Giving, Organ Donation

10 Pioneering Medical Transplants

One deceased organ donor can save as many as eight lives between organ and tissue transplants possible.  On Wednesday 10/10/18, LiveOnNY.org asks New Yorkers to “Unleash Your Inner Hero” and sign up for organ donation.  This is especially urgent in the Empire State, since it is 50th out of 50 states in percentage of registered organ donors at a paltry thirty-three percent.  Here’s a list of ten Pioneering Medical Transplants – the genesis of real life heroism.   

1665 The First Recorded Successful Blood Transfusion

It was in the 17th century the earliest known blood transfusion is attempted.  In 1628 English physician William Harvey discovered blood circulation. Not long after, the earliest known blood transfusion is attempted.  In England in 1665, the first recorded successful blood transfusion was performed, but not on humans. Man’s best friend really earned its name by being the test subject for this life saving procedure.  Physician Richard Lower kept dogs alive by transfusing blood from other dogs.

More than fifty years later,the first successful blood transfusion of human blood was performed in 1818 by Dr. James Blundell to treat postpartum hemorrhage. Blood types were not discovered for another 82 years, but once they were, doctors began developing blood typing and cross matching between donors and patients to improve the safety of transfusions. The universality of the O blood group was identified in 1907.  Later discoveries, including sodium citrate for use as an anticoagulant, the Rh blood group, and plastic implements for collection and storage of blood greatly improved the thirty day survival rate of patients post transfusion.

1838 First Corneal Transplant

This was actually the first successful human organ transplant.  Corneal transplantation, also known as keratoplasty, is the only therapeutic procedure for many disorders of the cornea that can lead to blindness. It can also benefit patients with infection, pain or perforation of the cornea.  In fact, in 1838 the first corneal transplant in a human was performed using a cornea from a pig was grafted into a human recipient. It remained transparent for a couple of weeks. Richard Kissam reported this years before the invention of anaesthesia!  

In successive years, more partial thickness transplants were performed.  The first “full-thickness” corneal transplant in a human being happened in 1906.  This is the transplant that paved the way for the growth of the procedure and the opening of eye banks in different countries to perform them. As immunosuppression medications improved, failure rate for corneal transplantation has lowered, with approximately twenty-five percent of corneas being lost by four to five years post transplant.

1954 First Successful Human Kidney Transplant

The first documented successful kidney transplants were experiments performed on animals in 1902 at the Vienna Medical School in Austria.  Then, in 1933 the first human-to-human kidney transplant was performed, but the donor kidney never functioned because doctors were unaware that mismatches in donor and recipient blood groups were problematic in the procedure.  Indeed, what made the 1954 transplant successful was that it the donor and recipient were identical twins. It was performed by a team headed by Joseph E. Murray at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Because their organs were indistinguishable to each other’s immune systems, no immunosuppressive medication was necessary.

While advances in kidney transplantation were happening, there were other developments being perfected that helped keep renal failure patients alive.  Kidney dialysis was keeping patients alive by using an artificial kidney to purify human blood, which is what normal functioning kidneys do every day. Nonetheless, surgeons charged ahead, developing a surgical procedure that would not only place a new kidney in the patient, but connect all the necessary tubes and blood vessels, and improving immunosuppression upon accurately understanding why our bodies fight off foreign organs.

1956 The First Successful Bone Marrow Transplant

In the early nineteen hundreds, doctors made the first ever attempt to treat patients with a donor’s bone marrow. However, this treatment was unsuccessful, as the bone marrow was given by mouth. The first successful transplant was again between  identical twins. It was performed by Dr E Donnall Thomas in New York. The patient, who had leukaemia, first had radiotherapy and then was given the healthy bone marrow.

Two years later, in November 1958, French oncologist and immunologist Dr. Georges Mathé performs a human bone marrow transplant using bone marrow from donors who were not related to their recipients.  The six patients were Yugoslav engineers who were irradiated at different levels after a nuclear reactor incident. Later, researchers discover bone marrow contains at least two kinds of stem cells – blood or haematopoietic stem cells ( these form all the types of blood cells in the body) and stromal stem cells(these form bone, cartilage, fat and connective tissue).

1963 First Lung Transplant

Up until Dr. James Hardy performed the first human lung transplant in 1963, Dr. Hardy and his team had performed about four hundred transplant experiments on dogs at their Jackson, Mississippi.  Repeatedly, although the transplanted lungs seemed to function reasonably well early after transplantation, the dogs ultimately rejected the lungs within a month despite various immunosuppressants available at the time.

