12.11.18

12.11.18 another life changing day for Team Barker!

The day that Reid donated a kidney to his friend, Jon.

This journey was incredible. To be on the donation side was special in so many ways.

On December 10th, we had pre-op appointments. We were praying Reid and Jon were both healthy (no fever or sickness with cold/flu season), and that all labs came back good to proceed with surgery!

All went well and we began to prepare for surgery the next morning.

Jon’s extended family drove in Monday night and we were able to meet them. Jon and Reid took one last picture before they parted ways and tried to get a restful night sleep before the big day!

We had such a peace the morning of surgery. Reid’s parents drove in late Monday night and we met them Tuesday morning for a time of prayer before heading to the hospital.

Our Godmother, Dawn (my donor mom) met us at the hospital and it was amazing to have her with us. It was very full circle. Her daughter saved my life and because of that decision and Reid having (almost) 5 extra years of life with me, it encouraged his decision to donate life to Jon. It was incredibly special and a comfort to have her with me in the waiting room that day.

Reid and I re-created our Team Barker picture from 2014. He was now the patient and I was the care-taker. I love my teammate for life! No one else I would rather be on this journey with.

The advocate came out to make sure Reid was still willing to donate his kidney and he said, “Absolutely!” He was taken back to his pre-op room and we spent an hour there listening to praise and worship and spending time together before they took him back.

Jessica, Jon’s wife, came to see Reid. She hugged him as tears streamed down her face. Reid’s parents, Dawn, and myself all began to tear up as well. Reid told her, “I do not need you to thank me. I am just so thankful y’all can live a life machine free and enjoy life as a family.” It was the most amazing moment that I will never forget.

We all held hands surrounding Reid’s hospital bed and prayed over Reid, Jon, the surgeons, doctors, nurses, and begged God for 20+ years of good health for Jon with his new kidney.

Reid and I spent a few minutes by ourselves. I told him how in-love I am with him and how extremely proud I was of him. I was able to walk alongside his hospital bed up until a certain point. Gave him a kiss and the surgery would soon begin.

Reid is only the 2nd male living kidney donor at the VA Houston and the first person to donate who was not related to their donor. That was special for Reid as he wants to spread the word that you do not have to be family/related to be able to donate life.

Our family and Jon’s family gathered in the waiting room.

Lots of praying and walks down the hospital hall were taken as we waited.

Reid’s surgery lasted 3 ½ hours. His donation coordinator came out and told us the surgery was a success and that Reid had a very large, healthy kidney. Reid had asked her to take pictures of his kidney and she did. It was a gift to be able to see it.

His kidney had been transferred to Jon’s OR which was next door to Reid’s OR and Jon’s part of this surgery was beginning. We could expect another 3 hours until Jon was out of surgery.

About an hour later I was able to see my sweet husband—the sweetest site.

He was doing well- he was in discomfort but his first question was, “How’s Jon?”

Jon’s surgery was over 7 hours total. His surgeons came out and informed his wife that it was a success. Jon was already producing urine and was in recovery. His surgeon said, “Congratulations—it has been a good day!”

What a PRAISE!!!! To see Jon’s family so excited for this news was surreal for me.

I hugged Jon’s wife after the surgeon left and it was PURE JOY! The sacrifice of my husband saving her husbands life! It’s truly hard to put into words. A very special moment that I will treasure forever.

5 hours later, Reid was taken to a private room. Jessica came to check on Reid!

All of the months of praying and preparation for this day and it was now complete.

Reid asked me to pray for us as we were settling down for bed that night. I sat on the side of his hospital bed and tears streamed down my face as we praised God for answering every single prayer request and seeing this donation to a successful completion. What a mighty God we serve!

Some of Jon’s first words were, “How’s Reid?” I loved how concerned they both were about each other. Jon was in the ICU for 2 days and then joined Reid on his floor.

They were able to see each other on day three for the first time (the day Reid was being discharged).

Reid is minus one kidney and Jon is plus one!

Reid was discharged on Thursday, just two days after his surgery and we headed back to the hotel in Houston.

Jon was miraculously discharged the next day and was back at the same hotel, on the same floor as us on Friday. We had dinner together in their hotel room that night before Reid and I drove home Saturday.

The day of Jon’s surgery- his creatinine level was 22 (before dialysis) and he had 3% kidney function. His creatinine level is now down under 1.0. His doctors are calling his new kidney the “Super Kidney” Praise GOD!!!

No more dialysis machine! YAY!!! 🎉

This picture was taken last Friday 1.4.19 at Reid’s post op visit in Houston.

Jon is feeling SO well and made it home to his kids yesterday, on his 45th birthday! Of course, as I know and can relate to, he still has a long journey ahead.

Transplants do not fix everything. You still take anti-rejection medications for the rest of your life, you are immunosuppressed, have to be so cautious of germs/infections, etc., lab work, doctor visits. But the return is LIFE!!!

