Sweet Sixteen and Never Been Kissed

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Unlike her friends, Marielle chose not to have an elaborate Sweet Sixteen party.  Here in NYC, parents seem to go over the top with these ridiculous parties which resemble mini weddings.  It is not unheard of for costs to go way over $30,000!!!

I was able to have one of our local bakeries make a terrific zebra cake filled with Strawberry Shortcake in just 24 hours!  Talk about customer service.  I shared Marielle’s transplant story with them and they went above and beyond what I could have ever hoped for!

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Meet Coconut.  I caved in and surprised Marielle with a 9 week old Maltese puppy.  Isn’t she adorable?  Marielle had been harassing me, but her transplant doctors said she had to wait until 6 months post kidney transplant.  Ok, so I jumped the gun and got the puppy a mere 3 weeks early.

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My friend, Jennifer (Jaybird Designs) sent Coconut the cutest collar and sweater.  Love them!  Thanks so much Jennifer!

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In addition to her new puppy, we also got Marielle a cute zebra dog carrier.  Oh and the other big gift — a spa day for her and 5 of her bestest friends at Pilo Arts.  Marielle and friends will enjoy facials, body massages, body scrubs, pedicures and manicures in 2 weeks from now!

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For a week, my home smelled like a florist!  Marielle’s aunts and grandparents showered her with flowers and other great gifts for her birthday.

Mother’s Day Miracle

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My friend, Tara, celebrated her 1st Mother’s Day this year.  And boy, did she get the best present ever.  Her son, Colton, received a liver transplant that day!  What more could any mother want more than the health of their children?!  Wishing Colton a lifetime of health and happiness!

lisa

LUCK OF THE IRISH–MARIELLE CELEBRATES HER 15TH LIVER TRANSPLANT ANNIVERSARY!!!

You look back on who you were fifteen years ago and wonder where you found the strength.  You see the mistakes of a young mother and understand the person you have become.  In celebration of Marielle’s 15th liver transplant anniversary on St. Patrick’s Day, I thought I’d share the letter I sent to her liver donor’s mom which I wrote 15 years ago…just 9 months after Marielle’s liver transplant.

Published December 1994; Re-edited March 2009.

Dear Special Mom:

I have spent many nights thinking about you and wondering how you are doing.  I was told that your daughter was a year old and that she had neurological problems.  The transplant coordinator told me your daughter had a severe stroke which left your little angel with no brain function.  I do know know if this information is true.  I do know that you made a decision to donate her liver and give my daughter a second chance at life. I will be forever grateful of your decision to let her live on in my daughter.  Here is our story:

Please Don’t Take My Sunshine Away

I have put off telling our story because it brings up a lot of pain and other unwelcome emotions. Those I thought were in our corner have disappointed us, while those who we never expected to, came through like never before. I used to wonder why we were chosen to face the impossible, but now am comforted with the answers I have found.

Our story begins on a rainy Friday morning in June of 1993. My husband, Ron, was present for the birth of our daughter, Marielle Lynnaire, by caesarean section. Marielle was put in a high risk nursery for a week, because of my pre-existing condition (Lupus).  Shortly thereafter, she was given a clean bill of health and we brought our little sunshine girl home.

 I look back and think how comical it was feeding Marielle a 6-ounce bottle every hour or so and changing more than 2 dozen diapers a day. My friends remarked, “You wanted a baby,” as if this was normal. I complained to her pediatrician on numerous occasions, but was treated like a nervous “new mom”. At one point I asked him why her stomach was so large. He remarked, “All babies have big stomachs.”

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At 10 weeks old, we christened Marielle. She was dressed in a bright white gown which made her complexion appear almost green. Within the next 24 hours, when she developed a bad cough, I took her to our local hospital where she was examined by an intern. He indicated that she indeed had a slight respiratory infection, but was more concerned with her severe jaundice. The intern ordered blood tests and insisted Marielle be admitted immediately. All the doctors were undecided about her diagnosis, but mentioned that in the worst case, she could have biliary atresia. I knew, at that moment, it would be bad news. You see, when Marielle was born with all of her limbs, I was so relieved, because I thought that my Lupus would deform her (although my doctor assured me it wouldn’t). My worst fears were now becoming real.

