One Year Later

One year ago today, my husband was knocking at death’s door. He and I don’t like to say those words, but, fact is – that’s where we were at. In the wee hours of the morning on March 13th, 2017, we met Wyatt, Amy, and our family members at CMC Medical Center so that this perfect on paper, on blood work, and most importantly, in our hearts, kidney donor match could undergo a kidney transplant. After goodbye kisses, these brothers were sent back to undergo the kidney transplant.

Countless hours of waiting later, holding Amy’s hand, praying with church members, family, friends, doctors and nurses, the surgeon came out and told us the transplant was successful. I can’t even begin to put in to words the fear, the joy, the rollercoaster of emotions I (and all friends and family with us and not with us) felt while waiting for Noah in that waiting room. These were some of our darkest, yet most joyful, hours we have ever experienced. I was fearful, and I was hopeful. I was angry, and I was happy. I was sad, and I was glad. I was confused, and I was certain. I questioned, and I had faith. And, I wouldn’t have wanted to experience this time with anyone but the Bardi Family.

Having a chronic illness and a husband with a chronic illness is challenging. There are daily struggles we don’t discuss that just the two of us share. There are uncertainties, even post-transplant, that have knocked us to our knees in fear – and even more so, to prayer. Fear, anxiety, hope, joy – all these emotions – we have felt and feel with each blood test, work up, and doctor visit. Our flesh fails us, but OUR GOD DOES NOT.

I look back at the last few years leading up to and post transplant, and I can’t deny the complete goodness and provision of God. While looking at one piece of the puzzle in our waiting phases, in brief moments of time (that somehow felt like an eternity), it was so difficult to see the big picture. But, that big picture, that beautiful, perfectly designed puzzle was created long before we knew. All God asked was that we trust Him, and He’d fit it together for us so intricately, so perfectly beyond what we could have ever fathomed.

Things aren’t perfect; this transplant is not and was never intended to be a cure. It’s a temporary, but VITAL means of life support for Noah. We’ve been through more hurdles this past year, from diagnosis of acute rejection to recurrence to “hold on we’re ok right now, we don’t need chemo yet.” I’ve learned more medical terminology and things about kidneys and organs and life than I ever fathomed – and I still don’t have it all perfectly figured out. And with each bit of knowledge, with each test result, I’m reminded of the uncertainty of life, but the certainty of WHO CREATED IT.

Our road won’t be easy. But it’s worth it. Each day is a gift, and God has stripped us of “worldly” certainty, but assured us of eternity. We are so thankful for each moment, each day we spend together. And we are so THANKFUL for Wyatt for giving Noah that vital piece to give us another day, another hour, another minute together. Another minute to glorify. Another minute to praise. Another minute to fulfill God’s purpose.

We are so imperfect. We are so undeserving. But we trust, we persevere, we have faith. We have learned so much about that little five letter word (f-a-i-t-h) over this last year and hold it so dearly. How undeserving and how special, what a story of redemption we’ve undergone.

God’s still writing; God’s not done yet.

Wyatt and Amy, thank you for opening your hearts to such an incredible calling that saved my husband’s life. We love you more than we can put into words. Here’s to one long and difficult, but short and incredible year of being our family and a lifetime to go… We love you.

BUT JESUS SAID, “WHAT IS IMPOSSIBLE WITH MAN IS POSSIBLE WITH GOD.”

LUKE 18:27

29216014_10214751493294985_7424681706156438654_nWyatt and Noah, “The Kidney Brothers,” the morning of the transplant one year ago today (March 14, 2017).

Saving Strangers: We Need A Kidney

Funny thing, that social media – we seem to either be on it too much, be on it too little, get annoyed with it, or can’t get enough. It’s been used to debate, protest, campaign, vent, and bully. Yet, in our case, it was a vessel that helped save my husband’s life.

Last night, I was Facebook shopping on my neighbor’s VIP group. She’s a woman of many talents, but one of my personal favorite of her’s is her children’s distressed denim shop, Harper Jett Distressed Denim. The shop is partially named after her son, Jett, who was born stillborn. The majority of her clothing line is named after babies that have passed away, either stillborn or miscarriages. Her shop is always running specials and seeking ways to help others, especially mothers who have suffered through the indescribable, heartbreaking experience of losing a child. She tagged me on a thread saying I should connect with one of her former customers after she noticed Erica’s Facebook profile stated, “Seeking Kidney.”

