Karen's Transplant & Recovery

On the left is me, Karen, with CH Tzo Wens Grande Dame de Cokesbury (aka "Dixie") competing in the Chinese Shar Pei Speciality, a year into my dialysis, grateful to be able to enjoy seeing old friends and running around the show ring. 

On the right is me and Dixie at the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville Florida, the day of my kidney transplant. 

Yes.  Ms. Dixie walked me, Mary my spouse, & Carolyn our dear friend, to the operating room, where the doors opened and my Second Chance began.  

Less than five days after my Kidney Transplant this is me at the Gabriel House of Care. 

Don't I look good?  Being pink after 3 years on dialysis, looking like myself after years of looking in the mirror and wondering what happened to her....well, let's just say, miracles happen! 

When I went into renal failure in 2015, it was the beginning of a very expensive journey.  Dialysis three times a week.  I had to give up my job in a field I loved.  I had to go on disability, something I had avoided my entire life, despite having been critically ill with SLE (Lupus) in my twenties. 

But life goes on and with advances in medicine, an experimental treatment from the NIH, lupus became a non-issue for me in my 30's, but unfortunately the damage to my kidneys had already been done. 

I knew that a kidney transplant would restore me to health and wholeness, because I had my first kidney transplant in 2002.   But cadaver kidneys don't last forever and so in 2015 I found myself back on dialysis, starting the search for health all over again. 

So much has changed in the search for a successful organ transplant.  Waiting times in my home state of New Jersey were more than 7 years and New York City was over 5 years. 

That is why we jumped at the chance to get listed at the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, FL where not only the wait times were shorter, but the research, success rates and emphasis on healing gave us the confidence to move forward when "the call" came! 

All told, I spent three years on waiting lists in three states and over six-figures (yes, you read that correctly), chasing a Second Chance at a normal life. 

The associated out-of-pocket costs for pre-transplant evaluations meant multiple trips, expensive tests, travel and lodging.  Getting to the Transplant was hard.  Going through the Transplant was a miracle.  Now I need your help.  

We put everything on the line -- our savings, our retirement, our home and all of our assets -- to get me to the transplant.  In that we succeeded.  But now it is post-transplant. 

Even wise savers and investors can reach their limit.  I made it this far, but I need help to get the rest of the way.  Anyone who knows me, knows I am self-sufficient and proud.  This is an ask I would never do if I had any other choice. 

I need your help post-transplant. 

My health insurance has now doubled as of 2018.   Paying for expensive immunosuppressant drugs is critical to my survival.  Right now that it is a critical financial issue.  And just as important, is follow-on transplant evaluations to keep this perfect match functioning and thriving.  We were able to support and pay for all of those visits and costs of dialysis, drugs, insurances and costs of living.  But we are now at the edge. 

To get the rest of the way to productivity, back to a normal life where I can return to working supporting myself and my family, I need your help. 

My recovery since the transplant has been better than expected.  I am told that 3-6 months is realistic to go back to work with the full blessing of my physicians. 

Your funds will help pay for my health insurance, out-of-pocket expenses associated with healthcare, deductibles, co-pays, transportation and housing, to and from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville.  Getting back to my career and being a contributing member of society is my ultimate goal.  If you can help, I would be ever so grateful. 

If helping me out financially isn't an option, please help me by spreading the word.  I am not good at self-promoting.  So anyone with moxie and the ability to help spread the word, I would be so eternally grateful. 

Martin Luther once said, "Survival is not cheap grace." 

But as anyone who has worked through a difficult time knows, recovery on the other side sometimes takes more time and money than expected.  It also takes friends and family. 

Thank you for reading this.  Know that I will spend the rest of my life working for Transplant causes and the underlying research that makes such miracles possible.  Any support you can offer would mean the world.  You can private message me through Facebook.  I would be happy to answer any question and speak with you directly.  

Did you know there are over 10,000 people raising funds for associated Transplant costs on GoFundMe alone?  That isn't just tragic.  It is heartbreaking. 

If nothing else, PLEASE, become an organ donor.  Ask me how.  Second Chances should not just happen to the fortunate few.  They should belong to all of us! 

- Karen C. Murphey-Travers


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Karen C. Murphey-Travers 
Lebanon, NJ
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