is it a match?


Today is my husband’s birthday, so I think it’s appropriate to share a beautiful gift that was given to him. It didn’t come to him on his actual birthday, nor was it wrapped in a beautiful package. By far, it was one of the most amazing presents anyone could receive and it was wrapped in an ice chest. The gift…

A pancreas… yes, a pancreas!
insulin pump       pancreas ice chest
 new insulin pump
No need for it!!!                 Organ in an ice chest!!!

Previously, I wrote of the kidney transplant that took place in January 2011. With that working kidney, there was no need for dialysis, although he was still trying to control diabetes. Once Phil fully recovered from that surgery, the doctors would get his name on the pancreas transplant list. We were told that the time frame could be up to a year, waiting for a match. Two years later, we questioned where his name was on the list. When the nurse checked, they realized that he had never been put back on the list after recovery. We thought we had been waiting, so now… we wait!

What we thought would be months took only 11 days. Seriously! The phone rang on Saturday, March 2 at about 7:15 pm and it was one of the transplant coordinators. She said, we have a pancreas that just came in and it is being tested for a match. Please begin heading to Houston and we will call you as soon as we have the results. Our granddaughter was spending the night with us. She was not happy about going back to her mom’s house. I quickly packed our bags, which should have been packed and ready. We had no idea that they would be calling so soon.

Bags packed for what could be at least a month’s stay in Houston – check!
Audrey Girl seat belted – check!
We made phone calls to the family being made as we pull out of the driveway at 8 pm – check!

Houston is a four-hour drive and we had to stop in Lafayette to drop off Audrey. Heading towards Houston, we get a second call and it’s Jen. Other voices can be heard in the background. Jen tells us to keep heading toward Houston, while they are still waiting on news of a match. Dr Asham is saying, “Tell them to come.” She tells him, “Doctor, the match hasn’t been confirmed,” He says, “This pancreas is for him. Tell them to come!”

dr. asham      leaving hospital
Dr. Asham & Phil             5 days later, leaving the hospital!

We kept heading west, arriving at the Methodist Hospital a little after midnight. Paper work, more paper work and finally, in a room, we find out surgery is scheduled for 7 am. Of course who can sleep at a time like this. Tired, anxious, excited and afraid all at the same time.

Sunday, March 3, 2013 – The nurse comes in to get Phil ready and we are off to the waiting area. Looking around, I see an ice chest. I told Phil, “I wonder if that is where the pancreas is.” As it happens, the team comes to get Phil, rolling his bed down the hall into the surgery room, one of the guys grabbed the ice chest, following behind them.

Here’s a post I made on Facebook the very next day:

WOW! What a weekend we had! And it all happened at a hospital, of all places! The Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. My husband was given an awesome gift that has changed his life – our lives! Sunday – 9:30 am – he was given a pancreas that works! Yes!!!!!! That’s what I said… a pancreas! And it’s so amazing!!! Can’t put enough explanation marks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! His blood sugars have been running 89 – 105 – 111 – 91 – 86 – 107 – No more spikes! No more lows! Totally Awesome! Astounding! Amazing! Fascinating! Incredible! Surprising! Wonderful! Unbelievable! Thrilling! Magnificent! Beautiful! Remarkable! Overwhelming! Heart-stirring! Impressive! Exciting! Spectacular! Extraordinary! Phenomenal! Fabulous! Wonder-working! No words can truly describe what it’s like for both of us! To GOD be the GLORY for the things HE has done!!!

candy man          games
The Real Candy Man          Passing the days!

There is another family we are connected to because of this life-changing experience. We don’t know their names and we will probably never meet them. We are connected by the gift of a loved one who decided to be an organ donor. We can’t say THANK YOU enough! I will be posting updates so you can take this journey with us! We really appreciate all the prayers and words of encouragement yesterday! Our family and friends, church family… You guys are terrific! We love you!

It’s overwhelming to think that he won’t have to count carbs and inject medicine every time he eats! We are also thankful for the opportunities we have to pray and encourage others who are hurting and recovering from transplants. Bubba (69) has had a heart transplant and wife, Carolyn. He is doing fantastic. Cecile (79) is the oldest man to receive a LVAD device keeping his heart pumping. He and his wife, Maxine love the Lord! Then there was Pearly & Nathan, Sylvia & John, We are making JESUS famous while we are in Houston!

Dr. Asham and Dr. Knight said Phil is way ahead of most for a pancreas transplant patient. Typically the patients have to stay at least 7 days but he was doing so well he was able to discharge at 5 days. Praise The Lord!!! We also found out that our surgeon, Dr. Asham was a Christian and prayed for this surgery. He said it was the smoothest transplant he has ever done. He was as blessed as we were to find out we were all believers! This is what happens when people pray!!!

The picture of Phil with all that candy is a favorite! A diabetic patient has to stay away from all of that sugar. But… Who’s diabetic now?

There is so much more to this story, and I don’t have time in this post to share! Phil is now living a life free from dialysis and diabetes. That is a miracle! And that is my JOY story!

Living in HIS Joy!

Eva Raye


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