save mitchell

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

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.

glory days

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.

fistula

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.

clinic

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: https://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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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.

SM

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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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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Pre-transplant dinner.

Five days before T-Day (transplant day), Mitchell Lyne met his kidney donor, Jessica. The Lyne family, more than a dozen people deep, showed up to meet this living angel. Jessica’s husband came too, who is a silent hero in the situation…supporting his wife when many partners might not be able to handle or accept such a courageous and selfless act.

I sat next to Mrs. Lyne at dinner and could see the look of shock in her eyes ~ not quite wrapping her head around how a stranger came forward to save her young son’s life. But what was even stronger behind Mrs. Lyne’s glasses was a reflection of hope, she’s never lost hope.

Mitchell’s Grandpa said he’s been praying for a healthy kidney. ‘It was God’s plan,’ he explained.”

Here are a few photos from the family-style dinner.

Much love,

Mary Beth

Mitchell and his 3rd kidney donor, Jessica.

Mr. & Mrs. Lyne, Mitchell and Jessica.

Mitchell’s sister and 1st kidney donor Stacey, and Mitchell.

Mitchell’s #1 Fans!

Savemitchell.com Founder Mary Beth, Jessica, and Mitchell.

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A gift.

This blog was birthed on February 13, 2012, on the cusp of my two failed attempts to donate one of my kidneys to Mitchell. God put it on my heart to help this young man, that much I knew for sure…and if a kidney wasn’t coming out of my torso, then I would be used in another way.

Savemitchell.com came to life to tell his story, share updates, as well as establish a Facebook page for supporters to follow along on his journey. We’ve raised thousands of dollars, created Save Mitchell dot com t-shirts (over 100 sold and counting), and even had folks make homemade dinners for the family. We chronicled Mitchell’s triumphs outside of the operating room including getting to meet his favorite college basketball team (VCU Rams), watched him graduate high school, and attend Prom.

We’ve also learned about the not-so-glamorous, behind-the-scenes look at life on dialysis. As his Mother candidly said in the recent past, “he’s the sickest he’s ever been.” That statement says a lot considering the guy has been dealing with kidney failure and survived two transplants in the last 11 years. Needless to say, his loved ones and supporters have been clinging onto hope. That someway, somehow, someone would step forward to give the gift of life and be a suitable match.

Enter Jessica.

She emailed the Save Mitchell Facebook page on May 17, asking about his status since the blog had a lapse in updates. My response was:

For a while he was doing well, then him and his Mom went to NC about two weeks ago to visit family, and suffered a complication thru dialysis — he was in a lot of pain. Things seem to be doing better now. No updates on donors. The hospital is working on a ‘domino’ transplant that could involved 8 donors/recipients so the testing and matching process feels like it’s taking forever. Thanks again for reaching out & the support!

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, we learned that someone named Jessica was being tested. In organ donation, the hospital coordinator keeps details confidential to protect everyone involved, including HIPAA laws (patient privacy), so his family & I were grasping for any and all information which was loosely shared. The stories and status changed every few days — one moment we’re talking about people in Missouri and Pennsylvania participating in a domino swap, the next moment we’re focused on fixing his dialysis machine, and the next moment we’re anxiously awaiting any update whatsoever from the transplant unit.

Well today was the day we’ve all been waiting for — this is finally happening in six short days. Mitchell has a donor, and it’s all thanks to sweet, selfless, super hero Jessica. She is donating to a stranger (known as “altruistic”) in need of a kidney in Richmond, VA — and her husband will donate their kidney to Mitchell. Although just like when I tested, Jessica wasn’t a match for Mitchell, the beautiful thing is she’s now saving TWO lives.

The odds of this entire situation happening are slim on multiple levels. For one, given Mitchell’s complicated history and multiple surgeries, has unfortunately made it very difficult to find strong matches; it’s not as simple as having the same blood type — the process is much more involved including antibodies, tissue matching, etc. Additionally, to have the swap take place in the exact same city is amazing. Dealing with dozens of people in a large kidney swap could have delayed the surgery for months, not to mention more room for error. Finally, Jessica is a nursing student and starts school soon — so her timeline to undergo the surgery and build in time to recover is tight. But, by the grace of God, the stars aligned.

