ROSALYNN EVANS GRESHAM
GOOD NEWS! Rosalynn received a kidney on December 7, 2016. She states that surgery went well and her recovery is going as planned. Five days after surgery, she returned home and said she was "still having pain but it'll get better soon; anything is better than dialysis!" Congratulations, Rosalynn!
My name is Rosalynn Letrice Gresham. I’m a 32-year-old female living in Hampton, GA. I was diagnosed with Lupus at the age of 17. As a teenager, it was very difficult to accept that I had a chronic illness with no cure, the end result of which is death.
I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, close calls, surgeries, and blood transfusions. However, I was raised in a praying household, so my parents and church family prayed for me constantly. Refusing to give up on myself, I went to college and graduated from Georgia State University with a bachelor’s degree in pre-law.
My goal was to take the Law School Admission Test, attend law school, and become a family law attorney. Unfortunately, my illness took control, and I had to put my dreams aside. I’m blessed to have made it to age 32. My lupus is under control, but 15 years of its raging war against my body has damaged my kidneys.
I had to have emergency surgery because my kidneys had completely shut down and I needed emergency dialysis via a chest tube. Following the surgery, however, there were so many toxins in my body (due to kidney failure) that I became unresponsive, and a code red was called. My blood pressure was sky-high, I was having seizures, and my brain began to swell. For 3 days, I was in a coma, breathing barely enough to avoid being put on a respirator. On the third day, I awoke, and 2-3 days after that, I was actually able to talk in clear, complete sentences. In all, I received 10 blood transfusions and spent a month in the hospital, most of it in the intensive-care unit.
Unfortunately, the evening of my hospital release, I ended up back in the emergency room due to continual vomiting. It turned out that I had an intestinal blockage, causing a severe back-up in my system. Five days with no food or water while my insides were being pumped out via a tube in my throat was miserable! I was so happy when I was finally able to return home!
During my hospitalization, however, my weight dropped from 150 lbs. to 100 lbs. I was weak, frail, depressed, and I did not want to be on dialysis! I felt as if I had fallen into a well where no one could hear my screams for HELP...and NOW it was beginning to rain...and I was going to drown to death.
To break my depression, I set a goal for myself. I began attending Clayton State University to achieve my paralegal certificate. Some days I have to miss class because I am so drained and tired from dialysis. I’m getting stronger by the day, though, and I now weigh 135lbs. I’m continuing to think positively and pray that God will bless me with a living donor. Once I have a healthy kidney, I will be strong enough to work as a paralegal and then re-start my journey toward becoming a family law attorney!
I’m registered with Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, GA. One of the best things about Emory's transplant program is that even if your blood type and mine are different, we can be paired via a paired matching program. Also, it is important to know that my insurance will pay for all the donor’s medical expenses.
If you are interested in learning more about living kidney donation in general, please peruse this site. Emory University also has a web site with information pertaining to their program in particular. If you would like to consider being a donor, you can find easy step-by-step directions from Emory University here. Finally, please forward my story to anyone you think may be interested in helping me. Thank you for whatever role you may play in helping me become healthy and productive again!
Rosalynn Evans Gresham