Marshmallow Mondays

A Match For Ryan

By now, you all know our fantastic news.  If you don’t, it is with so much joy that I tell you this.


I received a call from our transplant coordinator, Darlene, on Friday at 10:30am. “Bridgit, we might have something for Ryan.”  My heart began to race, and a barely audible “okay” was all I could manage. Lily and I had just pulled into the parking lot at Kroger.  Darlene continued, “I need you to stay put and be ready. Pack a bag. I should know more this afternoon, so just take a deep breath and be ready to go.”  I hung up the phone, and Lily said “Mommy, what’s wrong?” I looked into the innocent eyes of my sweet 4-year-old little girl and said “The doctors might have a kidney and a pancreas for Daddy.” She smiled, gasped, and said “That will make Daddy so happy!”

Knowing that Ryan was on a teleconference, I texted him and said “You need to call me.” His response was “I can’t. I am on this phone call.” With no other choice, I typed “Darlene just called. They might have a match for you.” Not being able to hear or see a reaction from him was not exactly how I imagined this happening.  He wrote back “I guess you should pack a bag for me.”

So, that’s exactly what I did. When bags were packed for all of us, I started making phone calls to see who was available to watch the kids. Each person I called answered on the first ring or text, and within minutes I had a plan in place. Ryan texted and said that his co-worker offered to watch Brooks. All that was left to do was wait. Easier said than done when you’re talking about the possibility of your husband’s life-saving transplant. So, I started cleaning toilets. Why? I don’t know, but it gave me something to do while Lily jumped up and down asking every two minutes when it was time to go to Miss Nicole’s house.

At 12:40pm I was eating a bowl of soup, and my phone rang. “Bridgit, it’s Darlene. Dr. Diwan wants you to leave right now.”  I hung up, called Ryan, who was with a co-worker at Five Guys for lunch, and told him we needed to go.

Within a few minutes he was home, and by 3:30pm we were in Cincinnati at the hospital. For the next 11 hours, we waited, unsure if the transplant was going to happen. I cannot explain the emotions of not knowing, of wondering about the donor, and of feeling so exhausted during such a critical time.  When we were finally taken to meet with the anesthesiologist at 2am, our hope was ignited.

At 4:30am, the nurse looked at me and said “They’re ready for him. Time to give him a hug and a kiss goodbye.” I hated the way she said that. Deep down, I knew she didn’t mean it the way that it sounded, but I couldn’t help but be affected by it. Choking back tears, I wrapped my arms around Ryan and tried to focus on that moment for as long as I could. “It’s okay. Be strong,” he said.

Then began my next wait, this time, alone. I sat in the waiting area for almost 8 hours, my feet propped up, blanket wrapped around myself, clutching a pillow. Sleep was impossible. There was nothing more important than talking to God.

At 5:50am, I received my first update from the operating room.  Surgery had begun about twenty minutes ago, and everything was off to a good start.

My second update came less than an hour later, and was much like the first. His vitals were good and things were going well.

At 9:15am I learned that his new kidney was in place. An hour later, his new pancreas was in place. By 11:40am, Ryan was out of surgery.

AMFR_CoverImageI was extremely thankful for the sweet nurse who provided me with these updates, which allowed me to keep all of our Match For Ryan Facebook followers updated as well.  With each post I made, it was a matter of minutes before notifications went crazy with “likes” and comments.  Reading everyone’s encouraging words gave me so much comfort.  I sat in that waiting room with such a hopeful heart and a strong spirit.  With so many prayer warriors on the job, I had no doubts that God would take care of Ryan.

It was 1:30pm when I was allowed into Ryan’s room. As I approached his bed with caution, scared of what he might look like, I was relieved. Despite all of the wires, machines and tubes, he looked much better than I thought he would. I gently placed my hand on the side of his face, and he opened his eyes just long enough for him to see me smile.

As I sit here this morning, Ryan will likely be moved out of the ICU. Both organs are working the way they are supposed to. His sugar has remained normal since surgery. His blood pressure has remained in a healthy range for the longest period of time that I have ever seen.  He has a long recovery road ahead, but this is the start of a new life for Ryan, and for our whole family.

As overjoyed as I am, I cannot stop thinking about Ryan’s donor, who was just 23 years old.  I wish so badly that I could hug this angel’s family and tell them what a miraculous gift has resulted from their tragic loss. I pray that God gives them comfort during this devastating time. There are no words that can express our gratitude to them.  This individual donor has done for Ryan what doctors could not. He has cured Ryan’s diabetes.

This journey has been one like no other, and though it is far from over, I feel like there’s nothing we can’t face. God worked this out for us better than I ever could have imagined. There isn’t a shred of doubt in my mind that He will continue to take care of us and provide for us as Ryan begins his recovery.

I truly thank all of you for your love, support, and prayers.  It is such a comfort to know that we have such a strong support system.  I have really enjoyed all of the texts, messages, and Facebook comments/likes, because it’s a constant reminder that we are never alone in this.  God is so good!


2 Comments so far
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Ryan, Bridgit and family…I can’t imagine what this journey has been like for you n your family..but I am very thankful that God has provided you with the necessities to move on healthily with you life…I pray that your recovery is quick and as painless as have a wonderful family and friends use this to gain your strength to get through your recovery…Thank you for letting us be a part of your journey. May God bless you n it family at this time of need, even more than he already has! Valerie

Comment by Valerie Otto Pennypacker

Bridget what wonderful news! I am so happy for all of you. Please keep me updated on Ryan’s progress. We will continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Love to all of you.

Comment by Erika Runkel

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