Oh hey. It’s crazy busy ol’ me. Here with some real life updates for y’all.
I went back and forth about five million three hundred times, but finally settled on the … ” Let’s share with the social media world” or more so let’s spread the word ( for those of you that don’t already know). So … Word.
June 29, 2019.

University of Minnesota, Kidney Donation, Living Donor, Kidney Transplant, Transplant, UMN Transplant

This marks the first day I actually started this process. In my head. In my heart. I had this conversation with one of the groomsmen in the wedding I was shooting. I knew there were current health issues as I had shot their wedding almost two years prior, not to mention my husband actually coached him in hockey way back when, along with various other connections including  being a groomsmen in no joking, 6 of my weddings. I had just assumed at this point his health issues were completely under control. You know, the sugar coated version that most people probably either A) expect to hear or B) Tell everybody because it is not only the easiest version but what is preferred to be heard in this world.
So after chatting with both him and his wife I just kinda felt this weird push to know more. This is where I need to interrupt. This story is MINE. This is what I FELT. In no way do I expect even ONE PERSON in this GINORMOUS world to relate, but I do expect the common courtesy of ACCEPTING the facts. So, back to the grind. This was the start of my wheels turning, and never stopping. The day went on, heck the weekend went on. ALL this information about health and how to help “cure”, fix is probably a better word to use, just running through my head. Finally after the kiddos were in bed the hubby and I made a deliciously strong drink, because that is how we roll, and headed out to the deck for an evening catch up. Little did he know what I was about to spring on him.
“I want to be tested for a kidney transplant to see if I am a match.”
I don’t think he responded right away, actually he probably took a sip of his drink and thought, “alright Kayla, whachya got schemed up this time”
“No, Clint, I am serious. I feel like I NEED to do this. Something greater is leading me in this direction and I want to start the process, heck if I am not a match at least I know I tried”
For anybody who knows my Clint, they know … he is pretty kick a** (Pardon my french but literally NO OTHER WAY TO PUT IT) You see he knows I have been wanting to “give back” if you will. We have been blessed with several chances at life for his father fighting the C word. We have also been beyond blessed with not one or two but FOUR babies who make us as equally angry on any given day as they do proud, and on top of this… WE ourselves are blessed with a beautiful home, careers that we are passionate about, and above all else we have each other. So I want to show God my appreciation for the dust on my floors & crayon marks on the walls. I want to give somebody all the blessings I have received.

You could see his wheels turning. His thoughts were brewing. He gave it fair time and came back with exactly what I expected.
” Alright, LETS do this”
Not, “Yes YOU can do this” but LETS… meaning US. Sometimes I look back thinking he didn’t even realize it would bring us to this very moment, yet after it all, he knew exactly where it would bring us. He is the one person in this world that knows me. He accepts my heart for the flooding it does on a daily basis & the empathy I don’t even know how to control.
So here it starts. I went to the local hospital for a quick few blood draws and out the door. BOOM. The phone rings. It’s the transplant coordinator, ” Just confirming you want to be a living donor, and letting you know you can move forward with testing.” I was pumped. This is right where I am supposed to be.
So the day came. July 12th, 2019.

University of Minnesota, Kidney Donation, Living Donor, Kidney Transplant, Transplant, UMN Transplant

Our full day of testing at U of MN. Was I nervous? Not in the slightest. I was STARVING. I wanted a Starbucks on the way. But I was giddy. I was excited. I was hopeful. I couldn’t believe I was finally taking steps to do something so big.
We arrived at 7 am and stayed all day. I have never seen so many tubes of blood drawn from my own body. I have never had a CT scan. I have never felt SO HUMBLED.
While we were waiting throughout the day I just started taking notes because if I didn’t do that I would have been the fool sitting there staring and crying at every person that walked in the doors. All the different ages. All the different symptoms. Yet here I sit SO INCREDIBLY healthy ( even after some of the abuse I have given my body over the years ) waiting and hoping to give that health to somebody else. Wishing I could offer it every single person that walked through those doors.
2:30pm. Our final test of the day was done. It was time to go. Clint went and got the car. I was speechless, excited, & yet again feeling so humble … strange combo, yep. The idea of all the ugly, all the sick, all the unlucky in the world, yet most days I could complain about the car in front of me not using their blinker or the fact that my kids are all so healthy their activities surpass my social life, what’s left of it anyway.

Fast forward four weeks later to August 8th, 2019.

