This I Believe

Katie - Murray, Kentucky
Entered on January 27, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: setbacks
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My mom is living on borrowed time. It’s hard for me to admit that, but I believe that God was not quite ready to take her. My relationship with my mother had always been rocky. I think it’s hard for any woman to admit that they are just like their mother, and I’m no different. We’re so much alike we ended up not getting along. Our petty arguments transformed into world wars. By the time I moved away to college our relationship was hanging by a thread.

In December of 2003 I arrived home for winter break. I was greeted by my dad, “Your mom’s kidneys failed her, and she’s in the hospital.” The first night I went to the hospital my mom was asleep in a special room where she was hooked up to a dialysis machine. There were more tubes going into her than I wanted to count. My dad and I sat quietly with her until we were forced to leave. The next morning when I arrived at the hospital she was in her room. After hugs, kisses, and small talk I gathered the courage to ask mom if it’s Polycystic Kidney Disease. She nodded.

A normal kidney is the size of a human fist and weighs a third of a pound. However, with PKD, cysts develop in both kidneys. With cysts the kidneys can grow to the size of a football and weigh as much as 38 pounds each. Ultimately PKD results in kidney failure. PKD is a prevalent disease, one in every five hundred people has it, it does not skip generations, and if a parent has it there’s a fifty percent chance that it’s passed on. My Grandma had PKD, and now two of her three daughters inherited it. My mom’s only hope to survive this was to receive a transplant. The news of mom’s health didn’t change our relationship over night. When I went home for visits we still argued till the roof blew off, but it seemed to happen less often. Then it was announced that my aunt was a perfect match to donate a kidney. A date was set in October 2004 for the operation.

It has been five years that my mom has been living past the day she was to naturally die. Within those five years my mother and I have slowly grown closer than I could have ever imagined. I believe that God kept my mom here because of our incomplete relationship. I believe my life would be totally different if my mom died while we were still at odds with each other. I still don’t know if I have PKD, but my sister has it. I am resolute in the fact that I will lose a kidney someday. If I don’t need a kidney, I am giving mine to my sister. I whole-heartedly believe I will need my mom with me on the day I lose one of my kidneys.