• Wills Porter

The Call

By: Jonathan Traylor (Impact Contributor- TX)

I guess you're never truly prepared for "The Call" no matter how much you prepare yourself for it. I can only speak on my experience but I had been told that it would come at a time that I wasn't thinking about it and that's exactly what happened to me.


Life Before "The Call"

Before I got the call, I had been through a lot in a short amount of time. In many ways, I view this season of as a time of life altering change. I had survived a near death experience, woke up on a dialysis machine, my diet was completely changed. Then, after a lifestyle of eating what I wanted for 41 years, I decided to completely adapt to the Renal Diet. Even When I did this, I was on a fluid restriction of 32 ounces a day. I had started with a central line in my chest and then progressed to a fistula for my hemodialysis treatments too. I had lots of issues with dialysis treatments, infiltration, bruising, chronic fatigue, low blood pressure, just to name a few. I ultimately progressed to home hemodialysis with my wife as my caretaker. we learned an incredible amount of information in 3 weeks of training, I had experienced all of this in 13 months right before "The Call"

More Life Changes

My Father who lived in Louisville, Kentucky {I was born and raised there and now I currently reside in Kerrville, Texas} had sadly passed away in his home on August 12th, 2019. I had just been released from the hospital around 3 weeks prior and was adapting to life on dialysis. while I was fighting to live, my father was losing his battle and ultimately passed. [At that time] I wasn't healthy enough to travel and I was still very weak and regrettably missed his funeral. This was one of the hardest decisions in my life that I have ever made, still to this day I don't think that I have ever properly grieved [his passing]. I have to remind myself that he's gone. One of the many reasons I fight so hard against kidney disease is because I felt like my moment with my father was stolen [by kidney disease]. In this, I have to continue in the fight if I want to survive. I also believe that one day I will get my opportunity to see my father again in Heaven. I continued on awaiting …"The Call".

The Phone Call that Changed My Life

"The Call" came on a Friday and I didn't answer. I thought it was a call of a possible tech issue but it wasn't, it was a lifeline. The day was busy we was in a hurry and was rushing to leave, everyone has been there more than twice. My wife had got a text as well and it seemed urgent and so I stopped and called the family back, little did I know that my life would be forever changed. I was informed that a friend was passing away and the family had discussed about direct donating his kidney to me, you see he was a registered donor and because of his unselfishness and willingness to be a donor in my heart he's a Hero and I am now and forever will be grateful for his gift of love! Our families had grown up together attending the same church and events for many years, it was a bittersweet moment for sure. Do I take the kidney? Should I be happy or sad? I must say I was both but while I was rejoicing with the thought of life without dialysis, others were dealing with the agony of loss and sorrow. I was lost and I had too reach out to several mentors and advocates for advice and they all told me that someone was going to get the kidney and it was offered to you so you should take it. I listened to the advice of my mentors and took the Gift of Life!

On August 11th, 2020 I received my new kidney in San Antonio, Texas at Methodist Specialty and Transplant by way of direct donation from Louisville, Kentucky. My transplant team is amazing and my surgery was very successful. On July 11th of this year I will be 11 months post transplant and I must say that I feel amazing. I have tons of energy and I am able to exercise at least 5 times a week, I definitely think that exercise plays a vital role in your health especially if you're a kidney patient. My labs have been excellent and I'm dialysis free and I'm grateful and humbled each day because I know so many do not share my same story. I often have a sense of grief for taking the kidney because I know so many out there that need one, the need is so great and many out there suffering with this disease are awaiting "The Call".

Reflections of A Transplant Recipient

I often wonder about my donor family and their decision to direct donate to me, I wonder if its ok for me to be happy while I know they are sad and are missing their loved one. We communicate by text and by social media and they keep up with my progress with my current posts. I want them to be proud of me and know that I am doing my best to take care and preserve my gift and words could never serve justice to express the gratitude for choosing me, it would have been easy to let his kidney to go to someone else but they choose me and I'll never be the same. The important aspect of organ donation is that people need to remember that you not only saved me but you saved a Father, a Son, a Brother, a Uncle, a Cousin so many different roles that one person plays and the effects of organ donation are positively endless. I'm so grateful for "The Call".

Time to Give Back

Since my transplant I have imbedded myself into advocacy and helping share for others in need. Looking back I was sharing for others even when I was in need as well. I know what I went through and all that I endured in a short period of time happened to me for a reason. Now that I have my second chance at life, I have to do more and get involved on a greater level. This means becoming involved with with non profits and patient mentoring. I'm still learning but I have some great mentors in my life guiding me. In August, I was able to start Hope with Jonathan. On this show, I have been able to interview many who are in need of a transplant. This experience has been amazing and rewarding. It's an honor to share other Warriors Stories, with the need so great and many who need a platform to share their story our goal is for them to receive "The Call". I plan on helping and being involved with advocacy until my last breath and I truly feel like I've embraced it, I have accepted it and walking in my "Calling. I guess you can say I have now answered two calls. The call for transplant and the call for what I am to do with my second chance at life.

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