My name is Jesse Soto and I am from Midland Texas, a small town out in West Texas. Home of not much more than a large oil and gas industry. Growing up as a young man I would often see my mother spend many painful days and nights in the hospital for what seemed like privileged information. I was just too young to know what was happening to her.
Later I found that she was often passing kidney stones… and that this was a very painful process due to her kidney condition. She was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease around the age of 25 years old. I can remember overhearing things a young child should never hear when it comes to their parents… hearing phrases like (life-threatening).
Hearing this so young scared the life out of me. I also remember conversations between older family members saying things like, I’ll give her my kidney when the time comes… I heard many offer this gesture of love for her and her life. Somewhere deep within me, I always felt that it would always be me to do that for her, not knowing that it would ever really be a possibility or even a true reality! It was just being brave and arrogant within my own mind, I never said it out loud to anybody.
Fast forward twenty-some-odd years into my adulthood, my health has sustained me into a strong healthy young adult man. Not to brag but well developed as the pick of the litter. I’ve spent the last ten years of my life dedicating my life to sobriety, health, and fitness while my mother’s health had been slowly declining. It’s becoming more evident in her appearance with frequent trips to the ER. She had now been declared stage 5 kidney disease and has been put at the top of the donor list. Our prayers had been answered. All we needed was a kidney donor. I had been extreme weight training for years and am in top shape at this time… give or take a few extra pounds lol.
Alongside a group of loving family members, we all got together to apply as kidney donors to see who was healthy enough to donate. Low and behold there were three matches found! My sister, her son, and I. This was a no-brainer to me; I couldn’t let anyone else take that risk but me. Although this was very necessary and done in love, it can be a very frightening experience. Especially to someone who had never been through a surgery of any kind.
The risks explained by the transplant center were in blunt truth scary! This was smack dead in the middle of the Covid 19 pandemic in 2020, which made everything that much riskier and scarier. The risk of leaving my two son’s behind was a stress I had not been ready for at the time. A hundred risks and scenario’s come into play, and a hundred thoughts and worries begin to take life into your mind. I knew the angel of a woman my mother had been to me my entire life. I knew the cards she was dealt and how it was out of her hands. And I now understood these cards were now in my hands. All the pain she went through her entire life… all the fear she’s been through her entire life could now come to an end with a simple process of me overcoming my fears and being brave for just one small moment. We had hundreds of people that gathered around us to help support our journey together with love, prayers, and financial help to support our upcoming process. My sister led the way on our journey, gathering prayer warrior troops and support for us both. I just played the sideline and tried to keep silent as we prepped for what was to come.
Once our time came, we prepared as a family to go into this very real spiritual/physical thing we’ve known was coming for twenty years. My mother and I were placed in a temporary room side by side with just a curtain separating us. We began to tell each other how much we loved each other, with tears in our eyes… fear in our voices… and hope in our hearts. I had never felt closer to her in my life than at that moment, and I couldn’t even see her. I could only hear her voice. My
last prayer before I went under was, Lord… whatever happens, save my mother, just please save my mother.
The gas came in and my eyes were closed. From one moment to the next I was being rolled out to the next room and I hear them tell me, we’re done! Like, really? We’re done? It felt like a dream. It felt like being born again. I know what I did, I know that I’m alive, but I also know I’m lucky to have done both. We had a successful transplant! My sister calls me a hero. It feels good to hear her tell my nieces and nephews that. For them, I’ll be a hero, but for everyone else, I’m just the guy who was lucky enough to be able to have done this. It’s my honor and pleasure forever.
But now the recovery process needs to be successful. This recovery is really the remainder of our lives. It was painful and took many weeks to even get remotely able to begin therapy, let alone training of any sort. All the pain afterward, the meds, the reactions, and the side effects will forever be worth what we did together. She gave me life and I got to return life back to her, and now I am forever a part of her. It’s been two years this May 13th, 2022 and she is doing great! The quality of her health has increased abundantly, and our entire family is forever grateful!
After my recovery, I returned to my love life of fitness and weight training. I always gave my gym life so much credit for “saving my life” and never knew the impact it would have in my life. The gym life ultimately saved my mother’s life. The past two years have been a journey since, it’s true, eating and drinking habits must change once you are one organ down (a small price to pay). When I wake… when I lay to sleep… I think about this. It will forever be with me. If I never do
anything great in my life, if I never do anything worth any notoriety… I will always be proud of what I have done for someone who deserved it.
In 2014 I survived a horrific motorcycle accident and woke up in the hospital with no memory of what happened at all to me. Once my mind was restored to health, I knew that my life was spared for something special. I did not know what that was at the time, but I knew I had a purpose. A very special purpose. And I know this was my purpose, to save my
mother’s life! I am so grateful and proud to be a kidney donor, out of all my family, had it not been for my athletic and healthy lifestyle, this may not have been possible for us. Hopefully through someone else… but no, this was my purpose!
Before they separated my mother and me, I had written my mother a poem, I sent it to her just as we were being rolled away from each other. Had anything gone wrong I wanted it to be the last thing she received from me. (I’m glad it wasn’t in closing, it’s my pleasure to share this… please enjoy, and thank you!)
I’m writing a letter to the person that I love the most
The person who would always keep me safe,
from any dark or unhappy place..
And I know I put you through tears and tears for multiple years
when the state took me
Over and over as the Judge booked me
And I was just a child
But it was Your love that held me Down
I know I was never truly anybody’s favorite
I was so damn bad.. bad attitude,
But you never treated me different
You were Perfect just like your Mom
She was, you are.. and I would move the world for you.
And if it didn’t work out for me, but did for you, and I knew..
I would do it again. A thousand times, times two.
This is the heart of my chest.
And I got it from you, and if you needed that back.. well then you can have that too
Who are we kidding?
You need a kidney? Take one, I’ve got two.
You can have my good one.
You still have two good sons, and even better than us two good daughters
Grandsons and granddaughters who swear you have Powers.. like Wonder Woman.
God made woman from man and then later made man from woman
So which came first? The chicken or the egg? Lol
You gave me life and now I give you a part of mine back.
Blood of my blood Flesh of my Flesh
Now I know why God spared me from that motorcycle wreck
Now I know
He kept me out of harms way..
All for you.. Survived a flood and a Hurricane..
My whole life I’ve always been at the mercy of His hand
But this is, and has always been.. my purpose
All along, His plan…
All things work together for the greater good for those who love Him.
And we both do.. I’m living proof
And now, me through you..
so are you.
Hi Jesse, what an amazing story!! I highly resonate you as I’m a weightlifting fanatic and been lifting for 15 years. I’m in the works for donating my kidney to my mom and would love it if we can connect so I can get a better understanding of life after donating a kidney. 5 years ago I got in to an accident and couldn’t work out for a year cause of disc herniation and I got extremely depressed cause of not able to work out and go to gym. I would really appreciate if we could talk about it and If I can pick your brains a little bit. you can email me at email@example.com or can call\text me at 763 339 4142. I currently live in Texas dallas.