 After 9 days in our local hospital, I transferred Marielle to a children’s hospital in Pennsylvania where I heard a doctor had recently split a pair of Siamese twins who shared a liver. I was determined to get her the best care, no matter what, and this seemed like a good start. Once there, a Kasai procedure was performed and we learned the devastating truth about biliary atresia. Our surgeon told me to take one thing at a time, but I knew that I had to start planning for her transplant. We went home for a few days only to return to the hospital because of fevers.

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Marielle had developed ascites 2 weeks after her Kasai procedure. No one would tell me, but I knew that it was the beginning of the end. Marielle would spend most of the next 4 months at the children’s hospital. She had developed an infection in her liver which proved to be resistant to the strongest antibiotics. Our doctors agreed that a transplant might be the only way to rid her of this infection. In desperation, we flew Marielle to a mid-west hospital for a possible living-related transplant (they had done the first living-related liver transplant in the U.S.). Miraculously, her infection cleared en route to Chicago. Needless to say, we looked like fools. The doctors thought we were being a bit premature and suggested that we return in the Fall. They asked us to stay in the area so that they could provide a safety net, so we rented a furnished apartment (our hotel had no heat or hot water). At 35 degrees below zero, with a wind chill factor of 75 degrees below zero, it was the coldest winter in 14 years.

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A week later, Marielle developed bleeding varices. The attending doctor told me that there was nothing they could do unless Marielle experienced severe bleeding. This puzzled me, so I contacted all of our doctors back on the east coast. They advised me to bring her to the Chicago ER immediately. I rushed her there where the ER team attempted to draw blood with no success. They tried to draw blood from her broviac in her chest. Again, more failed attempts. They contacted the GI doctor on call. I was told that he would be to see us right away. Hours passed and no GI doctor. Finally, after 7 hours of waiting in the ER, I was told that the GI doctor was not in the hospital and would not see Marielle until the next day. My baby was screaming like never before. I had requested her special baby formula and a feeding pump. After 5 hours, the formula arrived, but there was no pump available. It was now 17 hours that Marielle had been without food. Knowing this and that a GI doctor would not see her, I knew I had to do something.

 At this point, I made the decision (against the ER doctor’s advice) to disconnect the broviac line and book a flight back to Pennsylvania. Once back at the apartment in Chicago, the phone calls began. The Chicago GI doctor on call apologized for the misunderstanding of hospital policies. He felt that Marielle was not in danger, but he would have a bed ready for her (so that we would not have to go to the ER again) if anything was to change.

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Later that evening, Marielle vomited her feeding tube. I immediately contacted the Chicago GI doctor and brought her back to the hospital. The next morning, my social worker (with whom I had only met once, briefly) informed me that she would be filing charges against me for removing Marielle from the hospital the prior evening. I knew that I needed to leave, because we could no longer work together. The next morning I was investigated by the state’s department of children’s services. The state workers seemed to be puzzled why accusations of medical neglect were filed since I had flown half-way across the country to save my daughter’s life. An assessment of my parenting skills was made and my choice for private home nursing for my daughter was made known (they frowned on that–instead wanted the mother to handle all care). I was labeled as “difficult,” because I wanted to see blood test results and review doctor’s notes. I was surprised to find that no other parents had requested this kind of information.

As soon as possible, we were back in Pennsylvania where Marielle was evaluated for cadaver transplantation. We returned home only to have her re-hospitalized. We were only back home 3 days when I received a beep on my pager. I joked with my nurse that it could only be one of two people; the pager company, because my husband forgot to pay my $12 monthly service fee, or our transplant coordinator. I looked down at the number and began to scream with joy. I could not dial the telephone fast enough. Our coordinator was calm and apologized for not seeing us during Marielle’s recent hospitalization. She said she wanted to make sure Marielle was doing well and that she was without fever. I assured her everything was fine and that I thought that a liver had become available when I received her beep. Our coordinator then told me that indeed a donor liver had been found for Marielle. I started to cry…I was just so happy.

