Dave's big kidneys need to come out

Today, August 4th is Dave's 48th birthday. I want to celebrate 48 more with him. We are a love story - almost everyone knows that because I constantly post pictures of our fun and adventures. He is my love, my best friend, and the person I want to grow old with! What most of you don't know is my husband has Polycystic Kidney Disease. This is a rare genetic disease that slowly (over the course of his life) fills his kidneys with cysts which in turn, makes them stop functioning. There is no cure. The only treatment is a double nephrectomy (remove both of those bad boys) and a donor transplant. For anyone who knows Dave, he is one of the happiest "sick" people you'll ever meet. Always a smile on his face and willing to help anyone - just ask! From his volunteer work with several Animal Rescue organizations to support of friends in need, he will be there. The side you don't see of Dave is lots of pain, lots of naps and exhaustion that comes along with 7% kidney function. He cares deeply for my happiness as I do for his, and he does everything he can to continue to be active and experience all life has to offer.  The best news is, he has a living donor!! The plan is to remove those big dysfunctional kidneys and "install" a new happy kidney this fall. It is a major surgery, to say the least, as his body heals and adapts to no longer carrying around TWO football size kidneys (weighing in at 10 lbs each), for one the size of a fist - which will save his life, literally. The healing process for this major surgery is long and Dr.s feel he would not be able to return to work for 3-4 months afterward, not just for healing but to build his immune system up enough to be in public spaces (immunosuppressant drugs to keep his new kidney happy, will make him susceptible to common viruses). WE are beyond thrilled for a happy and healthy life going forward with his new kidney!! Unfortunately, insurance does not cover all costs for his surgery and nothing covers loss of wages while he heals. All donations will go toward medical bills not covered by insurance, new drugs he will take the rest of his life, and sustaining our livelihood until he's back on his feet.  We haven't set a date for the surgery yet but anticipate late fall (November). We will continue to keep everyone up to date on his progress and healing as we begin this journey. It's going to be an uphill battle, but the alternative is worse - the world is a better place with Dave in it and I'm so lucky to hold hands with him through it all.  The decision to even write this has been a difficult one. With encouragement from our family to share our story, here we are. We appreciate all the love and support we have received so far - and lots of hugs and prayers in the future for the best outcome possible.
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Leslie Birkley 
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