The Grizzards

Three months ago, Susie Grizzard gave her husband Robert a kidney. They're doing great and spent last week camping at Lake Guntersville State Park. 

Doctors said the odds against a wife being a perfect match to donate a kidney to her husband were astronomical. But Susie Grizzard was a perfect match to give her husband Robert a kidney.

Back in early May, she donated a kidney to Robert. The surgery and the immediate aftermath went much better than expected.

“They said I would be in the hospital 2 weeks,” Robert said. “I was in the hospital 4 days. They said I’d been in the hotel near the hospital 4 to 6 weeks. I was there 2 weeks.”

Robert and Susie are deeply spiritual and say the entire episode “was a God thing.”

Robert enjoys sharing it with other people, giving God the glory.

“I have a testimony to share and I’m going to tell it,” he said.

There have been some speed bumps in his recovery in the meantime. His heart medicine interfered with his kidney medicine and vice versa.

“They’ve had to level out his medicine,” Susie said.

He also learned he had low thyroid. It made him feel terrible, but medicine has taken care of that too.

The couple tried to go to Pigeon Forge for a couple days earlier in the summer. Robert got sick and they had to come back home the very next day, cutting their summer vacation short. 

But they’re finally getting to enjoy a little bit of summer. They were 3 months out of the transplant last week and they spent most of the week camping at Lake Guntersville State Park. It’s the first time Robert has really felt like doing much.

“I can’t really get out in the heat of the day,” he said.

But they walked early and late, enjoyed watching deer and grilled every afternoon. Robert’s appetite even started coming back.

“I didn’t have any taste at all for meat after the transplant,” he said. “I would have rather had a mashed-up baked potato or a potato chip.”

But he enjoyed a little steak and chicken on the grill last week.

They’re planning another camping trip to a park in Cullman soon.

“God is good,” Robert said. “I know there are people who don’t want to hear that, but it’s all I can say.”

Robert’s kidneys failed more than 18 years ago. His brother donated a kidney to him then. The doctors told him to expect 10 years out of that kidney, so he got more time than expected.

The difficulty in finding a new kidney was he’d developed a lot of antibodies over the years.

Lots of friends and family were tested to see if they might be a match. But Susie just got a feeling that she was going to be the one.

She said she felt as though God was telling her she was going to be the match.

The Grizzards live at Union Grove and attend Southern Cross Cowboy Church.

“So many people have showed us so much support through this,” Robert said.

One of his biggest delights during the week of camping was when their 16-month-old granddaughter visited. She had a graham cracker in her hand the same time a deer appeared.

“She’s not afraid of anything,” Susie said.

The little girl fed the graham cracker to the deer and 7 other deer appeared.

Robert is still going for blood work regularly at his local doctor’s office. But he’s been a kidney patient for so long now, he can just

about tell when something is wrong.

He’s helping guide other new kidney transplant patients through the process and is glad to do it.

His message to everyone is to sign up to be an organ donor and let your family know of your wishes.

“You can help so many people,” he said.

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