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From the beginning...
About 6 months before our 16th wedding anniversary, our friends, Mike and Kennedy Peterson, invited us to go on a double anniversary trip to Arizona. We were excited as we planned to getaway for our first time ever without our kids. Stan's younger sister and husband, Mark and Laura Taylor, were willing to watch our kids at home, so we took advantage of many things the Phoenix area has to offer. We went golfing, ate great food, saw Lion King the Musical, watched movies, relaxed at the pool and hot tub, saw Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the Hale Theater, and even got to spend some time with Karma's sisters and their families (the Knights and Jacksons). This was November 2013. Stan started feeling sick while we were there, and as we drove back to Canada and hit the cold air, he felt the sickness sink into his chest. He was diagnosed with pneumonia, but the doctors were much more concerned about his kidneys after he did some blood work.
He found out his kidneys were functioning at 12%. Once your kidney function drops to 15%, you no longer have kidney disease; you have kidney failure. The nephrologist, Dr. Wong, looked at Stan's medical records over the years and saw that his kidneys were failing over the last 10 years, but somehow Stan's doctor didn't see that. It was difficult to hear that, but we knew Stan was in good hands now. He was immediately put on the kidney transplant list. We were told it would be 7-9 years before he would be able to get a kidney unless he got a live donor. We figured we would wait and see what happened. He continued working and with medications to keep his kidneys from deteriorating, he seemed pretty stable. He continued working for a year or so.
Then in January 2015, his employer of 10 years laid him off. We thought since his health was stable, he could find another job, but as time passed, we realized that he couldn't count on his health holding up to work consistently. His immune system was weak. He caught colds often, had trouble sleeping and had little energy. He felt okay as long as he didn't have too many pressures placed on him. His kidneys remained stable for another year.
At the beginning of 2016, his kidneys started deteriorating a little bit more each month. By May, I submitted an application to see if I could be eligible as a living donor for Stan. There is a kidney exchange program in Alberta, so if my kidney didn't match, I could donate to someone else and that person's team would find a match for Stan. After many tests to make sure I was healthy, Stan and I traveled to Calgary for a cross match to see if Stan's antibodies would reject my blood. In September 2016, we got the phone call. I was a perfect match! Wow! What an exciting moment!!
Then this became a reality. What were we going to do with the kids? What about my new job? I was hired in August 2016 to be the Accessibility Services Coordinator for Lethbridge College. Who was going to take care of us? We were told that it takes 4-8 weeks to recover. Where was Stan going to stay when he was in Calgary ( 2 hours away from home)? How were we going to manage everything throughout the recovery? We can't even drive for a month after the surgery. So many questions...
Stan still had to do some more tests. Karma was officially cleared for surgery in October.