If you’ve known Cassy for any amount of time in the past 7 years, you know she’s been in dire need of a kidney transplant. Having received her dad’s kidney in high school then her body rejecting it 7 years later, her body was highly sensitized. Doctors had said she was 98/99% sensitized and although they had not deemed her a ‘lost cause’ the doctors had made it very clear that it was going to be a miracle if they found Cassy a new kidney.
For the past 7 years, Cassy has been on every waiting list possible within Canada. Her doctor had said her best chances would a living donor as it would take a few weeks to prep her body in order for it to receive the kidney. Because of this, the doctors said a deceased donor would not work as the kidney only has a number of hours outside of the body prior to being transplanted – this was deemed IMPOSSIBLE yet he continued to keep her name on the list.
Webster’s dictionary defines ‘Impossible’: not possible, unable to be, exist, happen.
As you can imagine, there was little hope.
[2.5 years ago]
Two and a half years ago was a difficult year health wise for Cassy. She had two near death experiences putting her in the hospital for a few weeks each time. During this season her family had put out pleas for people to consider getting tested to donate. I had called months earlier knowing I was O+ but hadn’t heard back. While she doing her second stint in the hospital with an infection that happens in only 2% of dialysis patients over the age of 60, I spoke with a coordinator and started testing that day.
Tests included; blood work, 24 urine sample, CT scan, ECG, Renal Scan, X-rays, meeting with doctors, surgeons, social worker etc. to ensure I was both physically and mentally healthy to donate and most importantly if I was a match for Cassy.
We received both good news and bad.
Good news, I was a healthy candidate and was approved to move ahead for surgery.
Bad news, because of Cassy’s highly sensitized body, it didn’t like my kidney.
To put this into perspective a bit, I’m O+, I can donate to anyone, including you! Cassy’s doctor was willing to work with 3 antibodies against her but that was a high risk surgery that would knock her immune system out and could possibly kill her in the process.
There was 18 antibodies against mine.
[The medical side of things is complicated and Cassy and I may elaborate one day in a book!]
[2 Years Ago]
This is where I 100% became part of the process with Cassy.
She needed a kidney and I had a kidney to offer.
We were put on a Canada wide paired exchange program, but we were told it would be next to IMPOSSIBLE that we would find anything in this specific program as it had to be a ‘perfect’ match.
The good news though was that Cassy now had a viable kidney donor that put her on that list.
In two years, we were put in the Canada wide ‘kidney pool’ with others like us 5-6 times. No luck.
What is so key to this particular season is God met her there.
God met her in the pains and aches and disappointments.
Cassy started coming to church, gave her heart (and kidney) to the Lord and was baptized shortly after! Yay, Jesus!!
[Cassy on the bottom]
He has been her rock during the waiting season.
I believe in meeting God, the IMPOSSIBLE became POSSIBLE in her heart, we just didn’t know how or when it would be revealed to us.
[1 Year Ago]
This time last year, while I was in California, one of my dear friends had a pain near their kidney and asked the class if anyone had any kidney issues or knew of anyone. No one had raised their hand so I shared Cassy’s story and journey. Everyone got around me and prayed and prophesied and claimed a miracle over Cassy’s situation.
I wanted God to show up – I wanted everyone to see that it wasn’t me or the doctors but something only God could have accomplished.
There was a shift in my spirit that day. I knew He was aligning everything.
[10 Months Ago]
Once I was home from California and another round of testing to keep me ‘active,’ we received a call asking if we would be willing to send out our paperwork to the #1 transplant clinic in the US.
We agreed to do so in hopes that this would be our way to a miracle
[6 Months Ago]
I received a word from a friend that 2016 was going to be a year of exceeding expectations and shattering of boxes.
On January 5th, 2016, I told Cassy this was the year she was getting a kidney – it was coming up to 7 years since her first kidney failed and I knew the significance of 7 biblically: completeness, perfection, wholeness.
Not even a week later, Cassy received a call to come in and meet the doctor right away – they found a donor in the states! They would donate to her and I would donate to them.
This was starting to become real on my end – a test – will you stick out the process – in the waiting it’s exciting – but when the knife is coming – will you stay, will you follow through?
I was fully committed to the process, I had jumped in. I asked all the hard questions… will it complicate pregnancies, what are the statistics of having kidney failure myself after donating? I felt God’s hand in the decision to fully commit to the process, whatever that looked like.
I moved to California, and have been planning my move to Australia and continued with life knowing He would align everything in HIS timing, not ours.
People questioned why I was donating. “You aren’t family, you haven’t had kids… what if they need one, what if your husband needs one… what if, what if.”
I wholeheartedly believed (and still do) that my body is not my body, if God wants to use me to pull off a miracle, He can – if not, He will show up in a bigger way. I was just being a willing participant to His plan and purpose.
[4 Months Ago]
We met with the doctors and saw that it would be a process. The kidney seemed almost perfect, only 1.5 antibodies! This was amazing and what we thought would be IMPOSSIBLE to find, here is was!
This began a long 3 month process of her doctor, lawyers, Health Canada and OHIP meeting together, jumping hurdles and ripping red tape in order to do the cross border transplant.
