In December of 2019, we found out my mom would need to start dialysis. For years, I have watched my mom follow strict health routines, however I was still in awe to hear chronic kidney disease was taking her down this path.
Nadine Lewis is the lovely woman I am grateful to call “Mom.” Being the eldest of ten, she has always been tough. Her strength, grace and enthusiasm through all challenges she faced is why I have always been inspired to be like her. This gave me confidence that her dialysis treatments were just another hurdle in life I knew she would easily conquer.
Upon starting the treatment, we discovered there was a way to get my mom off dialysis and back on track to having normal renal functions – LIVE KIDNEY DONATION.
I never had a doubt about giving a kidney to the woman who gave me life. I immediately wanted to start the process of finding out if I was a match. My excitement quickly faded when one program disqualified me during the prescreening. I was over the body mass index requirements and they would not move me further along in the process.
I would be lying if I did not feel like a failure. My mom, on the other hand, kept positive. Prior to treatment, her nephrologist told her not to alter her life because of the treatments, but simply to work around them. She did just that. She began treatments on her birthday and no one would have known she was going three times a week at 5:00 a.m. She would not let dialysis defeat her! She did not lose a beat and it was inspiring.
Last year was one to remember. My mom was staying healthy and happy. Watching her encouraged me to start my own journey. I was always active, but I took the stance to focus on my diet as well. Working remote allowed me to take a two-mile walk/jog during my lunch break. This became my daily routine, and I added an evening jog and a 30-45 minute daily workout. I started tracking my calories, portioning my food and I drank a gallon of water daily. The weight did not melt off, but my journey was a success. Over the summer months, I managed to shed and keep off 25lbs.
December 2020, my mom registered with a new donor program. I took the journey with her to New York City to begin her pre-testing. The nurse asked all the routine questions including whether she knew any potential live donors. I raised my hand in the room like a shy child. She explained I normally would have to register and receive a call to do testing, but since I was there, she would be taking blood. I explained my previous experience in regards to my weight. She enlightened me that they followed a different protocol. They test for a potential match FIRST and then address any manageable issues that would prevent one from being a healthy donor once matched.
Two weeks passed and I received the call. I was a MATCH. I did all the required testing and was officially cleared as a kidney donor in March 2021. On April 20, 2021, I gave my Mom the gift of life, just as she did for me.
Surgery was a success and recovery continues to remain positive for us both. This was never a journey I imagined taking growing up as a child. When I made the decision to donate my kidney, I thought I was doing it just to help MY mom. As I reflect now, I realize, that I didn’t just help her – I also helped everyone whose lives my remarkable mother has touched.
I have ZERO regrets and would do it again in a heartbeat!