We arrived at the hospital late that evening and said our prayers. Thoughts of losing Marielle became real for our family. This might be the last time we put our baby to sleep. The next morning was St. Patrick’s Day (March 17, 1994). It seemed like the perfect day. See, Marielle was named after her paternal Italian grandmother, Mary. The meaning of Marielle in Italian is Little Mary. We always joked that Marielle was green, because of her Irish decent on my side of the family. It was now the luck of the Irish that would help Marielle come through her transplant with flying colors. When our surgeon (who now practices law) removed her old liver, our coordinator brought my husband and me into a room to view the organ. There was not a pink spot on it. It was large and dark green with spots of black. Surely, no one expected her old liver to look this bad. During the surgery, all I could think about was the other mother…the mother who made the decision that her child should not die in vain…that another child could be saved with the gift of organ donation. To this day, I pray for this special mother.

While waiting for progress reports, we visited the gift shop where I came upon a funny looking blue stuffed elephant. I pulled his trunk and the melody, “You Are My Sunshine” played. This was the song I had sung to my daughter since she was born. I bought the elephant to comfort her when she returned from the operating room. This silly elephant was a sign for me that everything would be okay. Marielle’s transplant lasted only 6 hours. She did extremely well. Marielle’s maternal Irish grandmother even joked that all of her friends were calling my daughter , “Marielle O’Carroccio.”

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A few hours later, we were allowed to see her in the ICU. No one could have prepared me for the post-transplant days; the tubes and machines were overwhelming. I remember my father counting more than 17 tubes, IVs and other connections. Marielle tried to cry, but the artificial airway that was placed in her throat prevented us from being able to hear her. To hold her proved to be too painful for Marielle. My husband and I felt so helpless. A few days later, she was moved to the post-transplant unit where she went into rejection on the 7th day after receiving her new liver. The surgeon was waiting for me when I arrived at her room that evening. Her liver had clotted off and emergency surgery was performed in hopes of saving the graft. I had thought that we were on safe ground when the rug was pulled from underneath us. I didn’t know how much more Marielle could endure, but corrective surgery for portal vein thrombosis was successfully performed. A week or so later she had a mild bout of rejection and was treated with IV steroids. All seemed to be going well until the doctors became concerned with Marielle’s poor weight gain. It would be another month or so before this problem was resolved.

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Finally, on May 17th, 1994, exactly 2 months after her transplant, we began our trip home. My husband took Marielle in our car and I drove my father’s truck with all of our belongings. We were no more than 20 minutes from home when another driver hit my rear tire. This caused the truck to spin around and flip over more than 6 times. I knew I was going to be all right. I knew God would not take me away from Marielle. He knew that only I could give her the care she needed. It was my seat belt that saved my life, but I still spent a week in a trauma unit, because I sustained broken ribs, a fractured sternum, a punctured lung, and numerous other injuries. I was lucky to be alive.

Now, it is 8 months later and I know that I have been blessed. It is for this reason that I have dedicated myself to helping others in their journey. I now know why my husband and I were picked to be Marielle’s parents.

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This Christmas will be a very special one. Our family is together again.  Our journey has brought all of our family closer.   May you all have a special holiday season and healthy New Year.
Best Wishes,
Lisa Carroccio

(Note:  Names and places were omitted in original letter to donor’s mom to respect anonymity.)

(Side Note:  Notice pacifiers in many of the photos?  Marielle could have done that TV commercial where the mom is driving and the child drops the pacifier, so mom has to pull off the road to find it in the car to calm child…LOL!  She would have two pacifiers clipped to her shirt, a pacifier in each hand and another in her mouth.  Seriously.)

