11 years post transplant

posted Feb 26, 2016, 8:13 AM by Becca K.

An update of fantastic proportions.

We had an AWESOME transplant checkup appointment yesterday for Natalie.

The Chicago snow was horrible -10 miles to the south of us!!! But our route to the hospital was clear for 2 hours!!

First up - phlebotomy. Natalie had an Amazing phlebotomist/uber driver/Deacon that talked her ear off and set her at ease before her 6 vials of blood were taken. And her liver is happy. Labs look really really good.

And then we were off to ultrasound. We had another amazing tech. She took her time and explained everything she was doing to Natalie. Natalie is 12 now. And when you are 12, they start talking more to the patient, than their families. As a means of transitioning.

1. The two little cysts on her kidneys haven't changed in 3 years. Itty bitty little fellas.
2. Her body has effectively created it's own by-pass/ shunt of the portal vein blockage. They actually refer to it in her chart as "A case of a spontaneous splenorenal shunt."  And I held my tears in.
3. Height = 5'6" and weight is completely appropriate. 
4. Spleen = still big.  Keep avoiding contact sports and doing what you are doing (volleyball, track, swimming).
5. Natalie made her first medical decision - to stay enrolled in a study, where they can review her care and charts and use her experiences to help others.  She would not let me take a picture of the moment.
6. Then we learned that Natalie is stable enough to not have to come back for a whole year!! (We've waited 11 years to hear that.)

God is so good.

A note from Natalie's Teachers

posted Apr 22, 2015, 10:22 AM by Becca K.

I nominated Natalie's teachers for PTA Educator of the year.

This was their response.

I am sobbing.  All we ever wanted was for her to survive.  Great grades and the pressure therein were not important to her father and I.  This is more than we could have ever hoped or prayed for. 

It has been our pleasure, no, our privilege, to work with your daughter! She is a remarkable, outstanding young lady.  She not only makes each day here at Mary Morgan a better for us to come too; but she inspires us all to be better people. She helped remind us all that every day is a gift, and that giving is so very important. She showed others that, “we never know what people are going through, or have gone through,” and because of this we need to be sensitive to others and their feelings.

As teachers we are always looking for a way to inspire and engage (hard to do sometimes), but when someone like Natalie steps up in the way that she did – all the lesson plans in the world couldn’t compare. She is a teachers dream, and you should be very proud of her (I know you are!!!), We are so very proud of her! She truly makes a difference and positively impacts this class, school, community… world! (not even overstating that)

THANK YOU! Thank you for the nomination, but most importantly – thank you for giving us the privilege to work with Natalie every day! It is students like her, and parents like you, that are the true “award” in teaching!

Easter and 4-H

posted Mar 10, 2015, 8:12 AM by Becca K.

Last night at 4-H, during attendance the kids were supposed to say their favorite thing about Easter, instead of just saying “Here.”

All of the kids were saying, “candy” “the Easter bunny” “hiding eggs...” that sort of thing.

And then they got to my kid.

“Jesus rising on the third day,” was her response.

10 Year Liver Transplant Anniversary (Re-Birthday)

posted Feb 8, 2015, 5:02 PM by Becca K.

10 years ago you got a second chance at life.

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Natalie is 11

posted Sep 30, 2014, 7:23 AM by Becca K.

I never thought we would get to this day.
Natalie, you are a blessing and a gift.
God is in your life and I pray that your every day on this earth is as blessed as the blessings you give to others.

We love you,
Mom and Dad

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Say something.

posted Aug 4, 2014, 7:46 AM by Becca K.

Mom, I saw her!

Her reaction was like seeing a celebrity.

Mom I saw her*!

Well, did you say hi?


Why not?

Because I wasn’t sure if it was her. It’s been so long since we have seen each other. But I think it was her. She is really tall. I wonder if I will be that tall…

Did she say hi to you?

No. I don’t think she remembers me anymore. (Said with wishful hope and a little sadness)

Next time, say “Hi.” OK? You are family. And I am sure that she would have said, “Hi,” right back to you.

OK, next time I see her, I will. I will say, "Hi." We are family.

It makes me think of a really really sad song…

"Say Something"

Say something, I'm giving up on you
I'll be the one, if you want me to
Anywhere I would've followed you
Say something, I'm giving up on you

And I am feeling so small
It was over my head
I know nothing at all

And I will stumble and fall
I'm still learning to love
Just starting to crawl

Say something, I'm giving up on you
I'm sorry that I couldn't get to you
Anywhere I would've followed you
Say something, I'm giving up on you

And I will swallow my pride
You're the one that I love
And I'm saying goodbye

Say something, I'm giving up on you
And I'm sorry that I couldn't get to you
And anywhere I would've followed you (Oh-oh-oh-oh)
Say something, I'm giving up on you

Say something, I'm giving up on you
Say something...