The transplant recipient was a 58-year old man who had lung cancer involving the left main airway and obstructing distal airways resulting in lung collapse and recurrent pneumonia.  He was a prison inmate, serving a life sentence. Nonetheless, Dr. Hardy treated his patient with dignity, carefully outlining the potential complications and risks with him in detail.  He agreed to proceed. The donor had been brought to the emergency department because of a massive heart attack resulting in heart failure and shock, and once he passed away, the family consented to the donation. Over the next ten years only 36 lung transplants were performed worldwide and the majority of recipients died within a few days. In 1983, the Toronto Lung Transplant Group performed the first successful lung transplant.  The recipient was another 58-year old man, this one suffering from pulmonary fibrosis. When the group reported their experience in 1986, he was alive and leading a normal lifestyle. This success was remarkably encouraging for pulmonary physicians and patients with lung disease.

1966 First Successful Pancreas Transplant

In December 1966, more than 50 years ago, doctors at the University of Minnesota pioneered the first-ever pancreas transplant. The procedure was performed by surgeons Richard Lillehei and William Kelly. Since then, more than 50,000 pancreas transplants have been performed worldwide, and roughly 30,000 in the United States alone.  University of Minnesota holds the worldwide record, with an impressive 2,300 and counting.

As late as the nineteen nineties, one out of every six type 1 diabetics would not live to see their fortieth birthday. That mortality rate increased if a patient suffered kidney failure, a common complication of type 1 diabetes. Pancreas and kidney transplantation offered a solution.  With improved surgical techniques, new immunosuppressive medications that decreased the chance transplant rejection and more effective antibiotics, success rates greatly improved. One University of Minnesota physician is quoted as saying “Transplantation of a kidney and a pancreas not only improves a patient’s quality of life—making that person insulin and dialysis free—it also has been shown to extend life”.  Modern medicine: one, Premature death: nil!

1967 First Successful Liver Transplant

It was Thomas E. Starzl, M.D., Ph.D., FAAP (Hon.) who performed this groundbreaking surgery.  He lived to be 90 years old and passed away in 2017. He conducted the procedure at University of Colorado  in Denver, where he was serving as professor and chair of surgery. He is also credited with performing the first successful pediatric liver transplant. Starzl attempted the first human  liver transplant in 1963, but a successful liver transplant was not achieved until 1967. In 1970 survival rates were dismal—approximately fifteen percent at the one-year follow-up. The discovery of the immunosuppressive drug cyclosporine in the early 1980s led to improvements in rejection rates, and soon liver transplantation became a more viable treatment.

Living liver donation is possible because of the liver’s remarkable capacity to regenerate.  It only takes about one week to regenerate back to it’s full size after a portion of it has been removed.  Also, when transplanted, the liver can regenerate to suit the size of its new host. In the few cases where baboon livers have been transplanted into people, they quickly grow to the size of a human liver.

1988 First Successful Intestinal Transplant

Although experiments were being conducted in the early 20th century, intestinal transplantation has only recently become a viable clinical procedure. As the largest lymphoid organ in the body and host to a multitude of foreign antigens, the small bowel has presented a challenge throughout the history of organ transplants. In 1902, French Nobel laureate Alexis Carrel performs experiments in which intestinal segments are implanted in the necks of dogs.  Man’s best friend comes through yet again!

In the 1960s Initial attempts at intestinal transplantation are suspended due to poor graft and patient survival. Of eight human intestinal recipients recorded during this period, none survived; this was due to ineffective immunosuppressive drugs.  Patients transplanted in Kiel, Germany in 1988 and in Paris, France in 1989 became the first long-term survivors with sufficient graft function. Also in 1988, in London, Ontario the first successful combined liver-intestinal graft was performed. The recipient lived several years after.

1999 First Successful Hand Transplant Performed in the United States

Surgeons in Louisville, Kentucky, performed the first successful hand transplant in the United States.  The surgery replaced the left hand of a New Jersey man with one taken from an unidentified donor who had died a few hours earlier.  The 15-hour operation was performed at Louisville Jewish Hospital. The first hand transplant was carried out in Ecuador in 1964. It failed after two weeks when the recipient’s body rejected the donor hand. At the time only crude anti-rejection therapy was available.

