A good meal can lift the spirit, and I think we can all agree a great meal can make you feel much better, mentally and physically. But food can't fix everything.
For the first time in a long time, we dusted off an old recipe (a chicken and noodle dish we fondly dubbed ‘Chicken Mush’). I needed some comfort. This is why.
Earlier this year in January, David went to the doctor for a headache that wouldn’t go away. They saw that his blood pressure was alarmingly high, so they put him on two medications and ordered blood tests. The results were shocking: Chronic Kidney Disease, Stage 5 (AKA “End Stage”). Somehow David’s kidneys had been damaged so severely they were struggling to operate at 7% of normal capacity.
Meaning? Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Go directly to a transplant program and needing a matching donor to prevent imminent dialysis this year, which is more and more likely as time passes.
We’re trying to delay the horrors and health risks of hemodialysis by managing a strict renal diet for David, so our blog posts are about to get real weird. Want to know the secrets of making Brazilian Beiju flatbread? You will.
But like I said, food can’t fix everything.
If you want to help us, there are several ways
First, anyone can help us by spreading the word about our situation. The more awareness we have, the better the chance of finding a matching kidney.
If you are open to exploring donation, here is detailed information about kidney transplants and donation. But, there are some important questions about donation that I will answer right away.
“Will I be just as healthy after I donate one of my kidneys?”
Yes! After donation your other kidney will increase in size and functionality to compensate. You will be able to return to all your normal exercise routines and physical activities after the recovery period.
“Is the donation process safe?”
Yes! Although it is a surgical procedure, the transplant team will rigorously qualify you before accepting a donation. They will never accept a donation that puts the donor at risk.
“Will the donation process be expensive?”
No! The recipient’s insurance pays for almost all costs. The only things you would have to cover is any needed basic health exams and time off work to recover.
We need you!
If David goes on dialysis, rather than a transplant, we’re looking at an average life expectancy of only 10 years, many of them hooked up to a machine of some sort. It’s an ugly thing to think about, but those are the facts. Kidney transplant is a treatment that can double his life expectancy while also greatly improving the quality of those years.
David’s exceptional transplant team is based out of U.C. Health, and he is registered there for anyone who is interested in the facts about donation. You can call his transplant coordinator, Janea Matherly, at 513-584-5573 or email her and she will be happy to take your information and walk you through a short questionnaire (also available here, can be faxed to 513-584-0881) to determine if you are a candidate. I am probably the best person to look to for any updates on David’s health. I will also be undergoing the donor testing process (I am not a match via blood type but there's another process I will be pursuing, explained below), so I should have answers to any questions or concerns that you might have. Ask away.
David's blood type is A, which mean positive or negative donors A or O could be a match. Even if you aren’t a match for David, there are programs that match donors up with other donors that could be, which actually means that your decision can start a reaction that saves the lives of multiple people! Think of it like a daisy chain. Except made out of squishy, squishy kidneys.
We’re in this together
This will be the hardest thing David and I have faced together yet. We are grateful to have access to exceptional doctors and support of family and friends. David is incredibly smart and is proactively managing his care, and I’m a force to be reckoned with when it comes to getting big things done. Still, I’d be lying if I told you that we were really ‘OK’ right now. We're both handling it a little differently.
|This is me|
Situations like this really put things in perspective. Life is short and sudden onset, unexplained illnesses like this can make it much shorter. I urge you to make the most of your own and be kind to who you can, where you can and when you can.
And if you've got the time, make someone who might need it some Chicken Mush. Except not for David, since he can’t eat it right now.
Chicken Mush Recipe
Very early in our relationship, David developed this recipe from what we happened to have in our pantry. It's inexpensive to make and extremely easy -- perfect for two people with student loans living in a small apartment with a dated kitchen.
8 cups water
8 cubes chicken bouillon (or equivalent, you’re looking for about 800 mg sodium per cube)
1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 10 oz cans chicken meat (or leftover roast chicken if you have it)
1 lb (16 oz) extra wide egg noodles
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Add cubes to water and bring to boil
- Add wine, soy sauce, and spices
- Make sure broth is well mixed, then add chicken meat with juice
- After boil returns, add noodles and cook uncovered for 15 minutes
- Halfway through cooking, add oil and stir noodles thoroughly
- Enjoy or give to someone who needs it.