*Name removed

It’s my job to make the small things be what they really are, big things.

posted Apr 23, 2014, 6:14 AM by Becca K.   [ updated Apr 23, 2014, 6:14 AM ]

"It’s my job to make the small things be what they really are, big things."

Her statement, it came completely out of the blue.

“What did you say, Natalie?” I asked as we were riding in the car home from our Easter festivities. We were sitting in the dark, in relative silence, listening to the radio.

“Mom, I think that it’s part of the reason that I’m here. To help you see that the small things are really big things. I mean, you and I, we almost died, mom. But dad, he had it the worst. He had to have been so worried about us both.” 

Jason and I looked at each other. “Where did that come from?” He mouthed to me.

“I have no idea.” I mouthed back.

And then we laughed, a glorious, freeing laugh.  The kind where either laughing or crying with joy seems appropriate.

And then we listened as Natalie told us about how God sometimes makes you pay attention to the small things that really matter. And how sometimes the things that you think are the big things, aren’t so important.  Because sometimes God wants you to pay attention to something else.

Dear Natalie

posted Mar 12, 2014, 7:42 AM by Becca K.

The world is not a cruel place. But some of the people in it are cruel.

Names hurt.

People will do and say hurtful things.

People will hate you just for being you.

And that’s OK, there is nothing more that you can do about it.

Rather than letting the hate of others consume you, know this:

You are a child of God. You are filled with his Spirit. You know that God is the “most important thing in the whole universe.” You told us this last night a dinner.

I am sorry that your heart hurts. Sometimes mine does too, my child.

I wish everyone loved you as your father and I do. I wish everyone loved you as your Father in Heaven does. And that is what Jesus asked of all of us, isn’t it. He asked us to love.

So I ask you to remember this. Love those that hate you. Love those that call you names. Love those that don’t love you back.

Be true to who you are.

Let God’s Spirit and love fill you and guide you.

Do not worry about those that wish you harm or do not have your best interests in mind. Focus fully on the people that love you, on the people that want to spend time with you. Your lessons of today can be lessons for the rest of your life.

Sit with the people that WANT you at their lunch table. Do not spend another second worrying about those that do not want cherish their time with you.

You are brave.

You are strong.

You are wonderfully bossy and assertive.

You have a kind and gentle heart.

You are quirky.

Your personality is effervescent!

You are animated.

You are a good shot.

You are a fantastic swimmer.

You are a patient baby-sitter.

You are a faithful friend.

You are a hard-worker.

You are a blessing.

You are a wonderful daughter.

You are a gifted pianist.

You are brilliant.

Sometimes, yes, you are wonderfully awkward. Be patient with yourself. Your tall body was wonderfully made by God. You will learn better limb control as the years go on. Love yourself. Love the body that you were given. Take care of it.

You are a confident leader.

Your father and I love you. We will always be in your corner.

Another one of the good ones is gone.

posted Feb 18, 2014, 3:00 PM by Becca K.

The sparkle in the eyes of my Uncle Dan has faded, and last night he joined our family in heaven.

Uncle Dan, I enjoyed our talks. I enjoyed my time with you. I enjoyed the times that you sat and took the time to explain faith through your eyes.  You were so patient for all of my questions, for that I wish I could once again thank you.

Thank your for your love. Thank you for your brilliance. Thank you for your patience. Goodness, you were always so gracious with all of us. Cherishing each person that came your way and making each person that talked to you feel special and important. You took time for our children, teasing them, talking to them, never making them feel like they were “just kids.” You took time with us, the many many nieces and nephews. When we talked, you listened. That is a rarity in a large family.

I wish we had talked about blogging.

I wish I had known.

There was so much to you that we did not know. The Kirby story made me laugh, I wish I had heard you tell it.

Here is his blog.‎

Your 36 year old liver is celebrating its 9th anniversary

posted Feb 6, 2014, 2:31 PM by Becca K.

What a strange thought that is. Your liver is 36 years old – newsflash readers, you now know Natalie’s mom’s age. Natalie, will you read these words someday? I do hope so. I hope and pray that someday you read these words and know just how much you are loved.

I hope and pray that you read the words on this page and know just how much you were prayed for, worried about, and loved. I hope that you can read the love pouring through your computer screen, or whatever format you use to read this. Someday.

Did you know that the transplant originally failed? Did you know that you were immediately re-listed? Did you know that you are living proof of miracles? We talk regularly about all of this, but I wonder, what will you remember?

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