A Week of Celebration

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Originally we were hoping to have one of our big shindig with 200 people to celebrate Marielle’s 15th liver transplant anniversary.  But the truth is I just couldn’t get such a large party together in such a short time (our annual BBQ this Summer will have to suffice).  Anyway, we did celebrate by dining at Trattoria Romana.  I know–we spent St. Patrick’s Day at an Italian restaurant…LOL!  But it was where Marielle wanted to go, so we did.

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And since it’s all about friends when your 15 years old, Marielle and her crew got taken by limousine to The Palm in NYC tonight.

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Luckily our dear friend, Albino, will keep an eye on the girls so they don’t get into any trouble.

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And then they’ll continue the party tomorrow as all the girls are sleeping over.  Guess I’ll be getting lots of Hotcakes and Sausage from McDonald’s in the A.M.

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I’m feeling pity for the unfortunate limo driver who has to deal with all the girl chatter tonight.  Hope he brought earplugs with him!

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With friendship,

Lisa

Hitting the Ground Running…

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(Kidney Toy available from Tracy Beans)

Marielle and I returned home late yesterday afternoon from Philadelphia–just two weeks after her successful kidney transplant!  Woo hoo!

It is great to be home, but the reality of what’s ahead is daunting:

  • Twice weekly doctor appointments for the next 6 weeks and weekly appointments thereafter
  • Daily in-home nursing appointments for Marielle
  • Filling a zillion prescriptions
  • Christmas decorations that need to be put away
  • A sewing studio that looks like a bomb went off in it
  • Designing a quick Fall/Winter 2010 boys’ clothing line for buyers
  • Complying with the new CPSIA requirements
  • Manufacturing and shipping my Spring/Summer 2009 boys’ clothing line
  • Preparing for house painters
  • Planning a 15th Liver Transplant Anniversary for Marielle on St. Patrick’s Day for more than 200 people in my home.

Overwhelmed is an understatement.  Seriously.  So please be patient with me while I dig out from under all this insanity…

oh and did I mention my home is TRASHED!  Thanks Mr. Diva…great job.  Not.

lisa

All in the Family

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I’ve been missing.  I can explain.  I woke up in the middle of the night with pain in my abdomen.  Made it half-way across the street to the U of Penn Emergency Room before passing out.  Hours later the doctors tell me I have TWO KIDNEY STONES!!!  No way!  How can that be?

Mr. Diva has suffered from severe kidney stones for years and Little Miss Sunshine just got a new kidney.  I think between the two of them, I caught kidney sickness.  Just saying.

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Marielle continues to do great after receiving her new kidney last week.  She still has a lot of pain, but she’s a trooper and finds things to distract herself…

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and yes, she’s the Queen of the Craft Room…making everything from crepe paper flowers

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to cool cut-out thingies…LOL

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And yes, of course there’s a bow on her door…

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oh and check out what Lady M sent her…

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a Little Miss Sunshine necklace (thanks Myrinda)!

Miss Marielle is finally out of ICU.  We are hoping to return home to NY early next week.  Doctors are just adjusting medication doses so she’ll have a smooth transition. Can’t wait to be back in NY!

With friendship,

Lisa

 

Out With the Old–In With the New (Kidney)

Today was the first day post-kidney transplant.  I would be lying to you if I told you it went smoothly.  Besides Marielle sharing our family secrets with random medical professionals, she struggled with lots of pain and anxiety.

Marielle is so confused due to medications, they she hasn’t fully realized that she has a new kidney.  She thinks we are trying to trick her.  Little does she know that not only did she get a new kidney, doctors had to remove both of her old kidneys (they were causing her high blood pressure) and do a bowel resection (prior liver transplant adhesions complicated access for the new kidney).

When she does believe us that she got her new kidney, she looks down at her stomach and becomes so upset.  Originally doctors were to make a small incision on her right side.  Instead, because of the complications, doctors had to do a very large incision from the bottom of her chest to her groin.  It was not what we had wanted, but it was necessary to save her life.

