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Lynn's Story

Do you remember Summer 2020?

The cautious, outside get-togethers with your small circle of friends. What about those ridiculous park circles for social distancing? Remember the drive-by birthday parties?

My memory of that first pandemic summer is different. I was in love. Newly married. And planning a romantic weekend with my husband. There was so much to celebrate. Our first wedding anniversary. Our finding each other. Our life and our happiness.

For better, for worse. For richer, for poorer. In sickness and in health. Two days after celebrating our first wedding anniversary, I began dialysis.

For five years – while I’d been single – I carried the burden of knowing I had chronic kidney disease. But I had no symptoms. Life was good. I had a wonderful profession as a career counsellor. I was active in my church, leading ministry groups and travelling the world.

I looked forward to a happy and healthy future. And why wouldn’t I? I felt great. I looked healthy. I was blessed with family, friends and fun. I was thriving not just surviving kidney disease.

Yet my first year of marriage was overshadowed by the escalating destruction of my kidneys.

I started visiting the doctor every three months, then it was every month; each time hearing that my kidneys were failing and then the dreaded announcement: “You need dialysis.”

The day I walked into that Dialysis Unit, reality hit hard: “This is my new life.

This place will become my second home. These medical people are my new family.”

Everything seemed like too much, too fast.

Sixteen weeks of training at the hospital. Six-hour days, three times a week. I was not just overwhelmed, I was sick and tired. And very, very frightened.

Nurses spent hours teaching me how to insert needles into my own arms. I was also expected to safely remove the needles so I wouldn’t bleed out. And if you’re wondering: No, I do not like needles. Who does? But considering I poke myself with needles every night, trust me: I am a master at drawing blood.

Throughout the 16 weeks of training, I kept thinking, “I am not a nurse! How am I supposed to do all this?” But I did learn. Learning I had kidney disease changed me, but there’s something about starting dialysis that completely shifts and alters a person’s perspective about life.

Once I was hooked up to my giant at-home dialysis machine, new fears arose: Would I have enough time with my new husband? Would my illness detract from our marriage bonds?

Was my nightly dialysis-treatment going to bring us together? Or tear us apart?

I admit. There are some nights, especially in the summertime when the days are longer or during holiday celebrations, I don’t feel like doing dialysis. I just want to hang out, enjoy the evening.

Be like everyone else.

But this I know. Each time I hook myself up to that dialysis machine, I choose life. I choose me. And I choose my husband and our life together.

Both my husband and I are believers that God never gives us more than we can handle. In the past and present, faith and prayer have acted as bright torches against the darkness of an unknown and possibly unhealthy future.

Neither kidney disease nor dialysis will ever rob me of how grateful I am for the life I live.

I was blessed when I met my husband and I am even more blessed today.

Sherwayne is my biggest supporter. The perfect match. Sherwayne is there each night to help me with final preparations as I hook myself to the dialysis machine. More that anything, my husband’s presence brings me incredible comfort as I go off to sleep. The angel watching over me.

Today, my daily prayer-and-meditation walk involves one thought, hope and prayer – that I receive a kidney transplant, so I no longer need dialysis to keep me alive.

Neither my family nor my husband are suitable donors. I am someone with an uncommon blood type. Finding a kidney for me is harder and takes longer.

But you know what?

I believe in miracles. I know there is a perfect kidney match out there for me. Someday.

Someway. Someone. Perhaps someone will come forward as a living donor. Perhaps a life will end and that ending will bless me and my family with a new beginning. I don’t know what will happen, but I take comfort knowing that “Gifts of Life” are out there, each and every day.

Whenever I fall into doubt about the future, I look at my husband. I look forward to loving my husband for decades to come. I hold a vision of us celebrating our 10th-, 15th-, 20th-year wedding anniversary. Happy, healthy, free of dialysis.

I only require one thing, one person, one family, one blessing. A Gift of Life, a kidney transplant, that allows me to Serve. To Love. To Share this fairy tale, called my one and precious life.

We invite you to discover more lived experiences and to learn how The Kidney Foundation is with you.