As of 2017, there have been approximately 100 hands transplanted on more than 60 patients around the world. A hand transplant, unlike a solid organ transplant, involves multiple tissues (skin, muscle, tendon, bone, cartilage, fat, nerves and blood vessels) and is called vascularized composite allotransplantation, or VCA..

2010 First Successful Full Face Transplant

At Barcelona’s Vall d’Hebron hospital, a 31-year-old man received the world’s first successful full face transplant in March 2010.  During the 24-hour surgery, a team of 30 surgeons lifted an entire face, including jaw, nose, cheekbones, muscles, teeth and eyelids, and placed it mask-like on to the man.  The transplant was necessary after the man accidentally shot himself in the face in 2005. Four months after the surgery, the patient spoke at a press conference. Beforehand, he had been unable to breathe or eat on his own. By the time of the press conference, he was able to drink liquids and eat soft foods

The first partial face transplant, was carried out in France in 2005.

References:

Blood Transfusion: https://stanfordbloodcenter.org/a-brief-history-of-blood-transfusion-through-the-years/

Link 2: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1600-6143.2004.00417.x

Link 3: https://web.stanford.edu/dept/HPS/transplant/html/history.html

Bone Marrow: https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/1971-bone-marrow-transplants-timeline

Lung Transplant: https://secondwindstl.org/who-we-are/articles-by-dr-hacheem/the-history-of-lung-transplantation/

Pancreas Transplant: https://www.mhealth.org/blog/2017/may-2017/50-years-after-first-pancreas-transplant-doctors-patients-celebrate-pioneering-procedure

Liver Transplant: http://www.aappublications.org/news/2017/04/20/Obits042017, https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/431783-overview, http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/liver/regen.html

Intestinal Transplant: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955470X9780033X, http://www.chp.edu/our-services/transplant/intestine/advances/history

Hand Transplant: https://www.nytimes.com/1999/01/26/us/doctors-in-louisville-perform-nation-s-first-hand-transplant.html, http://www.handtransplant.com/

Full Face Transplant: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jul/26/full-face-transplant-patient

 

 

 

activism, Giving, Organ Donation

Unleashing My Inner Hero #DonorDay2018

Live On NY is holding it’s 4th annual Organ Donor Enrollment Day.  the theme is Unleash Your Inner Hero.  Indeed, I am unleashing my inner hero, although with a great deal of humility and a commitment to improving other people’s lives who have a need greater than any that I have.  inner hero.png

I found a great spot, too!  Berkeley Drugs on the corner of Kings Highway and Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn has been a mainstay in the community I grew up in.  As a kid, I used to go there, sometimes with my grandma to pick up prescriptions.  I bought holiday and birthday cards there for my loved ones with my saved up money.  When I played sports in high school I went there for Ace bandages and ice packs, and at age sixteen, in an exasperated attempt to do away with excess fat for once and for all, I bought weight loss shake mix there.

Enrollment_Day_1.2e16d0ba.fill-768x576.jpg

Having a chance to actually go back to my community to do some good work – raise awareness about organ donation and get people signed up to help close the gap – is exciting!  I plan to also go to my elementary school to visit and bring sign up forms and a poster so faculty and staff there can get on the list as well.  If you cannot come in person, click here to sign up online as a donor.

Please reach out to volunteer, a few hours or all day, or to support in any other way.  If you’d like to help out with some money, you can fund my PayPal at shida@reallynourish.com.

Also please share this article with your networks and Support our Event on Facebook.

Use and follow #DonorDay2018

activism, food, Organ Donation

Organ Donors: Real Superheros?

Are Organ Donors real superheros?  It certainly doesn’t feel like it…

I know I helped someone in a major way.  Nonetheless, I’m not immortal, I have no superpowers (well, except making milk for my babies, but that had nothing to do with giving an organ) and I only directly impacted one person’s life.

Real superheros save entire cities from peril… 

I want to do more.  So I’m using the only other superpowers I can boast:

  • Powerful writing to inspire all who read
  • Invincible collaborating skills
  • A disarming smile

to bring together a league of incredible super donors.  Together we will uphold truth, justice and giving of oneself.

Join me today in The 2018 LiveOnNy Donor Enrollment Drive

WE really can save lives, though: one more willing donor on the donor list means one less neighbor dying on the recipient list.

Let this video convince you, then scroll down and fill in the sign up form.  You can be on Team Really Nourish even if you’ve never donated an organ.

