Ashley – Kidney Pancreas recipient
It all began when I was three and I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. There were many scary times in my life growing up that a lot of children my age never had to experience. Low blood sugars, possibly going into a seizure. High blood sugars that have affected my eyes and lead to multiple surgeries. I am lucky to have such caring and loving parents who would do anything to make sure I made it through.
Now, fast forward to 2013 when I started having a little trouble with my kidneys. I learned that I had developed Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD. The doctor told me that I was going to be fine that I needed to watch my blood pressure and if I see a rise in it to call him back and he would run more tests. Over the next four years my kidney disease kept getting worse and by early spring of 2017 I was in Stage 5 or End Stage Renal Failure.
Being in Stage 5 meant that I had at least 10% function left in my kidneys. This also meant that I had no energy to do anything. I would go places with friends or family and I would always be thinking, is there a bench or seat near by so I can catch my breath. Sometimes there would be but when there wasn’t it was hard for me to stand and I would get really light headed and feel faint. Those that I was with understood and they would try to calm me down because I would start to panic. I’m so thankful for them.
The summer of 2016 I went to the University of Kentucky Transplant Clinic. They had me do a variety of tests to see if I would be a good candidate for a kidney transplant. After all of my tests I met with the doctor and he told me that it would be a week before we would know anything. After not even a week my Transplant Coordinator called me and said that the Board met and agreed that I would be a great candidate for a simultaneous kidney/pancreas transplant. I was so excited!
In April 2017, I went to the doctor and I just knew that it was time for me to start dialysis. I was feeling so bad, swelling and just exhausted all the time. The doctor told me that my kidney function had dropped to 6% and that he thought it was time to start. I was on dialysis for 9 months. I had always heard of horror stories which doesn’t help, you try to look for info on dialysis and all you get is the bad stuff. I had a great experience on dialysis, I have been trying to tell people not to get discouraged. I have put hope into some about it, I’m glad to help.
I was on the transplant list for 13 months, then on January 21,2018 I got the call. It was finally happening, I was finally going to be free of both of my diseases.
My family and I packed a bag, (I had mine packed for over a year 🙂 )and we headed to Lexington. I signed in and went to my room to wait and I had a lot of family come and visit with me before the procedure. They laughed with me and prayed with me. We had to wait a while for the surgery to happen. I started to get scared since we had been there for 13 hours with little to no updates. But the good Lord told me to not worry, he was seeing everything through.
Surgery day, January 22, 2018, the time was here. I got dressed for surgery, my family followed me down to the operating waiting room and we said see you later and love you. The nurses took me back into the room, I was so nervous in the beginning then it felt like someone was holding me and hugging me. It was the Lord, he was there to tell me that he was here to watch over me and the surgeons to see that everything went great. He was right! The surgery was supposed to take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours and it only took 4!
I am so blessed to have such a great family and friends. I am forever grateful for my donor and their family for giving the gift of life. They are really important to me now, I can’t wait to meet them in the future so I can thank them in person. I was given a second chance and I will not waste it.
Let the new Adventures begin!