University of Minnesota, Kidney Donation, Living Donor, Kidney Transplant, Transplant, UMN Transplant

The results were back and I had the yellow light. Everything looked perfect but they wanted me to redo two blood tests just to be 100% sure. So as I am in the middle of a semi-house flip I went to the local clinic covered in paint chips & dust, sat in the chair and stared at the tubes of blood being drawn. Praying to myself, ” You got this, You got this”.
Guess what you guys, I HAD IT. I found out on August 14th that I WAS APPROVED. Read that again. I WAS APPROVED TO BE A LIVING DONOR. I just stared at the computer and cried so many happy tears. I literally couldn’t wait one more second to tell my recipient & his wife. So I got the phone out and called. Rewind a second. How in the heck do you prepare yourself to tell someone you get to do this? There is no guide, no book, you just do it. Let me tell you, that feeling was twice as amazing as hearing I was approved. So again. I cried. We all cried. I was speechless. I had no words, only thanks, hopefulness, & so much gratitude. The date was set. It was really happening.

Monday September 9th, 2019. Pre-Op.

University of Minnesota, Kidney Donation, Living Donor, Kidney Transplant, Transplant, UMN Transplant

It’s so close. It’s finally time. I went in to do my final blood draws and meet with all the doctors & nurses involved. The best part of this day, as I was going up to meet with the surgeons & nurses after all the lab work was done, I was multi tasking … because if you know me, you know that is the ONLY WAY I operate. So I was happily ordering halloween costumes for my four devilish angels when I heard a ” Hey!” I looked up from my Amazon Prime to see my recipient & his wife sitting there. ( Which ps recipient seems WAY TO FORMAL … but names can be declared at a later date ) I probably looked a fool as I was trying to keep my cool, I just wanted to HUG HUG HUG and HUG some more. WE ARE SO CLOSE TO SAYING THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENING it’s just not quite here yet so I am trying to just go with the flow, so naturally, I sat down and enjoyed some conversation. I think we all had some nerves as they have been nothing but appreciative. The thing is I know that. And you are SO WELCOME. This is a gift I wanted to give. This is something so near and dear to my heart. I am as equally grateful to be able give you something that hopefully lasts your lifetime.

So here we are. Monday September 16, 2019.

Tomorrow is our day. I didn’t share with people because I wanted to be secretive. I simply didn’t want the attention, comments, questions. I didn’t post it all over social media when I started testing because I wanted to be sure. I wanted to be positive this would work. Although in this strange sense, I knew it would from the very first day I had my blood drawn. I can’t explain it. I won’t explain it. Trust me, I know not everybody understands this, I have heard some pretty funny comments. And you know what, that is just fine by me. Just know that something as small as a ” Hi” can change somebody’s day. Heck it could change their life. You don’t need to buy a coffee or donate a kidney, just listen instead of judge. Just interact instead of react. I wanted to share on a social media platform because I wanted people to hear my story. I want people to know that giving back, be it an hour of someone’s time or a warm meal, is one of the most empowering feelings out there. There is so much going on in this world that the naked eye would never see. So if I can use this as a way to pass kindness & giving back. I totally will.

As for my right kidney … Au Revior… it’s been real. Now it’s time to go do what you need to do.

Real Life. || Kidney Donation

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  1. Jeanne Slattery

    September 17th, 2019 at 12:15 pm

    Bless you Makayla. A friend of mine donated a kidney. He knew the recipient, they celebrate each year on the anniversary of the donations. It’s been 8 years now. Best wishes and prayers to you all.

  2. Kari

    September 17th, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    You. Are. Amazing! ❤

  3. Sue Dahling

    September 17th, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    Thank you so much for your great gift to our loved ones. I wish you both a speedy recovery.

  4. Taylor Ziemke

    September 17th, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    Makayla, you are such a wonderful person! This act of kindness is so remarkable. I know the recipient and their family will be forever grateful for your decision to give! You are such a great role model.

    Thank you, for making this courageous decision. Praying for a speedy recovery.

  5. j a peters

    September 17th, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    I don’t know you buy you are one gutsy woman with a strong understanding husband . Kudos and Gods blessing to both of you and your family.

  6. Sandi Prange

    September 18th, 2019 at 1:30 am

    This is beautiful. You are an angel on Earth, Mackayla.

  7. Kelly Miller

    September 18th, 2019 at 2:46 am

    Thank you for sharing your story! I hope it inspires others to go with their gut when it tells you to do something. These moments seem to pass by others without consideration; but clearly this was your time, your calling, your chance to do something selfless and extraordinary. Wishing you a speedy recovery you strong, beautiful, gracious person and you’re a pretty good writer too!

  8. Sam Prescher

    September 18th, 2019 at 3:08 am

    Truly Inspirational Makayla! Thank You for Sharing your beautiful story.

  9. J Clever

    September 18th, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Wow. It is an amazing gift. God was whispering in your ear for this. Your children, family and community will see your shining light and maybe be inspired to give it forward as well. May His healing hands rest on you and the recipient. Many blessings.

  10. Pamela Gullickson

    September 19th, 2019 at 1:49 am

    Makayla, you are a special lady! I truly understand. God Bless you all!

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