Nate's Kidney Blog

Welcome to Nate's Kidney Blog. This is intended to be a way for friends and family to stay updated on my condition. Please read and comment when felt led.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Happy Easter!

I know it is a few days late but I wanted to wish everyone a Happy Easter. After all, it is probably one of the biggest cruxes of our faith that Jesus did not stay in the tomb but rather He arose to proclaim His glory. About this time some two thousand years ago, I would imagine there was an incredible buzz around Jerusalem. Everybody was talking about Jesus, how he had been crucified, but more importantly, how he had conquered death and fulfilled a promise. The place must have been going crazy... Much different than what is going on today. Easter is seemingly the one time out of the year that most people pause, in between biting the head off their hollow chocolate bunnies, just long enough to recognize what this man really did. And then a few days later it is forgotten till next year when the stores once again stock up on colored "easter" eggs and chocolate bunnies. (On a side note, where did all of that come from?) Now don't get me wrong, I am all for hollow bunnies, seeing kids search with crazy competetive spirit for plastic eggs, and over-sized Hershey kisses, but I think we as a culture forget the real importance of Easter far to soon. Maybe something practical would be to remember in your own life why you are thankful that Jesus is alive.

Why I am thankful that He is alive may be a little obvious to you. But for those of you that are reading this for the first time, I will give you a brief background on the past year.

Last year on Feb. 19th, my girlfriend called 911 and I was rushed to the hospital. The doctors had a hard time figuring out what was wrong with me because my blood levels were extremely low and my toxin levels were off the charts. After some tests, which included one that located only one kidney, they diagnosed me with accute renal failure with congestive heart failure and severe anemia. Basically my kidney, the only one I was born with, had failed and because of excess fluid building up around the heart, it was working overtime causing severe chest pains and labored breathing. After spending a week in the hospital, I returned home and began what became a nine month dialysis routine of four hours three times a week. During this time we were actively searching for a kidney donor and it turned out that after months of testing, my dad was the best match. So on December 2nd, my dad and I went into the hospital for transplant surgery. We are now both doing very well physically and have grown tremendously through this experience.

What I left out of that brief history was the best and most imortant part of the whole experience. You see, after I graduated from Biola in 2004, I fell into a bit of a post college funk. It seemed as if I could not get started with my life. I didn't understand what was going on. So my prayers were full of questions about what God wanted to do with my life. Sure I had some desires but soon realized that the most important thing was what God wanted to do Through me. And that is what my prayer change to. I began asking God to use me in "any way" for His glory, you know, the way a carpenter uses specific tools for there intended purposes. What I didn't anticipate was God's literal answer to my prayer. I wasn't saying, "Please God, make me have kidney failure and endure this long process so you can have the glory" but I was asking Him to use me in "any way". To be real honest, that is exactly what He has done in a variety of ways.

One way in particular is happening tomorrow evening. My dad and I are going to be interviewed on the Frank Pastore show around 5:45 on 99.5fm KKLA. The cool thing about these type of experiences is that it is an opportunity for God to be glorified. A direct answer to my prayer. It is not just these public venues that He has orchestrated. I have had some really cool conversations with people about my experience and how I have grown in my thankfulness and trust in the Lord. I mentioned earlier about how the buzz in Jerusalem was full of talks about the resurection and the fulfillment of His promise. This is one area that I am thankful to experience on this level; His promise to answer our prayers.

One last thing that I wanted to mention was an important event coming up later this April. On Saturday, April 28th, CSUF will host the annual Donate Life 5k Run/Walk & Family Festival. This is an event "To celebrate the gift of life and inspire people to donate life." As you can imagine, I am excited about my new gift of life and my dad is excited about the opportunity he had to give that gift. So we are definitely going to be participating in this event. We have created a team and would like to ask any of you who would like to participate with us to join our team. All of the registration info can be found on their website at The direct link is on the left. Also because we have created a team, it will be cheaper to register as part of our team.
What you need to do is register online:
Click "Join a Donor or Recipient Family"
Team Name: "NATE'S CREW"
Password: Rocket
and then if you could e-mail us afterward at so we know that you registered.

I have a bunch of fliers about the event if you want one of those. Just let me know. This should be a lot of fun and we would love to see all of you out there. It is also a great time and place to learn more about organ, eye, and tissue donations.