The next few days will continue to be touch and go.  Her kidney function is perfect.  It’s just managing all the medications, their side effects and the ongoing threat of organ rejection.

Please continue to keep my Sunshine Girl in your prayers.  But please, say a special prayer for the family who donated their child’s kidney to save my daughter’s life.  I will be forever grateful that this amazing family was able to make the decision in spite of their grief.

With friendship,

Lisa

All I Want for Christmas is a Kidney

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Kidney Plush – When URINE Love by I Heart Guts

All I want for Christmas is a kidney for my 15-year-old daughter.  I don’t want any fancy sewing machines, big diamonds, or two front teeth.  I’m not the only mother wishing for a kidney.

Just when we thought it was ok to breathe for a moment.  We received the news that my daughter’s kidney transplant has been canceled.  Mr. Diva’s dear friend (and my daughter’s kidney donor) flew in from Las Vegas to New York City last week and went through all of the living donor kidney evaluation tests.

Doctors noticed he had high sugar levels.  They were puzzled as his original sugar test he took in Las Vegas was fine.  Not to mention, every other test the doctors gave him here in NYC came back normal (kidney scan, EKG, complete blood work, etc.).  So doctors tested his sugar a 3rd time and determined he is pre-diabetic disqualifying him as a suitable kidney donor.  Although he can know be put on medicine to lower his sugar and prevent future diabetes, he is heartbroken as he so wanted to help save my daughter’s life. We will be forever grateful for his kindness.  He symbolizes true friendship.

We are all devastated.  Everyone thought it was a “done deal” as the doctors had already booked the operating room for January 2nd.  But all hope is not lost.  The transplant center told us they have an altruistic kidney donor who has been tested and is a perfect match for Marielle.

However, in order for Marielle to receive this altruistic donor’s kidney, someone from our family or friends needs to also donate to another in need of a kidney transplant in their Donor Exchange Program.  The hospital has performed a Three Way Kidney Swap and even a Four Way Kidney Swap.

Also, the transplant center wants to retest my siblings to compare their antibodies against Marielle’s again.  The doctors feel if it is only one antibody in question, they will consider doing plasmapherisis to Marielle’s blood.

Over the next few days, our family will discuss these two options and make a decision on what we feel would be best for Marielle.  We are hopeful we will come up with a solution.  Please continue to keep our Sunshine Girl in your prayers.

Wishing everyone a blessed holiday!

lisasiggie

Waiting is the Hardest Part

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I am tired.  Very tired.  Marielle has been rushed to our local hospital by ambulance twice in the last 4 days.  Doctors are having trouble controlling her blood pressure and have admitted her to the hospital so they can adjust her medication.

In the meantime, the transplant hospital gave us the bad news that Marielle is slightly sensitized to her donor, my e-Bay friend.  Now normally, the doctors could do a procedure called plasmapheresis to remove the sensitized antibodies from Marielle’s blood and go ahead with the kidney transplant.  However, time has run out and it is no longer feasible to do plasmapheresis.

When I called my e-Bay friend to let her know, she was heartbroken.  And although she will not be Marielle’s donor, I will be forever grateful she came forward (even though she was petrified) to save my daughter’s life.  Talk about a true friend–there is no greater test of friendship.

So the transplant center continued testing possible donors and found one of my husband’s friends to be a match, too.  Final donor testing is being done as we speak.  The transplant center has booked the operating room and are planning to do the living donor kidney transplant the day after Christmas, December 26th–my deceased Grandmother’s birthday.

Nineteen days.  Just 19 days.  We just need our Sunshine Girl to hang on for 19 more days to receive the gift of a new life.  I know my girl can do it.  I’ve witnessed her strength so many times over the years.

lisasiggie

It’s OK to Laugh

Whoops!  I forgot to post this last night…

Under Pressure

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Only home from the hospital for a mere 72 hours and things at the Diva household are back to normal…well, normal for us at least.

