My name is Jennifer and I met my husband on your site in April of 2007. I had been single for about six years, although I dated on and off. My friends set me up on blind dates, and I was a member of your website. When I went back on JDate sometime in the beginning of 2007, I was in the right place in my life to meet someone. I went on a series of dates and talked to many people. Although I cannot remember my husband’s screen name exactly, I do remember it stood out. I believe he had a phrase that went something like, “I’m an apple…” I guess that was enough to make me look into his profile. He looked cute, and I liked what he had to say. I contacted him, and we e-mailed back and forth right away. He called me and asked to meet for coffee the next day, and I agreed to meet him. It was interesting that we were even paired up in the first place, because I had kept the same criteria and had never seen him before. I might have expanded the mileage criteria and perhaps that is why his profile appeared.
What I liked about Steven right away was his willingness to drive from Rockland County to Nassau County (where we met for coffee), and then drive into Manhattan to spend the day at work. I thought to myself, ‘this man still believes in chivalry!’ Our date went fantastic, and he asked me out for another date before we even left Starbucks; I liked that. Again, I realized that he was not a game player; he didn’t leave the date stating the proverbial, “I’ll call you.” Our second date was the next night. I took a train into Manhattan, met him in Union Square and had yet another great date. At the end of the night, he drove me back to Long Island and then turned around and drove himself home to Rockland County. I knew he was a keeper!
We didn’t date for long before we started talking about getting married and the logistics it would present with five kids between the two of us. Pleasing everyone was not going to happen, so we decided that we were entitled to be happy, too! In January of 2008, we became engaged, and on August 31st, my son’s birthday, I moved my family to West Nyack in Rockland County. We married on the island of Nantucket on October 11, 2008. It was a beautiful weekend, and we were surrounded by 40 of our closest friends and family. Our family was with us for the first couple of days, and our friends stayed for the next couple of days; it was everything we wanted!
I have always intended to tell you our story, but never quite got around to it; life’s been busy. However, this past December in 2009, we got news that our lives were about to change. Steven has had chronic kidney disease for the past 15 years. While I did know this going into the marriage, we also both knew everything was being maintained in a state of remission thanks to prescription medication and we were optimistic. This optimism ended quickly when Steven’s Nephrologist told us that we needed to look into a kidney transplant. Ugh! We were in complete shock, but began the search right away.
We contacted New York Hospital-Columbia Presbyterian and had our first appointment on February 9, 2010. I agreed to have my blood tested to see if I was a match, and in the last week in February, we received the call that I was, indeed, a match! It turns out that Steve and I have the same blood type, and there was nothing to suggest that his body would reject my kidney. We were speechless. I was scared, but also, happy; I found myself in tears that night.
In March, I started a series of screenings and tests to determine if my kidney and body was healthy enough to undergo surgery. Donating an organ is an elective surgery, and the hospital needed to make certain that I was healthy and not under any kind of pressure. I had a myriad of tests and even a scare that thankfully turned out to be nothing. Through the entire stressful time, Steve was with me every step of the way. He was always holding my hand, telling me that he wouldn’t hold it against me if I changed my mind, and thanking me for enduring all of it. Before getting an MRI of my liver, I got a little anxious, and they let Steve come in with me. He stood next to the table and held my hand the whole time.
We had many discussions regarding this subject, and I cried many tears throughout the emotional process during these past few months. My friends and family were very supportive, but of course, we all wished the circumstances were different. I explained to them that I was donating my kidney because I love my husband, and I want him to be healthy. In addition, I did it because I chose life. I waited a long time to meet someone like Steve, and I wanted to live a long, healthy life together. I did not want our short marriage to end, and I did not want to drive my 47-year-old husband to dialysis three times a week. It is quite powerful to know that my decision enabled our relationship. We are lucky; we know this and do not, for one second, take it for granted. There are many people who suffer, many people who are on dialysis and many who are on waiting lists. We had this great opportunity to avoid all of that, and we did.
On June 8, 2010, we each underwent surgery. At some point we were both being operated on simultaneously, as the goal was for my kidney to be “out of body” for the least amount of time possible. We were not able to room together, but were only three rooms apart. It is quite a rare thing to see a husband and wife walking around a hospital, pushing identical IV poles, but that was us! We have been home now for four weeks and are taking the summer easy. I have recovered, and my husband gets stronger every day.
I promised myself and everyone else that once we came through the surgery successfully I would write to you and tell you our story. My son likes to tell everyone that “JDate sure knows what it is doing!” I like to say that you have brought new meaning to the word compatibility!
Jennifer & Steven
New City, New York