By Pete Carrasco, Sr.
COLTON—When my wife, Molly, and I found out that she was headed for kidney failure, the first thing I said was that I would be there for her no matter what. As we continue to face this health crisis in living out our vocation of marriage, our Catholic faith has been our bedrock. We are longtime residents of Colton and parishioners of San Salvador Church there.
My wife of 58 years is awaiting a living kidney donor due to Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD), an inherited disorder in which clusters of cysts develop on the kidneys, causing them to enlarge and lose function over time. Almost 50 percent of those with the disease have kidney failure by age 60.
Molly inherited ADPKD from her father. Five of Molly’s ten siblings in the family also inherited this dreadful disease. It has now been passed on to succeeding generations. In our family, all three of our children—son Pete Jr. and daughters Patricia, and Stephanie—inherited ADPKD, as well as two of our grandchildren.
Molly’s kidney issue eventually led us to consult with Dr. Anjay Rastogi, MD, and Ph.D. at UCLA in April 2016. The following month Molly had catheter surgery to prepare her for Peritoneal Dialysis, which she began in September 2016. She has now been on dialysis for almost two and a half years.
For over two years Molly and I have been proactive in seeking a kidney donor. As Molly’s husband and caretaker, I reassure her that a donor will eventually come forward. However, this will happen when Jesus picks the right time. The most import thing for us is to be patient, increase our faith, and trust in Him. When our cross gets heavy, all we have to do is look at Jesus nailed to the Cross and it immediately increases our faith and positive attitude.
When I think back to the time of Molly’s diagnosis, I remember feeling devastated, sad, and broken hearted. While I pray my Rosary every day, I now pray from the heart and with more intensity. I count on my faith in Jesus and our Blessed Mother to give me strength and perseverance. I begin my day by consecrating myself to them and asking for their help in making me a better disciple to Him and a better-consecrated son to our Blessed Mother. Daily prayer is without a doubt a powerful faith practice endeavor. There is so much power in prayer.
Our Catholic faith has always given life to our marriage. The Cursillo that we made in 1979 was an eye-opening adventure and faith experience. We still remember the Cursillo’s tripod (piety, study and action) for increasing our faith and spirituality. Over the years this faith experience has been a great source of strength for dealing with obstacles in our life. Another source of strength has been our involvement in our church. Prior to Molly’s kidney failure, we were both involved with the Baptismal Team at San Salvador. Preparing and providing in-service to parents and baptismal sponsors for this initial Sacrament is an excellent way to serve our Lord.
Molly’s kidney failure has curbed her church involvement due to her illness and dialysis. However, when she is unable to attend Mass on Sundays, she reads the scripture for the Mass and I bring communion to her. On the way to UCLA for her doctors’ appointments, we pray our Rosary thanking God for His many blessings. Throughout this ordeal, I have continued my involvement in the Church. Currently, I am one of two sacristans; I help with altar server coordination; I’m a member of Pastoral Council, Transition Team, Consolation Ministry; and Parish Building Committee.
Through this ordeal, our pastor, Rev. Moises Henriques, has been very supportive and gives Molly a blessing whenever she is able to attend Mass and tells us he is praying for her. We are so grateful for his support. Our parish community at San Salvador has also been very supportive. There are two prayer groups praying for Molly and numerous parishioners tell us they have us in their prayers. We could never thank our church community enough for their prayers and loving support.
After praying my Rosary, I try to read a passage from the Bible before retiring for the night. God’s word is such a good source for strength and perseverance.
Our journey is far from over. We have faith in Christ and know that He will provide my wife Molly with a kidney donor. I leave you with this quote from Molly: “Kidney donors are caring, generous, loving special individuals sent by God to provide a “daily” dose of life to their recipients. I believe that they are actually special angels living on earth! God bless all of you who took time to read about my journey.”
Information about becoming a living kidney donor for Molly Carrasco can be found at www.kidney4grandmamolly.com
If you are interested in becoming a prospective living donor, please complete a confidential, online history questionnaire before coming for an evaluation. You can find the questionnaire at: www.uclakidneydonor.org or contact the UCLA program by telephone at (866) 672-5333.