Coming Home, and Some Other Things

Today, just one week and one day after surgery, she is out of the hosptial! She made steady progress all week and has shown us once again what it means to Fight Like a Girl! One week in the hospital is about as fast as it gets for a transplant.

   

We are so proud of the courage and moxie she demonstrated all the way through this. We are also immensely grateful for the prayers and support by so many of you, we really felt it, and know that ya’ll will be there for the next season of our journey.

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Other Things

What a week! We had two major surgeries and a blockbuster kidney “trade”. There are some neat things from the week that headlines won’t catch and I wanted to mention a few of the ones here from my experience. -Nick

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Around noon on Sunday, the day before surgery, Cassidy checked into the hospital for pre-op activities, and the day carried with it an unusual martini of somber excitement. I was able to visit Cassidy one last time that afternoon before getting ready myself. I will never forget the way she looked at me that day - her face radiated gratitude, nervousness, excitement and compassion, all at the same time. It was the look of a surgical veteran staring at a rookie, knowing what I would feel like very soon. And it was the gratitude and compassion that burned the image into my memory forever.

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One of the benefits of living donor transplant is that a recipient can bypass the step of dialysis and go straight to transplant. This is not possible for deceased donor organ recipients given the priority given to patients on dialysis. But dialysis is a miserable process, so we have always targeted to avoid it - but we almost missed it. For the last couple months Cassidy’s kidneys had been deteriorating at a faster rate than ever before and we knew we were close to the end for them. Her blood tests on Sunday were no exception, in fact, they significantly worsened to the point where many of the medical staff at the hospital were surprised that she wasn’t already on dialysis. Had we not transplanted that week, we would have started dialysis.  (to be continued, below)

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Going in for surgery at 5:00 Monday morning was an awesome feeling for me. It was my own personal victory walk on this long journey. Even crawling onto the operating table - in a big sterile room surrounded by robots in space suits - brought me great fulfillment. It didn’t even matter if I had a difficult recovery, all I knew is that we were here now, and this was actually happening.

Waking up was equally thrilling knowing that the kidney was all but installed into Cassidy. The doctors later commented that “it was a good looking kidney”, which brought a proud smirk to my face. And the whole afternoon was full of adrenaline and a sense of accomplishment.

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But surgery day only brought the second best moment(s) of this experience, let me explain... One of the primary parameters tested and used to measure kidney function is called Creatinine. It is waste generated from muscle activity and is the responsibility of the kidney to filter out of the bloodstream. A normal range for a teenage girl is 0.3-1.0. Renae and I can’t remember Cassidy’s Creatinine ever being below 1.0, even as an infant. In recent months she has been as high as 4, 5, even 6, which is “super”-end-stage renal (kidney) failure. With that background, here is my point... Renae called me Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours after surgery, to let me know that Cassidy’s Creatinine was down to 1.5 and dropping (reaching 0.5 a day later). It took me off guard, I was stunned, I mean, we knew that she would be better off with a healthy kidney, having more energy and such, but I had never contemplated what it would feel like to have her blood tests come back normal. My emotions welled up just in time for the ripcord inside my gut to scream, so I quickly got my composure (because any sneezing, coughing, laughing or crying was totally off limits for awhile). But it was one of the best moments of my life and one I didn’t even realize I was waiting for. I laid there in amazement that morning expressing my deep gratitude to God for all that had happened. And while I know that God is my complete source, I realized that there was a sigh of relief from the part me that wanted to be good enough.

             

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Tuesday night and Wednesday were tough for Cassidy, we both were far enough from surgery that all the anesthesia had worn off and we were on oral pain medicines. After a few unsuccessful tries she finally got relief. This relief produced the best quote of the week, here is her text to me:

                   

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Those are just a few examples of experiences and feelings from this monumental week for our family. A day has yet to pass that I haven’t stopped and thought: “Did this really just happen?”.

Comments

  • MaryFrances Wood

    Tears of happiness for y'all!! Knowing about BUN/Cr levels, praise be to GOD for success!!

  • Suzette Adams

    Nick, thank you and Renae for sharing your experiences. Cassidy and I have become pretty close this year. I can see where she gets her sense of humor and spunk. Best of everything to you you all.

  • Amy Moeller

    I am just in complete awe to read this! It should be a movie!

  • Penney Bogner

    I can’t believe it’s done! So happy and excited for the months to come. Cant wait to hug her June 11. See you soon Cassidy ??

  • Josh Stiger

    Nick, I am proud of you and Cassidy. I’m touched by your heartfelt post. Nothing but love for you and your family. We will keep praying for you brother.

  • Haley

    Thank you for sharing y’all’s story Nick. It’s so touching how God works through all of our lives, and especially a very delicate situation for Cassidy! #Godisonthemove

  • Jen Willett

    Thank you so much for sharing these huge victories and allowing us to celebrate them with you! We serve a great and mighty God and hearing these results from years of prayers edifies us all. Another testimony of God's incredible timing and provision. I'm so glad for your sake that you no longer live in Seattle add or ORs are closed down for months if not the foreseeable future. They are diverting all Ruth's surgeries to Harborview. ???? We are seeking other neurosurgery options.

  • Renee Greenwood

    LOVED reading this!!!! I just crave all these details of the process! SO so so grateful we are on this side of the transplant now. Thank you Jesus!!!!!

  • The Sues

    It is hard to put into words, how amazing you all are. The love for one another is so apparent and powerful. We are blessed that we met you and have you in our lives. We have been praying like so many others for Cassidy's and Nick's recovery. What a blessing that the transplant is working and obtaining such amazing results. We look forward to seeing you all after you have recovered. Your in our prayers daily and we are sending all our love and get well quick wishes.

  • Amy Stagner

    I love this update and love everyone’s sense of humor through this difficult time. You have both made such amazing and quick progress and the Stagner’s continue to pray and are grateful for your family! You guys rock!! ????

  • Amy Carruthers

    This is beautiful!! Thanking God with you guys for the perfect timing, amazing results, and quick recovery... WOW. Love you all!

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