Michael's Journey for a Kidney
Michael Stephen Grant was not even born into this world when it all began. In the womb, a blockage to his kidneys had formed preventing urine from exiting his bladder. This caused everything to back up into his kidneys, in turn destroying his left kidney completely and slightly damaging his right kidney. Now this was before all of the modern medical advances to fix these issues in vitro were discovered and perfected, so all of this had to be found out when he born. Being only days old, he underwent numerous surgeries to correct the issue and was left with only a partial functioning kidney.
13 years later
Living in Newnan, Ga at the time, Michael tried living a normal life for about thirteen years. He went to school, hung out with friends, participated in church activites (his grandfather is a minister), and did MOST of the things a thirteen year old boy could do. However, he still had to take monthly trips to Emory Hospital in Atlanta, Ga to have procedures done to physically check and make sure his urine was not backing up into his kidney again. Unfortunately, despite all of these precautions and efforts to prevent this from happening, his right kidney began to fail. After a small stay in the hospital at Emory, his doctors changed his diet and restricted his activities as he began to enter kidney failure. This diet consisted of ZERO sodium, NO fatty, very bland, and boring foods (nothing a thirteen year old boy wants to eat!). This continued for two years until he moved to California.
At fifteen years old, Michael had moved about 3,000 miles away from his hometown to Yorba Linda, California. Upon his first appointment with his new nephrologist, it was made apparent that a kidney transplant was needed immediately. His mother, being the perfect match for him, donated her kidney to Michael. After the first day of having his new kidney, things took a turn for the worst. Blood began to show in his urine and the output of urine was low. After tests and three more surgeries, it was determined that the kidney had actually twisted and cut the blood flow off to itself; the kidney had to be removed. This caused Michael to yet again endure life with renal failure. One year later, Michael received a call from The Children's Hospital of Los Angeles with good news! He was going to receive a kidney from the transplant list! The surgery was successful and with a strong regiment of anti-rejection medicines, Michael would now be able to be a normal seventeen year old. He had no idea that seven years down the road, he would experience something even worse than what he had already gone through.
A Life Changed
Fast forward to June of 2010, Michael was a 24 year old working and going to college on a daily basis, dedicating himself 100% to his major in Molecular Biology. Over the month of June, Michael became sick and only got worse throughout that month. Just thinking it was maybe a cold or something common that he would soon get over himself, he continued on with his daily routines. He soon got so bad that he couldn't get off the couch. It was very apparent to others that something was very wrong. Michael's step father flew in from Georgia after he received a call from Michael's brother about his diminished health. His stepdad immediately took Michael to the hospital where they discovered that he had to have his gallbladder removed. This was the reason for his sickness but was not caught because the normal symptoms of gallstones are extreme abdominal pain; He did not feel the pain because of the severed nerves in his abdomen from the transplants. They removed his gallbladder and discovered that his body had begun rejecting his transplanted kidney. There was no saving the organ because the anti-rejection medication had not worked properly due to gallbladder infection causing severe vomiting. He was now put on dialysis and forced to take a new avenue in life.
Dialysis Changed Everything
Now on dialysis, Michael attended his treatments three times a week for three hours each time. He tried his hardest to remain in school and work, both full time, to pay for his necessities. He did his best to live the life he had before but unfortunately, this was just not possible. He was forced to make the choice and move back home to Georgia, where he would be close to family and could, somewhat, try to get back on his feet.
Life for Michael Now
Michael is still attending dialysis in Columbus, Georgia three times a week for three hours a day going on his fourth year now. He is currently 28 years old and has only had seven years of a normal life. He is working as much as he possibly can to pay for his needs and medical expenses but there is a limit to how much all of this will cover once he does get his third transplant. Thanks to everyone who has supported him emotionally and mentally, he is still able to get up everyday with a smile on his face and live life as successful as he possibly can. He is still on a strict diet, even more strict than before (sometimes the only thing he can eat are buttered noodles and some days he cant drink but a cup or two of water because his fluid build up is so bad..). He has zero urine output and retains any and every fluid he consumes until it is removed via dialysis. Dialysis is done with very large needles stuck into a fistula created by surgeons using his vein. It then pulls the blood out of his body, cleans it, then puts it back in his body. This is done with ALL of his blood three times before he goes home. When the dialysis is done correctly, Michael feels okay after, sometimes even good. However, there are days when all he can do is hope for the next day to come because the pain is so bad.
Life with Michael
I have been with Michael for almost two years now and it has been nothing short of a blessing. When I first met him, I never would have known anything was even going on his life, especially something as important and extreme as End Stage Renal Failure!
Michael is the most positive and optimistic person I know. Someone in his condition would have every right to be bitter, closed-up, negative or pessimistic, but not Michael. His condition has grown to effect not only Michael but me now as well. When he hurts, I hurt for him. I try my best to keep him positive because, lets face it, there are days when he gets down. The fluid build up alone causes toxins in your body to affect your mood and attitude and he fights it as much as he can but sometimes, his body wins. It is one of the hardest things in the world to watch the man you love to hurt and go through what he goes through every single day, but it is worth it. I am in the process now of seeing if I am a match for Michael to donate my kidney to him and I am doing all that I can to be the hope and anchor he needs in life. Life with Michael is perfect and I want it to last as long as it possibly can.
What You Can Do
We are not asking for every single person who reads this to try and donate their kidney....Just the people with blood types B+ or O (positive or negative) ;)
But in all actuality, finances are the biggest importance for Michael when the day finally comes when we get the call that he has received his kidney! After his transplant, we will have to travel to and from Emory three times a week for a few months for check ups and medicine. In addition, very expensive medications will be needed for the rest of his life. Our goal is to raise enough money to help with medical bills, medication costs, and other transplant expenses until he can get back on his feet and work full time. Once again, gaining back a normal life. We are asking for donations of any size or kind. Even just sharing this link with everyone you know will be a huge blessing to us. Please just keep in mind, no 28 year old should have to go through what Michael goes through every single day, it is not fair but we are making the best of our situation and hoping and praying that the day comes soon. Please help in any way you can. You have absolutely no idea how much we would appreciate it. I want to help Michael Grant get his life back and I need your help too.
Thank you for everything you are willing to do to help us and especially Michael. I know this will mean the world to him.
So far, this year has been very trying on Michael and I. We've had our patience, sanity, & motivation tested beyond what we could have imagined. We are still awaiting a kidney & it doesn't seem to be anywhere in sight. Needless to say, we are losing faith, & rapidly. In addition, we recently received notice that Michael's disability benefits were terminated & we will not be receiving his monthly disability check. This check is what helps us pay our rent, bills, food, etc. Without it, I am not sure what we will do. We are working to get it reinstated but there isn't a clear answer as to when it will be fixed. This is not something that I ever thought would happen & I am trying not to stress, to stay calm for Michael but it is difficult. I understand that it is a lot to ask of people but if there is ANY contributions that can be made, it would be a miracle to us. Thank you for those that have supported us in the past & continue to support us with our page. It is, honestly, quite hard to ask for help, to admit that this is not something that we can handle on our own but sometimes our strength can be found in others instead of just ourselves. Thank you for all that you do. We truly appreciate & love all of you.