Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Meet Skylar & Brittany Smallwood Family

 Many of you may have received an invitation to a Online Pampered Chef Party from me, or heard me talking about my friends the Smallwood family...well here is their story~

March 6, 2010, was the day that Skyler and I started our Journey through life as husband and wife.  We moved in with Skyler’s two sisters Heather and Staci, in order to save some money, as Skyler had become laid off a few months before we were married.  For two years he worked on and off, mostly off but tried whatever he could to provide for us.  He would travel anywhere from 45 minutes out of town to work a picket line til 3 in the morning, to 3 hours to ELY, NV to work for his brother in law Nick.  The whole time we were hoping for the job he had been waiting for for ten years.  A job that was pretty secure once he got it. We wouldn’t have to worry about the next step, or when the job was going to end.  Then on February 13th, 2012 we received the best news…Skyler got that job he had been waiting for. 
     He started out traveling by bus every Tuesday for 3 ½  hours to get to work and would stay out there through Friday.  Things were going great, we got pregnant right away and we even started looking at homes to buy so that we would have more room for the baby.  The pregnancy was hard on me in the beginning…I was hospitalized due to dehydration and a significant amount of weight loss, so I had to quit my job. We figured we would be okay since Skyler was making a great living for us.  In June of this year, Skyler started taking the necessary steps to get this weight loss surgery done.  He reached the final step before he could move forward with the surgery, and that was to get blood work done.  When his Doctor received the results, she noticed that his kidneys weren’t functioning properly and so she sent him to a kidney specialist.  After several visits with the nephrologist and blood work for a month, they decided his kidneys weren’t getting any better with the medicine they gave him. 
     Tuesday July 31st, 2012 (his mother’s birthday), I received a phone call that neither of us were ready for.  His Doctor told me that he needed to get to the hospital right away because his kidneys were failing, and failing fast.  He got to work around 6:30 a.m. that day and by the time I got a hold of him; he had only worked a few hours.  I told him the news and so he started the long 3 ½ hour drive home.  That phone call had really shaken me up, and being 6 months pregnant I was already emotional.  While waiting for Skyler to get home, I pleaded with God to make me strong during this trial, especially around Skyler.  I got all my tears out before he got home, and I can tell you that through this whole ordeal, I was able to keep it together around him, and I know it’s because of that prayer and the prayers on our behalf from friends and family. 
     We didn’t know the exact extent of damage to his kidneys and the only way to know was to get a kidney biopsy.  Because of his size, the doctors were afraid that they wouldn’t be able to get a sample.  The Lord was by our side the whole time and they were able to collect not only one good sample, but they were able collect three good samples.  The biopsy was done on a Friday and they sent the kidney samples off to Cedar Sinai in California.  Results typically take 24-72 hours but because it was a Friday, we were told it could take even longer.  We had the weekend to prepare ourselves for the results and decided that if his kidney’s couldn’t be saved, we would look on the bright side that he was still alive, and we would take it one day at a time with the help of family and friends. 
     The results came on Tuesday.  The damage had been done.  85% of his kidneys were damaged and he would have to continue dialysis until he could get a kidney transplant.  In order to get on the transplant list, you can have up to a BMI of 38. Skyler’s BMI was at a 56.  We are determined to get Skyler a new Kidney.  Within a month of his hospitalization, Skyler dropped a whopping 50 pounds!  Even with that progress, his doctors suggested he get that weight loss surgery.  Just like his biopsy, his doctors didn’t have the faith that he could do it.  He told them he would reach that BMI within 6 months.  In four months, he underwent 5 surgeries, has lost 85 pounds, and is now down to a BMI of 46.  He has 2 months left to lose about 40 more pounds. 
     Throughout his multiple hospital stays, Skyler made friends everywhere. Especially the staff.  Even though he was the one lying in that uncomfortable hospital bed, unable to move because of the recent shock his body had undergone, he was able to get laughs out of the doctors and nurses and they became wrapped around his fingers.  His positive attitude and humor was contagious and all I could do was sit back in admiration every day at this incredible man that I married.  There was even talk about creating a T.V. show surrounding Skyler and one of his favorite Doctors who was Muslim.  They would go around visiting the doctor’s patients and Skyler would be there to cheer them up if they were sad, or to offer some medical assessment.  Doctor Mohammed would teach him along the way =).  If ever picked up, this show would be called “The Mormon and the Muslim”. 

     We know we can get through this and have all the motivation in the world; our son.  Kevin Thomas Smallwood was born on November 10th, 2012.  We want to live a healthy lifestyle for the rest of our lives in order to be around for Thomas and our future children as well as to enjoy the health benefits!  Before Skyler’s kidneys started to fail, we didn’t know what dialysis was exactly. Through Skyler’s story, we want people to be more aware of Kidney disease.  We don’t want people to get the phone call like we did.  There are things that you can to do to save your kidneys if you are at risk.  Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. When kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.  Back in the 1970’s there were about 10,000 dialysis patients in the United States  alone, and today there are over 300,000 and they anticipate that number to grow at a fast pace. Here are some facts about Chronic Kidney Disease:

-26 million American adults have CKD and millions of others are at increased risk.
-Heart disease is the major cause of death for all people with CKD.
-Hypertension causes CKD and CKD causes hypertension.
-Persistent proteinuria (protein in the urine) means CKD is present.
-High risk groups include those with diabetes, hypertension and family history of kidney disease.
-African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and Seniors are at increased risk.
-Three simple tests can detect CKD: blood pressure, urine albumin and serum creatinine.

Our dear friend Lark has been so kind to our family throughout all of this.  Her friend Carol whom we don't even know is putting on a fundraiser for us through pampered chef.  A portion of the proceeds will go to us to help pay for medical bills.  It's amazing to me the acts of kindess we have seen throughout all of this and we are forever grateful for the people who have helped us.  If you would like to buy something from pampered chef to help us out please visit the link below.  It has all the information available on how to go about doing that.  Thank you for your time in reading this and please don't be afraid to share Skyler's story.  Happy Holidays everyone!!
Thank you all so very much for your thought's, prayer's and for helping a
Special Family this Holiday season with your Pampered Chef order's.
~May The Lord Bless you always, Lark

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Thanks so much for sharing this story.
My thoughts and prayers are with this family, and I will check out this Fundraiser!

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