Becky’s Kidney

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yIw47VFvk8

Share it far and wide!  Let’s do this!

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Ways You Can Pray

As I lay down to rest, or at least try to, I am comforted by the fact that I have been and continue to be the subject of so many of your prayers. Because I believe that prayer works, and it helps to be specific, I would like to ask that you pray for the things on this list. Thank you all for your unending support and unselfish love!

  • Pray for favorable results on the last-minute cross-matching tests that Lauren and I will be taking tomorrow morning.  Pray for no surprises – that all will go according to plan and the results will be just as expected.
  • Pray that the surgery will actually happen.  Pray for my donor Lauren’s nerves, that she would have peace and comfort.  Pray that God would bless her abundantly for this amazing and precious gift that she is giving to a stranger.  Pray for her family and friends as they support her through her healing.  Pray that her healing and recovery would be quick and better than expected.
  • Pray for the surgeons, the nurses, the anesthesiologists, and all the medical staff before, during and after the surgery.  Pray that their minds would be clear, that they would make the right choices.  Pray that God’s presence in the operating room would be so evident that they would know that something special is going on.
  • Pray that the new kidney would start working immediately, right there on the operating table.  If this happens, the surgeons will be able to remove my dialysis catheter in the same surgery, and that would make me very happy.  Pray that the kidney won’t be “sleepy.”
  • Pray for my total healing and recovery.  Due to various health issues, I’ve been taking mild doses of narcotics for over a year.  This may make it difficult to manage my pain post-operatively.  Please pray that my pain would be insignificant and fleeting.
  • Pray that all my other issues would be improved if not absolved with the introduction of the new kidney.  These issues include restless leg syndrome and neuropathy.

Thanks to everyone for your prayers.  This is just a jumping-off point.  Of course allow the Holy Spirit to lead you as you pray; I’m sure there are things that I have missed.  Feel free to pass this on to other that will join us in prayer.

Just so everyone knows, I will be at Emory Hospital in downtown Atlanta.  I’ll be there for 3-5 days.  I’ll try to keep everyone updated through Facebook.  If you are not a Facebook user, and you would like to receive texts, please let me know.

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Replacing Milestones

Throughout my life, when important events happen, my emotions are strongly attached to the memory of the event. Sometimes I won’t even realize it’s happening. Let me see if I can explain…do you ever have a day when you just feel down in the dumps, just kind of blah? Sometimes this will happen to me, then I will remember that it was that day a year ago, or two years ago, or five years ago, that some unpleasant event happened, and I was just feeling those emotions again. Because I know this about myself, when unfortunate things happen, I dread that day coming around again because I know those unpleasant emotions will come back to haunt me.

The best example of this phenomenon occurred on January 4, 2009. It was on that day that I was fired from my position as a Children’s Pastor. It is to date the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, and there has been some stiff competition. In the midst of my grief, I can remember thinking, “Now every January 4th will remind me of this.” Following that event, as God’s plan began to be revealed to me, I waited patiently for a phone call from Norwegian Cruise Lines telling me that they were ready for my to join their ship in Hawaii. I was told that the wait would only be 4-6 months, but I soon became frustrated as 6 months turned into 8, 8 turned into 10, etc. I thought that God had forgotten about me. Then the reason for the wait became very clear. As I was working my third shift job at Target, Norwegian Cruise Lines finally called to offer me a dream job. Guess what day it was – January 4th, 2010. It was not a coincidence, and the fact was not lost on me. God planned it that way so that I could remember that day in a much happier, more positive way. He replaced the bad milestone with a good one, and I was so grateful.

For those of you who have been following my journey since that time can probably guess what event was the second hardest for me to get though. I won’t go into detail, but the event left me alone and stuck if upstate New York in the winter, far from my family and friends that love me with a heart that was completely broken. After about a month, I learned that my kidneys had failed, and there is no doubt in my mind that the emotional distress caused my physical decline.  It felt like I was trapped in a nightmare.

