know that Heather
now has a chance at a long and
healthy life. My tears of joy
followed Cathy's call and e-mails
that Robert would be Heather's
donor. Thank you all SO much
for making this grandmother so
happy...Robert is indeed Heather's
angel Big Hugs to all of you,
Love and Hugs, Myke

Polly @ Make Mine Beautiful said...

Hello Kayren. I came over via a link on Cathy's facebook page.
I cannot even begin to express the emotion I had when Cathy let me know that your loving husband would be sharing a part of his liver with Heather. I laughed, I cried, I even squealed.

God is a mighty fine craftsman. He places people in our lives to enrich us in one way or the other, and his connections are no happenstance. I am beyond thankful that your husband is so gracious to help someone he doesn't even know.

I myself am a donor, and I've made it very clear to everyone I know that if anything should happen to me to give all my parts away! That takes on a different meaning when we 'know' someone who is actually a giver and a recipient. I hope I can be as brave should the need arise while I am still here on earth.

God is working miracles for Heather, on the surface and behind the scenes. The very first time I read her story, I could feel Cathy's pain as a mother for her child, and it touched me deeper than I thought it would. To know that her pain, and her family's, has been replaced with a joy that far surpasses that pain, is simply amazing.

Thank you and your family for your sacrifice on their behalf.

It's me said...

O Kayren...what a beautiful story...i am so glad with your husband and you of course helping Heather,...the candle on my blog burns for you all.......and i follow you until the happy ending....and longer of course...your hubby is an angel ......this is al sending by God i believe in it!!......i am glad i found your blog !! and the one from Cathy.....i will pray for you all..............blessings love and warm hugs from me.....Ria....

Sandy said...

I have been following this story of Heathers need since Cathy first posted it on her blog...There is no greater deed than giving freely of yourself. Giving a part of your healthy body, is the ultimate...
Both families are indeed blessed!
Wishing and praying for a happy, healthy outcome to both Heather and her very unselfish Donor.

Kolein said...

Sitting here crying....trying to figure out what to write to you, a brave and caring and faithful family....sacrificing for another life....sounds like Jesus to me!

God bless you all during this time of healing, recovery and newness....I will be praying for you!

Awesome generosity from everyone!!! This happening has renewed my faith!! Thank you so very much!

New York

Bobbi said...

WOW...that is just wonderful! We will be praying it all goes smoothly! May God continue to bless richly!!!

Appletime said...

Kayren- Words can't begin to be enough to thank you and Robert for stepping forward, going through the testing, and now becoming Heather's donor for her liver. I am Heather's aunt, and have always felt she is a special person, with her warm and caring presence about her, even through the difficult and trying times with this disease! We have a strong faith and belief that she is not making this journey alone, but in the sight of God. Robert is such a testiment to the goodness in life and through him Heather will recieve his gift of life!! We are so grateful to Robert and all of your family "Thanks" does not seem to be enough. Robert is an amazing man!!! Wendie (Cathy's sister)

Love Bears All Things said...

I know you're right about God placing us in the places we are and puts certain people in our path...its all a God thing...How wonderful that he is able and willing to do this...God's blessing on everyone involved.
Mama Bear

Lee said...

I am a blogging friend of Cathy' name is Lee... I wanted to thank you and your husband for your amazing gift of "Life" your hearts are big and you are the real deal!(Christians)
Such an awesome testimony to a world walking in darkness... what a beacon of light proclaiming the love of God! You are all in my prayers and may His blessings pour out on you and your family... the ripples this will make will surely turn many hearts toward a forgotten Savior! I am believing for the best possible outcome for everyone involved...let our faith rise and soar. May His angels surround and protect each anxious heart... guiding all, every step of this shall be recorded in heavenly books!
These are the testimony's dripping in mercy and LOVE!
God Bless You!

Lydia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia said...

(my other comment had cut/paste weird things happening so I deleted it!)

My husband and I have just read Cathy's latest post with the link here to you and your husband. Tears in eyes! This has been and is going to be such a special odyssey to observe via our blogs.

I've had a badge on my sidebar with Heather's picture that I changed to say "They found a donor!" and have noted the surgery date. It is just so heart-warming, inspiring, and darned exciting!

On a personal note, you exemplify what all Christians should be, and, unfortunately, absolutely are not. You and your husband are the real heart and soul of the Love we need in this world. I thank God for people like you.

