In The Beginning

By Mark Noble
Caregiver/husband

I met Nancy at a marketing firm we both worked for. She was — and still is — tall, blonde and gorgeous. And smart, too. I remember saying “this is the one,” pretty early on and I was hell-bent on ensuring I did everything possible during our courtship to get her to really like me.  I did special things. You know, flowers and more. I even helped her buy a car. (I made part of the payment for her.)

After we had dated for awhile, we had a dinner one day and Nancy said to me, “You know, I have a kidney disease.”

Mark Noble, Nancy's husband, will be taking care of her during this journey through kidney transplantation.
Mark Noble, Nancy’s husband, will be taking care of her during this journey through kidney transplantation.
I think she was giving me an “out” at that time. I promptly delivered my counter-blow and said, “Well, I have Crohn’s disease, so we’re even.” I was trying to downplay the whole discussion because we were young and when would any of that really matter, anyway.

It never occurred to me at that time what having kidney disease would mean for OUR future, though.

Even through the past 18 years of marriage I never realized the impact, only that she was on medication and had swollen feet once in awhile. Overall, I never worried about her future.

That was until late last year when she came home from the doctor and said, “I need a transplant.” I was shell-shocked. I thought, “Isn’t that for heart patients?” Boy, did that change everything. My mind was racing, and I didn’t know where it was going, either.

I wondered who would pay and how I could afford it (I even set up a website for fundraising), and, most of all, what would this mean for Nancy AFTER surgery?  Wold she have to wear a mask all the time?  Would she be able to work?  Garden?  Swim?  Travel?  Walk her “miles” of walking she’s used to doing in warmer weather?  I started to wonder all these things. And, as I explored more, I learned more.

Stay tuned for what I’ve been experiencing, what my thoughts are, and what’s next.

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