As time went on, the process was starting to collide with my timeline to move to Australia. I also found out that travel insurance companies would not cover anything kidney related – convenient eh, save a life and they increase your insurance rates.
But, I was still trusting God and had faith that there would not be a need for it. If he brings me to it, He’d bring me through every piece of it.
Australia’s timeline was then delayed for other reasons and we thought God was aligning everything for the kidney transplant!
We were hopeful.
We finally got the call and an appointment time set to meet back up with the doctors. Cassy and I both sensed that something wasn’t right but decided it was just so close that negativity was bound to sink in and kept our spirits high leading up to the meeting.
[4 Weeks Ago – May 10th]
We waited anxiously.
We walked IN to the meeting thinking we’d walk out with a timeline…
We walked OUT with frustration and tears streaming down our faces: the donor in the states had backed out.
What crushing news.
I was proud of Cassy’s response to the news. Although sad, she was hopeful as we were pioneering a path for those who will come after us. Red tape was peeled for cross border transplants and we knew that the next time we got a call – it would be a much quicker process as all the legalities were already dealt with.
We all walked out in silence needing to grieve the news separately.
I was so confused. I thought God was aligning everything with the delay in Australia it was starting to make sense and we were ready for it.
I actually had to repent for trying to squeeze Him into my timeline [even though in the natural it seemed to be all aligning].
I went for a drive and as I bawled, I sang out these lyrics:
“I believe in You, I believe in You,
You’re the God of miracles.
The One who does IMPOSSIBLE…”
//Miracles by Jesus Culture
I knew this was all part of the process and the journey. And even though this meeting didn’t go the way we had thought it would have – He is still faithful and a God of miracles.
That evening, God gave me a pretty epic sunset, can you see the dove?
“Therefore the delays we face are not a denial of His promises; rather, they are an integral part of His strategy to arrange all the details and get us positioned for His excellent plan.”
“When we hear His promises, we think, that is in the future. But the Father has already seen the end and is reporting the reality to us – He has achieved all that He said He would do [Isa. 55:10-11]. Time just has to catch up.”
//Charles F. Stanley
[1 Week Ago – May 27th]
Cassy called me crying at 645 AM. I thought something had happened. Through the muffled tears she said:
“Krista, they found me a kidney, it’s on a plane here now!”
They had found her a kidney!!
Guys, they found her the IMPOSSIBLE kidney!
I literally had to pinch myself to make sure I was awake and hearing her correctly.
She received a call saying that they had a deceased [yup, you read that correctly – IMPOSSIBLE] donor, that her name came up as a match and to get to the hospital now.
The kidney was coming in from Nova Scotia. We knew the kidney had to perfect match or else they wouldn’t have called her. It was a full day of testing Cassy to ensure she was healthy enough for surgery and once the kidney arrived, 8 hours of cross matching the kidney to ensure there were nothing that would cause her body to reject the kidney.
After a long day, at 11:45 PM we got the call…
Ready for it…
THERE WERE NO ANTIBODIES!! NOTHING HINDERING the surgery!`
Surgery was a GO!
I know, we could argue if ‘perfect’ exists, but this was a PERFECT, heaven sent kidney for Cassy!
The doctors deemed this next to IMPOSSIBLE.
But God is a God of the IMPOSSIBLE!
Within 20 minutes we were walking her down to the OR for surgery.
[May 28th 1 AM]
7 years and 7 days since her first kidney transplant rejected, Cassy was in surgery receiving her PERFECT kidney what the doctors deemed would be next to IMPOSSIBLE to find.
As I sit here typing this a week later, it still feels surreal and it wasn’t even my kidney!
A 7 year miracle in the making.
God suddenly showed up in a way no man could have.
There’s no way to explain it.
There’s no way to understand it.
He is faithful through it all.
His heart was to draw near to us during this season of waiting, anticipation, denial, and delay.
My reward for being faithful through the process; I get to keep my kidney!
He works ALL things together for our good.
When our eyes are on set on Him, in all circumstances, He comes through.
It most likely won’t be in our timing or the way we had hoped…
BUT, if we stand in times we feel exhausted and run down, He comes through with something BIGGER and GREATER than we could have ever thought of or expected
“But He said, What is IMPOSSIBLE with men is POSSIBLE with God.” Luke 18:27
It was all about us trusting Him that kept us in this place of complete surrender.
This is only the beginning.
We’ve only scratched the surface,
And only had just one glance.
We’ve tasted of Your glory
But there’s SO much more.
// Jesus Culture
A huge THANK YOU to Dr.Ganji and his team at St. Joes for their tireless efforts, answering our million phone calls and never giving up. Thank you for breaking through the red tape and finding every list possible to have Cassy on and the endless hours upon hours of being in touch with other hospitals in search of a kidney. All your hard work and dedication has not gone unnoticed. We are forever grateful to you!
To Dr. Lambsy, surgical team and nursing staff – thank you for your diligence and care through preparations, surgery and recovery!
To the family who lost a loved one,
Wherever you are, know that you have a Heavenly Father that loves you dearly and is carrying you through this season of grief and loss. Please know that this kidney donation has not only changed the life of Cassy and those closest to her, but to each and every single person who hears this incredible story.
Thank you: that in your loss, you gave hope and joy and new life.