World Kidney Day and a special thanks

Today, March 10th, is World Kidney Day. This morning the Nephcure Foundation shared an important reminder for those of us dealing with kidney disease:

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who have helped me as I have dealt with my kidney disease. I will try not to miss anyone, but I am sorry if I don’t name everyone by name. I appreciate all of the help, the love, and the prayers. In my struggles I may not always show it like I should, and of that I am sorry. Also, the ordering here is not indicative of how important I think an individual’s help has been. Without further adieau, I am grateful for all of these:

  • Ann Henson - this wonderful woman is and will forever be my second mother. Just like my own mother gave me life and love 34 years ago, nearly two years ago this wonderful woman gave me life again. When she found out that I had kidney disease and would need a transplant at some point, she was immediately willing and wanted to be the first one in line to see if she could donate. It is because of this sacrifice I am alive today. And, despite some very difficult circcumstances that have happened since, she still cares deeply and does not regret a minute what she did for me. Thank you Ann. Thank you so much.

  • Torie - You stood by my side with love, concern, and help through some of the most difficult times during this. I would have never made it through the difficulty of going through dialysis and the transplant without you by my side. I can’t imagine what you had to go through, seeing me like that, and also knowing the risk your mother was taking to help me. Thank you for doing your best, especially when circumstances were that I wasn’t the easiest to live with. I will always love you for this. (I have to also mention here the wonderful little puppy girl Callie. She was always so loving. I could just feel her love and concern and see it on her face on those days when I wasn’t doing so well or when I was recuperating from surgery. Her little kisses and snuggles meant the world to me. Daddy will always love you Callie).

  • My Parents, Bert and Sharon - You have always loved me and stood by me through the difficult times in my life. It is because of your love and determination I am alive. You have done so much for me these last few years and I will forever be grateful. I wish I could show it better. I am sorry it has been so hard for you to see me struggle through these times of my life.

  • Kevin and the rest of the Henson family - thanks for being so supportive of me, Torie, and Ann through all of this. I am forever indebted to you. I include their extended family, especially including Ann’s neice Tammy, who flew out here to be here during the transplant.

  • My brother Joe, his wife Angie, and my sister Sharalyn - You are all so awesome and have done so much for me. I love the sacrifices you have made in your lives to help me out. The trips to come see me when I couldn’t go myself. The phone calls, the texts, the loving concern. I will always look up to you all, am grateful for the successes you are finding in your lives and the examples you are for me, and still stand by me even when I’ve struggled. I love you so much.

  • The rest of my family - I am grateful for my entire family, for the concern they’ve shown and the help they’ve given me. I am especially grateful for my aunt Margie for all the help and visits and things she’s been able to do because she has lived so close.

  • My friends, especially Daniel, Paul, and Vee - I have such amazing friends, from all over the world. I got an unexpected card from my friends Andrew and Mary from Australia when I had my transplant. I’ve had countless friends reach out with love and concern, it’s so hard to name them all. I am especially grateful for my closest friends that are (or were) local to me, Daniel and Paul and Vee. They have done so much for me. Daniel has been a life saver and put up with so much. He’s kindly opened his house to me so I have a place to live through this difficult time. He’s taken me to the emergency room and the hospital many times when I could not myself. Paul and Vee did much the same when they were still living in Utah, and continue to be a great support from afar. I don’t know what I would do without these great people in my life.

  • Dr. Hammond, Mark Boyack, Jenna and the rest of the staff at Central Utah Nephrology - I have been blessed with an amazing medical team. Dr. Hammond is my nephrologist (kidney specialist) and he and his staff are constantly looking out for me and going above and beyond just to make sure I am getting better. Thank you for the everything you do to help me be healthy and happy. Whatever payment you receive from me or my insurance company doesn’t even come close to make up for what you’ve done and are doing for me.

  • Dr. Van der Werf, Dr. Alonzo, and the rest of the doctors and staff at the Intermountain Transplant Center in Murray, Utah – Dr. Van der Werf and Dr. Alozono were the surgeons who performed the transplant, with Dr. Alonzo performing the surgery on Ann, and then assisting Dr. Van der Werf with me. I am forever grateful for your knowledge, skill, and concern. I’m grateful for my transplant coordinator Barb, the financial coordinator Becky who has helped me with Medicare and other insurance issues, and everyone else at the transplant center that have been so helpful through this process.

  • The doctors, nurses, and staff at the Intermountain Medical Center, American Fork Hospital, Utah Valley Medical Center, Madison Memorial Hospital, and the Central Utah Clinic Surgical Center - when I have had to spend time in the hospital either because of surgery or problems, I have always received the best care. The doctors and nurses have shown the upmost concern and skill in caring for me. It has always been comforting to have such wonderful and caring nurses and assistants who want what’s best for me. Thank you all for the amazing people.

  • The phlebotomists and nurses at the various laboratories I’ve visited - I have had frequent labs over the years and I am always thankful for the gentleness, concern, and care shown by those that draw my blood. You may have given me a few bruises, but I’m thankful for the job you do.

  • The nurses and staff at Davita Dialysis in American Fork - I was only on dialysis for the 3 months prior to my transplant, but I got to know these wonderful people during my 9 hours a week there. It was because of your concern, positivity, and hard work that the experience was bearable. Thank you so much for all you did for me and my fellow patients.

  • The pharmacists and techs at Wal-mart - You have got to know me quite well over the last few years. Thanks for always being so cheerful and willing to help. Thanks for looking after me and bringing up concerns and suggestions about my medication and being willing to answer questions that I’ve had going through all of this. You guys are lifesavers.

  • My former employer Mozy and coworkers there - You guys were nothing but accomdating and supportive as I wen through this, were completely supportive as I started dialysis and then worked with me as I had to have time off to recover from my transplant. I don’t know how many times I ended up taking a nap and sleeping longer than I should on the Ops department bean bag when I was so exhausted because of dialysis. And yet you were always supportive and kind. Thanks so much.

  • The HR staff at my last employer Canonical - they have bent over backwards to help me so I can maintain my insurance coverage through COBRA, helping me get my payments in and such, when it was difficult because of hospital stays. Thanks for your patience and concern.

  • My ward members and leaders from church - in the 3 wards I’ve been in during this time, I’ve always had fellow ward members and leaders show great concern and do whatever they could to help me. I am so grateful for that.

There are countless other friends, family, medical professionals, and others who have constantly gone out of their way to help me. I wish I could name them all and show my gratitude to them all.

On a less personal level, there have been many things that have got me through this time, including favorite music, books, and other entertainment. In particular, we were able to meet the band Creed (my favorite band) a few months after my transplant. I mentioned to them how much their music has got me through some very rough times, including my transplant. We had front row seats, and during the the concert, Scott Stapp, the lead singer, stood in front me me, pointing, and making eye contact during one of the songs, reminding me to remember “What this life’s for.” Thank you so much.

I am forever indebted to all of these wonderful people. I’ll never quite understand the sacrifices done on my behalf. I just hope some day I can even begin to repay you all for the wonderful blessings you have brought into my life.

Happy World Kidney Day. Take care of your kidneys. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, or a family history of those or kidney disease, please see your doctor and get checked. It’s just a simple blood test.

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