When My Son Made What I Consider the Ultimate Sacrifice for Me
Doctors rolled my 23-year-old son and me, each on a separate gurney, down the hospital hallways. We were on our way to the operating room, both of us, side by side, looking at each other and knowing no words needed to be spoken.
I awoke six hours later in recovery, and as soon as I was able, asked how my son was.
“He’s doing extremely well; all his vitals are normal, and he’s coming out of anesthesia. Not to worry, he’s an amazing young man!”
A long, deep exhale of relief left my body. The surgeon approached me and said everything had gone extremely well.
I just wanted to see my son. I wanted to see him with my own grateful eyes and see for myself that he was OK. After all, he too had been through a long surgery. He was young, healthy and strong, and I had no doubt he would be just fine, but you know moms — we have to see for ourselves that our children are safe and sound. That never changes, no matter how old they are.
He changed my life forever that day. He made the ultimate sacrifice to save me from a life full of fatigue, nausea and diet restrictions. He saved me from feeling like I wasn’t really living, that I was instead merely existing. He saved me from countless hours of receiving necessary medical treatment every other day, four hours a day, for years to come.
On May 15, 2007, my son donated a kidney to me.
The wait on the National Organ Donor List was five to eight years. My son came to me and told me he wanted to be tested to see if he was a match. I cried. I told him I didn’t want him to take on my burden; I wanted him to live his life. I assured him I would be OK as long as I continued with my dialysis.
I will never forget the words he said.
He took my 98-pound frail body up into his arms, wiped my tears away and said, “It’s going to be OK, Mom. You gave me life, I can spare you a kidney!”
His eyes were twinkling. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was holding him in my arms, rocking him, telling him everything was going to be OK after he’d taken a spill on his bike?
Today, I’m healthy as can be. I live a normal and happy life at 59. He’s happy and healthy as well. We always had a special bond, but now it’s even stronger. We celebrate together each and every year.
We do as much as we can to bring awareness to others about organ donation. It truly is giving someone the gift of life. Great strides have been made since the time we had our operations — one being that donor kidney can be removed laparoscopically, leaving virtually no scar and offering a shorter recovery time. The test to determine if someone is a viable candidate is done with a blood sample. If the match is good, there’s a screening process for the donor to ensure they’re fully aware of what they’re going to experience physically. They’re able to ask any questions they may have about the procedure. It’s much simpler than most people realize, and this is why it’s so important to bring awareness to this subject.
I treat this kidney as the gift. I eat well, exercise and most of all, I live my life in the light of gratitude. I’m grateful I can lead a full, normal and healthy life, but mostly I’m grateful for a son who loves his mama so much, he literally sacrificed a part of himself to save her.
Bless him and all those who are living donors or are signed up to be organ donors, for in my opinion, no greater gift exists than the gift of life. I’m living proof. For more information on organ donation, head here.
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