Until next time, I hope that you all take time to look back at why you are thankful that Jesus is alive. What has He done in your life today to make His presence known, are you allowing Him to?


Monday, March 05, 2007

-- A Milestone is Reached --
Today, March 5th, 2007, is the 93rd day since the transplant. For some of you this may not mean anything, but to me it means that I have reached the first of a couple huge milestones with the newly transplanted kidney. More importantly than just reaching some three month period, is the fact that today Dr. Ruzics took deleted three of my medications from the daily routine. I also no longer need to record both my input and output on a daily basis. I am really relieved not to have to do this anymore. But what I would say is the Most important thing is the fact that I have had NO rejection episodes, NO sickness, and NO real big changes in the way that I feel except feeling completely normal.

I wanted to write a quick update on where I am now three months after the transplant. I got a job about a month ago working as a long-term sub at Dana Hills High School. I am a one-on-one with a mildly autistic 14yr old boy. Basically what that means is that I am with him in his classes helping him focus on what he is doing, whether that be going up on stage with him in his drama class or helping him write an e-mail to his parents. I really enjoy it. I am also helping out with the Freshman baseball team at my alma mater whenever I can. I love being back in the game in some way.

Like I said earlier, I am feeling great! My appetite is good, I have gained back about twenty pounds that I had lost prior and during the whole kidney season, and I am able to do anything and everything, "no limitations" as my Doc. has said.

I will write more and I promise it won't be this long till I post again. Before I finish I want to thank everyone who has prayed and is still praying for my dad and I. I really believe that there is a lot of power in prayer.


Monday, January 15, 2007

Dear Heavenly Father,

I am so sorry... I am sorry because I feel as though I have not thanked you enough. What you have done for me in the past year is something that is deserving of more than a thank you here or there. I mean you answered my prayer! Albet not in the way that I may have imagined or even wanted from time to time, but you kept your promise. You say, "Ask, and it will be given to you..." Well I asked for you to use me in "whatever" way you could for your Kingdom. How was I to know you would be sending me to the hospital? Because the doctors couldn't make sense of my levels, it opened an opportunity to say that it must be You. Or how about sitting in dialysis for nine months, that too opened opportunities to share about You. And now after the transplant, whether it be through the media or through conversation, people are hearing who you are and what you have done. I think I can confidently say that you are using me for your kingdom.

Now Father I must again appologize because I am beginning to become impatient. You have healed me so quickly that I am looking to the future and what I will be doing. I need your help in focussing not on what I want, or what I think is best, but on what You want. I do not want to be like the sheep whose master is leading it down a path towards a magnificent mountain stream, and instead of trusting and waiting for the crystal clean snow-fed waters below, stubbornly stops to drink from the small muddy puddles beside the trail because it thinks it best. I need your help trusting where you are leading me and being content with that which you provide.

God, thank you for those that you have put in my life to walk alongside me during this time. If it were not for their constant support and trust in you, I would be having a hard time during this season. I know that you are concerned with so much in our world and for you to be so personable with me and my situation still blows my mind. I am so thankful.


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year!
and a belated Merry Christmas!

As the ball drops on yet another year, I hope and pray that as we look back on 2006 we can do so with a sense of Thanksgiving. For some of you this past year has been the best of your lives as you start your lives together as newlyweds or begin families with newborns. And I know that for some this past year has not been a good one.

For you I want to share something that I read the other day. I was reading in James and he basically begins his letter by encouraging those who are in trouble. He says, "whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything." I thought this was really cool for a couple of reasons. The first being that James didn't say if trouble comes your way but whenever it does. This is a correct assumption on his part that we all will have some troubles in our lives. But he also says to let it be an opportunity for joy. I think the point has more to do with our perspective on the situation.

It is very easy to look at a troubling situation and throw your hands in the air in utter despair. Trust me, there have been plenty of times that I have wanted to do that. But from the very beginning of my "kidney-less journey" I have tried to remind myself that this has been an answer to prayer. For those of you that have not read previous posts, before any of this began in Feb. I had been praying that God would use me as a tool for His glory. I believe He answered that prayer, oddly enough, by putting me in the hospital and sending me down this journey. So my perspective has been what good of a tool am I if I respond in despair? Instead, I have tried to, "let it be an opportunity for joy." I do this by being thankful to Him and reflecting all praises back to Him.

