Anointing of Lynn at the Newman Center

On September 14 of this year, parishioner Lynn English was scheduled to donate her kidney to a friend in need at Houston Methodist Hospital. Here is the story behind her amazing gift.

My husband and I lived in Refugio, TX (where Tony grew up) for 5 years between 1982-1987, just before we moved to Lexington. We had a PT practice at the hospital and supported the school system sports teams and children with special needs. Our boys were 3 and 5 when we left Texas.

Tyler and his wife Lindsey moved there in 1985 so, for a couple of years, our paths crossed socially. Tyler is an attorney, and Lindsey is a school nurse (now both retired).

Lindsey and I stayed connected these 34 years along with two other women from our Refugio days. We saw each other a few years ago in Dallas. She began to communicate Tyler’s health situation to us as it changed in January 2020.

Tyler was diagnosed with a large abdominal aortic aneurysm. COVID resulted in delays, and in June 2020 he finally had the repair. It was complicated, and when he emerged from surgery, his renal arteries had been clamped for so long that they never returned to function again. Dialysis ensued, three times a week.

Tyler was placed on the transplant list at Houston Methodist (2 1/2 hours from Refugio) in September 2020. Three family members/friends applied to donate and were deemed “not appropriate” for donation. I had indicated my willingness to be evaluated, so I was next.

Another factor was in the mix as well:

I lost a young friend (age 35) in 2012 as he awaited a lung transplant, so I have been interested in organ donation ever since. Since 2013, I have conducted an organ donor registration drive in the PT program every year. Still, never did I think I would have the opportunity to do something this impactful.

So here is the heart of the matter:

In June 2021, just after I had retired from teaching at UK, I traveled to Houston for testing. After a couple of weeks, I received word that I was qualified as a donor. As the blood match was assessed, I found that Tyler and I are a 6/6 match.

I have felt called to do this every step of the way. I have a deep sense of peace and comfort after completing preop procedures last week and meeting Tyler and Lindsey to spend time with them. They gave me a bag of gifts, the most precious being a cross embedded on an engravable disc. There is a tradition of “naming” the new kidney. Todd has decided on the name Jesus Lynn. So, after the surgery, I will engrave on the back of the cross JL 9-14-21.

We prayed together, cried some, and all felt a sense of gratitude and peace after the time spent together.

I am grateful to have spent time with my Newman Center spiritual supporters last night and receive the anointing. Please continue to pray for me and Tyler as we trust in God and the medical team to carry us through this miracle.

Two Weeks After Surgery…

One year, three months, and three days.  On Sept. 17, the recipient sent me a message indicating that he was no longer dependent on dialysis or a catheter.

Each day has brought new strength, but slowly.  On Sunday we walked 30 minutes each way to and from St. Mary’s Chapel on the Rice U. campus. Good for body and soul.

The humidity here makes exercise draining.  I walk through this stately neighborhood, do gentle but increasingly challenging Pilates exercises, rest, hydrate, listen to an audiobook, watch Netflix, then walk, rest… and repeat. Tony is the chef, making breakfast, lunch, and last night his famous chicken tacos.  I might have veered from my low-fat diet just a bit…

My surgical site is barely sore; at 1 ½ inch total length it just amazes me.  No stitches superficially, just glue that will flake and disappear.

The recipient has significantly more challenges during this time—anti-rejection meds (steroids and others), drains to be removed or left in place, low energy level, and developing expected adverse drug responses. His wife is a force of nature—vigilant at every turn. A favorite improvement this week has been that the taste of food has returned. During dialysis, he vacillated between nausea and food being tasteless.

I am not used to this slow pace, but my energy level tells me it’s the way to proceed now. Next week we will return home. I’m savoring this recovery time in the meantime. Thank you to all in the parish who have traveled with us in spirit and prayer. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are enveloping us and lifting us as we recover.

(Please note, the names of the recipient and his wife have been altered for their privacy.)