Well, time has passed, and now I finally can see relief in the future. Because I have been waiting so long for healing, it was devastating when the transplant surgery didn’t happen in March. After a couple days, I felt silly for not figuring out faster. Now my surgery is scheduled for exactly 3 years to the day that I started dialysis. Now those memories can be replaced with positive, life-changing memories. Those feelings of being all alone and dumped are replaced with feelings of being loved. Of having hundreds of people following my journey and wishing me well. Now I am so glad my surgery was postponed because April 17th can be one of my favorite days to remember. God knew that it was exactly what I needed.

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DIY Item of the Week

One positive aspect of the station of life in which I find myself is the abundance of free time.  I’m unable to work due to the pain in my feet and the fatigue caused by dialysis.  I’ve always been a crafty person, and if you dig deep enough into this blog, you’ll see the evidence of it.  I’ve been watching lots of home improvement shows, and my favorite shows involve picking an item that has been discarded and bringing it back to life.  I was inspired to the point of taking on some projects of my own, and the dumpster at our apartment complex has proven to be an excellent picking ground.  Just about every weekend, some irresistible item appears just outside the dumpster – never inside it – as if left there by the misfit furniture elves.  A few weeks ago, they left this little treasure…

 

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Under the blue painter’s tape is a swirly, brown marble inlay.  The only problem with the chair was that the seat had come off the frame.  The carving was so ornate, I knew I could bring new life to this chair.  A couple cans of spray paint and a couple yards of fabric later…

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Not too bad, right?  And the best news of all – this chair is for sale!  Now, let’s pretend you don’t know anything about how this came from the garbage…this custom-made chair can be yours for the low, low price of $100, or best offer.  If all goes well, I would love to make a career out of this kind of work once I’m healthy again.  Comments are welcome – let me know what you think!

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Article in the Gwinnett Post!

Thanks so much to the Gwinnett Post for writing this article about my search and my upcoming fundraiser tomorrow.

Check out the article online here.

Lara MacLean, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, Chad Williams, and Lindsey Z. Briggs

Lara MacLean, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, Chad Williams, and Lindsey Z. Briggs

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Becky’s Kidney – Trailer


Full video will go live on Sunday September 28!  Stay tuned!

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Calling All Artists and Crafters!

As most, if not all, of you know, I’ve been focusing on fundraising for my kidney transplant and anti-rejection meds.  My goal is $25,000, and I’m incredibly pleased and grateful to announce that I’m almost there.  In order to avoid tax issues, I’ve been working with a company, NFT, designed to manage money for transplant recipients.  The tricky thing is that they take their fee – nothing costs nothing.  They take 3%.  So even after I reach my goal, I’ll still have to keep up the fundraising until I get my transplant because the total will be going down.  The amazing thing is that most of the money I’ve raised so far has come solely from individual donations and yard sales.   NFT encourages its clients to have fundraising events, and I did have one Bingo/Raffle Night that was very successful.  I’ve also done well selling donated items on ebay.

For a few years now my mom has been taking a painting class.  The whole class decided to devote a day to painting small works so that I could sell them.  They came up with some really nice stuff, and I wanted to do right by them.  I knew that I wouldn’t get what they’re worth at a yard sale, and it’s hard to sell original art on ebay.  So I’ve decided that I want to have a Silent Art Auction.  It’s going to be a classy affair – formal invitations, party dresses, hors d’oeuvres and lots of ART to bid on!  So I need your help.  I need to beef up the selection, and any art will do.  Meaning not just wall art.  It can be sculptures, sewing crafts, woodworking, anything you think people will want to display in their homes.  We’re aiming for August, depending on how quickly the items come in.  Please, please, please pass this on to anyone you think would like to donate.  If you are interested or have questions, send me a private message.  Even if you aren’t sure, please let me know if you are even considering donating something.  I need to get an idea of what kind of items I have in order to plan the location.  I really hope this works because I’m kind of excited about it.