Sure many hiccups could take place, causing the surgery to not happen , or complications from the transplant…but we’re not going to focus on that. No-no, we’re not even going to put an ounce of energy into What If? Because life doesn’t work that way — we are only guaranteed today, so let’s put our love and support into a perfect outcome for every single person involved. Let’s let go & let God. Let’s be brave and believe.

I asked Jessica if she’d write a guest blog post to share her perspective, what this experience means to her, and why she was inspired to get involved. She happily obliged and titled it: A Gift. Her story brought me to tears for more reasons than I could ever explain… I’m so grateful for everyone’s support, and lift up Mitchell, his family, Jessica, and her family ~ that Tuesday, August 7 is The Day that Love wins, Faith perseveres, Hope prevails, and we’re no longer here to Save Mitchell ~ rather, Mitchell is saved.

Much love,

Mary Beth

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Saving grace.

Mrs. Lyne: Mitchell is the sickest he’s ever been.

Mary Beth: Wait, you mean, even dating back 11 years…to when he was 8-years-old and needed his first kidney transplant?

Mrs. Lyne: Yes.

That dialogue practically took my breath away.

But, but…how could this be? We just saw him posing in a tuxedo, looking super sharp, for his senior prom. And then standing next to his Grand Daddy on high school graduation, smiling bright. How could he be that sick?

When his potassium and hemoglobin levels dropped last week, the poor fella had to have two blood transfusions. Blood work results came back today, and while the potassium is up a bit, he has not been able to eat *any* food. So hopefully prednisone will do the trick, help the organ inflamation go down, and ultimately help him hold solid food down.

Today was a whirlwind. As his Mother recounted the details to me, I was out of breath just listening to the story. In short, Mitchell’s team of doctors changed their mind a few times. One moment the plan would be to stay put, take the meds, and watch what happens. Another moment, he was ordered to go to the hospital “within the hour” for a possible surgery, and the next…they’re told a living kidney donor has come forward.

A sweet, selfless soul has stepped up to the plate to donate their kidney; this person doesn’t even know Mitchell but is a friend of a friend of a friend. This person doesn’t match Mitchell, so has offered to donate their kidney to a stranger on the waiting list {this is known as an altruistic donation}. By doing so, Mitchell is automatically bumped up to the #1 spot on the kidney waiting list.

This is HUGE. Really, really big news. But he won’t be completely out of the woods yet. You see, because of his complex situation, it will take a very unique kidney to be compatible with his system. Regardless though…putting him at the tippy top could literally be a life saver. A saving grace.

Another insight that put things into perspective was when Mrs. Lyne said the doctor said they’ll let him have a cadaver kidney from a deceased donor. Originally this wasn’t permitted because of Mitchell’s sensitive case {living organs last longer than cadaver organs — and the more transplants you have, the harder it is to make them successful}, but evidently because he is not doing well, the medical team’s point of view is, “we’ll do whatever we need to do to save his life.”

So please keep Mitchell in your thoughts and prayers. Send him your love and support. And as always, consider donating through a dollar, getting tested to be a kidney donor, delivering dinner to the family, or purchasing a SAVE MITCHELL t-shirt. Tomorrow is never guaranteed for any of us, so live today to the fullest.

Much love,

Mary Beth

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Savemitchell.com shirts sold!

We’ve sold not one but TWO batches of SaveMitchell.com t-shirts. Each one costs $25 ~ $15 goes directly to helping keep our brave hero alive. What a great idea ~ you donate to dialysis supplies that helps Mitchell wake up each morning as he waits for a kidney donor, and you also get a fashionable, comfortable t-shirt.

How it works: Our fund must sell 50 shirts in 50 days for the fundraiser to be completed. Once we hit # 50, credit cards are charged, shirts are printed, then shipped to those who purchased. The clock resets and the whole process starts over.

To date, due to this initiative, we’ve donated $1,500! Let’s keep it going, and keep hope alive.

Get your own t-shirt by clicking here, or gift one to a person you love in honor of Mitchell.

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