Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A Little Background

I have been married to my lovely sexy wife Leila for 17 years now and I have 3 beautiful children named Antonio, Sarina and Alexander. We have a couple of dogs (APBT/AmStaff) and a reef tank. I enjoy family time, kicking it with friends, sports and working out as well as riding my Harley. I am the oldest of three kids. I have two sisters, Monica and Yvonne. Monica is the reason for me creating this blog. Figure what better way for me to express myself, organ donation and make people aware of my sister's journey and what's going on in both of our lives during this journey.

You see, my sister Monica suffers from a disease called Lupus. She's had Lupus for over 15 years now and has been "up and down" during that entire time. Although it has been in remission for quite some time now, the journey she has been through has not been a pleasant one. Lupus is a disease that has no cure and can flare up from time to time. For more info on it google it or go to www.lupus.org. She's been in and out of the hospital more times than I can count, she's been in ICU 3-4 times, has done chemotherapy more times than I have fingers and maybe toes and has also had her hip replaced not too long ago. She's only in her 30's, mind you. Unfortunately, during all of this her kidneys got destroyed. Lupus is a big factor for this. She's basically now in need of a transplant. She started dialysis earlier this year and was placed on the National Waiting list (www.unos.org) She's doing alot better. She went from sitting at the clinic hooked up to the dialysis machine for three hours a day 3-4 times a week to the PD treatment which enables her to do it at the comforts of her own home. But as some of you may know, dialysis is not a pleasant way to live. A kidney transplant is what would give her her LIFE back. And LIFE is what I want to give her more of by donating one of my kidneys to her. She is the reason why I have decided to become an live organ donor...

I remember seeing my sister in the hospital (many many times), suffering from her illness. It's hard to watch someone you love and care for so much in a position like this. You feel really helpless. And it takes such a toll on you as well everyone else. I remember taking her to the clinic so she can do her 'thang' and crying all the way home when I left there. Never did I think I would know someone so close to me in need of a kidney transplant, let alone my own sister. Never did I think I would ever donate a kidney to anyone, let alone my own sister. But I believe everything happens for a reason. On that same note, I believe my purpose, if anything on being here, is to obviously donate one of my kidneys to my sister to help her live (see my blogs). The past few years have been tough on her but she is very strong. I admire that in her cuz I know alot of people would have gave up by now. But my sister refuses. Although at times, it seems like she's on the verge of breaking or giving up, she bounces back and continues to fight. She's a true warrior!

From the moment I found out my sister was in need of a transplant, I did a lot of research on organ donation. Organ donation is the only means of getting my sister back to somewhat of a normal life. Her life will never be the same but donation will give her another chance. I was never aware of the importance of organ donation until my sister was put in to this position. Let alone, live organ donation. It's amazing what one person's choice can or can't do. Check out these facts:

More than 91,000 men, women and children currently await life-saving transplants.
Every 12 minutes another name is added to the national transplant waiting list.
An average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.
In 2005, there were 21,215 deceased organ donors and 6,895 living organ donors resulting in 28,110 organ transplants.
In 2005, 44,000 grafts were made available for transplant by US banks.
Approximately 1,000,000 tissue transplants are performed annually.

You can see how important organ donation is. Whether it's now or later, it's an important choice that we should all really consider and think about. I must admit I was never really infomred until it affected me directly. But once I started my research and took the blood typing tests to only find out me and my sister were a match, I knew I was going to be donor. Her donor. Something just told me inside that I would be the one...it was weird.

1 comment:

T said...

I am in the process of becoming a renal donor. I am flying to Boston MA, from Calgary, AB, Canada to do my CAT scan and interviews in about a month. I totally understand when you say you just knew you were going to be the one to do it. I have that exact same feeling. I had it from the moment I found out my Uncle needed a transplant. I will probably leave more comments as I read on.
Enjoy your day

-T