Lots to be thankful for…

Have you ever had 100 things going on at once and then finally you get everything finished and then you take a deep breath? Well, that’s where I am today. Two weeks ago this past Saturday we received the phone call we’d been waiting on for 3 years, we had a kidney! Donna and I just sat in our living room and stared at each other for a few minutes when they called and put us on alert, we had been preparing for this day for 3 years, bags packed and everything, but somehow we were just numb.

Instinctively we locked hands and said a prayer (something we’ve gotten pretty good at over the years), and then we started working through everything that we had rehearsed in the past. My mom was at the Razorback football game in Fayetteville and my dad was at the farm. Of course Donna’s family was mostly in town already w/ the exception of her Aunt Joan who hopped the next flight out of North Carolina. We sat and waited for a few hours until we got the next phone call telling us to get on the road…

I picked up the phone and alerted the Arkansas State Police to be on the lookout for a white Ford King Ranch pickup heading down I-40 w/ his hazard lights on –and to not try to pull me over because we were headed to UAMS for a kidney transplant and would appreciate an escort if they could keep up. Donna’s sister Bridgette came over and we headed to UAMS. We were so overwhelmed and elated that it didn’t sink in for us until we got to the 430 exit that someone had died, this kidney didn’t come from a live donor. It was also classified as a “high risk” kidney but our surgeon, who is awesome, assured us that the kidney looked great and would be good for transplant. I’ll elaborate more on this later down the road, don’t want to go into a lot of detail about our donor yet…

Long story short, we got to UAMS and they rushed us up into a room and informed us that another recipient was getting the other kidney that evening but that they were going to do Donna early the next morning… try sleeping after getting that news, haha. We met w/ our surgeon later that night, he came in w/ his dirty cowboy boots –put me right at ease! Not to mention that he also puts kidneys in babies at not only UAMS but also Children’s Hospital, definitely a specialist.

Finally, early Sunday morning they came and got Donna and rolled down to pre-op to get her ready. I’ll be really transparent here… I thought I was all prayed up and was ready to get this done but I started getting butterflies early and then as the procedure went on a few hours I became somewhat anxious and got off to myself and prayed a little more. Eventually I soaked through my shirt and went to the bathroom and lost my breakfast, but afterwards a peace came over me and I felt assured that everything was going to be okay.

Just before the procedure was over we had a visit from our pastor and his wife, Rick and Michelle Bezet. They, along w/ our entire church of multiple campuses around the state, have been praying specifically for Donna from day one. On that same day I saw where there was a church shooting in Texas that morning on the news, it really drove home something I had been thinking all day, our church family is so special… we take that for granted sometimes.

Ultimately we got notice that they were going to be taking Donna back up to her room and that we weren’t going to visit in post-op like we were initially told. Before we loaded up and headed up to the room our surgeon came by and assured me that everything went great. For those of you that are familiar w/ kidney transplants probably are already aware, sometimes in these transplants it can take the new kidney two or three days in some cases to “wake up” and start working. Well, turns out that Donna’s kidney was not only well awake –but it was already working and making urine!!

When she got up to the room there was a hallway of family and close friends waiting to see her as she was being rolled in. Even though she was still groggy from the medications and in a considerable amount of pain she was grinning from ear to ear… now, this is where confirmation that my wife is wonder woman comes in.

The first night they had her pretty well sedated w/ fentanyl (100x more potent than morphine), so she rested pretty good. Her mouth was very dry so Bridgette and I were constantly getting her ice chips throughout the night. Throughout the day the nurses came in and out and measured her kidney output and it was nothing short of miraculous. The very next morning she got out of bed and was walking up and down the hallway. It was a victory lap of sorts.

During the week we had so many calls and text messages that there was no way for us to respond to all of them, and for that I’m so sorry, all of your prayers were felt and put into action –and I wanted to let each and every one of you to have confirmation.

Fast forward to today, two weeks out and she’s doing great. Of course we still have several weeks of recovery in front of us w/ limited exposure to the general public because of her immunodeficiency, but each day she gets better and better. She has a plethora of anti-rejection medications that she has to take daily, but hey –we can do that no prob!

In closing, I want to say that this has already been the best Thanksgiving and Christmas I’ve ever had. Twelve years ago he brought my angel into my life and this year he added some additional years on! Spencer has been a little angel w/ Mommy during her recovery, he roughhouses w/ everyone else but he’s extra gentle w/ Mommy, and I think in his mind I think he understands that he has already gotten a pretty awesome gift this Christmas already! I’d also like to add that my parents have been amazing, they basically put their lives on hold and have moved in w/ us to help care for Donna and to manage Spencer and all of his activities. I’m a blessed dude!

Thanks again for all of your prayers and support!


About Cotton Rohrscheib

Cotton Rohrscheib is the CEO of Rohrscheib Capital Partners. Over the past 20 years he has been associated with numerous projects in the IT, Healthcare, and Agriculture industries. Born a serial entrepreneur, Cotton has personally been involved in several startups, product launches, and brand acquisitions during his career and has consulted on hundreds of projects for clients around the world. Today he still services the marketing and consulting needs for clients while trying to maintain a healthy balance between work and being a good husband and father to his wife, Donna, and their son, Spencer.