Facebook can be creepy, yes. But, it can also be used for what I liked to call “Divine Appointments,” because let me tell you, the last year of our life has been more than full of them. I immediately sent Erica a message, told her briefly why I was contacting her, and described our journey – I told her earlier this year, Noah, my husband, had a kidney transplant. I invited her over to my house the next morning (today), and she so graciously accepted. She and her littlest of two girls came over to our home. We sat, shared our stories, so similar but so different, cried, talked, laughed, chased babies, held babies, and hoped. I’d never met Erica, but this is the best “stranger” I have ever had the honor of meeting.

Erica shared her story and current circumstances. Her story is unfathomable and heart-wrenching. Long story short, Erica had an emergency induction to deliver her son, Tomas, born stillborn, on November 14, 2016. Coincidentally, ten short days after I had our son, Gentry, last year. The same month Amy and Wyatt, our donor, contacted us to express interest in donating a kidney. How uncanny how these stories align? It’s by no mistake.

When the doctor reached in to reposition Tomas during delivery, Erica’s uterus ruptured and all the amniotic fluid filled her body. When the fluid reached her heart; Erica coded. She was gone for six minutes. She was in the ICU at two different hospitals on a ventilator and under sedation for two weeks, then spent another several weeks on the regular hospital floor. When Erica’s heart stopped, she lost both her kidneys. Right now, Erica is currently on dialysis (dialysis is NOT for the weak; for those of you who read our story, you know this is the one thing we did NOT want for Noah pre-transplant) three days a week for 3.5 hours each round. She is currently on the kidney transplant wait list at her main hospital, Wake Forest, NC, and also on CMC’s list, where Noah had his transplant, here in Charlotte, NC.

Erica does not yet have a donor. Her blood type is O+ (same as mine, and oh how I wish yet again type 1 was not an automatic disqualifier – otherwise, I’d be like Santa Claus and a bag of toys, but with organs…) and she needs a donor with O+ or O- blood. 

So here I am, asking you to love and help this stranger. Is that not what we are called to do? To open our homes, our hearts, our talents, our gifts, to not only the ones we love, but everyone? Let’s live our lives for others as we’ve been taught; not ourselves.

Erica has a husband, two little girls, and prayerfully will have another son one day (adoption is on their radar!). She’s at the mercy of another stranger, a Good Samaritan, to donate a kidney, and I’m here, once again, asking for your help. For Erica, her donor can be male or female, but, we as women, are often able to sometimes give a “better fit” to women size-wise.

Here’s what you can do to help:

  • Share this post. It was your sharing with our story, that ultimately led Noah to receiving the gift of life from his donor, Wyatt. Let’s make way for Erica to receive the precious gift of life, too.
  • Tomorrow, my dear friend will be hosting an Ellie Kai party at our home. 10% of all funds will go toward helping Erica with medical bills and covering potential donor expenses. As we know and have personally experienced, those dollars only seem to reach higher and higher. Message me for my address to attend the party tomorrow, in my home, in Fort Mill, SC. Or, shop the online link at https://www.elliekai.com/?consultant_id=505&trunk_show_id=3087.
  • Harper Jett Distressed denim is currently running two specials:
  • Donate life to Erica. If you are blood type O+ or O- and feel the calling to be her Good Samaritan, please contact the numbers below to get started. Time is fleeting and precious. There’s no more waiting.
  • To read Erica’s story, or donate directly to her YouCaring page, please visit https://www.youcaring.com/brianandericawhitaker-958027
  • Lastly, prayers. We are never opposed to as many of those as we can get.

Open your door and heart to everyone. You never know how much you can help someone just by reaching out with kidness.

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Erica, Hayden, Gentry, Charlie and I this morning – talking babies, motherhood, and all things kidney.

Thank You

It’s been a while since I’ve had time to sit down to our blog and write; probably because we’ve lived in survival mode for so long. Though we are never “out of the woods” and our guard is always a little more up than the norm, we feel that in finding our “new normal,” we’re finally able to see the sunshine.