Yesterday morning started out with a big scare.  Marielle has struggled with high blood pressure for months since her kidneys started failing.  But now we have a new problem…intermittent low blood pressure…ugh!  She woke up Saturday morning with a blood pressure of 90/50–a big difference from the 180/120 a few days ago.  And low blood pressure is just as dangerous as high blood pressure.

Trying to get a doctor on the phone on Black Friday is like trying to find the door buster deal (my Pink Dyson vacuum at Target), KWIM?  And when we did, the doctor suggested I take Marielle to the local emergency room.  But Marielle begged me to wait–so I filled her up with caffeine and salt.  Then an hour later, she was back to normal.

Well, that was until today.  Now she’s running high blood pressures and we are crossing our fingers that we can get through the next 48 hours without a trip to the hospital.

And So It Is Christmas and Look What You’ve Done…

I “borrowed” my daughter’s girlfriends last night to help me get the 32 boxes of Christmas decorations out of the attic.  Karen aka Latte Lady reminded me there is no law which says you must use all your decorations.  Umm Karen, don’t you know it’s all about EXCESS?  My daughter reminds me our household is partly responsible for global warming.  She has a point.  It just seems silly not to display everything as I’ve spent years making and collection my holiday treasures.

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Exhausted and sore, we all enjoyed a yummy checkerboard cake from Pasticceria Bruno–true bliss!

I will spend the next week in a Christmas decorating frenzy.  So much to do and so little time.  Oh why, oh why do I do this to myself?

Those Where The Days My Friend

 

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Little Jedi was promised a new PlayStation 2 video game by Mr. Diva™ which comes with a microphone.  When I showed Joey how we used a regular hairbrush as a microphone when we were kids, he looked at me strange.  And we didn’t need a Dance Revolution mat to dance–we just danced, right?  Kids!  Whatever happened to imagination?

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Anyway I just wanted everyone to know it’s ok to laugh even though my world has been turned upside down.  I find laughter to be a great stress reliever.  Most days things are so serious.  Every waking moment doesn’t need to be devastating or sorrowful.  So please, if you see me, don’t look sad.  Instead, tell me about your crazy family or some mischief you’ve gotten yourself into.

With friendship,

Lisa

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What Are You Thankful For?

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After last year’s Thanksgiving disaster, this year we opted to go to our favorite restaurant, Italianissimo, to enjoy a yummy feast.  In addition to the standard Turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, we enjoyed Italian appetizers galore ( grilled Portabello mushrooms, baked clams, grilled shrimp, carozza, baby scallops, eggplant rollatine, and stuffed mushrooms), penne and porcini mushrooms in a white sauce (it doesn’t get better than that) and then some of the most delicious desserts.

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Yes, I’m thankful for a great meal.  But it pales in comparison to the more important things this Thanksgiving:  family and friends.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.  Sometimes I just think too much.  Not with worry..no.  More about how I’ve never doubted for one minute that we would find a way through these difficult times.

Often people ask me how I’m coping and I tell them, “fine.”  Yet they will ask me the same question repeatedly as if they expect me to be terribly depressed or something.  I’m just not.  See, all this hospital and transplant stuff is second nature to me.  I started this journey 15 years ago when my daughter was diagnosed with liver disease at 10 weeks old and was told she’d never live to see her 1st birthday.

And even back then, I never doubted I would find a way.  I’d sneak into the bio-medical library in Philadelphia in the early hours to read the latest liver transplant journals–learning everything I could to make the best decisions.  Sometimes I’d read for hours a day.  I connected with other people–both parents and medical professionals throughout the U.S. and abroad.

I even fought our insurance company to permit us to do a living-donor liver transplant.  My daughter was the first child in the U.S. to be approved through an HMO–not an easy feat.  Although we weren’t able to find a suitable donor back then, we opened the door for all those families who followed us giving them the option if they chose.

