Here is a little background information you will need. There are 4 of us kids in my family. I call us kids, but we are all adults with kids of our own. :) I have two older brothers, Cory, and Brian. After my parents gave birth to them, my mom could not have any more biological children. She decided to adopt! First, she adopted my sister in 1980. My mother then served on the adoption agency board in Lubbock, TX. In 1985, she received a call that another little girl needed a home. My mom and dad selflessly took me in as well. We were a family full of laughter and love!
Now the story:In 2008, my mother was diagnosed with NASH, which is a liver disease. We almost lost her then. After getting out of the hospital, my sister took her in. She helped take care of my mother (since my parents had divorced years before). We had discussed liver transplant options after my mom got sick. Over the next few years, my mom's illness didn't really seem to progress. We just thought we were the luckiest people alive. It was an incredible feeling.
On January 7th of 2013 (which happened to be my sister's birthday!) my nephew (my sister's son who is 14) found my mother non responsive in her room. We did not expect this at all! When we arrived at the hospital to be with her, we found out that she had gone into a coma. It was a symptom of the liver disease progressing.
Between January and May, my mother slipped in and out of comas. I probably drove my mother to Dallas close to 10 times. I would pick her up, and she would be groggy. By the time we got to Baylor, she would be completely out. It was horrifying, but I guess I got used to it.
In May, we discovered the Living Liver Transplant program. We couldn't imagine that we would find a perfect match in time. First, she needed a matching blood type. My brothers , sister and I were immediately tested. Crazy enough, 3/4 of her kids matched my mother’s blood type. I was the only one that didn't match. My two brothers (my mother's two biological children) were disqualified due to blood disorders that we were unaware of. This process ended up being a blessing for them!
We were down to one last candidate. My sister. She bravely began the painful process to see if she would be a qualified match. To everyone's amazement, she was!! My sister was going to have the chance to save my mother's life. She didn't even flinch when asked if she wanted to put her life in danger. The process was going to be extreme for her. As a single mother, she struggles financially. She had to take off work and receive a reduced pay during this entire time as well.
On August 14th, I drove my mother and sister to the hospital in Dallas. At this point, you would have never known my mother was very sick. She was laughing and smiling as she walked into the hospital. They took my sister back for surgery first. I sat with her, and we tried to laugh at the situation. It was very very cold in the pre opp room. I told her how cold I was, and she told me that I needed to ask for a blanket ASAP. She was very concerned about me.
The transplant went perfectly. My sister donated almost 70% of her liver to my mother. Her incision went down her entire abdomen. Again, these were all just minor details to my sister. She did not care what the cost was. None of us kids cared. We had all sacrificed so much over the past 5 years. We had given everything we had financially, emotionally, and physically. We took care of each other's kids while the others would tend to my mother's needs. We did everything, because my mom was the best mom!!!
My sister came out of surgery first. We started the transplant at 7:30 that morning, and my sister wasn't released to ICU until 4:30. When she began to wake up, the first thing she asked, was “Did Kimmie get her blanket?” My sister had just gone through the most traumatic surgery that I had ever known ANYONE to go through, and yet she was worried about me?! It is unbelievable.
On September 4th, my sister had recovered enough that she had decided to go be with my mom that morning. My mom had been moved to ICU hours before. We just thought it was another bump in the road. My mother’s recovery had gone well, but there were some minor complications. She went through 5 additional surgeries. My brothers and I were really tested during those 3 weeks. We had to work together, love each other, have patients, and trust like never before. We were by my mother’s side at all cost.
I met my sister up at the hospital that morning, as things had seem to of taken a very unexpected turn for the worse. By 7:00 that night, the doctors had told us that my mother had a bleed, and that she would not make it through this. It was unbelievable. We had all sacrificed so much, especially my sister who risked her life. We were all with my mother, holding her hands, kissing her head, as she passed away that night.
I am so proud of my sister for what she did! She is my hero. She is the most selfless person that I know.
If anything, I would love for Ellen to know that I am so appreciative of her. Both my mother and I laughed because of Ellen during our darkest days. I will keep on laughing for the both of us. :)