Five years ago, I was pretty sure I was going to die in my sleep. Five years later I'm finally ready to tell the story. 

Today, December 21, 2017, is the 5th anniversary of the day my sister Joan gave me a

My sister Joan Rabe. Kidney donor, piano player.
My sister Joan Rabe. Kidney donor, piano player.

kidney and I was given new life. I am very thankful for her gift, and I am the support of my family, and Tracy McCray's family (they let me recover in their basement for two months!).

On air, I'm always talking about my kidney transplant. Why? Because organ donation is so important. When you pass, there are so many parts of you able to give life, give sight, and so much more.

One thing I haven't talked much about is the hardest parts of that year. But I want you to know about it because it'll give you an idea how much your organ donation means. How big a deal it is.

There were 3 times I thought I was going to die. This is just one of those times.

The night following my first time in the dialysis chair was easily 100 times more frightening than anything I've ever experienced. They hooked me up to the machine, and for the first time since my kidneys failed, my blood was cleaned. It was a total shock to my body. I left feeling nauseous and did throw up in my friend's truck on the way back to my apartment.

Looking back, that was the best part of the day.

I tried going to bed. I was sweating profusely, my legs kept cramping up in sudden, jerky cramps, and my heart was racing faster than I'd ever felt. I couldn't sleep, I couldn't even lay down or the cramps in my legs were worse. This went on for hours! Even after I was totally exhausted by the physical reaction and fear, it took me hours to fall asleep.

I still remember falling asleep...I knew I was zonking out, and I could feel the darkness surround me and press down. I cried, realizing I had been so cavalier with my health and now was never going to see my friends, loved ones, or the world again. I cried for all the things I was saying goodbye to...and the people I wouldn't be able to say goodbye to.

Then I woke up. It was morning, I was supposed to go to work, but I knew I couldn't make it, so I called my boss and he took care of it.

I fell back asleep crying again, but this time tears of joy because I was still alive.


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