Flo and the Freeloaders
Let’s begin at the beginning – Bill has always had a fish tank. He was referred to as ‘the fish guy’ in the fish department at the pet store. Got a fish question? Go ask ‘the fish guy’ they would say. What started as a hobby quickly turned into a career. In 2004, when he relocated to Pittsburgh to marry Jackie, he named his business My FishGuy. In 2014, he had to close the business when his health would no longer allow him to drive or carry the equipment, adding to the financial strain.
Once upon a time. Nope. In a galaxy far, far away. Not it. You won’t believe this. Not quite. Adapted for TV. Not a chance. God’s timing is perfect …YES, that’s how this all started!
Ten years into our marriage, MyFishGuy’s kidneys were on the watch list. His doctors were preparing us for the inevitable. In 2015, MyFishGuy got so sick we weren’t sure he’d live. He started dialysis to replace the work his kidneys were no longer providing. We had hoped that it would be short-lived as we had a living donor come forward. And then another one. And another. None could get through all the testing and cross that finish line to receive the approval of our Transplant Team. Two years later, we received a phone call that surprised us and made us laugh.
Could my ex-husband’s sister be a living donor for my new husband? That had to be the craziest and funniest thing we had ever heard. Who would ever believe it? As with anyone who asked, we gave her the phone number for our Living Donor Coordinator and said it’s up to you to call. We’ll be praying for you and your decision. Keep us in the loop or not, it’s up to you.
Our prayers were being answered. Not when we thought it was time, but when God said it would happen. The Transplant Team makes every possible accommodation for the living donor so that the recipient doesn’t lose the chance at a gift of life.
MyFishGuy? The side effects of the transplant medications are a balancing act for which there are no hard and fast rules. Adjust, change, add, subtract. Time is our ally. His body is making the new kidney feel right at home. He tells everyone that he’s still deciding whether to sit or stand when he goes. He also told the surgeon that he put it in upside down because he was up all night going. His laughter has returned. God knew. His timing was perfect. None of the other five potential donors could have given him this exact and perfect gift. You can’t help but hear the love and appreciation in his voice as he tells the recipient side of this story.
In true fashion, we had to come up with a name for this sweet gift. It took weeks to settle on a name. One that fit her perfectly and reflected her goal in life. Did you know that when you get a new kidney, the surgeons leave the other two in you? Yes, indeed. MyFishGuy now has three kidneys. The two Freeloaders remain in place and Flo sits happily above his right leg.
Flo and the Freeloaders
Not a band, but a beautiful sound in our lives and our home. We are forever grateful, thankful and amazed at the story God has written with our lives. He knew.
Would you be someone’s hero?