save mitchell

donate a kidney, a dollar, or a prayer for hope & healing

The test of time.

Our last post was on November 15. Here’s what has happened since then.

November 16. I completed my half marathon in honor of Mitchell. The best part was going by to see him after it was over. He was in the hospital and his pain from surgery (a transplanted kidney was removed because it was failing) was starting to get better. I gave Mitchell my race medal and hoped that he knew how inspiring his strength and courage is to me and everyone who knows him / his story.

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Week of Thanksgiving. Mitchell continued to recover and took his first steps in quite a while.

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He was released from the hospital on November 22nd. Things were looking up ~ maybe he’d even be home for Thanksgiving, his favorite holiday, but that reality was short-lived. He was re-admitted on November 24th and had emergency surgery due to multiple complications from the kidney being removed.

By November 30th, things started to turn around again for the better & his NG tube was removed. He had a few bites of oatmeal, a great sign that things were looking up (he had been on a liquid only diet for quite some time during this hospital stay).

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He was released from the hospital and enjoyed leftover Thanksgiving dinner, grateful to finally be home.

On December 4th, Mitchell went back to the hospital by ambulance. He was admitted into the ICU. His high blood pressure took a major toll on his body, and when we say major, we mean MAJOR. His family is keeping these details private, but it’s safe to say they were praying he’d make it through the unexpected trauma to his body and survive.

On December 5th, he woke up after 2 full days of being “asleep”, basically in a medicated state. I visited him in the ICU on that day and within an hour of arriving, he woke up. It was absolutely awesome to see him open his eyes. His sister, adorable baby nephew & Mom were by his side too. Within minutes of waking up, he asked for blue raspberry popsicles and took down one after another after another. His Mom was worried that he might get sick from consuming so many in such a short time frame, but that didn’t stop Mitchell or his pursuit for a blue tongue.

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On December 6th he was moved out of the ICU and onto the transplant floor. On December 9th, him & Mom went home.

On December 10th, his mother shared these poignant thoughts on the Save Mitchell Facebook page:

As I sit here tonight and think about the last month, I am extremely thankful for the support, love and prayers from family, friends and people that we have never met, but still keep us in their prayers. We still need lots of prayers and I know that we will get them! Today has been quite a day. We had some problems with Mitchell’s fistula this morning. He has lost so much weight and it is hard to get, needles in the right place. We got too much air in the lines first thing this morning and could not even rinse his blood back…scary!!! We set the machine back up and tried it again. (Had to stick him again) All went well until the last hour when Mitchell shifted in his chair and moved his arm too much and we got air again. This time we were able to end his treatment early and rinse his blood back. We will get it done right tomorrow! Prayers Please. As we were getting off the machine, Mike came upstairs to tell us that a large Weeping Willow Tree in our backyard fell, took out our fence and landed on neighbors back porch. Hope to get that cleaned up and fixed soon (somehow).

After all of this today, I sit here and am very grateful to have Mitchell home tonight. I honestly was not too sure last week that would happen. Tonight as we got ready to go to bed He hugged me and I know that he was thinking the same thing too. Friends, hug your children and tell them that you love them often! Never take anything for granted, I don’t! My children and grandchildren are my life and I know that I am blessed!! I know that the good Lord is at my side at all times, sometimes not the way that I would like, but still always near.
Love, Robin

On December 12th, his blood pressure was spiking, causing extreme concern that he’d have to go back to the hospital. That day, and pretty much every day since then, his blood pressure has been a big headache. It’s so important for the BP to stay under control because it can cause so many complications.

On December 17th, he went to the hospital for an appointment due to his dialysis fistula having trouble. He has lost so much weight recently, that the fistula isn’t working properly. The goal was to try and correct this problem.

Christmas week appeared to go well. He was able to attend church as well as see a movie with his family. What a treat!

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December 28th, Mitchell was short of breath, coughing and not feeling well. His Mom took him to the ER and he was ultimately admitted into the ICU. It turns out there is blood in his lungs (the cause is unknown at this time). The medical team decided to put him on a ventilator in order to let his body rest and get the oxygen he needs.

Today. December 29. This morning he spiked a fever and also has high potassium levels (likely from not having dialysis).  His Mom, as always, has not left his side.

Here is Mitchell today, wearing his bracelet. When he was wearing it a few weeks ago in the hospital, he was really scared that the hospital would cut it off while in the ER. Thankfully it’s still holding strong. Just like Mitchell. Holding strong, always.