I feel like I have more thank you notes to write than I can afford to purchase in a lifetime from the generosity, selflessness, support, and prayers that so many have shown – people who we still have yet to meet. A mom I had never met through a local mom exchange group started a meal chain for us to get through those tough weeks post surgery. My, how nice it was to have something other than hospital vending snacks, Panera, or cafeteria food once we were home! And even more so, how incredible it was to see my sick husband’s appetite return and to watch him actually EAT! Our church’s meal ministry, friends, sorority sisters, family, and people I have never met joined in and continued it further after Noah went back into the hospital due to his allergic reaction, then again when his blood work showed acute rejection. We’d get a call from our downstairs at our apartment saying someone dropped off food for us. To each selfless individual that cooked our family meals, provided smoothies, delivered snacks, stayed with us in our home to lend an extra hand with the babies and household chores, organized a cleaning service to clean our home, scrubbed my bathroom toilets (yes, my bridesmaids are AMAZING!), supported us financially, sat with me in the hospital emergency room, came to talk when a very tired wife and mama just needed a good cry – thank you. To my cousin, aunt and uncle, and countless members of our church that came to sit with me during Noah’s operation – you were just what I needed at the right time. Thank you. My mom, Noah’s mom and grandmother, and our local “honorary grandmother”, Mrs. Eve – thank you for staying with us at the drop of the hat – because that’s just what moms and grandmas do, and don’t think twice for their children, isn’t it? Thank you for the numerous cards, texts, phone calls, and Facebook messages letting us know you were praying for Noah, Wyatt, Amy, Charlie, Gentry and I. There wasn’t one day in this difficult, yet glorifying season that we did not feel loved or forgotten.

Just a small example of how far our request for a kidney and prayer had traveled… Our little family of four visited my aunt and uncle’s church in Charleston this past Sunday for Father’s Day. A precious member of their prayer team, along with several other members of their church, came up to us in tears so overjoyed to see Noah and our family whom they had been praying for. How humbling these moments have been to meet people who did not know us, but felt led to pray and uplift our family in this trying season. I can guarantee each and every card we received from my aunt and uncle’s church (along with many others) is hanging in Noah’s office as a reminder of what a miracle he is and how much he is loved.

Our weeks are still packed with doctor visits (between both Noah and I), though less than before. Noah is exercising daily, eating well, weaning to lower doses of the nasty steroid he was put on due to acute rejection (though he will not ever get off this medicine completely unless medical technology/drugs *prayerfully* change – and trust me, weaning days are ROUGH), and working hard as always in spite of it all (though sometimes needing a little reminder to just slow it down). We attended the kidney walk here in Charlotte the weekend before Father’s Day and a volunteer stopped him to get screened to be a kidney donor (not knowing he had just received a kidney himself) – and what a moment that was! To see my healthy husband, the sick Noah I’d watched for months in pain, underweight, and barely hanging on, be asked to donate a kidney due to his physical, outward appearance – what an ultimate compliment! What a long, long way he has come!

We’re still in a very busy, changing, challenging season of our lives. Things have slowed down in some ways and sped up in others. Yet through it all, Noah and I have learned to tune out the “noise” of the world, the excess that just does.not.matter, and focus on one another and our children; to strengthen us, in order to help strengthen others. One thing we’ve missed out on so much is time together, to focus on us, on our marriage, on our family. You can’t help but be pulled in a million directions when in a season such as the one we’ve endured. We love deeper. We listen harder. We cherish more. You can’t help but have things be put in perspective on what truly matters after an experience like this. Our road won’t be easy. A transplant unfortunately isn’t a cure – just like insulin isn’t a cure for type 1 diabetes – it’s a vital means of life support, yet there are still complications. But after enduring this season, one thing I am sure of: God could not have chosen a better person than Noah to do complicated, difficult and hard with. And we’re stronger in Christ because of it.

Wyatt (and Amy, too!), thank you again, for giving me the opportunity to enjoy much, much longer with my very best friend. Charlie and Gentry thank you, too. We all do… You’ve given me a priceless gift that will never be taken for granted.

“…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” – Hebrews 12:1

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Thank you to the sweetest newlywed around, Ali Phillips, for our priceless photos!

It’s Go Time…

The day after tomorrow, Noah gets a new kidney. This past week reality has been sinking in – we’re no longer searching, we have a donor (our biggest blessing, Wyatt!), we have a day (Tuesday, March 14th) – it’s happening. I’d be lying if I said we all aren’t some form of nervous, all in our own ways.

This past week has been very difficult for Noah and I, to be honest. I wasn’t kidding when I said “it’s going to get worse before it gets better.” Little did I know just how hard – physically, emotionally and spiritually. We’ve felt and dealt with unexpected stress like we’ve never had to before. The enemy has made his presence known and it’s annoyingly nasty and unwanted. Doesn’t he always prey on us in our lows, only to bring us even lower? BUT, we serve a God bigger than our enemy. We’ve found ourselves vulnerable and at our weakest, and in those moments when we feel like “we just can’t keep going,” the Lord reminds us HE is in control. From the hands-on prayers after sharing our story with our church’s prayer team to the lady at the front desk of the lobby in Wyatt and Amy’s hotel that was moved by our story to the employee at Costco that laid hands on Noah and said he would be praying over him continually, God has reminded us in the gentlest of ways that we are not forgotten, we are not forsaken, we are His. He is holding us in His mighty arms. He is the Ultimate Physician. He is our Faithful Father, the Alpha and Omega, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. And He. Will. Win. This. Fight.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:3-4

