First of all, I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your day to visit my blog. That you would care enough to keep up with me or check in once in a while is just so thoughtful. I truly appreciate all of your care and concern.
I am writing this particular blog post because I have been fighting hard in an uphill battle recently. My first inclination was to pity myself, hide out and become depressed, which is understandable, but only makes the situation that much worse. Over time, I latched on to my supportive family and friends and found ways to push through and become more positive. Though there are still days that leave me feeling exasperated, I am learning that no pain lasts forever. The sun always, always dries up the rain eventually.
I have tried to help people by sharing my story as honestly and openly as possible, and I have had the privilege to unite with countless individuals who are undergoing their own trials and tribulations. Finally though, I am ready to launch into what I’m sure will be a lifelong campaign for me. I’m ready to use my story and my penchant for networking and social media to change lives.
A TINY BIT OF BACK STORY…
For those of you who don’t know me and are reading my blog for the first time, you may not know that I have been very sick. I have been sick on and off for my entire life, but the issue only began to reveal itself when I was 15 years old. What started out as a couple of kidney stones has, over time, become a life threatening issue.
To learn about my health issue, please read this previous blog post by clicking here. Before asking me personal questions, I’d appreciate you reading the blog simply because the story itself is a rather exhausting and emotionally tender issue, and I often am not feeling very well in general.
(Swollen after my major surgery on August 15th, 2012)
(Getting emotional in September 2012 after I was told that my surgery had worked and I would soon be completely fine. Less than a week later, I ended up in emergency again. The doctors told me that they were wrong and my surgery in August was actually unsuccessful.)
(Filming my on-camera segment at work in November 2012. Hiding my nephrostomy bag under my jersey.)
This coming December 14th 2012, my right kidney will be removed. The doctors are hoping that enough time has passed since my last major surgery in August (I’ve had a couple minor ones since then) for them to perform this surgery laparoscopically, but they may need to do a very large incision. Donated blood will be on stand by for possible transfusions. The surgery will go one of two ways - I’ll either be much better afterward or my remaining kidney won’t be enough to support me due to its lifelong history of infections, stones, etc. Regardless, recovery from this surgery is going to be tough - especially since this will mark the 19th surgery/procedure since May 2011. (I have also had about 8 stents in my ureter and three nephrostomy tubes - one of which I currently have right now.) Many people have nephrectomies, but my situation is incredibly rare. A lot of people, with the best of intentions, tell me, “Everything will be fine.” Anyone who has ever been sick or suffered an accident knows that can be very frustrating to hear. I may still be alive and kicking, but 19 surgeries isn’t exactly what I would call fine! Even if everything goes great, this is still an incredibly difficult physical and emotional journey. The pain afterward will be excruciating - I know from experience.
Even if this surgery is successful and my health is okay for several years afterward, it is extremely likely that in the future I will need a kidney transplant or dialysis due to my particular health issues. Infections and stones, which are common with me, will become highly dangerous. Future surgeries are almost an absolute certainty. Here is where the campaign comes in.
For a long time, I have been wondering how I can turn my struggles into something positive, my heartache into happiness, my lemons into lemonade. Finally, I have found a way.
Today I am launching the So, So Much Hope campaign. From now, November 21st 2012 until December 25th, 2013, it is my goal to get 1000 people to sign up to become organ donors and/or donate blood. Due to my large Twitter following, that number almost seems too small, so if I feel that goal is easily attainable I will raise it to 10,000 people.
Now, I’m not asking you all to undergo surgery and give up a kidney. You can all become organ donors when your time on earth is up, as organ donation does not necessarily come from living people. You can sign up now so that when you pass away some day, doctors can use your organs and even tissue to save others’ lives. One person who is an organ donor can save up to 8 lives! If So, So Much Hope meets its goal, potentially 8000 lives will be saved, and if we raise the stakes, then potentially 80,000 people will be saved. Isn’t that amazing?!
Organ and blood donation can help millions of people suffering from a huge variety of illnesses and issues from cancer to car accidents.
Donating blood is just as crucial as donating organs. Canada and the United States use over 43,000 units of blood EVERY SINGLE DAY!
HERE IS HOW YOU CAN JOIN THE SO, SO MUCH HOPE CAMPAIGN!
3. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @miss_deyo a picture of you signing up to become a donor or donating blood with your full name. Your picture will be posted to my campaign website (that will be launched soon!)
4. Share this blog post and tell friends about the So, So Much Hope Campaign!
5. Pat yourself on the back because you are a hero. You have selflessly saved lives and you have helped me make my dream come true. :)
HAVE YOU OR HAS SOMEONE YOU LOVE RECEIVED A TRANSPLANT OR BLOOD TRANSFUSION?
Submit your story (maximum five paragraphs) and photos of the time you or someone you love received an organ transplant or a blood transfusion. If you are currently waiting for one, share your story as well! Your story will be shared on the campaign website (launching soon) as well as Twitter and Facebook to encourage others and motivate them to become donors! Make sure you have permission to share the story.
Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me and helped me in so many ways. Thank you to those who have shared their stories or written me to share your appreciation for my openness about my illness. Thank you to all who have inspired me. Above all, thank you for giving me so, so much hope.