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This guy has been fighting for his life since the age of 8. Today he is 20-years-old and still never gives up. His resilience and faith has stood the test of time. Time that should have been spent being an innocent child, time that should currently be spent attending college, dating, getting into trouble, and experiencing all that life has to offer. But instead, him and his family focus on one thing and one thing only – a miracle.

We pray that we have much more time with him, and that through grace and through God, his body will be healed.

Much love,

Mary Beth

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Surgery day.

Mitchell has been suffering quite a bit lately. We’ll spare you the details, but it isn’t pretty. It turns out the most recent transplanted kidney is the cause of these issues, so his medical team decided to remove it immediately.

Here he is going into the OR bright and early this morning at 5:30AM. This is once again the face of bravery.

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The surgery went well with the exception of blood pressure concerns. His BP is being managed now by medicine drips and hopefully that will be under control soon. As expected, he’s also in quite a bit of pain post-op.

On a positive note, money we raised from SAVE MITCHELL t-shirts went to an amazing cause. Previously Mitchell had been receiving dialysis 6 hours a day on an extraordinarily uncomfortable chair. It caused him neck and back pain to the point he was stuffed with pillows all over.

Last week though, he picked out a brand new La-Z Boy recliner chair, complete with a remote control. How cool is that?! The head and lumbar adjusts so he is no longer in physical pain while receiving dialysis treatments.

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The timing of this surgery is bitter sweet because tomorrow I’m running a half marathon in honor of Mitchell, along with another non-profit called Tiny Sparrow Foundation. Just last night I dropped by a check for $500 to Mitchell & his parents, thanks to generous supporters of friends and family making donations. You’d never he was about to have major surgery in less than 12 hours. But then again, he was surrounded by super sweet dogs.

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Meanwhile, in about 12 hours, I’ll be running for HOPE… and will never give up believing in miracles. Because love wins.

Much love,

Mary Beth

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Glory Days.

Every Monday night, Mitchell and his family are most likely hanging out at their local Glory Days restaurant for burger night.

September 23rd was no different.

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His folks invited me to stop by and I was so happy to see them after what felt like a lifetime. About once a week I check in via phone with Mitchell’s mom, my direct line to keeping tabs on our resilient fighter. It was the perfect opportunity to present them with a check of the money we raised from Save Mitchell t-shirts + some individual donations.

He had a fistula implanted a few months ago. I thought it was some type of contraption that was inserted into his arm, but I learned that I was wrong. A fistula isn’t an object, it’s a procedure. In short, his veins are configured to receive dialysis (input and output). A passage is made between vessels. He has several little holes in his arm (covered by bandages in this photo) that have to be pierced/reopened every time he receives dialysis treatments. His mom encouraged me to put my fingers over where the fistula was created (near his wrist) and I literally gasped outloud. It feels like something electrical is inside of him, buzzing. But it is actually just the blood in his veins going super fast.

This “technology” allowed him to get rid of his central line (which can lead to infections and also cannot get wet). If he wanted to, Mitchell could even go in a swimming pool. Unfortunately it was too late in the summer season for him to enjoy that favorite pastime by the time everything healed; it needed 8+ weeks to heal before it could be used. Slowly but surely, Mitchell and his Mom are getting the hang of it. As always, he is being a trooper in the process.

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At the present time, there are no talks of another transplant. Right now the focus is on keeping his health as steady as possible. No ER visits, no radical drops or highs in critical medical vitals, no infections. Right now the focus is to get his dialysis treatments down pat, so they can stop making 30+ mile trips to the dialysis clinic on a daily basis and simply do the life-saving process at home. The entire process lasts about 7-8 hours from the time they leave the house in the morning, to the time they finish dialysis and head home.

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Continued thanks to all of the support, love and prayers from near and far. If you’d like to make a donation to help fund a dialysis clinic tank of gas for one week, you can contribute $66.00 through the PayPal account here: http://savemitchell.com/donate-a-dollar-2/

Much love,
Mary Beth

Glory days yeah goin back
Glory days aw he ain’t never had
Glory days, glory days

Now I think I’m going down to the well tonight
and I’m going to drink till I get my fill
And I hope when I get old I don’t sit around thinking about it
but I probably will
Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture
a little of the glory of, well time slips away
and leaves you with nothing mister but
boring stories of glory days

-Bruce Springsteen

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One year later.

Jessica, Mitchell’s donor angel, was nice enough to contribute a guest blog post in honor of the one-year anniversary coming up on August 7th {read the original blog post here from surgery week}.