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An Update for the New Year

I know, I know, you want to know what’s going on. So much has changed in the last few months that I knew I needed to write one big blog post to fill everyone in. If you have sent me messages or emails asking for an update, I admit it, I’ve just been ignoring them because there was just too much to say. So here is the update, and it’s a long one, for everyone that is still following this crazy turn my life has taken.
I guess the biggest change is that I have moved back in with my parents in Lawrenceville, GA. There were several factors that led to this decision. The first is a very happy reason. As you all know, I was living with my sister and brother-in-law, Carrie and Jason, in Orlando. Well, we learned that their family is going to get a little bit bigger in May because they are expecting a little girl! I’m thrilled for them, and I’m so excited to be an aunt to my little niece. Although they made it clear that I didn’t have to leave and that they would make space for everyone, I wanted them to be able to have the normal excitement of preparing for their new arrival. Their house just isn’t big enough to accommodate us all comfortably. The second factor was another great gift. The short version is that I was given a beautiful cedar infrared sauna…for free! Saunas are used to draw toxins out of the body, and since my kidneys aren’t working properly, I’m chock full of toxins. But as I’ve already mentioned, space was an issue. Perhaps the biggest reason why I decided to move is that my health has continued to decline. I have quickly developed a nerve condition in my feet called neuropathy. Basically the bottom of my feet and my toes are completely numb, except for the sensation of pain. If I am on my feet for any length of time during the day, my feet burn and sting. It feels like I know longer have feet, just flames shooting out of my ankles. I’ve mentioned many times my struggle with Restless Leg Syndrome, and it has only gotten worse. My body keeps building up a tolerance for the medications used to treat it, so I max out the dosage and have to switch drugs a lot. These two health issues have made it almost impossible to drive because my legs start getting twitchy, and I can’t feel the pedals. My mom is retired, and my dad drives a school bus, so they are both home a lot, and they have the time to take me to the places I need to go. The final factor contributing to my decision to move is the donor/transplant saga. I just felt that doors kept closing on me, that maybe I should seek other options.
Now that the move is complete, I know it was the right decision for now. I have plenty of room for my sauna and all my medical equipment in my new room. I have my own bathroom, so I know that the risk for contamination after transplant is lower. My mom is carting me around to most of my appointments. I feel a lot more at ease, and I am able to relax a little more.
As for the donor situation, I am planning to get on the transplant list that Emory and Piedmont Hospitals share. I am hoping that now that more of you will consider being a living donor since now the transplant can take place in the Atlanta area. I’m not on the list yet, so if you are considering it, wait until I give the go ahead. As far as donor updates, I’ve learned that I have been sharing too much. If I tell everyone I’ve got a possible donor, that keeps anyone that was thinking about applying from doing so. Then when something happens and the deal goes south, there’s no back-up plan. That’s why everything is taking so long. Just so you know, the second donor in Orlando is still willing, but more testing needed to be done, so that is still a waiting game. I’m hoping that since Atlanta is more my home that I’ll have a greater response. I just have to play my cards a lot closer to my chest so I’m not hindering those that would apply. Remember, I need a donor with a B or O blood type. Positive or negative doesn’t matter. If you don’t know your blood type, here’s an easy way to find out what it is. I won’t even know you’re getting tested unless you tell me.
So that’s the haps. Even if I don’t respond to your messages and emails, they do mean a lot to me and I thank you for them. Hopefully I can update a little more often so there isn’t so much to say and one time. Thanks for all your prayers.

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Becky’s Bingo Bash/Raffle Fundraiser

Let the raffle-ticket buying begin!

That’s right, an online raffle, and you don’t have to be present to win. The tickets are available for a suggested donation of $1 each. You can make a payment directly to my fundraising website, or send it through paypal.  My email is beckyray7@yahoo.com.  Or you can come track me down in person.  I’m pretty sure that with my fundraiser and papypal, there’s a $5 per transaction, so you’ll have to get at least 5 tickets.

