Cal Mitchell thought he was just going to get some results back on routine blood work that day in 2006. Instead, when the doctor saw the results, he had Cal immediately admitted to the hospital. And soon, the diagnoses made it clear that life had changed forever – diabetes and polycystic kidney disease (PKD).
Life with kidney disease was hard – up at 3:45 AM for dialysis three days a week and a lot of days with no energy, but life was also good. Cal and his wife of more than 50 years, Marva, determined to stay positive and surround themselves with positive people. Their church family and their kids encouraged them, prayed for them, and helped them.
By taking early retirement, by focusing on his nutrition and exercise and taking very good care of himself, Cal was able to hold off from starting dialysis until July 2014, but once he started dialysis, it was for the long term – until December 22, 2017, to be exact. On that day, a few days before Christmas, Cal’s family was in town for the holidays when he got the call that there was a kidney for him. He had his bags packed, and he was at the hospital within the hour.
After several years of illness and fatigue, Cal was pleased that his surgery went very well. The pain was minimal. In fact, he never even filled his prescription for pain medicine after he left the hospital. And thanks to Cal’s careful nutrition and exercise during the long years of dialysis, he bounced back very quickly. These days, he’s often on the treadmill or in his yard doing yardwork. Marva says he cooks a lot and helps her with the housework. And when Cal is asked how he feels, he says, “Blessed. I feel blessed, and I am grateful. If I hadn’t gotten this kidney when I did, I don’t know how much longer I would have made it.” And it is all thanks to a generous donor and the incredibly supportive family and friends who sustained him.