We’re not the only real superheros… 

©2018 Rashida V. Serrant-Davis, The Really Nourish Movement. All Rights Reserved. 

Really Nourish™, The Really Nourish Movement™ and Food Life Evolution™ are Trademarks of Rashida V. Serrant-Davis.  All Rights Reserved. 

food, Healthy, non-gmo, Organic, Prayer, shopping, Weight Loss

My Really Nourish Journey with Thrive Market

More than 2 years into my journey from the brink of statistical-status to becoming more than a conqueror over the one of the enemy’s most virile attacks on mankind, I now share with you my Really Nourish Journey with Thrive Market.

Kidney Failure

In November 2014, my father was diagnosed with renal failure.  At his first dialysis appointment in Brooklyn, NY, I sat with the center’s kind social worker, Lisa.  I was clueless.  She explained the basics.  How the kidney functions in the body.  How the dialysis would substitute the lost function by cleaning the blood.  It was a crash course in Biology, a subject I struggled to complete in high school with a barely passing grade.

My first question to her was how long he would have to do the dialysis treatments.  Her face gave me the answer: for the rest of his life.  My dad was already inside getting set up for his first dialysis session.  I was saddened by the thought that this could be his life – in New York, far away from his beautiful island home in the dead of winter, sitting in a clinic hooked up to a machine for 4 hours three times a week.

Your’re from… Where Now?

My family is from the Commonwealth of Dominica.  It’s the bucolic island nation that was destroyed during Hurricane Maria.  Before Maria, most people had not heard of this country.  As a child growing up in Brooklyn, I constantly had to offer the following kinds of explanations about where my family came from: “It’s in the Eastern Caribbean between Martinique and Guadeloupe.”  “No, not the Dominican Republic, that’s a different country.”  “No, we don’t speak Spanish, we speak English and Patois.” In third grade at PS 119, I was so excited to do a presentation about what my family had taught me about Christmas in Dominica.  As I resumed my seat, I remember my teacher adding “In America, we call it the Dominican Republic.”  I still remember the feeling of my heart sinking.

After my mother died of cancer at age 56 in 1999, my dad moved back there and built the house they were supposed to retire together in.  They had bought a great piece of land in the village of Pointe Michel the early 90’s, and I remember my dad sketching the first and subsequent drafts of the house he would build.  We sat on Saturday mornings looking at his sketch and he talked at length about this house.  Sometimes my mom would roll her eyes.  I was a teen in those days.  I enjoyed the time we spent together.  Indeed, he built the very house he drew.  Although my mother never lived to see it, she is the one who made it possible because it was the pension and life insurance money that financed it’s construction.  Remarkable, the house is the among the 5% of homes that survived Maria.

My dad, who had minimal education, singlehandedly built one of Dominica’s first Climate Change resilient houses.  We didn’t know this at the time of the conversation we were having.  Dominica hadn’t even been through Tropical Storm Erica as yet.  All I knew was that I wanted him to go home, because I knew that if he couldn’t, it would be a sad, ironic tragedy that might send him to an early grave.

Becoming a Living Donor

“Unless,” Lisa the social worker said, “someone were willing to give him a kidney, then he could come off the dialysis.”

The Spirit prompted me immediately. “Maybe I could give him one,” I replied, without a moment of hesitation.  Her face lit up in response.  She excused herself and disappeared to her office, reappearing with brochures for two transplant centers.  Now the conversation was a little more upbeat, as she explained this process which in retrospect I knew she wished was an option for all her patients at the center.  I would only learn later how inexplicably rare living family donor volunteers are for those needing transplants.

I called my husband in Trinidad to get his consent, and when my dad came out, we got in the Zipcar and drove home.  Tears came to his eyes when I told him about what Lisa and I had discussed.  Again, I still didn’t think it was a big deal.  For me the bottom line was this: if I was able, then I was willing.

We haven’t gotten to Really Nourish yet.  We are going to fast forward through the next few months now that you know how it all started.

My Really Nourish Journey with Thrive Market Begins

On a cold day in January 2015, Dad and I traveled by train together to the Recanati-Miller Transplantation Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.  My presumption walking in the door was that the only obstacle might be that we don’t match for a transplant.  The thing is, Dad is my stepfather, so we are not blood relatives.  Nonetheless, I was prayed up and encouraged by faith.  People donate kidneys all the time to recipients who are not blood relatives.  In fact, sometimes people get kidneys from living or diseased donors who they don’t even know.