We’ve been fortunate to spend the past few days spending some time with the Bardis before Noah and Wyatt go in for surgery. Every time we are around them, we are reminded of the Lord’s perfect provision and answer to our prayers. They are steadfast disciples and to know them is a blessing. Wyatt and Amy, your humbling acts of selflessness have affected so many and constantly remind us how faithful Our Father truly is. You loved us before you really “knew” us. Isn’t that what Christ calls us to do? You exemplify the characteristics God calls us to uphold. We love you both beyond words and are so excited to call you family.

As we prepare for Tuesday’s surgery, join us in praying for these specifics:

  • The surgeons, physicians, nurses, and specialists throughout this process. Surround Wyatt and Noah with wisdom and knowledge of faithful physicians and caretakers. We ask the surgery goes smoothly and both men recover quickly with no complications.
  • We ask that Wyatt’s kidney would not be rejected by Noah’s body. That it would be the most successful transplant in the history of all kidney transplants and last Noah the longest recorded. Let them both be living miracles and use their bodies to glorify God and be living testaments of His faithfulness. May none of us forget this time of utter dependence on Christ. May we live EVERY day like this – completely dependent on Him – in the highs and lows.
  • Strength for Amy and I. As we prepare to take care of our husbands during the recovery process, equip us with the right spiritual and physical tools we need to care for them best. Take away any worry we have about the logistics of this process or fears that may sneak in our hearts that are unnecessary and unwarranted.
  • Peace for all involved.
  • Safe travels for all family and friends coming to support us and help us through this process.
  • Healing. Restoration. Rejuvenation. (Physically, emotionally and spiritually)
  • That our prayer from the beginning, our desire to glorify God throughout this process, would not be derailed by the enemy (because BELIEVE YOU ME, HE IS TRYING LIKE WOAH HERE!), and serve as a testament of faith to someone (let’s be honest, MANY!) who need a reminder of the Lord’s faithfulness. May others see the unwavering love of Our Father and know and crave the Jesus we know.
  • Our precious children. (this is a very, very important one!)

Thank you all for the constant, ceaseless prayers during this time of trial and uncertainty. Your prayers, acts of kindness, and encouragement are the building blocks of this journey. Consider this a big bear hug to each one of you that has reached out to us and let us know of your love and prayers. Your acts of kindness, whether through finance, meals, babysitting, prayer – you name it – are beyond humbling and appreciated more than you know.

If anyone would like updates other than blog updates or social media, please feel free to text me. We will arrive at the hospital at 5:00 AM for check in. Wyatt’s surgery will begin at 7:00 AM and Noah’s will begin at 8:00 AM. Surgery will take about 3-4 hours total. There will be a period of waiting in recovery post transplant for both men. I’ve got an ongoing list of who to text that has asked, but please note, our minds are quite fuzzy at the moment, so feel free to call or text me. There will be quite a long waiting period from check in to the time Noah and Wyatt get to their hospital rooms, so if you have a moment, feel free to text or call me. I joyfully accept calls and texts and visits – prayers, especially.

Let’s get this show on the road! It’s go time…

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A SPECIAL NOTE FROM AMY & WYATT…

This Tuesday, my brave, selfless, big-hearted husband is donating his kidney to a guy I met in freshman year English class who later married my best friend’s best friend (thanks Amanda for the intro!!). Wyatt wanted to share the WHY with y’all, a question he gets often when folks find out about the big surgery coming up. We’re here in Charlotte until the 21st and would love your prayers! Here’s a note from Wyatt:

“When I heard about everything Noah and Haley were going through and that Noah needed a kidney transplant, I felt like I had this responsibility to at least try. To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even really hesitate. Sure, it would involve a few needles and surgery, but I remember thinking, “Here we have this 26 year old husband and father of 2 small children who is dying rapidly. He needs a new kidney. I have an acceptable blood type. Why wouldn’t I at least try to give him my spare kidney? I mean, I only need 1 anyway.”

I didn’t quite know what to expect. Maybe I’d get rejected right off the bat, maybe down the road a little. When I received word that not only was I a suitable match, but that we matched like genetic brothers (Kidney Bros for life!), I thought, “Well, apparently my spare kidney was created to give life to another. Okay, let’s do this.”