“But what are the prizes?” you ask!  Let me tell you!

SO FAR there are four fabulous packages you can win.  There will undoubtedly be more than that, but I have to designate which prizes will be for the Bingo rounds, and more donations are still coming in.  Here are the four prizes I have designated for the raffle:

  • Hair Care Package – CIBU HiYa! Keratin Reconstructive Shampoo, Conditioner, and Ancient Serum courtesy of The Hair Cuttery AND a Hot Tools 1″ Flat Iron —- a $100 value!
  • Cozy at Home Package – a King-Size Handmade Quilt (110″ X 97″) in shades of white, purple and pale blue courtesy of the Humble Hands Sewing Ministry of First Baptist Church Orlando, fuzzy slippers made by Becky (also purple), a jar candle and a hardback copy of A Year in the World by Frances Mayes, author of Under the Tuscan Sun —- a $150 value!
  • Something to Wine About Package – A bottle of Merlot courtesy of Redlight Redlight, a Waring Pro Cordless Wine Opener, and four wine glasses —- a $110 value!
  • Living in a Griller’s Paradise – a tabletop camp stove, a George Foreman 8-Serving Classic Plate Grill AND a $25 gift card to The Meat House —- a $125 value!

And there’s more coming – I’ll post as soon as I know.  The winners will be announced at the Bingo event on Sunday night (the 17th).  You obviously do not have to be present to win.  If you purchase tickets using my fundraising website, NFT, it will automatically email me notifying me of your donation with whatever email address you put in there.  When I receive the email, I will immediately enter your tickets in the drawing for you.  Should you win, I will email you at the address NFT gives me.  If you use paypal, send me a quick email with your preferred method of contacting you because paypal will not automatically send me anything.  It seems confusing, but really it isn’t.

I wanted to make this available since most of my friends are out of town.  However, if it is at all possible for you to come to the Bingo event, you should.  There will be more amazing prizes to win including Disney and Universal tickets, and the jackpot prize is a Bose Sound Dock Series II for your iPod – a $200 value!  Please come!

But no matter what you do, share this post with all your friends so they can buy tickets, too!  Thanks!

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What Selflessness Look Like

Well, the auction on my blog didn’t work out so well.  Actually, it went okay, but I didn’t think I could use ebay/paypal without involving my bank account.  Then I discovered that you can request a check from paypal.  So I can just sign the check straight over to the fundraising account.  Once I figured that out, I started listing things on ebay and etsy.  If you’d like to take a look at what’s for sale, my ebay site is birdietoldme, and my etsy shop is bisforbirdietoldme.  (I wanted to name them “a little birdie told me,” but that was taken.)  I have a lot of stuff that I haven’t listed yet, so check back in a week or so to see more items.

Now that we’ve taken care of that business, let’s get to the real reason why I wanted to post today…here they are…

grace and katie

These two amazing girls, Grace and Katie, are the daughters of one of my best friends, Chrissy.  They have been working hard to stock their booth at Jasper Days in Missouri to raise money for MY transplant.  Can you even believe their selflessness?  How many kids do you know that would work this hard to raise money just to give away their profits?  I’m so humbled by them.

Now I know there will be someone out there that will think, “I can’t believe she’s going to accept money from those girls!” The truth is I would rather tell them to keep their money, but they have chosen to be a blessing, and I won’t take that away from them.

The stats are: I’ve got to raise at least $25,000 to cover my medical costs.  Right now I’ve raised about $12,000.  The only way I can reach my goal is if other people help me.  Have a yard sale, sell something on ebay, host a silent auction or a raffle, have a kickball tournament, or just find a way to make money using your skills and talents like Grace and Katie.  I’ve already asked my friends and readers to give enough out of your own pockets – now it’s time for my friends and readers to ask other people to give out of their pockets.  I’m going to be sending out a list of ideas and suggestions to those who have shown any type of support, from donating money to “liking” a status update.  Please consider being a blessing by helping me reach my goal.  I can’t do this alone.

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