Seeing Jon reunited with his family last night was the ultimate gift. It made this donation more real. We pray that Jon has more energy, more ability to spend time with his kids and make so many beautiful memories. We pray for health for years and years to come!

Friends…organ donation is beautiful. It parallels the gospel in every single way possible. We are so thankful to now have been on both sides of this gift.

It is a sacrifice, it is love, it is what Jesus calls us to do—to love our neighbors as ourselves.

There has been so much JOY in walking in obedience and what the Lord had for us.

I will leave you with the Dallas Morning News article that came out on Christmas Day—a beautiful story of our journey and a neat God wink. When the photographer came out to our house to take our picture for the article, we quickly put together that he was from Burundi (the country we are adopting from). What a GIFT! He shared so much insight on Burundi with us. He is still fluent in the language and wants to keep in contact with us. We look forward to having him involved in our kiddos lives.

He left our house and I just started crying. To think that Reid answered the call to be obedient to donating his kidney, which lead to the DMN article, and God blessed us with a priceless relationship of a young man from Burundi to guide us on this adoption journey. God is SO generous!!!

Dallas Morning News Article

See our social media sites for a video that I made of the journey as well! ❤️

I don’t think I ever would have been brave enough to choose this journey for myself. I am thankful God chose to give us organ donation as our way to spread His good news!

Thank you all for praying and walking alongside us.

Team Barker loves you and is so grateful for your support! 💙💚

Our Transplant Journey Continues

February 6, 2014 changed our lives in the most traumatic but beautiful way possible.  That day opened our eyes to the beautiful world of organ donation. 

There has not been one day since 2.6.14 that we have not been so grateful for the gift of life.

I have loved this quote! We have tried to embrace making each day the special occasion. It is such a GIFT to wake up every morning­­. That is always something to celebrate and a reason to find little ways to make each day a special moment/occasion. 

We never imagined that I would be a transplant recipient and we truly never imagined that Reid would be a living donor!

Yes, a LIVING DONOR! 

I am so proud to announce that Reid will be donating his kidney to a former co-worker, dear friend, and fellow Alabama football fan, Jon! 

When Reid first found out Jon was in need of a kidney (back in the Spring), he immediately felt the Holy Spirit telling him to get tested. 

Testing started back in July. Reid started with doing labs here in Dallas, followed by further testing checking his antibodies with Jon’s to ensure they were a match. Once we found out the antibodies were a match, we were flown to Houston in October for further testing. Jon served our country in the Navy so the VA transplant program is located in Houston. What a wonderful place to be in the heart of the medical district in Houston. 

It was VERY surreal for the both of us that I was NOT the patient. We have spent the last (almost) five years with Reid accompanying me to doctor visits and many procedures and surgeries. 

During our two days in Houston- many tests, scans, and exams were performed. We met with the nephrologist (kidney doctor), surgeons, psychologist, social worker, nutritionist, and transplant coordinator. 

We did not have our final answer when we left Houston as a few more tests needed to be done in Dallas. 

Upon completion of those tests, we got the official phone call on November 21st that Reid was a definite match and the kidney donation was a GO! 

The transplant coordinator informed us that the donation will take place on December 11th.

Reid has seen first hand the power of the gift of life as my life as his wife was saved through organ donation almost five years ago. This donation comes full circle for us. The thought that Jon and his family (wife and four kids) will be impacted by this donation for years to come is precious to us. 

Organ donation continues to parallel the gospel in every way. It turns our eyes to heavenly things! It sure is different for us to be on the donation side and it has given us an even deeper love and appreciation for not only my donor family but ALL donor families who choose to give life so others may live abundantly. 

What a picture of what Jesus has done for us! 

When we got the phone call on Wednesday, we immediately made our way to reveal the news to Jon. 

It was a sweet time to share with he and his entire family the great news! 

 

We would love your prayers during this time. 

Specific Prayer Requests:

·      Travel mercies to and from Houston

·      Peace that surpasses all understanding for both families

·      Wisdom for the surgeons and clinical team

·      Safe removal of Reid’s kidney

·      Smooth transition of Reid’s kidney being placed into Jon

·      For Jon’s body to accept the new kidney

·      Smooth recovery for Reid and Jon. 

·      That they both will continue to live their lives abundantly, savoring every moment, and giving GOD ALL THE GLORY! 

 We do not share this story to give ourselves ANY credit for this miracle. 

Reid has actually hated the attention of this announcement. 

We share this because we hope that you see Jesus in this story. 

He used our suffering, our darkest hours, and our deepest trial to bring SO much BEAUTY! And because of that, it has given Reid a new perspective on the gift of life and wanting to pass that gift on to others. “The greatest treasures in my life are products of the darkest times of my life” –Unknown. 

We share this because we want nothing less than for our lives to reflect the Gospel. For people to see Christ in us and our lives’ lived out daily. There is SO MUCH JOY when you are OBEDIENT to CHRIST! 

Thank you for continuing on this transplant journey with us!

We are grateful for your love and support!

All our love! Team Barker