Sunday, January 27, 2013

The backstory: A 10 year view from my wife

-The day we met in 2001-
    Ten and a half years ago at a University of South Florida tailgate I met my husband for the very first time. He was full of life and pushing the envelope in every way he could. Little did I know at the moment that I was meeting my best friend and the man that would be the father of my two beautiful children.  I had no idea that the reason I had him in my life was because of a kidney transplant he had received just one year prior. To understand the whole story of who Shane Perrin is, you have to understand what he went through to get here.

February 2001

Shane was like any other college student attending classes, fit, active, healthy and holding down a night manager position. He was keeping crazy hours and living up the college life. The thing that separated Shane from the average college student was the signs of his failing kidneys.  He was losing vision in his left eye, throwing up constantly, he was crippled with continual headaches and had tea colored urine. Now Shane kept telling himself he was burning the candle at both ends and having too much fun for his own good. It wasn’t until Shane lost complete vision in his left eye and started losing the vision in his right eye that he thought he should see an eye doctor…men...seriously! 

Off to the doctor he went.  The first doctor told Shane that he had been an eye doctor for over a decade and had no idea what he was even looking at with Shane’s eyes so he referred him… and so did the next guy, and the next guy. Shane went to six eye doctors. The final eye specialist decided to order blood work and run some tests on Shane. He sent him on his way and told him he would let him know when he heard back about the blood work. The following day Shane was at work and received a call from the eye specialist.  He told Shane that there were irregularities with his blood work and he should go straight to hospital. The doctor had called the hospital already and they were waiting for Shane to arrive. In complete shock and utter confusion about what was causing this, Shane drove himself to the hospital.

Upon his arrival he checked in and began his work up.  The ER nurse came over and took Shane’s blood pressure…..hmmm that can’t be right.. So she took it again.. and again.. then manually instead of with the machine, then another nurse, 4 nurses and a charge nurse later they started asking Shane some questions about his current state, “Sir are you feeling light headed? Have a head ache?... It didn’t make any sense!.. Finally, in bewilderment, Shane asked what his blood pressure was…. 220/185… for those of you that don’t know much about blood pressure.. This is NOT normal! You could divide those numbers by 2 and it almost within normal range.  Shane was experiencing severe hypertension putting him at a very high risk for heart attack and stroke. In fact the nurses and doctors in the ER were shocked that he was even able to function.

 As a precaution to help lower his blood pressure he was admitted and heavily sedated. Over the next four days Shane was in and out of consciousness while they ran every test in the book to determine where Shane stood. On the fourth day they determined Shane had 0% kidney function and needed a transplant and an immediate dialysis regime. A port was installed in Shane’s neck and dialysis was started in the hospital. It was determined that Shane had Berger’s Disease, a hereditary kidney disorder.  Two months later Shane underwent another surgery to have a fistula (a more permanent port) installed in his arm for his continued dialysis treatments. On average Shane spent three hours a day, three days a week for the next nine months having his blood cleaned on a dialysis machine.

In November of 2001 Shane was given the greatest gift he could receive, a second chance at life in the form of a new kidney, from none other than his own mom. During Shane’s bout with kidney failure doctors were baffled by his bodies ability to endure and told him that if he was not so insanely fit that he would not be with us today.
-Us in Key West 2003- (yes, he had hair at one time)
      Since November 16, 2001 Shane has done everything in his power to maintain his health and live every day to the fullest. While this zest for life is not always the easiest ride to be on as his wife it is one of the things that drew me to him. His childlike wonderment with the excitement over the next horizon is intoxicating.  I have been pushed to try new things and had a front row seat for Shane’s long list of historic achievements in Stand up Paddling.  It is not to say that his paddling aspirations are all sunshine and roses... it is NOT! I spend about 1 month of 2012(cumulative of his active race time last year) worrying and not sleeping.. Communicating with his ground crew about the last time they saw him and how well he is taking care of himself, worrying that at any minute some small accident during one of these races could change our lives….. Forever.  While it is draining physically, emotionally and financially to support his dreams, I know that without his dreams and without his passion he is not the man that I fell in love with.   

Today, Shane continues to be a marvel of health to his nephrologist. Eleven years and counting!!!! Part of that success is Shane’s drive for health and wellness. He is in constant pursuit of strength, endurance and agility. Just this morning (a Saturday) I woke at 5:00am to an empty bed, only to realize Shane was already well into a work out on his homemade SUP ergometer so that he could be done by breakfast time so he could spend time with our two small children(Luke(3) and Tess (9 months)).

In a way this Everglades Challenge is the culmination of his SUP adventures. When they say it can’t be done it just fuels him further. Never count him out! I have never worried about Shane’s ability to finish a race or meet a goal he sets for himself; I only worry about him killing himself in the pursuit. It is overwhelming that he reached out and within four days his supporters were able to fulfill his needs to fund the expedition he so desperately wants to accomplish. What and unbelievable testament to people’s faith in Shane. But our work is not done! The expedition might be funded but the reason behind it is not!!  Part of this dream is to bring, health, wellness and zeal for life for those walking the path that Shane was on over eleven years ago. Shane has chosen to provide transplant recipients or those that are undergoing dialysis hope in the form a Stand Up Paddle board of their very own. And trust me if you have not tried SUPing it is an amazing work out. I was sore for about 3 days the last time I tried it! Without his health and exposure to activity Shane would not be the picture of health that he is today. 

      Help Shane to give this gift to people struggling all around the U.S. Help give them something exciting to look forward to and a fun way to stay healthy and recuperate after their transplant. Every dollar counts, if we could even get each of our Facebook friends to donate just 5$ our goal would be reached. If you are not in a place to financially contribute to this mission then please share the fundraiser with all of your friends.  Help Shane to spread his passion and his zeal for life.

Thank you,

Elissa Perrin

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