At this time last year I did not believe I would be blogging about Thanksgiving in 2011. On November 20th after a busy night of deep-frying 200 turkeys from 11p.m. until dawn at Union Rescue Mission in preparation for our big Thanksgiving event, my kidneys failed and for a few weeks I wasn’t sure I would make it. I certainly believed I would have to retire and go on disability, as I signed up and began the necessary testing process to determine if kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant were options I could consider. My world was turned upside down.
However, with some encouraging words by Dr. Nirmal Kumar that I needed to “work until I dropped”, strong support from my wife and the Board of Directors & team at URM, tripling of my medication, drinking two glasses of water with a tea spoon of baking soda each day, and going on a strict low phosphorous and low potassium diet, mostly made up of vegetables, fruits and water, along with several rounds of shots of Procrit to boost my red blood cells and rid me of dizziness I was experiencing, my kidney function has improved from 15% to 24%, moving me far away from dialysis for the time being.
I’ve not only improved remarkably in kidney function, but I’ve lost 34 lbs, my red blood cell count has improved and my cholesterol is so good that hopefully the blockage in my heart and arteries is being reduced! I’ve tightened the control of my type 1 diabetes to the point that my tests almost ring true of a normal healthy person!
This strict regimen is the only way for me, as I’ve been dropped off the transplant list. It seems that I cannot get a transplant until I have an angioplasty to remove a blockage in my heart, and the dye put into my body for the angioplasty would destroy the rest of my kidney function. So I am stuck in a bit of a quandary, but I’ve decided to stay on the strict diet and regimen, and keep doing this work that I love so much.
I haven’t had a diet soda, chocolate, cheese, dairy of any kind, chips, potatoes, and my favorite sweet potatoes or baked beans in nearly 1 year, but it is easy to follow a diet when it keeps you alive and doing the work that you love!
I lost a dear friend this week, a hero of mine, who fell ill at the same time that I did last year. I don’t fully understand God’s grace to me through this difficult time, but I am so thankful. My wife shared with me last week, “that we have so much to be thankful for!”
So, again this year I will be up with the URM team, strong, and deep-frying 200 turkeys overnight on Friday and early Saturday morning, preparing to feed 4500 precious friends at our big Thanksgiving event at URM. And to top it off, I’m feeling well enough to spend the night on the streets with my precious friends tonight to raise awareness of the plight of our neighbors experiencing homelessness. The honor of serving in this ministry and spending time with my family and friends has driven me to do what it takes to survive, and I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Thanks, again, for your faithful prayers!