Also, I’d be telling a complete lie if I didn’t incorporate this next bit in, so bear with me. I believe very strongly that Jesus calls us to love Him, to love others, and, when needed, to lay down our lives so that God might receive glory. I was given a very practical way to obey this command by giving a piece of my body to Noah so that he may have life.

For a man with a family, a new kidney is a chance to watch his children grow up. It’s a chance for him to have more time to love his wife like Christ loves his bride (the Church). It’s a chance for him to help parent his kiddos to know and serve Jesus. Now I have more time to see what God has in store for Noah as he shapes him into a man that more closely resembles Christ and who will undoubtedly do flat out incredible things to serve others in his lifetime (I mean the man’s basically a genius, the possibilities are endless).

To close, I do not deserve any credit, here. “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me (Galatians 2:20).” God can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants. He doesn’t need me, but He has given me this opportunity to bring Him glory by loving Noah in this way.

Friends, please pray for the surgery to go well on Tuesday. Pray for recovery. Pray for his wife and sons. Pray for whatever you want, just please pray.”

It’s a date!

It’s official. After MANY long hours of calls with the transplant office and insurance company, Noah’s transplant is scheduled for Tuesday, March 14th! We are so relieved to have a day on the books. Pre-op for both Wyatt and Noah will be Friday, March 10th.

Please keep these men in your prayers over the next two week as they undergo final preparations for surgery. We’ve all got the jitters, but are so thankful for the Lord’s provision in His perfect time.

I will blog and keep updates as much as possible over the upcoming weeks to keep everyone in the loop as prayer requests arise and surgery progresses. Post transplant consists of MANY doctors appointments multiple times a week, so this will be a journey in itself – but BEYOND worth it.

Specific Prayer Requests:

  • Successful Surgery for BOTH Noah and Wyatt. No complications. No rejection.
  • Rapid recovery and smooth healing process.
  • Strength for Amy and I as we take care of our husbands over the upcoming weeks and months through the recovery process.
  • Healing. Lots and lots of HEALING.

If food is your forte, meal trains have been set up to help both of our families during this time. Please don’t let distance discourage you, there are plenty of online sites that can deliver!

The Bardi Family Meal Trainplease contact me with any questions

The Allen Family Meal TrainTHANK YOU, Erin for so graciously setting this up for our family!

I very much apologize for the brevity of this blog post, but my 19 month old has drawn a Crayola mural on our wall and our 4 month old is screaming an opera singer in a matter of minutes. Now, it’s on to my date with dear ‘ole Mr. Clean…

The “B” Word

Blessed.

“#blessed” seems to be “a thing” on social media these days. So, I decided to investigate a little further to see what the world considers “blessed” – a house, a car, a job, wealth, health, marriage, children, family, or friends. But largely, tangible things accompanied this trend.

Before I got married, at a special bridal shower, one aunt in particular (she knows who she is), described what it truly means to be “blessed.” With her many blonde hairs of wisdom, she said when we welcome others to our homes (not necessarily a physical place, but a presence), they should feel they received a blessing when they leave. And that’s exactly how she’s always made me feel every time I’m around her – her precious, gracious spirit is always a blessing. Her words and her actions have been a gift to my soul in various seasons of my life – in joy, in sorrow, in sickness, in health.

Similarly, that’s exactly how Noah and I have felt by many of you during what has come to be the most difficult season of our lives yet. From the tangible to the intangible, so many of you have been a blessing to us. You’ve helped to fill our empty tanks through prayer, through scripture, through acts of service, expecting nothing in return but reaping the joy from giving, serving, and loving us through this time. From family to long-time friends to others we’ve never met, thank you, thank you, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for serving us and loving us in the most special of ways. This season has been overwhelmingly humbling for Noah and I, and it’s shaped our hearts to want to serve, to want to love, to want to give in the many unique ways all of you have served, loved, and given to us.

May we always have the mindset of what Christ depicts as blessed…

The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12)

He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
    for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
    for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

 

It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

While we are still rejoicing over our missing piece (We love you Wyatt and Amy!), we are also hurting.

These blog updates are getting harder to write. I’ve started, restarted, stopped, and restarted writing this entry one too many times. I’m so tired I can’t think straight. I’m caught between oversharing and undersharing. I desperately want to say it’s all downhill from here, but it’s not. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. It’s ugly, it’s nasty, it’s excruciatingly exhausting and difficult, but we’re doing it.

