I’ve known Krista from a far for several years. The whole time I’ve known her she has been in Kidney failure. But honestly, you wouldn’t have even known it by her actions and her speech. This little lady never stopped. She carried on her life as if she were still in her 20’s and care free. She served others fervently and loved on them more. Krista is a giver. You want to know how she did that? She knows, loves and follows the ONE God that can give you the heart and strength of a giant. I’m so grateful that God has allowed Krista to be placed in my life. She has only stopped serving and loving long enough to lay on a table and receive the gift of a kidney herself. Enjoy her story.
My kidney transplant Journey. My go-to Bible verse when I struggle with doubts and fears. Luke 18 27 “And He said the things which are impossible with man are possible with God.” I have faced many fears and struggles in my life sometimes doubting if there was a God or if there is, was he listening to me. But as a small child my mother was a very Godly woman and she made sure that her children went to church, that they knew about God and how important it was for us to make Him a daily part of our life.
Eighteen years ago I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. The doctors have continued to monitor them since. About 3 years ago my kidneys were functioning at 33%. Several visits later to the doctor my kidney functions kept decreasing and was at 17%. In February of 2017 I went for a regular visit with the kidney doctor and was told it was time to consider getting on the transplant list. I gave my permission to send my information to both University of Cincinnati Hospital and Jewish Hospital in Louisville. A week or so later I got a letter of rejection from Cincinnati denying my insurance. Several weeks later I got a phone call from Jewish Hospital telling me I was a good candidate for a kidney transplant work up. In June of 2017 my children, which would be my support team, went with me for classes, and then my blood work started an electrocardiogram, an echo-cardiogram, stress test, chest x-rays, and more blood work. I also needed up-to-date female annual check-up, pneumonia shot, a TB skin test, and then the good old colonoscopy which I put off as long as I could. I finished up all these test by December 2017. While getting my colonoscopy, I contacted the flu. I got very sick and ended up at Clark Regional in the ER where they transferred me to Louisville to be admitted. I was in the hospital for 4 days until I finally recovered from the flu.
I was supposed to see my kidney doctor February 14th 2018. She for some reason called me the week before and wanted to know if I can come in a week early. I went and got my blood work and before I could get home she called me telling me I needed to be admitted to the hospital my labs were out of control. I was admitted on Tuesday February 6th. My doctor came in and told me I was in renal failure and would need to start dialysis. The next day they placed a tunneled catheter into my upper right chest. On Thursday, February 8th, late that evening I started my first dialysis treatment. I was scared, I was nervous and I honestly did not know what to expect. They hooked me up to this machine that would start filtering my blood in 3 hours, a person on their own filters their blood in 24 hours. Not long after the treatment started I became nauseous, started vomiting, a migraine started, I was hot and sweaty, you name it I got it. This went on for three and a half hours. I was laying in the bed asking God why are you allowing me to suffer like this? Please Lord just let me die. This is horrible. After my first dialysis treatment was complete I started, jerking, shaking and I really didn’t know what was going on with myself. My daughter asked, are you okay Mom? I said I don’t know, why did you do this to me, why did you let them do this to me. I just want to die, I’m so sick. The nurse came in to check on me we asked what was happening to me she said the machine was filtering the poison out of my system and it was like a person going through detox withdrawals, like a person addicted to drugs.
I was released from the hospital on Friday, the following Monday I was to report to Georgetown where I would start my next dialysis treatment. I was hooked up to the machine, I got nauseous, I threw up, I got dizzy, light headed and felt terrible for the next three and a half hours same thing again Wednesday and Friday. The doctors kept telling me the treatments would get better and I would feel better after each treatment. It took a whole lot of convincing for me to believe them. I prayed, God why are you letting me go through this? This is horrible. I stop and I think of how cancer patients can go through chemo, I pray for all the cancer patients wondering how they can do this. I pray for each person in that dialysis room and looking at each with hope, praying that I would feel better soon. In time I truly started to feel better but struggled with a lot of migraines. Then at the end of May I got a call from Jewish Hospital telling me I had been placed on the active transplant list. June 2018 came around and now I had to restart my testing again since it had been one year.
I prayed for days, night after night to God for a new kidney. I prayed so much I felt God was getting tired of listening to me, so I stopped praying that prayer.
On Saturday July 21st when I went to bed I felt God needed to hear my prayer again.
Lord it’s me again, you know I need a kidney and I pray it will happen in your time. I pray God it will happen when the time is good for me when I’m healthy enough to receive it. Lord I pray where this kidney comes from that is from a good kindhearted Christian person. I pray Lord for a fast speedy recovery, I pray for very minimal pain and I pray for quick healing. Lord I pray that you will give me Christian doctors and staff to take care of me. Amen.
I went to church the next morning and I told my friend Debbie Johnson, as I had many times, “Debbie if I get a phone call during church I’m coming across the aisle to get you and we are going to interrupt whoever is preaching and pray and then I’m out of here”. Just so happened, Sunday evening at 5:03 p.m. I’m cooking dinner my phone rings I missed the call. A few minutes later my daughter’s phone rings she misses the call. A few seconds later my other daughter’s phone rings same number comes up on caller ID, I said somebody better answer it, she hands me the phone and says, “mom it’s Jewish.” I answer the phone and the nurse says, “Krista I have a kidney for you, it’s a good one are you willing to accept it. It’s coming from out of state so it’s not here yet I will call you back as to what time to arrive at the hospital.” First person I called is my kidney doctor, she tells me she has chills up and down her spine , She told me I was the quickest patient she’s had to get a kidney that fast. The next person I call is my dear, sweet, faithful, praying sister Debbie Johnson , she doesn’t answer the phone with hello she says do we have one? Do we have a kidney? Do we have a kidney? I pause, I’m crying, I said yes, we have a kidney she starts screaming, yelling in the background Hallelujah, amen, thank you Jesus. And she prays with me. In the meantime the nurse calls me back and tells me to arrive at 6 a.m. on Monday. I’m being admitted and now it’s a waiting game. The kidney is supposed to arrive by 1 p.m. and it doesn’t get there until 3 p.m. Finally it’s 5:30 p.m. Monday July 23rd and I’m on my way to surgery. I Ask my nurse do you know if my doctor is a Christian? She says I don’t know but I know your anesthesiologist is, and I said “well that’s a good enough”. She said “I am and we will pray before you go back”. She prayed the sweetest prayer with me and a sense of calmness came over me. The next thing I know I’m waking up in my room surrounded by family.
Praying and thanking God for my new gift of life and for the person’s family where this precious gift came from.
I never gave up hope, I kept my faith, and God answered my prayer, in only two short months of being on the active transplant list when most people stay on there for years.
God answered my prayer, everything I prayed for. I had very minimal pain, I’ve recovered fast and most of all I had a Christian staff, and Christian doctors. And most importantly it all happened in God’s timing. I still pray continually for the person’s family from where this kidney came from. Some kindhearted 23 year old man’s life was called home to God and he was generous enough to donate his kidney so that I may continue life. Lord thank you so much for this person and continued prayers for his family whom I know is still grieving.
1 Thessalonians 5. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you-ward.
Lord, Thank you for sparing a beautiful soul. Thank you for providing the mother, the friends and the family that she would need most in her time of need. Thank you for loving others enough to allow her to continue her service to them. I praise you and continue to be amazed by your love for me. Amen!