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In January 2010 Karli-Rae experienced her first episode of excruciating pain in her left side and abdomen. After a trip to the ER she was diagnosed with kidney stones and told to schedule a lithotripsy procedure (to break the stones into tiny pieces so they could be passed.) She underwent this surgery but the pain didn't resolve. It would flare up and be associated with hematuria (blood in the urine). Over the next 10 years she saw multiple doctors, had several tests, and no one could give her a reason why she was experiencing stabbing pain when standing upright, that would go away when lying down. The pain came and went; it would flare up for months at a time then disappear for no reason. Then for several years Karli-Rae was pain-free and she hoped it was gone forever.
Early in her 3rd pregnancy Karli-Rae was at work when she felt the familiar pain start up again. This time was even worse than before and Karli-Rae did her own research based on her symptoms and found a condition called "Nutcracker Syndrome". Thankfully, the doctor she was seeing for her pregnancy agreed to order the necessary tests to confirm the diagnosis. A standing venous doppler ultrasound of her left renal vein showed that when she was standing, the left renal vein was compressed between the superior mesenteric artery and the aorta, causing intense kidney stone-like stabbing pain. There was no way to predict or prevent these flares, and the only relief was to stand in a hunched-over position, or lie down.
Unfortunately, nothing could be done while Karli-Rae was pregnant other than pain medication and alot of tears. After giving birth to Joseph she went to the University of Wisconsin - Madison to meet with a surgeon at one of the most advanced centers for treatment of Nutcracker Syndrome. She was given the official diagnosis of Loin Pain Hematuria Syndrome secondary to Intermittent Nutcracker Syndrome. She was offered surgical treatment called "Autotransplant" - where her own left kidney would be transplanted into her right side. The other surgical option was just to take the kidney out... but it was a perfectly good kidney.
Karli-Rae started to pray about what to do and God opened up the doors for kidney donation. Via Facebook Karli-Rae was connected to Chelsea, a young mom in Connecticut who has dialysis 4 hours a day 3 days a week due to kidney failure caused by Type 1 diabetes. Chelsea has a two year old daughter. (A recent update is that Karli-Rae's kidney will go to a woman in Arizona. Chelsea will receive a voucher to redeem for a kidney when she is ready.)
Throughout this journey Karli-Rae has prayed often for reassurance, that donating her kidney is what God desires of her. Each time He has made it clear that this is the route she is to take. She and her family are so incredibly thankful for the generosity of everyone who chooses to contribute money, time, and prayer to supporting them through this process.