March 15, 2016... My new life began.
As a child growing up I was always the one out of my siblings getting sick. I’ve had the flu, multiple colds, bronchitis and even the mumps. But in my child-bearing age of 18, there was a different type of sick lurking in the shadows, waiting to show its ugly face. After the birth of my 1st child, my beautiful daughter in September of 95; I started to develop headaches and migraines. No big deal, I’d just take two Tylenol and the headaches will go away.
Sometime in June of 96’ an unexpected pregnancy knocks on the door of my life, was I ready for another child...NO, but I had to get ready. January of 97’ I go into early labor and gave birth at 27 weeks to my second child, a beautiful, strong baby boy. At 27 weeks and to not need any ventilation, breathing on his own; I just knew my son was a gift from God. Life was great, I was a single mom of two, the best gifts anyone could ask; I was working and attending night school to finish up getting my high school diploma, things were good.
One day around the beginning of March 1997, those headaches and migraines started again, but this time with body aches and knee pain, so I take the usual two Tylenol and the pain is gone. About a week later I developed a urinary tract infection, I go to the emergency room because it’s like 11:00 pm, they give me two Bactrim and discharge me. Around 1:00 am I woke up feeling nauseous, so I go to the bathroom and began to take on all of the effects of an allergic reaction. I tried to yell but with the swelling in my throat my voice was not projecting, so I got up the energy to knock over the mop and that’s when my mother heard the noise, she took me back to the emergency room and that night I went into a stupor and woke up a month later. I could have died, but I lived.
May 1997, the headaches, migraines and knee pain start again, now the pain is throughout my body, everything hurts. Tylenol, my go-to pain medication, but they’re not working anymore, so I start taking Aleve. You only need to take two Aleve then your pain is gone, but my pain never stopped, so I took three or four a day, I was at six pills a day by June. On June 19, 1997.... GRADUATION DAY...the day I receive my high school diploma and the day my world is turned upside down.
Today, June 19, 1997 I was in the most unbearable pain I’ve been in for months, but that was not going to stop me from receiving my diploma, so I took 10 totals of Aleve to get me through this day. The pain never stopped, but I pushed through; that night as I was unzipping my daughters coat and a sharp pain went through my hand and wrist, but I didn’t think nothing of it, I just shook it off and went to bed. As I tried to go to sleep the pain began to worsen in my hand and wrist, it started to swell so I asked my mother to take me to the emergency room because the pain was excruciating and unbearable. I waited until my mother walked into the ER and then I fell into another stupor, but this time I’d awake to that different kind of sick that was waiting to come out of the darkness when I’d least expect and shake my world upside down.
Two weeks after I have fallen into a stupor I awake in the hospital bed; the doctors were clueless to what happened but had some conclusions. Sarcoidosis, Lupus and Lyme disease, were concluded to be affecting my body from the known symptoms, with months of blood test,
x-rays and other tests, Lyme disease and Sarcoidosis was ruled out. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus was my diagnosis after months of pain. As I do my research I have found that Lupus is an inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks its own tissues.
Throughout the years, Lupus has affected my mind and body. I have been in and out of the hospital, birthed another son at 27 weeks and lost my beautiful daughter due to a Lupus flare at 20 weeks, I have seen multiple doctors, taken many test and medications, but I have not let this disease take my spirit, until April 22, 2013 I had another Lupus flare. I went to the hospital that evening and they ran some blood test, the results found that my kidney function was deteriorating, so the doctor wanted to do a routine kidney biopsy. So, I went in for the biopsy the next morning, thinking I’ll go home later in the day, but I was wrong. Soon after the biopsy, as they’re rolling me out of the operating room I began to feel dizzy and short of breath, I tell the nurse and then the doctor comes over to check me, but things get worse, the last I remember is me struggling to catch my breath and saying “Call my Mom.”
I awake in the ICU with an IV and a shunt in my chest, I was told I had multiple blood clots on my kidney and one burst which caused me to bleed out. I received a blood transfusion and a dialysis treatment. So, for the next three years I was on dialysis, I thought I would never have to go through something like this ever in my life, I was in my mid 30’s, attending college and focusing on my future, but this broke my mind, body and spirit. I was stressed and depressed, there were times I just wanted to give up, but all I could do was think of my children I needed to be here for them.
Two years into losing my kidney function I did multiple tests to get on the transplant list, but it could take years to receive a kidney. I spoke with my family about my options, so my mom and other family members decided to get tested to see if they were able to become my donor, but their health would not allow them to be a candidate. So, my son who was 17 years old at the time asked if he could be my donor, but he was too young. That did not stop him, so at the age of 18 he took the necessary steps to get tested and was able to become a candidate. It was great news but I was afraid, I didn’t want him to go through something this major. What if he doesn’t make it, that would crush me mentally and physically.
It took months before I could accept my child’s kidney, I prayed and asked God to protect the gift that he has given me and to get us through this surgery so I can continue to raise His child. On March 15, 2016 my 19-year-old son, Isaiha gave me the best gift that any mother could ever receive, he gave me LIFE! I could have never thought in a million years that I would go through something like this; nevertheless, my child saving my life. Isaiha is so courageous and he didn’t even think about himself, he just wanted his mom to be okay and for this I am so grateful.
It has been 2 years and 5 month’s post-transplant and we’re doing wonderful! Lots of prayers, faith and family has pulled us through this challenging time. My kidney function is doing great, I am taking lifelong medication so that my body won’t reject the kidney. I have been trying to eat healthier and exercise to keep my body strong so I can protect this gift. God has blessed me with three beautiful children and He has restored my life, this is my testimony that He is not done with me yet!
I thank you all for reading my story, I pray that this gives you faith and strength to keep living your best life no matter what your circumstances. God has seen me through and I know that He will do the same for you.
Thanks, and God Bless💛