Noah is at his best in the morning, can fake-it-til-he-makes it at work, but by the time afternoon hits, he’s down-and-out exhausted. He takes 19 different pills each day, is sleep deprived, in pain, and emotionally and physically wiped out. At night, he has excruciating leg cramps that he best described as “it feels like my muscles are breaking my bones over and over and over…” Noah has a high pain threshold. He never complains about pain – ever. Yet, the crippling, debilitating state I’ve seen him in night after night when these “cramps” (that word is too light to describe these horrific things) occur, is a hellish nightmare – and that’s being overly polite. Unfortunately, no amount of water, leg massaging, medication adjustments – nothing – alleviates or makes them go away until he’s so exhausted he can fall asleep to avoid the pain, then recharge until morning.

I. FEEL. HELPLESS.

There’s no sugar coating kidney failure or the circumstances we’re in. It’s ugly and it’s going to continue to get uglier until transplant. This morning, I’ve dubbed Monday “Medical Bills Monday.” Four hours on the phone with our insurance company and doctors offices trying to pay, plan and prepare for what’s occurred and what is to come. The numbers are large and looming. Wait, transfer call, wait, sorry we can’t help, transfer call, click.. BEEEEEEEEEEP. Hmm… Someone hung up on me, let’s try this again. And again. Ooops! Repeat the process as many times as necessary… Smashing my head between a door repeatedly sounds like a day at the spa…

But, as much as Satan comes in and tries to cast anxiety, doubt, fear, hardship and derail our prayer to glorify the Lord in this process – the Lord has suited us up in his indestructible armor, and we.keep.going. The waves are crashing, the storm is a furry, but Jesus walked on water. We rest in the assurance Christ will defeat this health-war. He has provided, and He will continue to provide.

Noah is scheduled for pre-op this Thursday, February 23rd, and the transplant date will officially be determined after the board meets on Tuesday, February 28th. Tentatively, surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, March 14th. These dates are subject to change.

Your prayers are needed and appreciated now more than ever as we undergo these next few difficult weeks. A few requests from our family:

  • Alleviate Noah’s pain. That he would make it to the transplant date with no dialysis. Keep him as healthy as possible between now and then (avoid common illnesses; Charlie, Gentry and I had the stomach bug all last week – in addition to my having food poisoning).
  • Protect Wyatt as he mentally and physically prepares for surgery. Ask the Lord to shower him in excellent health, as well as assurance and confidence in his decision to be a living donor for Noah.
  • Keep BOTH Noah and Wyatt healthy post surgery with a rapid, miraculous recovery.
  • Protect Wyatt’s wife, Amy, and her mom, as they spend two weeks in Zambia growing her non-profit, Clothed in Hope, which empowers women through economic and educational opportunities in Lusaka, Zambia.
  • And if you have an extra minute, a little prayer for me for continued strength.

Aside from the countless prayers, messages, texts, phone calls, and visits from our loved ones, one of the biggest gifts has been from our dearest friend, Kayla. She has set up a You Caring account to help us with all things finance associated to the upcoming surgery for Noah and Wyatt. Anything in surplus will be donated to Amy’s charity, Clothed in Hope. Consider giving up a Starbucks coffee or two to help ensure we have sufficient funds to alleviate all financial burden from our donor in this process.

To donate, please visit https://www.youcaring.com/haleyandnoahallen-759388. These two “Kidney Brothers” (and their wives) so greatly appreciate it.

We’re almost there…

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

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WE FOUND OUR MISSING PIECE.

WE. FOUND. OUR. MISSING. PIECE.

I can’t believe I am finally able to type these words. These long prayed over, cried over, pleaded over, hurt over words. We found our missing piece, and our much anticipated news was confirmed yesterday, on Valentine’s Day. Never could we have imagined a greater gift of love than this.

To say our family has witnessed a miracle in the last few months is an understatement. Months ago, after we received the heartbreaking news that Noah needed a kidney transplant, I began to pray – hard. I prayed for a few things specifically in addition to the obvious health concerns and requests. First, I prayed that in the midst of our hurt, that our story would glorify God, and that He would bring about a miracle. I prayed that through our season of suffering, we would still worship Him, praise Him, and glorify Him. Secondly, I prayed for a donor that would do the same. I prayed the Lord would send us a man of strength and of faith, that his fear of God would bring about a certain boldness to answer the selfless call to be Noah’s kidney donor.

And He did. God answered. He brought us Wyatt Bardi.