For 7 years, I headed a large pediatric liver foundation and volunteered my time to ensuring families received all necessary support and referrals to pediatric liver transplant centers.  Heck, I even got a little girl a free liver transplant and medication.

But then it all came to a screeching halt–in one short year, I attended more funerals of children who died from liver disease and/or transplant than one should in their lifetime.  I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I couldn’t tell another new parent that everything would be ok.  I felt like I was lying to them.  And it was at that point that I closed the door to that chapter of my life.

Those doors have swung back open again and I need to take my daughter through another type of transplant.  Although kidney transplant is new to me, transplant is not.  Yes, I’ve had to learn new things, but none of it do I fear.  I use my head and not my heart as I make these difficult decisions.  And hopefully, my choices will get my daughter through this.

What am I thankful for?  I’m thankful I am ME even if I at times have false courage and unrealistic optimism.  I forge ahead knowing I have the tenacity and determination to see this through.  I am thankful that it’s 15 years later and many medical breakthroughs have occurred since then.  But like I said, I’m most thankful I am surrounded by wonderful family and friends.  Because without people, what would we have to live for?

Oh and I’m thankful we are home from the hospital and I can sneak out at 5am tomorrow morning to catch some of the Black Friday sales–especially at Joann’s Fabrics.  And Best Buy.  And Macy’s.  Etc.

Wishing everyone a blessed Thanksgiving!

lisa

P.S. – sorry to the poor photos…someone had messed with my camera settings.

Sew Many Amazing Things Are Happening Here

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There’s a big sign up at NY Presbyterian Hospital that reads, “Amazing Things Are Happening Here“.  And boy, it is so true!

I have some great news—our transplant coordinators say we clogged the phone lines with requests for donor evaluation forms! They have received an unbelievable amount of kidney donor applications for my daughter from all over the world–Africa, Saudi Arabia and every state in the US!

It ends up friends and friends of friends (as no one is a stranger, but just friends we haven’t met yet) posted about my search for a kidney donor to Marielle on Twitter, Facebook, web sites and blogs–it made the news (special thanks to Courtney on Fox News!)…and now we have more possible donors than we could have ever wished for!  Thank you to EVERYONE who sent in donor forms, called, blogged, twittered and help spread the word…BUT WE DO NOT NEED ANY ADDITIONAL DONORS AT THIS TIME.  I am amazed by the power of the web and the hearts of those who helped make a difference.

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But that’s not the best newsalthough I can’t disclose her name just yet, ONE OF MY E-BAY FRIENDS WAS FOUND TO BE THE PERFECT MATCH!  When I called my friend yesterday to tell her the news, she said it was the BEST Birthday present ever (to hear she was THE ONE on HER Birthday–THE ONE who may save my daughter’s life).  I will give you just one hint:  My dear friend has a serious fabric addiction just like me.  I’ve seen her fabric stash…LOL!

Now, if all goes as planned and my friend makes it through the rest of her kidney donor testing (so far, all the important sensitivity tests are perfect), doctors want to schedule my daughter’s kidney transplant for the day after Christmas (my deceased Grandma’s birthday)!  Doctors need to get Marielle in the best possible health before the transplant (she’s lost 1/10th her body weight and can’t walk more than a few steps).  I can’t wait to let you know the full story–and how this is truly so special and meant to be.  So stay tuned!

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Although we brought Marielle home from NY Presbyterian Hospital last night, she is currently hooked-up to a dialysis machine for 4 hours at our local hospital as an outpatient.  She continues to struggle with severe pain and high blood pressure.  Yet, she is just happy to be home with her loved ones for Thanksgiving…even if it includes dozens of medications around the clock, dialysis and constant blood pressure monitoring.

To say we are blessed is an understatement. Please continue to say a little extra prayer that all goes according to plan.  And yes, it will be a wonderful Thanksgiving at my house this year!  May your home feel the love of the holiday season and be reminded how much we all have to be thankful for.  Happy Thanksgiving!

lisasiggie

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