My3Lives Kidney Transplant Survivor

My THREE lives, those words are far more than just a saying to me. It’s my reality…

Latisha Hill carries numerous titles: MOM (First and Foremost) to three WONDERFUL children (hence My THREE lives), daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend, and might I add former female basketball extraordinaire (Smile, remember this is Tisha’s story). But she also carries the title of former dialysis patient and newly kidney transplant survivor.  Today marks one week since Tisha’s kidney transplant surgery. Her SMILE has always been infectious, even throughout this journey. Let me share with you her journey, her story, her life:

God is unbelievably GOOD! This beautiful GIFT from God, the donor’s family, and the Emory University Hospital team making this ALL possible is very hard still for me to believe, honestly. I’m moved every time I think about this blessing bestowed upon my life and every time I think of the ways you, as family and friends, have supported my family through this journey and the journey to come, the tears are overwhelming with joy.

That is why I come to you, family and friends with this request; I need you more than ever now, with my new kidney transplant, I need your help to raise financial support for my short term living here in Atlanta GA, the multiple travel trips I will need to take every other day from Columbus GA to Emory University in Atlanta, GA upon my return. My insurance covered the surgery and doctors visits, but that will end in less than 4 months and it doesn’t cover my current hotel lodging for six weeks, food, transportation, gas and future medical bills, transplant medications, and the financial care of my children separated from me at this time in my hometown. In addition, I will need to take expensive anti-rejection medication for the rest of my life.  My social worker recommends that I have minimum $10,000 to cover all these costs. Please read my journey and story.

Let us rewind back 11 years ago to 2004; My Dad, the best father ever that lived on this earth, lost his battle suffering from a debilitating chronic kidney failure and died in 2004, I was only 22 years old. My dad was my life, my hero, we were extremely close, and his death was extremely difficult for me to take and I internalized my feelings and decided to leave Columbus GA with my family and moved to Louisiana thinking new surroundings, new career field, new people in my life would make living life here on earth without my dad a little easier.  Here I am in Louisiana, with no family, no friends, and I went through trials and tribulations alone over there, trying to raise my children, and life was really hard. I had plenty shares of setbacks from 2004 through 2010.

One Morning in April 2010, my life as I knew it changed forever; I woke up that morning in bed and opened my eyes and had to immediately regurgitate over and over again. I did everything in my power to try to just get out of bed to get my kids together for school and get ready for work and I was extremely nauseous and sick, I could not eat, nor drink. I drove to work that day and as I’m driving, I had my head positioned out the window to regurgitate on the road. It was by the grace of God that I made it to that office. I regurgitated immediately upon entering that building and could not stop as I made my way to the ladies bathroom. I was thinking in my head, I have a very bad case of a stomach virus or food poisoning. I somehow made it out the ladies bathroom and from what I was told by my colleagues at work, because I do not remember, I tumbled, fell,  everything appeared black, and passed out  in the hallway before making it to my office.

 My supervisor and team picked me up and helped me to my desk and immediately called my husband for help for we lived close by and it was quicker to call him to take me to the emergency room than to call the ambulance. We arrived at the emergency room and I was rushed back into the ER to be seen promptly. It seems like everything was surreal during this process for tons of test and blood was drawn to figure out what is happening to me.  After all testing was complete; the doctors came into the room to deliver news to me that seemed like the end of the world to me.  I will never forget, the doctors advised these words “Mrs. Hill, you are suffering from kidney failure and your kidneys have completely shut down and you are in Stage 4 Renal Failure.” Guys, what this means that 75-80% of the kidney function has been lost and I need immediate renal replacement therapy. I will need constant dialysis daily to prolong life; however dialysis is not a permanent fix. Kidney transplant is ultimately recommended and needed for longer life. I truly couldn’t believe what I was hearing, everything suddenly started moving in slow motion and my life flashed in front of my eyes. “What about my kids? Why me? Why is this happening to me? This is Déjà vu from my daddy suffered the same illness years earlier.”  Do I need a second opinion? This is what I asked the doctors. Their response was, “Mrs. Hill you do not even have time for a second opinion, your condition is extremely urgent at this moment, and if we don’t take immediate action to start your replacement therapy, within the next week your family will be planning for your funeral.”