Several months ago, not terribly long after I launched our blog, Wyatt’s wife, Amy, contacted me. Amy and I met in college through our Greek-led Bible Study, Greek Impact. We were bridesmaids in a mutual best friend’s wedding post-college. We even bunked up in the same big ‘ole bed the night before our friend’s wedding in the bridesmaids suite! Didn’t really know each other all that well at the time, but from what I did know of her, she radiated Jesus. She exuded joy, goodness, faithfulness – the Fruits of the Spirit – Amy has them. She has them all, and she has plenty. This scenario is beyond fitting of how our relationship has evolved – we jumped right in – tell all, bear all, raw and real. We jumped in to a friendship built on faith that has gone deeper than I could have ever imagined or fathomed. Little did I know years later that her husband would be the one to save my husband’s life.

From what I knew of Amy, I knew she had to have married one incredibly faithful man in Wyatt. And she absolutely did. Little did I know, Wyatt was from my hometown of Florence, South Carolina. We went to the same high school, just not in the same grade. We had mutual friends growing up. We ate at the same family favorite restaurants, traveled down the same roads to school, walked the same hallways to class. We grew up alongside one another and didn’t even know it. It took me meeting his wife and my husband’s failing kidneys to know him.

It’s unreal how God has orchestrated this plan. I was diagnosed with diabetes at age 12. Noah was diagnosed with kidney disease at age 19. A sorority sister introduced us when I was diagnosed with decreased kidney function my senior year of college, because she knew I needed support from someone living with something similar. Unexpectedly, I fell in love with that man. And somewhere in the midst I met my friend Amy, and she began dating Wyatt. Amy and Wyatt got married, later Noah and I got married. Wyatt and I grew up in Florence, the four of us went to college in Columbia, then the four of us ended up in North Carolina. We gave birth to two sons, Amy and Wyatt miscarried two. Wyatt is healthy, Noah’s health takes a turn for the worse. The four of us had to undergo pain and hurt that would later allow us to empathize in ways unimaginable that would ultimately lead to our much desired answer to prayer – a living donor for Noah.

Even more so, there is a tissue typing test that is performed on the donor and recipient… Wyatt and Noah tested as genetic brothers. I don’t know how you can find a more perfect match. To think, when God was at work creating Wyatt, He designed his second kidney specifically for Noah. He knew. HE. KNEW.

I am humbled beyond words and in complete awe to look back at my life, at our lives, to see how year after year after year, not just recent months, God has had a greater plan in the works to find my husband a kidney. I can’t look at how this story unfolded with such intricate detail and not give the GLORY to Our God. I can’t deny His unmistakable craftsmanship in this perfect plan, His goodness in seasons of hurt and in joy.

I know the Lord is saying, “Noah, I’m not done with you yet!” He’s allowing Noah, allowing all of us, to bring Him GLORY in the midst of darkness and uncertainty. While we still have a long road ahead of us, and more updates to come soon, today we are going to take a break and revel in this joyous news, this answer to prayer.

We are witnessing a miracle.

“This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” Psalm 118:23

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When the going gets tough…

May 25, 2014 at 3:00 PM I walked down the aisle on my father’s arm, and he gave me away to my future husband. The rest of the world didn’t exist except Noah during that time. I was infatuated with the idea of a fairytale wedding. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, the flowers were blooming, and all of our family and friends gathered together under that big, beautiful tree in a tiny town to whitness such a special occasion. We held hands, looked into each other’s eyes, and made our promises before the Lord. Little did I know what I was saying… “In sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, til death do us part…” How precious. How easy those words rolled off our lips. Marriage. This big fairytale life event where life is beautiful and bliss and you get to make out with your husband every single night and not have to feel guilty about it. Dinner is always on the table and roses are brought home once a week just because. Your babies behave in public at all times, and you have a six pack shortly after giving birth straight back to your original honeymoon bod (no tummies looking like deflated balloons here!). You never complain or argue because really, “all you need is love.”

Well. We didn’t have the slightest clue what our future held.

In sickness. IN. SICKNESS. Didn’t realize in the tiny 2.5 years of our marriage that would be our biggest fight. Sure, we both were dealt the chronic illness card, but, at the time, nothing life threatening. Overall, we were pretty healthy. We could deal. Hey, we’re young! Invincible, really. YEAH. RIGHT.

Today, we’re fighting for Noah’s health. Noah had bloodwork drawn last Friday. His GFR is now all the way down to 11%; 10% is the danger zone. I don’t think one good thing came back from his bloodwork this time. We are there. We need a kidney. We’re about five seconds away from the buzzer stopping the clock at the world championship, and we’re dribbling the ball down the court hoping we score the last point in the game like our lives depend on it – oh wait, our lives DO depend on it. 

