When I was a very small child, so small that I can't remember the year or my age, my dad was diagnosed with a kidney disease. My parents sat us down and explained to us that our dad was sick and that some day he would need a kidney transplant. They explained what that meant, and I think they did a good job. Yet, being as little as I was I believed my daddy to be indestructible, so I didn't really believe he would ever be really sick.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. During the midsummer when I was thirteen he became very ill. They did tests and, in fact, my dad's kidneys were failing fast. He needed to start dialysis and quickly. This began an excruciatingly painful journey through my teens.
We were in and out of hospitals and doctors offices constantly. Sometimes, he was so sick I didn't know if he'd be coming home with us. But, somehow the Lord was merciful, and Daddy kept healing.
There were many roadblocks to a transplant. Finding a donor was the biggest of course. My three oldest siblings couldn't donate for different reasons, my mom couldn't, it seemed hopeless. Yet, the Lord gave us hope. I truly believed my Dad would be fine someday. I don't know if that was faith or child-like naivete or perhaps a mixture of the two and it was just plain child-like faith. Personally, I like to believe the last to be true.
I worked diligently through my teen years, and I had many responsibilities. It was a difficult time for me, and I often felt it fell on me to hold my family together. (If you ask my husband, he'll probably tell you that I still feel that way.)
Sadly, Satan loves to try to tear down the faith of teenagers, and I have to admit that when I was eighteen and my father seemed only to be getting worse. I lost faith. I resigned myself that my father might not make it to my wedding or see my children. The lowest point came during the open house for my high school graduation. My father was unable to stay because he was ill.
Praise the Lord, that was also the turning point for my dad. Right about that point the doctors decided to change his method of dialysis. It seemed after that that all obstacles were flying out of the path.
The biggest obstacle, a donor, was solved by my big sister. (The one with which I would fight.) She was 20 years old that summer, and she was able to start testing to see if she was a compatible donor.
This sister is, by far, the most diligent, self-motivated, and hardest worker of all five of us. She did all the testing while going to college full time! When it was discovered that she would be a match, the surgery was scheduled at a time that wouldn't interrupt her schooling. She went right back in the fall and worked just as hard as ever!
The surgery took place on June 14, 2002, two days before Father's Day. (Ironically, Readers Digest ran a story in that issue about a daughter giving her father a kidney.) It was an awful feeling having two of the people you love most in this world in surgery simultaneously.
Nine years later both my dad and my sister are in good health. Of course, Dad has ups and downs like all transplant recipients, but he's in better health now, than he was ten years ago! He officiated at my wedding and was in the hospital when both of my little girls were born!
Father's Day is always the time of year that I set aside to thank my Heavenly Father for giving me one more year on earth with my Dad!
|She's holding my baby & I'm holding her's!|
"Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."-Proverbs 27:17
I hope you have a great Father's Day with the Dad's in your life.