AlchemyJunk said...

What an inspiration you both are! What a brave and noble thing to do to a complete stranger. You are in our hearts and prayers

Melissa Miller said...

Hello Kayren,
I'm just crying reading this. Cathy is such a sweet lady and I know she is so beyond grateful. Thank you to your amazing and generous hubby. You are both wonderful people. It's nice to meet you!

Many blessings to you all.
Warmly, ~Melissa

oops! said...

Just wanted to stop by and give you hugs and more hugs, for the amazing unselfish gift of both you and your hubby to another!

Decgal's Humble Abode said...

Your husband is a true HEROOOO They don't come any better. I lost my sister to liver failure in 2005 and she would have loved this story. The doctors didn't know what caused her liver to go bad, she lasted only three years. I pray that people would understand donating organs better. Waiting for a donor organ is hard for the whole family. God will bless you and your husband...for your life gift. Thank you Degal

Gail at Victorian at Heart said...

What an amazing husband you have. This is a sacrificial gift. During this time, know I will be praying for all families involved. Your story touched my heart.

Thea said...

I wish your family the very best and your husband a speedy recovery. I just stumbled across this story and am touched by his generosity.

Tardevil said...

As a mom of a once only child, but now I have two, I can only say blessings to him for doing this for them. And best of luck to both of them for successful surgeries and recoveries.

Sarah Elizabeth said...

What an incredible man your husband must be. I wish everyone involved all the best x x

Anonymous said...

What a blessing your husband is.

Melody said...

Amazing and inspiring. I am just so in awe of your husband's selfless act...and you too. Praying for all involved.

Tina Eudora said...

I have followed this story since the beginning and prayed very hard for a miracle for Heather and her parents and the Lord Be Praised he sent your wonderful family and selfless husband. I will continue to pray for the surgery to go smoothly and all to recover quickly...God bless!
Tina xo

Elizabeth (blue clear sky) said...

What a wonderful thing to read about today! Kayren and Robert, you are amazing people to be doing this for Heather and her family. What incredible role models for your lovely children. My prayers and good wishes will be with all involved now, on surgery day and in your recovery time.

Privet and Holly said...

Following up on
Heather's story,
today....went to
her mom's blog,
which lead me to
you....and your
story and how God
has woven the two
together so wonderfully.
You and your husbands
are such gifts. Bless
you both!!
xx Suzanne

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Kayren: I am honored to be your newest Follower! God bless you and your husband for doing this for that young girl Heather! As I wrote on Heather's mom's blog: you and Robert are ANGELS!!! Oh, the good Lord is going to bless you more than a hundred-fold! I cannot believe your generosity and compassion for this familhy that you met through blogging. You two are truly the epitome of being true Christians and you should both be so proud of yourselves!!
I will pray for Robert and Heather for the surgery.
Best regards and blessings,

Bill said...

Bless you and your wonderful husband for coming to the aid of sweet Cathy and her beautiful daughter! I'm in awe of your kindness and generosity.

Best regards,

P.S. Loved the message on the cake -- brave AND funny!

Thoughtfully blended hearts said...

An amazing story...goosebumps here...wishing and praying for the health of everyone involved!!!

The Stylish House said...


Tomorrow is the big day and I can't believe the transplant is really going to happen. This has been an amazing journey and meeting you and your family is the greatest gift.
I pray no harm comes to Robert and Heather can lead a long and healthy life.
See you bright and early 5:30 am to be exact!
Hugs, Cathy

southerninspiration said...

Wow, what a totally amazing story. Linked to your blog via Cathy's, but there is no doubt that God orchestrated all of this, and to HIM be the glory. Thanks to y'all for giving testimony to HIS goodness. So glad to hear of your husband's gallantry and desire to help Cathy's daughter. Praying that all are doing well.


Penny Eure said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Penny Eure said...


That is so awesome of Robert. You guys are such an amazing family. We miss you guys.


Sue said...

I found your blog by following the transplant tale and have to say what a heartwarming story and what a selfless gift. I am praying for a speedy recovery for both. I had to comment when I saw the cake as I have a very similar story. I was exhausted and we were to bring the bday cake to our friends who were making dinner for my husband's bday. He went in for his own DQ cake and when we all sat down to eat it this is what it said "Joe, you're the greatest!"

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