|Carla Oliver, Kidney Recipient|
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
My journey began in 1992. During a routine visit to the doctor, I learned my blood pressure was high. When the medications didn't lower it, I had a biopsy and was diagnosed with a kidney disease that was either inherited or caused by the high blood pressure. I knew I would eventually need a kidney transplant, but in the meantime, I continued to live my life, raising my son and enjoying my marriage to my husband, Michael.
In January 2001, I was forced to start dialysis. I tried not to let it control my life. I was able to continue working and traveling. My family was constantly worried about my health, and I worried that the call that would save my life might never come. I knew there was no guarantee.
But the call did come. It was 5 a.m. on May 22, 2003 and later that day, I received my Gift of Life. I was scared and excited, but I was also sad, knowing someone had just lost a family member.
The December following my transplant, I went on a 7-day cruise in the eastern Caribbean with my mom, and 10 others. It was a celebration of my second chance at life. But, truthfully, every day is a celebration.
When I wrote my donor's family, I wanted them to know how blessed I felt and that their daughter is my hero. In July, I had the pleasure of meeting them personally - and it was the perfect ending to an amazing journey. But the journey will continue as I continue to stay in contact with these new members of my extended family.