It’s July 31, 2013 and I can’t believe that is has been almost one year since I donated my kidney to a stranger so that Mitchell could receive a new lease on life. Everything is still so fresh in my mind, from the physical screenings to the prep before heading into the OR. I know when I first told family and friends about my decision to be a living donor I was met with disbelief. Many people didn’t understand why I would want to give an organ away to someone who wasn’t family. There were plenty of questions that started with “what if..” or “what are you thinking?” It wasn’t easy to explain to people my motivation or my feelings about what I was doing. It wasn’t something that was easily put into words. It was something that I felt. I had done my research, I had discussed the risks with the doctors and I had made my mind up about what I was meant to do.

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I frequently get asked how my recipient is doing and how Mitchell is doing. Well as for my recipient, I haven’t heard much about her since my 6 month follow up. I don’t know if she knows my name or if she’s even interested in knowing who she got a kidney from. It doesn’t really matter to me as long as my kidney is happy in its new home and functioning well enough to give her an improved quality of life. Would it be nice to meet her? Of course. The logistics on when a recipient can contact their donor and how are somewhat lost on me. I didn’t get a great rundown on how that works exactly.

I’m sure most of you have been following the blog and the facebook page, so I’ll spare you the details of how Mitchell did after the surgery. For a while there he was looking great! I was really happy that his quality of life had improved and it seemed that this kidney was doing well in its new home. A few bumps in the road popped up, but I remained optimistic that these were just little hiccups on the road to success. But as we all know now, it wasn’t meant to be. I felt sadness and despair as I got phone call after phone call from Robin, Mitchell’s mom, with bad news.

My heart ached for Mitchell, he had already been through so much in his young life and it just wasn’t fair that this was happening to him (and his family) again! I was disappointed that this new kidney had not taken as we had all hoped and prayed for. The silver lining (in my mind at least): he had a few months after surgery to enjoy his new kidney and to do things he hadn’t been able to do for some time. I wish it had turned out differently for Mitchell and his family. I had hoped that the 3rd time would be a charm, but maybe there is some greater purpose behind all of it.

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As for me, I’m doing well. I really have no complaints a year later. I’ve seen no negative effects on my health as a result of the surgery and if you didn’t know me you’d have no idea I only have one kidney. I’ll have an annual physical to check my kidney function, but other than that no specials medications or precautions. The team at VCUHS was fantastic. My pain after surgery was minimal and a week later I was up walking around and meeting friends for lunch.

“Would you do it again?” Without hesitation, yes. Choosing to donate my kidney was one of the best decisions I have made so far in my life. I have a great appreciation for how blessed I am to be healthy and able to give to those who are not as fortunate. I know that many people that read this blog and keep up with Mitchell’s story think to themselves: “I would never do that!” or “I couldn’t do it.” Is living donation for everyone? No. Are there plenty of people out there capable of being a living donor and just think “no way!”, probably so. I know that most people aren’t willing to give up something so precious for a stranger, but I pose this question: ” Why not?”. I think if we approached life with a “why not?” attitude, we might just be a little better off. I’m glad I did what I did. It has made me a better person and I’m thankful that I was able to do it. There are plenty of people out there that think it was weird or crazy to do what I did.

Here’s what I have to say to that: “What have you done to better someone’s life?” Do I expect everyone to go sign up to be a living donor, of course not! But if I can reach out and positively influence the thinking of just one person then I know I have made a difference.

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If anyone has questions, please feel free to post them and I’ll answer them as best as I can! Thanks for reading and I wish you all the best!

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” ~Edward Everett Hale

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Dialysis or bust.

The face of dialysis.

The face of hope.

The face of strength.

The face of Mitchell Lyne.

This week Mitchell began hemodialysis at home, thanks to his devote Mother who has been training for weeks on how to perform the treatments. For the last month or more, they had been traveling to the dialysis clinic.

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Meanwhile, we are finishing up a fundraising effort for Save Mitchell t-shirts. We redesigned them so if you already own the original version, now is your chance to own a new version AND give back to our hero. $15.00 from each sales goes to help pay for his medical bills. Visit the website for more information, this campaign ends on June 20, 2013: http://www.bonfirefunds.com/fund/save-mitchell

Thanks for everyone’s continued support & prayers. Please follow along on Save Mitchell’s Facebook for daily updates.

ML

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Happy birthday Mitchell.

