Shannon was dying. She was only a kid in high school and she was dying. Her kidneys were quickly shutting down, she was losing her sight, and the dialysis treatments were not as effective as they should have been. My sweet baby sister was running out of time. Through all the issues that IgM Nephropathy brings Shannon continued going to school and managed to graduate from high school on time. That summer, Shannon was placed on the transplant list because my mother’s health insurance was capped out and testing for a living donor in our family had to wait. On December 27, 2011 I was the first one tested and in January 2012 I was notified that I was a match. My mom and sister live about 9 hours from me so, I was only able to make a phone call to share the news. I heard silence after I uttered the words “I’m a match” then screaming, then crying tears of joy.
The next few months were up and down, Shannon had good days, but mostly bad, her health was quickly deteriorating and days before the transplant, our father passed away from acute lymphoblastic leukemia. But Transplant Day, May 8, 2012 came. Before the surgery the team of doctors gathered around us and reminded us of the risks; I may need high blood pressure medication after I donate the kidney and that the donated kidney may not work right away and dialysis might still be needed or that Shannon’s body may reject the kidney. God works miracles, my blood pressure was normal throughout the surgery and after the surgery 3 different nurses and doctors took my blood pressure using 3 different blood pressure cuffs and machines. I still have normal blood pressure. Shannon went into surgery and the doctors and nurses were so shocked when the new kidney started producing urine before they finished with the surgery. Her kidney function has been doing phenomenal since that day. This month we celebrate 7 years since that glorious day!! Shannon is doing so well and I couldn’t be prouder of my baby sister. When people find out that I am a living donor I get the comments that I’m a hero, but I don’t see it that way. Shannon is my hero and she lived to tell about it.