A Kidney for My Mom

God Stories - Michelle Pate

For the last 5 years my mother’s severe headaches would land her in the hospital so frequently the doctors knew her by name.

They would find her blood pressure abnormally high but could not find the core reason why this kept occurring so frequently. They would give her an I.V., monitor her pressure and then send her home after several hours. This cycle continued about every 3 months until October, 2014 when during one of our “routine” visits to the hospital, a physician decided to run some different tests than usual. Thinking nothing of it, we waited for the results but could never have been prepared for the news we received that day. The test confirmed my mother was in severe kidney failure and would need dialysis to continue to live.

My heart immediately sank. “Not my mom! She never did anything to deserve this!” That was all l could think about after hearing the horrible news. After crying uncontrollably for an hour, I gathered myself. Without a second thought, my only sister and I volunteered to give our own kidneys to our mom. She immediately declined. I told her to at least think about it and that the offer was always available. She began to go to her dialysis treatments 3 days a week, 3 hours per day. Because of this treatment, she had to quit her job (which she loved) and was forced to go on disability. As her treatments went on, her appearance began to change. Her skin began to sink in, she lost her color and her hair was thinning.

About 3 months into treatment, my mother approached me after work one day and asked if my kidney donation offer was still standing. I smiled, and replied with a simple, “Of course!” The following week, my sister and I went with my mother for a blood type test to find out if we could donate. My sister tested first but her results were not a match. My results came back and the doctor confirmed, “Michelle, you are a perfect match!” We immediately scheduled a date for surgery and began prepping to get my iron levels up. I scheduled time off of my job and on August 17, 2015 at MCV Hospital, I saved my mother’s life by giving her my right kidney. A year later, my mom is alive and well. She was even able to see me get married – a moment I thought she would never see. God always knows what you need, before you really need it. Ever since I was born my mom called me her miracle baby. This has a new meaning to us now. Just as God provided for Abraham in his time of need, to my mom, I will always be her “ram in the thicket.”