Today is Mitchell’s birthday. He’s been alive for 20 meaningful years. He’s been fighting for his life for the last 12 of those years.

This blog has been neglected since December as the Facebook page has become the primary portal for Save Mitchell weekly updates, but today it felt fitting to post a thoughtful update here.

The winter wasn’t easy. Since the New Year, the road to a new life with a new kidney took a major detour. Mitchell’s 3rd transplanted organ that he received in August 2012 was put in jeopardy due to a variety of medical setbacks. He was admitted to the hospital for over two weeks in January, and during that time period, contracted the CMV virus which can be fatal. To nurse him back to health, the kidney was compromised because anti-rejection medications were lowered in order to treat the CMV virus. Because of everything he’s been through over the years, his immune system isn’t strong so is susceptible to getting sick pretty easily.

On April 10th, news broke that the kidney was officially lost. Fifteen days later, on April 25th, he started dialysis in order to keep him alive.

Dialysis is a double-edge sword for people who are in end stage renal failure. It’s significantly lowers the quality of life as we know it. People spend hours & hours hooked up to machines going through the monotonous routine, then the next day they recover and by the time they start to feel a bit better, they go through the process all over again. Some people receive treatments every single day, which will be Mitchell’s future beginning in the next few months once a permanent Fistula is implanted in his arm. On the other hand, dialysis is literally keeping him with us and that is arguably the most beautiful gift we could ever ask for. Life.

He wants to keep living. Everyone who knows Mitchell wants him to keep living. People who don’t personally know Mitchell want him to keep living. He has touched people through his resiliency, courage and quiet strength. It is safe to say that anyone who crosses his path could learn something and be inspired to keep fighting whatever battle faces them.

Today, we celebrate him. The person who chooses every single day to open his eyes. To get dressed. To go through the motions of taking dozens of medical pills, fighting through physical pain, and believing that someday, somehow, things will get better.

Can he have a fourth kidney transplant? Time will tell, but that isn’t on the radar right now. Will he have the opportunity to be a part of research, stem cell developments, or medical miracles in America or elsewhere? Time will tell, but that is on the back burner right now.

What we do know for sure, right now, is that Love Wins.

His Mother has never left his side, as the unofficial nurse with an honorary RN degree, and sacrifices working/income…much less a good night’s sleep…to care for her son day and night. Mitchell’s Father, siblings, grandparents, and extended family and  friends support him, encourage him, and hold onto hope.

The medical bills continue to pile up at warp speed, expensive gas to travel round trip on the 50 mile drive for dialysis clinic visits 3 times a week for 4 hours at a time, a neglected house that needs various maintenance work but time and money has kept that from becoming a reality. The list of burdens goes on and on and on.

But ya know what? Their incredible faith is what keeps them hanging on. Some days are brighter than others, but behind it all is a deep belief, a steadfast conviction that everything will be OK.

Happy birthday Buddy.

Much love,

Mary Beth

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Be a Hero ~ video

The Save Mitchell “Be a Hero” Facebook image circulating online has been turned into a complementary video. Please take two minutes to watch, then share, and spread the word.

Three dollars to help save a very special life.

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Facebook Campaign to Save Mitchell.

Facebook Campaign to Save Mitchell.

About one month ago, Mitchell’s bloodwork started showing red flags. It turns out that antibodies are building up against his new kidney (a “foreign object”). His medical team has been working around the clock to find answers and take measures to turn this situation around, ASAP.

Insurance didn’t come through on the medicine Mitchell needs to save his life and protect his transplanted kidney, so for now…he’ll go back to receiving Plasmapheresis treatments to ward off the kidney antibodies. We can make a difference by making a small donation among a community that cares to get him the medicine he needs. Please pay it forward and spread some light for Hope.

http://www.savemitchell.com/donate-a-dollar

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Saving lives is newsworthy!

Mitchell and his family were interviewed on Richmond’s local ABC station ~ we are thrilled that his inspiring story has been shared. Hopefully others will be inspired to donate life, or at a minimum, advocate for those who are fighting for their lives.

Here are the news story links:

Click here to read Mitchell Lyne’s News Story #1:

Click here to read Mitchell Lyne’s News Story #2

 

 

 

 

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Thank you!

I would like to thank everyone for supporting me and my family. It has been a long road, but I am finally feeling much better and my new kidney is doing great!

Thanks again for the prayers, buying the shirts, and for the donations. It was overwhelming to realize that so many people care.

Love,

Mitchell

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