By Michelle Rogers, Kidney Donor
It has been four years since Nancy Noble and I were at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak during the wee hours of April 2 preparing for surgery. It seems like yesterday, but then it doesn’t because so much has happened since that day. A move to Northern California and a new job, and then Southern California for a promotion and new job, brought more change for me than donating a kidney ever would. Moving three times in three years is brutal to say the least.
To update y’all, we’re both doing great. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to help Nancy and advocate for kidney donation. Whenever I have a speaking engagement, I casually drop it in — not to brag that I did something the average person might not do because I do think the average person would do it if there was more awareness — but to let everyone I encounter know that there are people who need a kidney transplant and this is how to help.
For me as a donor, there were no bumps in the road; no hiccups. It was smooth sailing. I was out of the hospital in a few days and back to work in a few weeks. My only reminder is a long scar across my belly and two small scars a little higher up. Also, I had to switch from Excedrin, which is a NSAID, to Tylenol because Excedrin is hard on the kidneys. Beyond that, I am just supposed to keep an eye on my blood pressure and glucose level because if they get out of control, it can damage my remaining kidney. But that’s true for people with two kidneys, too.
So, four years later, life is great. I am living the dream in California. After getting laid off from my job with Digital First Media in Michigan right after the surgery, I landed in a great spot. It took just a month or so to find the perfect opportunity in Redding, California, at the Record Searchlight working as a content editor. There I had the opportunity to lead our social media and community engagement strategy, and even had the great honor of my 530 Media Project earning honorable mention in Editor and Publisher’s “10 Newspapers That Do It Right” series.
Two years later, I was tapped for a new position at the Ventura County Star in Southern California, part of the same media chain, working as a consumer experience director. This opportunity has led to a lot of new experiences and professional growth as I have overseen the launch of two podcasts, a foodie e-newsletter, a Facebook Messenger chat bot and several unique events around our journalism, including the Ventura Storytellers Project.
The cherry on top has been making the move here official by purchasing a condominium in Ventura, just 8.5 miles from the beach.
I strongly believe that you get what you give in life. I helped sustain a life, or at least helped a person live a longer life, and now I am living the life I dreamed of having — with my boyfriend of seven years, my kidney recipient’s brother, Jim Walsh (pictured below on the right).
Nancy calls me her “soul sister” and that we are.