I Almost Missed My Second Chance at Life
For 4 years, 8 months, and 11 days, I anticipated receiving "the call." The call is what just about every dialysis patient prays for and dreams of – a chance to receive a kidney transplant and experience another chance at life. Of the 100,000 patients in need of an organ transplant, 85 percent of those are in need of a kidney, according to DonateLife.net. Living donors that donate their kidney to a dialysis patient are a blessing, but more often than not dialysis patients' only shot is a deceased donor donation.
Waiting for a kidney transplant
Nearly 5 long years in wait and my shot came at 2:55 am on Sunday, July 18, 2021, in the year of our Lord. And I missed it. Yes… in fact, I missed two calls. I woke up casually at 8 am as I naturally do on the weekends and I checked my phone. Panic set in when I realized this mysterious caller left a voicemail:
"Hi, this message is for Gabrielle Davis. I’m calling from the Transplant Institute with a potential kidney donor. I’m going to give your husband a call and hopefully, he can help me locate you..."
I never leave my phone on silent, but that night I did and so did my husband.
I can’t put into words how utterly mortified and embarrassed I was, but I still had hope. I immediately dialed the transplant institute to hunt down the transplant coordinator that called. While I waited for a return call a stream of emotions came over me. I vented to a friend on Marco Polo because I was going stir crazy waiting for this coordinator to call me back. I wasn’t on the video for more than 5 minutes when I got a callback.
Emotions surrounding the transplant
With bated breath, my grief turned to undeniable joy as I cried when I heard that I was right on the cusp of losing that kidney, BUT they were still doing testing and it was still available! So thankful for the "but," whew.
Every emotion that I had pent up in my body of waiting on this transplant thinking about what those years looked like came out in the form of tears and relief – doing 11 hours total of dialysis every night, the trips that I had to put off, hellish reproductive issues, our journey of denied pregnancy, then the joy of surrogacy, the invasive shots, and procedures, the medication, the disappointment. That day I experienced such a deep loss only to be revived with unexplainable joy again.
My second chance at life
I knew in my gut that there were other powers at work, that this transplant was meant for me and only me. Some call it serendipity, I call it divine.
How can you explain:
- Nearly 5 hours go by and this kidney is still available?
- At the time of the call, my husband and son were visiting my mother-in-law just an hour and a half away. A good mom friend happened to answer my early morning call, came through, and got me to the hospital in record time.
- Meanwhile, my husband was able to meet us at the hospital just before I went into surgery.
- My son was already settled with my mother-in-law and stayed under her care while I recovered for a week.
Just before noon on July 18, after my husband prayed over me, I made the obligatory social media post, I was sedated and rolled back for my transplant that gave me another shot at a life that I had almost forgotten was possible. Nearly 2 months after my transplant, I can say recovery has its challenges, but it’s worth it. Yes, it was all divine, indeed.
How often does someone offer you unsolicited advice on your health?