At that point, I made an instant decision and advised the providers to do whatever is necessary to help save my life for I have THREE lives, THREE very important kids that need me to continuing living. Honestly, I wasn’t even thinking about myself. All I thought about instantly was that I HAVE to live for these THREE kids. At this time in 2010, my oldest daughter was only 9 years old and my two sons were 6 and 3 years old. So I had THREE kids each younger than ten years old and their mom just been advised that she has Stage 4 Renal Failure and about to undergo continuous and constant dialysis. For those who are not aware, Dialysis patients go the dialysis center to have the dialysis machine mix and monitor the fluid that helps take in blood from your body to the machine to remove the unwanted waste products from your blood. It also helps get your electrolytes and minerals to their proper levels in your body. So I was admitted into the hospital and I had emergency surgery to put a port in my neck that would be used to start immediate dialysis treatments.  During dialysis, you are constantly being stuck with needles before treatments or put on a catheter for the machine access. So, this day April 2010, I start this new Dialysis journey right there in the hospital and I had to stay on the dialysis machine for FIVE whole hours. Mind you, I was extremely sick before starting this process and I remember this was the scariest thing I had to ever encounter in my entire life. My renal therapy consisted of dialysis weekly for FIVE hours a day for three days a week. I cannot even describe how draining this process makes you feel, although I pushed and pushed because I knew it was necessary to maintain my life for my THREE kids. You are extremely nauseous and sick in the morning; you cannot hardly eat, drink, or even hold ice down. Then afterwards, it’s more of a FULL stomach sensation, but still feels as if you have a stomach virus. I chose sessions on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday’s so I can have the full weekends to spend time with my children when they are out of school to lessen the disruption in their lives with their mom having dialysis. Dialysis, my life saver machine, was my life, my routine, every week, multiple times a week, and numerous hours a week from April 2010 to February 2015.

In 2011, I made the decision to move back to my hometown Columbus, GA from Louisiana with my children due to several situations but primarily to be near family and friends for support during this time and to raise my children in my hometown.

From 2011 to 2015, life was hard due to kidney failure. I experienced numerous painful and horrible symptoms, unbearable discomforts, lethargy, difficulty in breathing, fatigue, anemia, hypertension, infections,  intense headaches, multiple surgeries, a divorce, and threatening illnesses as a result of Renal failure and just the constant beating and breakdown of my body during constant dialysis treatment.  I was in desperate need of a Kidney Transplant.

In 2013, I started to travel to Atlanta GA and started the application journey at Emory University to become a candidate and getting approved to as a recipient to the OPTN/UNOS National Transplant Waiting List for a kidney. Once approved, if someone who is deceased matches my criteria, I would be contacted immediately to have emergency Kidney Transplant surgery. This is another story by itself, and it’s a long wait and length of time and chances are slim to none to possibly get notified for a kidney transplant primarily because there are not enough donor organs for all who need them. This process itself took almost two years and I was finally approved to be added to the waitlist in January 2014 as a recipient for a kidney transplant.

New Year’s 2015, after prayer and time with God, I declared and decreed in the name of Jesus that 2015 will be MY YEAR to be called off the waiting list for a matching donor and have my Kidney Transplant surgery. I vowed this and believed wholeheartedly it will happen. I asked my friends and family to stand in agreement with me on their Facebook page and let’s touch and agree that surgery will take place. For I was tired, I was tired of the agonizing pain and the numerous times my body shut down for one reason or another and  all surgeries in fixing issues as a result of the renal failure.  Life seemed dull, and there were many times I wanted to give up. But knew in my heart, I couldn’t give up because of my THREE lives, my THREE kids.

Look at God, the NEXT MONTH… February 22, 2015; I received a call EARLY Sunday morning around midnight from the Transplant Center in Atlanta GA that they have a kidney that matches my criteria and I have been selected to have a Kidney Transplant immediately at Emory University the next day and I will need to come up their quickly for pre op. My first words were “Man stop playing on this phone”. The nurse started laughing and said, no madam, I’m not playing, I’m serious and you have been selected. Everything seemed surreal, I was ecstatic, scared, relieved, and crying, all at the same time. Shouting in the house JOY! God is so good! I woke up my kids in the house screaming and of course had to immediately call my mom and family.  This is what I’ve waited so long for and now it’s finally coming true. I truly didn’t have time to think. I just had to make quick arrangements with my mom and cousin to travel with me to Atlanta that morning and by that afternoon at Emory University Hospital; I was being prepped for dialysis and then headed for surgery. I had the surgery on Monday February 23 that evening and the surgery was about 4 hours long I was told by the doctors.

And Look at me one week later, God has done unbelievable things in my life and the surgery was a huge success! I spent the remainder of last week in the hospital and was released from Emory on Sunday March 1 and will remain in Atlanta GA at the University Campus in a hotel lodging to continue my healing and to remain close to the hospital for my daily treatments for the next six weeks.

Please consider partnering with me and my family during this difficult situation. I pray that you see it in your heart to make a donation today, and share this page with your family, friends, contacts, and the world on every social media site. Please share my story to get the word out.

As I focus to regain my strength and keep my body in tact not to reject the new kidney, I will not be in a position to seek and gain employment in the near future as a travel back and forth to Atlanta, GA.

Thank you so much for your support! You just do not know how much I appreciate how everyone is coming together to help support my family during this journey. Any little bit that you can spare will get me a one step closer to my goal, and that much closer to making a life for my THREE kids that mean the world to me. Be blessed.


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Latisha Hill 
Columbus, GA
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