We arrived late and were sent to separate rooms.  Dad went to one room to be introduced to and briefed by a kidney transplant recipient team.  I went into the room where donors get a similar briefing.  My briefing included a rude awakening that blindsided me.  It started with a questionnaire and a physical.  They took my height and weight.  They took my blood pressure in both arms.  One arm was higher than I’ve ever seen my blood pressure read before.  It was borderline hypertensive, I was told.  The donor team nurse was a hard-faced, bespectacled white woman who had probably been doing this for years and was unimpressed by my enthusiasm to “Donate Life”.   About my weight and the implications – in a nutshell I was a 39-year-old obese black woman – the nurse tersely explained that I may not be in good enough health to be the donor.

Diabetes?? Me???

“You know that African Americans are more prone to diabetes, and that being overweight is a precursor,” she explained.  “And your blood pressure…” She wheeled on her rolling stool over to a desk drawer and took out a sheet to hand me.  She ordered me to get three more blood pressure readings on three different days.  I could do this for free at any Duane Reade, she explained.  (See my video on this topic)

Also, on the questionnaire, I was asked if I had ever been diagnosed with Diabetes in the last 10 years.  I wanted to be honest, so I indicated that I remember having been told something about potentially having gestational diabetes with my then 21-month-old son.  “If this was a true diagnosis,” she said, “you won’t be able to donate.”  I remember I had developed a daily candy bar habit during that pregnancy.  I remember a discussion with my midwife at the Brooklyn Birthing Center about my blood sugar. There was a mention of gestational diabetes while I was in labor.  I just couldn’t remember if was a diagnosis or a caution.  So I now had to get my medical records from the birthing center.

More members of the donor team came in the room and spoke with me.  Then, I was allowed to join Dad in his briefing room.  When I arrived, the nutritionist was just finishing up, and a transplant surgeon came in after her to explain the surgery.  Another Biology lesson.  Unlike in high school more than 20 years earlier, I was finding science suddenly fascinating!

Nonetheless, the talk with the donor team nurse weighed heavy on my mind.  I couldn’t imagine that I could possibly be in poor health.  Up until that point, I had never had any cause to be concerned about high blood pressure.  The only talk of diabetes I had ever had during my life was during that pregnancy. On the way home, I shared some of the talk with my dad.  I was mad at the whole “African Americans are more prone” thing.  I later researched that and discovered why that is, and it isn’t because God made us inferior, that’s for sure!  For the moment, while I was in a little bit of denial, I was also prompted to really start thinking long and hard about what direction my health was going in.

I Thought I Was Doing All the Right Things!

There are people who know they are obese, have already developed the related diseases and have an addiction to food that they are aware of.  Then there are people like me.  I thought I was doing things the right way.  My then 6-year-old daughter knew never to ask me to take her to a Mc Donald’s.  We didn’t frequent that or any other similar fast food places, other than Subway occasionally.   At least at subway, we could get lots of fresh veggies on the sandwiches with the meat and cheese, and only juice.  No soda!  Also at home, we drank 100% juices.  I didn’t buy soda or “juice drinks” for my family.  We had started to buy more organic foods, also.

Did I still eat candy bars?  Yes I did, but not daily like that phase I went through in the third trimester with Judah.  How many?  I didn’t keep track.  Did I still order pizza?  In retrospect, I did this pretty frequently, and we liked pepperoni on ours.  But it was from a local mom-and-pop place, not a chain, so I perceived this to be a better option.  Also, I did still eat burgers and fries, but again, from local places, so again, I thought it was better.

Homemade: Not Always “Better”

In general, I made a lot of things from scratch and did a lot of home cooking.  A healthy daily breakfast almost invariably included two eggs, and if I made them at home, I thought it was better than getting them on the street or in a fast food place.  I was buying organic, free range eggs now.  It was better.  We drank skim milk.  We ate whole wheat bread.  My blood pressure readings were still fine and other than that encounter during the last pregnancy, my blood sugar was normal.  I thought I was doing the right things.

Looking back now, it all seems absurd.  Even when my Dad first saw me while he was in the hospital in December 2014, he remarked at how big I had gotten.  I waved that off.  I was getting older, and I was from a family of women who tended to be “thicker”.  My mom was thick, too.  Two children, 39 years old, what did he expect?  My husband thought I was sexy.  That’s not the absurd part.  I was beautiful in those days too.

