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came from out of nowhere. The fragility of life, with its many twists
and turns, at times flowing along with unannounced, undemanding
companionship, while at other times crashing into the calm waters of
our existence in a totally disruptive, petulant manner, forcing the
unsuspecting person to take notice of the immediacy of an insistent
problem that must be addressed, regardless of the person’s
pedigree, status, or station in life.
in the 1990s, as I recall, we became aware of our niece’s health
being compromised by the onset of diabetes. Abi was in her teenage
years, only to discover that she was now medically classified as a
brittle diabetic. Over the next several decades she ran the gauntlet
of sugar spikes, constant finger pricks, trips to the ER, all the
while coming to grips with the reality that this failure of her body
to produce the necessary amounts of insulin would most likely end
badly for her.
November her kidneys reached the end of their usefulness, forcing her
to enter into an aggressive program of dialysis treatments. In the
meantime, the medical staff said she would need a new kidney and a
new pancreas. Her name was entered on the waiting list in hopeful
anticipation that parts would be available. It became a wait-and-see
game, only this game was deadly serious.
few weeks ago, our family was notified that a donor was available to
give her a kidney. We were excited and relieved. A kidney meant hope,
and possibly buying time until a pancreas donor could be had. The
surgery was scheduled for April 10. Shortly after this announcement,
the surgery was cancelled. Abi valiantly continued showing up for
work, only the dialysis treatments and general fatigue of her body’s
battle left her drained.
last Tuesday evening, Abi received a call from the hospital
announcing that they had a deceased 20-year-old, the victim of a
homicide, and that she needed to come in right away. My brother drove
her to the hospital where she was prepped for the surgery the next
day. The pancreas and kidney transplant took five hours and was a
total success. The medical team that has been working with Abi could
hardly contain their joy, even commenting, medically speaking, that
Abi had hit the lottery.
of this writing, Abi is doing wonderfully well. The day following the
surgery they had her up and walking around the ward. The kidney is
functioning beautifully, relieving her of the need for any more
dialysis treatments. Add to that, the report from the doctors
declares that the pancreas is pumping out insulin, causing the
doctors to affirm that Abi is no longer a diabetic!
the next few weeks Abi will need to give her body plenty of time to
recover from this invasive surgery. The company she works for has
been very supportive of her during this ordeal and is holding her job
for her until she is well enough to return.
the many amazing facets throughout this ordeal is that Abi was
actually third on the list for organ transplant. However, because she
was needing a double-transplant, she was moved to the top of the
list. The medical rationale for this decision is based upon a donor
who could provide both needed organs. The body has a much better
chance of accepting the new organs if they are from the same donor. A
kidney could be donated by a live donor, but a pancreas meant that
someone would have to die.
do not know who the deceased donor is, and probably never will know,
but this extraordinary gift has meant that my niece will live. The
family of this donor is grieving the loss of their loved one. They
were willing to make a decision to allow their child’s organs to be
used by others. As I understand it, besides the pancreas and kidney
received by Abi, the other kidney was donated to another recipient,
and still another person received the heart. All precious,
as a family we are overjoyed that Abi is no longer riding the edge of
uncertainty regarding her enormous health issues. Many tears of
relief and joy have been shed during this past week. Our church folks
and friends have been faithfully praying for Abi and our family
throughout this ordeal. Prior to the start of our Easter service
Sunday morning, I was standing outside the front door of the church
just reflecting on how grateful I am knowing Abi is enjoying a level
of wellness she hasn’t experienced in a very long time. One of the
ladies of the church was walking toward the door. Recognizing me, she
asked, “How is Abi doing? I’ve been praying for her every day!”
This was only the first of many who were
asking about my niece. I
must tell you that it touched me deeply, bringing tears of
appreciation to my eyes for the faithful prayers of these fellow
Roots in Ripon - Author Chuck Roots
As it was Easter Week, I
couldn’t miss the similarity of what our family experienced and the
story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. For Abi to live, it was
necessary that someone else die. And that’s the meaning of Easter.
In order for you and me to live, Jesus needed to die. But the best
news is, death could not hold him!