Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Two Milestones!!

Yesterday marked two milestones...I turned 40 and Sara and I had our 10 month anniversary of the surgery.  that forever changed both of our lives. Turning 40 didn't make me too excited, but my husband, family, friends, co-workers, and Facebook friends sure made it a time to remember.  And fortunately I don't feel 40!  Not yet anyway!!

Last month my friend Mike Breezee asked me when I was going to update my blog.  I looked back and realized I had not done so since January!  Sara and I are both doing so well that sometimes it feels there is not much new to report.  But in reality a lot has happened since January.  So Mike...this update is for you!

In February, Sara's friends and family held an extremely successful benefit to help pay for medical costs incurred with the transplant.  It was an incredibly fun day of music, food, games, friends, and best of all...a cake walk!  I was so happy to see the huge turnout of people who came out to support Sara, Craig, and Ashlyn -- not to mention the work that the organizers put into the day!  It is times like this that remind you how generous people can truly be.

In March I received a letter from UW Transplant Clinic telling me that I had been selected to be a donor mentor.  Donor mentors assist the kidney transplant clinic in preparing living kidney donors for surgery.  Before my surgery I was matched up with a mentor who called me to answer any questions I might have about the surgery itself.  The idea behind the mentor program is that nobody knows better what donors go through than those who have been there.  I found the program to be very helpful as my mentor gave me some tips that the medical staff simply didn't think of -- or possibly didn't even know.  In mid-April my family and I traveled to Madison so I could take part in a 4 hour training to become a mentor.  (That night we also had the opportunity to go on to Milwaukee to attend the Brewer game with the Donate Life Wisconsin group)  This past week I received my first mentor assignment.  I left the donor a message and at this point am waiting for a call back.  I am eager to talk to a potential donor about what I know will be a life-changing event in their life!

The last weekend in April Sara and I attended Donate Life North Central Wisconsin's scavenger hunt and dinner.  I was honored to be asked to be a speaker at their event that evening.  As I told my story, I looked around the room at the hundred or so people whose lives had been touched in some way by organ donation and I couldn't help but smile.  It is my heart's desire to continue to speak at events and to groups and I pray that God will open up those opportunities for me in the future.  If every time I tell my story just one person is inspired by it, then my time will be well worth it.

On Memorial Day my family and I will be at Golden Sands Speedway in Wisconsin Rapids working with UW to promote organ donation.  Our family has the job of handing out "Yes I Will" information to all who come to the races that day.  I am so happy that Mike and the boys are willing to help me with this passion that I have to spread the word that organ donation works!!

Today I had an email from Sara.  It turns out that Colleen Belle is kicking up her heels and acting much younger than her 40 years.  Sara's labs were all within normal range!  The great thing about this is that Sara can now decrease her anti-rejection medications.  What wonderful news!

Life has been busy, but I am so grateful for the time and opportunities I have been given.  I am also thankful for an incredible husband and kids who support me in all that I do.  I have said it before, but I never grow tired of saying it...God is good...all the time!!

If you haven't registered yet, do so today!! If you don't live in Wisconsin, check online for your own state's registry.

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