Right now, my husband’s life depends on our donor, on doctors, on the transplant team, on the surgeon. And I don’t have control over it. Thank goodness. Why? Because God does. He’s the coach, and the rest of the above mentioned are players. And I’m nothing but the cheerleader cheering and screaming (pretty sure I’m doing this all while battling laryngitis) on the sideline realizing I don’t have a bit of control over the outcome of the game. And it’s tough. Realizing this is really tough.

Yet, I have faith. I have faith in our team. In our donor. In our surgeons. In our doctors. And most importantly, in the Lord. He’s calling the shots. I don’t know exactly what they are, I don’t really understand them, but He knows the plan more than I ever will. And I can and I will rest in this truth. I know He will provide. He holds Noah in his hand and can care for Him better than I ever could. I’ll scream, cry, cheer and plead until we get our “yes” and every day there after, praying for Noah’s health. And thank you to everyone else who is, too.

During the next week as we wait for answers, for much desired yeses, we will rejoice while we hurt, we will pray when we don’t feel like talking, and we will keep persevering when we feel like we just can’t keep going.

Because when the going gets tough………..

THE. TOUGH. GET. GOING.

Let’s fight.

That Four Letter Word

W-A-I-T. WAIT. That seems to be the four-letter-word of the month (or maybe year…).

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to update everyone on the blog. This month has been full of doctor visits, joy, sadness, waiting, waiting and more waiting. All aboard, the emotional roller coaster ride! Last week the babies were sick. We sent Noah to a dear friend’s home so he wouldn’t catch the viruses. Pre-transplant, we have to be hyper-sensitive to him catching anything because it could affect him worse than the norm, and he could end up on dialysis (which we do not want). So this mama had to do lots of hand washing, cleaning, and sanitizing in order to get the babies well and keep germs at bay. I certainly couldn’t have gotten through it without my mom coming to help for a few days (moms totally outshine superheroes, by the way) and some precious friends who sent us meals so that was one less thing off our plate. I absolutely could not be more grateful.

To be transparent, I think this month has been the hardest for me emotionally. Every day I want to be able to type the words to let our friends and family know, “We found our missing piece.” But I can’t yet. We’re still waiting. We’re still hoping. And boy oh boy, are we still praying. But in this time of waiting, in this time of hurt and hope, two opposite emotions, it’s been hard, but it’s been oh so good. It’s been good because of you. It’s been good because of the prayers, the texts, the phone calls, the meals, the care packages, the “I love you’s.” There are days when I pray I start out angry, asking God “WHY?!” move on to a flood of tears because of my fears, and end up saying “thank you.” He is good. He knows. He knows the depths of our hearts, our deepest desires. And we don’t have to put on a face for God. We can ugly snot cry with mascara running down our face while pulling our hair out. He encourages to come as we are – when we are angry, when we are sad, when we are down right OVER.IT. and he wants us to cry to Him, to yell to Him, to call out to Him… and just sometimes, we need to do all those things at once. Because he is Our Father, and He is going to love us through it. Never will He leave us, never will He forsake us.

This month, He has loved me through this whirlwind of emotions through friends, through strangers (or, maybe I should say “new” friends), and through little reminders that I know He’s listening. There are days many of you have sent me a text, have called, sent a meal, a care package, and those simple gestures have come at my weakest and my ugliest. Thank you. Thank you for reminding me we serve a God who can move mountains, the provider of miracles, the Great Physician. We serve a Savior who has our family’s best interest and can provide like no other can provide. Thank you family and friends for lifting us up when we just.can’t.even. Believe it or not, the Lord has used you at the right time to remind us to just keep on fighting, because really, what other choice to we have? We can complain and ask “why me?!” or we can go through something tough, something hard, something difficult and give God the glory and hand all control over to Him. Because what I’ve learned the most over the past several months (and let’s be honest, years…) is that I’m not the one in control. He is. And that gives me rest.

So once again, thank you. Thank you for loving our family, for supporting our family through your gifts and talents, and for praying for our family. Noah’s GFR (kidney function rate) is at an all time low of 12%. We’re there. We need a kidney. And we are hopeful in our wait that God will provide.

Noah Glen, all I have to say is I can’t wait to hold your hand when I’m 90 because I have a feeling God has big plans for your life and our family’s lives. And we’re going to be able to look back at this chapter and smile at His provision. He is so good, even when it doesn’t feel good.

Oh, I cannot wait to see the Lord do His work – because He is already at it…