So as you begin this new year I would encourage you to add to your list of resolutions that, "whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy."

Have a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

To Him Be the GLORY!

It has been less than a month since my dad I went into the hospital for the transplant surgery and already God is moving in incredible ways. Last week we got a call from a reporter from the Orange County Register. He had heard about our story from a friend and thought it would be a good "Holiday" story to run. After interviewing my dad, mom, and me, his story appeared in our local Aliso Viejo News this morning. Here is a link to the article if you wanted to check it out:

Apparently the news of our story traveled quick, very quick to be honest. As I was getting out of the shower this morning, my dad knocked on the bathroom door and told me that their was a news reporter outside wondering if we were available for an interview. I guess they had read the article and wanted to do a follow-up interview to be shown on the news! As you can imagine, our plans for this morning quickly changed as the reporter and her camera man came in our house and began filming.

I started this blog by telling you that God is already using the transplant to bring Glory to Him. As we sat on our couch, I was asked questions that enabled me to really pour out my heart. My dad and I talked some about the transplant but more importantly we shared what God has done in the past nine months. If you wanted to see the news cast, it can be found at and search the top story videos. I would encourage you to go back and read some of the comments left on my last entry. Some of them are from people who responded after seeing the story on the news today. I have never met some of them and probably never will but the Lord used this story to make an impact for His kingdom. How encouraging!

I am not really sure what is going to come out of this news story. I just keep telling myself that this is just another way that God is using an unfortunate medical condition to bring Him Glory. Some of you may recall that when this all began back in Feb. I mentioned that my prayer had been that He would use me in whatever way as a tool for His Kingdom. If that was sitting in dialysis talking to other patients, then Ok. If it is going through a transplant, then Ok. And if it is telling my story on the news, then Ok. This is my perspective. God is the giver of all things and this includes my life. I echo the words of the Apostle Paul as he wrote in 1Corinthians 10:31, "So whether you eat or DRINK or whatever you do, do it all for the GLORY of God."

Friday, December 15, 2006

-- I'M FREE! --

That's right. As of five-o-clock this evening I have officially been staple, drain, and dialysis catheter free! If you guys can't tell I am extremely excited about this. Not only are my kidney transplant related booboo's healing, but the "thorn in my side", or chest rather, has finally come out. If you guys are reading this and are totally confused, let me shed some light on it for you.

When I initially went into the hospital in late February, they installed a hemodialysis catheter in my right chest. This has been used as my access point when I have dialysis. As you can imagine, after having this thing sticking out of my chest for nearly nine months, it was becoming an annoyance. But I can surely say "Thank God" that this thing is out of me. My doctor seems to believe that the new kidney is working incredibly, so much so that he doesn't see a need to have the catheter anymore.

So what I thought was going to be a minor surgery turned out to be really nothing at all. I was admitted into the hospital late this afternoon and taken up to room. I waited there for almost hour while a nurse cleaned and prepped the catheter site. When the doctor came in, he gave me a few shots of Novocain to numb the area and then proceeded to tug at the catheter. After about a minute, the catheter simply slid out. They put some gauze on, taped me up, and I was out of there. I have to admit that it does feel strange, as if I am missing something. The truth is I am missing something, but I am so excited it is gone.

I felt wonderful again today. It seems as each day goes by I feel better and better. It is getting hard not being able to go out places and do things when I feel this good. But it is something I have to do in order to stay healthy, especially throughout this season.

Thank you again for your prayers and your comments. I really love reading them.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Forward progress!

This has been a good week for Nate so far. He no longer has to go to the hospital's lab every morning for blood work, just three days per week, now. The surgeon removed the staples from his incision, which allowed him to take a full-fledged shower!

But the best news to date: the chest catheter, for dialysis, will be removed tomorrow afternoon! The doctor would not order this unless he was totally confident in the function of Nate's new kidney. Pray that this "minor" surgery will go without a hitch, and definitely without any infection.

We remain grateful for your interest, support, and most of all, your continued prayers!

~ tr