By: Tracey Williamson
It was around a year ago that my father told me he was being put on the active transplant list to receive a new kidney. This was surprising news to me—although he had been diagnosed with kidney disease many years ago, he had always managed it well with no complications. The disease was finally catching up with him and he needed a new kidney, so I began the testing process to see if I could be his donor. The testing evaluation is extensive, as the doctors are concerned with the health of the potential donor as well as the recipient. Once someone has been deemed an initial match through blood tests, the potential donor then undergoes a thorough battery of tests to ensure their donor eligibility.
Every test I underwent showed a positive result, making me more certain with each step that this was God’s plan for me. Around January of this year, I was cleared to proceed with the transplant, yet my father was hesitant. He didn’t want me to do something that might compromise my health in the future, while my instinct was to force the issue and say, “Let’s do this right now!” But I felt the Lord telling me to wait for His time, not mine. So I prayed and waited. After a doctor’s appointment in March, my dad realized that the transplant needed to happen soon or he would be facing dialysis. In less than two weeks, we were at University Medical Center in Jackson prepping for our surgeries.
The procedures went well for both my dad and me, and we were both allowed to go home just a few days after our surgeries. Still, the first week was a haze of pain management and bed rest for me. Seven days after the surgery, I got dressed and left the house for the first time. The occasion was my son’s awards day at school, and I was so pleased to feel well enough to be there to support him. I left his school feeling encouraged and happy.
Soon after I got home, I spoke with my mother on the phone. My father’s follow up visit had not gone as well as they had hoped. His creatinine level, which is the main indicator of kidney function, had gone up since he left the hospital. This was not a good sign, as the level should be going down after surgery. My mother said, “No one is saying the kidney is being rejected yet, but…”
Instantly, the hope I had felt earlier in the day dissolved into anxiety. I began to pray and got really honest with God. “Lord,” I prayed, “I am in pain from having this surgery; I’ve made a sacrifice, and I was happy to do it, but please Lord, don’t let this be in vain!”
I felt God say so clearly to me, “Tracey, that’s exactly how I feel.”
It hit me that when God sacrificed his son for the sins of all people he said, “Don’t let this be in vain.” When we hear the Good News of what Jesus did for us and choose to reject it, how it must hurt the heart of God. I thought about the pain I was feeling at the moment and realized that it was nothing in comparison to the pain and suffering that our Lord went through for us. It was a humbling moment for me.
I am happy and blessed to report that my father is now doing well with the kidney transplant. The skilled doctors at UMMC were able to adjust his meds, and he and I are both recovering well and looking forward to a healthy future.
I would tell anyone who is considering kidney donation that it is an incredible feeling to help someone improve and sustain their life. But most importantly, I would encourage anyone who has not received the gift of eternal life to open your heart to God’s love for you. Don’t let His gift to us be in vain.