When my story left off, Marie and I had agreed to keep each other up to date on our communications with the Emory Hospital transplant team. My phone interview went well and I was asked to download the instructions, evaluation forms, questionnaire, and check list. It was the size of a small manuscript! LOL… but it wasn’t difficult. Just time consuming.
I left a message for the nurse coordinator letting her know when I faxed everything in and waited for her return call. After going over my file, she called me back and told me I looked like a healthy candidate. She would be sending me a kit for some lab work that I could have done at a local hospital. This is when they would find out if Marie and I were compatible. Not only do our blood types have to match, but they also perform a “crossmatch” which tells them whether or not my blood antibodies would attack her blood antibodies. That would not be so good.
The odds of being a match are 1 in 30,000.
The kit arrived a few days later. I put it on my dining room table where it sat and sat and sat. I was supposed to go and have the blood drawn on a Wednesday. I didn’t go. I felt bad about not going, but I wasn’t ready. If you think I didn’t go because I had changed my mind, you’d be wrong. God had clearly told me to continue. But I had gotten excited. His message took me to a place where I really, REALLY wanted to do this and help her. Not just anybody. Her.
You see, there is this thing called the “Paired Donor Kidney Exchange Program”. Basically, if I wasn’t a match with Marie I could still help by offering to participate in this program. If I’m a match for a person say, in New York, and that person has a donor that matches Marie, all 4 of us have surgery on the same day, but instead of my kidney going to her, it goes to the person in NY and that donor gives their kidney to Marie. Make sense???
Even though I see the value in this, it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I knew I had to go through with the testing, but I just didn’t want to hear that we weren’t a match, so I put it off and prayed hard. I kept petitioning to God that He’d let me be the one and if for some reason, it wasn’t her, that He’d give me a similar desire for the person He had in mind.
So after a while, I took the orders to the hospital where they drew my blood. Everything was sent off and I waited. Prayed. Waited. And prayed some more. During this time I confessed to my friend Amy about how I had procrastinated. She tried to give me a pep talk that compared me to Abraham. God was testing Abraham’s obedience when He asked him to sacrifice his son on the altar. Amy said my obedience was being tested as well. I was being kinda cynical because I felt like I did obey. I’m willing to give the kidney, just like Abe was willing to give up his son, but I just want to pick who gets it. God sent a ram to spare Isaac. I’m thinking that won’t work for Marie.
Anyways, the conversation got really silly at one point when Amy said something about “laying his son on the fire” and I thought she said “…on the car” (because we live in the south and it’s hard to tell sometimes!) and then we laughed really hard and decided to name my kidney Isaac.
(This is the part of the story that reminds me why I love her and call her my bestest friend!)
Okay, where was I? Oh yeah… I finally got the call with the results. The first thing I said to the nurse coordinator was “I’m really nervous about this.”
She replied, “You are under no obligation to continue. You are free to change your mind at any time.”
I said, “No. That’s not what I mean. I’m afraid you’re going to tell me that I’m not a match.”
She said, “Oh Honey…I’m not going to tell you that.”
And that was how I found out that we were a match. The next day I posted the picture above on Marie’s facebook page and asked her what the two of us had in common with those 4 pictures. She knew right away, of course! It was the news she was hoping for as well.