The absurd part was how ignorant I was about the path that I was on.  Suddenly coming face to face with the possibility that my health was not what I thought it was shocked me.  I remembered that my daughter had come home one day from school last year with some results of some school program health screenings.  This paper she handed me said that she was overweight according to something called BMI.  That memory prompted me

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Me, April 2015, over 200lbs, size 12 jeans

to research this concept.  I found a Body Mass Index calculator online and entered my height and weight.  That’s the day I discovered that I was…

OBESE!

The next visit at Mount Sinai was no better.  My weight had gone up 2 lbs since the previous visit, and some bloodwork indicated that I could be prediabetic.  I quickly leapt out of denial and into acceptance.  My acceptance was not to say I was going to live like that.  It was my impetus to nip this thing in the bud.  The end goal was to donate the kidney, and I couldn’t let anything, not even my ignorance about my health, stop me.  I went straight to The Great Physician for a follow up.

The Great Physician’s Prescription

In prayer, I remember saying these words to Jehovah Rapha, our God who heals: “You say all the answers I need in life are in Your word.  Please show me.”  I told Him that I just wanted, if it is His will, to make sure that my health was going to be good enough to be a donor if we match.  At least, I said, if we don’t match, I would like to sow a kidney by donating to someone I do match so maybe I could reap one for him.  They explained to me that there is a program for that.  It works like a swap. I could match someone else, and that person’s donor that didn’t match them might match Dad, then we all go in and swap kidneys.  I was open to that.

The thing is I had not ever been careless about my health.  Misguided, certainly, but not careless!  I know there are many people out there like that, and when they develop the health problems regardless of how careful they are, they just think they couldn’t avoid it.  They are selective about their food, but by the wrong criteria.  They are bamboozled by Big Food’s propaganda because they trusted the untrustworthy.  I should say we, because I was right there with them.  Like I said, I thought I was making good choices for myself and my children.  My choices were corroborated by those who I thought would never want to mislead people.  It’s food, for crying out loud.  Would our government allow this?

In June 2015, I was able to return the sheet to the donor team nurse with three normal level blood pressure checks.  She was mildly satisfied.  She still wanted to see my birthing center medical records, and I weighed heavier than before once again.  I was now 212 lbs and swelling.  On the bright side, the blood work for the match test had come back.  My dad and I matched perfectly for a transplant!  As I rejoiced, Holy Spirit prompted me to read some scriptures.  He started me off with Proverbs 23:1-3.  Then I saw the documentary Fed-Up.  I started to understand what I had been doing wrong, why I had been doing the wrong things and what I was headed for if I didn’t make huge changes.

Thrive Market, My Oasis in the Food Desert: My Shopping Checklist

This was the birth of Really Nourish.  Very soon, I learned about Thrive Market.  Living in a food desert on the north shore of Staten Island, New York, I suddenly found it difficult to get the new kinds of foods I wanted to be stocking my household with.  Up until I found Thrive, I would take a 30-minute bus ride to a nicer neighborhood in Staten Island to shop.  I paid them $5.00 to deliver my groceries home and then got back on the bus.  Anytime I had a Zipcar, I fit in a shopping stop before heading back to my little food desert neighborhood.  Eventually, I started taking the Staten Island Ferry into lower Manhattan to go to Whole Foods, because even that Staten Island supermarket’s selection of organic produce and packaged food was lean.  Whole Foods had things like sprouted bread, inexpensive, organic dry goods by the pound, and lots of organic, in season, well priced local produce. Unfortunately, I couldn’t buy as much as I wanted on each trip because I had to carry it all home – no home delivery to Staten Island available.  Thrive became my oasis in a food desert!

Really Nourish Journey with Thrive Market
Thrive Market Really Nourish Shopping Checklist

 

My new approach was:

  1. Whole Foods and my local weekly farmer’s market (only operating on Saturday mornings in warmer months). This is how I would stock up on in-season, largely organic fruits and vegetables and fresh breads.  I also bought, before I gave it up, organic, grass fed, locally reared animal products.
  2. In the colder months, I started shopping Fresh Direct for those items.
  3. Then I would hop onto ThriveMarket.com and order the other stuff I used to have to lug – flour and rice and pasta, healthy snacks for the children and they would send it right to my door!

Because the prices were so low, I was now able to try out health products like spirulina and essential oils that were out of my range before.  I never paid for delivery, because my orders were always more than $49.00.  I always got a cool freebee and my kids loved to play in the boxes for days after stuff arrived.  The packaging was even thoughtful.  I was impressed that everything glass wasn’t in plastic bubble wrap.  They used something biodegradable, either some corrugated cardboard or some cool kind of cardboard webbing that my children also liked to play with.  Let me show you the kind of shopping I did with Thrive.

Really Nourish Journey with Thrive Market: The Changes

In the first month, I dropped 20 lbs by reducing my overall free sugar consumption to under 25 grams a day.  I had to actually throw some stuff out in my kitchen and pour some juice down the drain.  During that summer, I did lots of yoga with my kids, but not much additional exercise.  The 20 stayed off but I couldn’t get below 192 for anything man!  Then, after a couple of books, lots more scripture, several more documentaries including Cowspiracy, I made my choice to go vegan.  That’s when my journey took me from obese-land, through the overweight mountains to the border lands of normal weight country.

New Nurse 🙂

Along the journey, the donor team at Mount Sinai swapped the hard-faced gate keeper donor team nurse to the lovely, kind faced one, Montgomery Roach.  Every visit to Mount Sinai was full of smiles now.  Montgomery was excited and encouraged to prepare me for the transplant.  My nutritionist was excited about the changes I had made, and everything was full steam ahead for the surgery.

The Big Day!

In March 2016, on a cool early morning, Dad and I shared an Access-a-Ride to Mount Sinai for surgery.  It was the culmination of a 17 month journey.  It was a relatively short wait, but there was a lifetime of change in both of us during that time.  The surgery was a flawless success.  While in the surprisingly comfortable and pretty recovery suite (donated by a past donor who wanted future donors to have at least the reward of a nice place to stay after donating an organ), one of the surgeons came in to see me.  He told me that the kidney was “beautiful”.   How great it was to know that

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Me on Emancipation Day August 1, 2016, under 170 lbs, size 8 skinny jeans.  Currently, in December 2017, I am 7 months pregnant with my 3rd child and still under 170, blood pressure 99/59, blood sugar 83 mg/dL. My pre-pregnancy weight was 155.

not only could I give my Dad an organ that would allow him to go home and live a normal life in his beloved Dominica, but that the quality of the gift was good enough that a surgeon who had done this 400 times before in his career was impressed!   I moved to Trinidad a bit later that year, but still maintain my Thrive membership.  Just recently, I joined Thrive as an affiliate, so I could accompany my story with a resource that my American members can use to actually achieve their goals no matter where they live.  Here’s more about Thrive’s commitment to making high quality food available to everyone.

The Future

God gets all the glory, but I believe part of His plan was that Thrive Market relieve me of the problem of food desert life by giving me affordable, easy access to the kind of food He wanted me to use to care for His temple.  Thrive Market can be a vital partner in your journey too.  My next goal is to help bring this kind of thing here to Trinidad and the rest of the Caribbean Islands.  If the American way of life is going to be exported here along with it’s lifestyle disease health pandemic, and this is happening rapidly around the world, then why can’t we also export the groundswell movement towards more affordable access to healthier options with free delivery in cool, environmental friendly packaging?

Wouldn’t that be a more responsible thing to share with the rest of the world?

Click Here for an 8 Day Devotional to help you start your own journey!

Books, food, health, Healthy, Organ Donation, sugar, vegan, Weight Loss

#DonorLife: A Kidney Donation that Started a Movement

Wow!  Just finished and self published my very first book!  I have numerous partial manuscripts from my very eventful and unusual life.  Also, I call myself a writer… Hmmmm.  My approach this time was different, though.  I decided this go ’round to aim for a shorter time frame (of my life) and be content with a short number of pages, because y’all have a short attention span these days!!!

 

Anyway, it is done, and it is beautiful!!  It is the story of my experience donating my left kidney to my dad and how, through the evaluation process, I discovered my own health challenges.  This is the story of the birth of The Really Nourish Movement.  It is a story I have attempted to tell verbally on numerous occasions, but on those occasions, I never felt satisfied that I did the story justice.  Now, you can read it and get a better picture of the birth and incubation of what this thing is all about.  More great content to come.  Thanks in advance for checking it out!

Please click here to access #DonorLife

 

Thank you and be blessed!