In April 2014, I sat in a cramped exam room with my father and aunt. The silence was deafening. We were in the UCLA Urology department. Soon my surgeon, whom I had never met, entered. He’s a tall ghostly looking man with a kind face, pale eyes and his head shaved.

After walking through my long and extensive medical history, I ended up on the small exam table. In a sitting position, feet dangling awkwardly, my surgeon cracked a smile. “What do you want to do when this is all over; what are your passions?” I received his question and had nothing in return. I have never really thought of myself as having passion. I fumbled around before saying my passion has been to stay alive, other than that I wasn’t sure. It was a tense moment, for me at least.

A couple of weeks later, on April 30, 2014, that same surgeon put my aunt’s kidney into my body, and I was given a new birthday.

Sam Schey undergoing dialysis in Southern California.
My suffering had been long leading up to the kidney transplant. I had been sick since June 2008, a stretch of six years. I trudged through each day clinging to anything that gave me hope.

God was my anchor. I prayed for strength and courage. I read the Bible and Joshua 1:9 became my motto: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

The verse looped through my mind for years. At times, God made me strong when I was weak. Other times, He made me brave when I was afraid. When I went into renal failure, I feared survival more than death. After the transplant, I was deemed well. This seesaw left me vertigo. I had no idea what to do next.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

As I walked through the darkness, many wanted to know what was going on. I have a large family, so I needed help. Dad sent out group texts and emails. Mom talked to anybody who asked about me. I did my best. I recounted stories over and over out of respect to those with sincere intentions. That was hard, draining.

When my kidneys failed, and I started dialysis, things got intense. I was so inundated with calls and texts and emails and all other forms of communications that I decided to start a Tumblr. I blogged about my experience, so I wouldn’t have to retell it again and again.

Sam Schey and his mother at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center after his kidney transplant.

I only told family and close friends about the blog. It was intended to update them on my heath, not to be made public. In any event, it struck a nerve and opened my eyes. Everywhere I went, people told me how much they loved it and wanted me to write more. Some even asked if they could share it, but I asked them not to.

It has been a little over two years since the transplant. The first year was a healing year. I struggled with the side effects of the anti-rejection medicine – still do. I went to the UCLA Transplant Clinic to get checked out a lot. I saw my regular kidney specialist a lot as well.

The second year was about mentally and emotionally coming to terms with all that had taken place. Left behind in life, my world has grown quite small. Starting over is like being reborn in some ways. Other ways not. Often, I feel trapped on an island in the middle of the Pacific; sharks circle but I know I need to get to the mainland.

Everything is different. I still feel lost, but I have made small gains, inching my way back out into the world. Once my support group trusted that the worst was over, they began asking me to write a book or pick the blog back up. They suggested making a book out of my posts, something they could read from start to finish. With a lot of time on my hands, I started doing just that. But, I couldn’t write a book about my kidney transplant before telling the story before the story.

My life has been a wild ride. After writing the first draft, I started calling it Revealing Secrets: A Memoir, because I have muzzled myself my entire life. Topics such as pain and sorrow, suffering and death aren’t often discussed. I learned this early on and in so doing kept a whole lot of secrets. I did my best to sweep the burden I carry under the rug, yet, it has scratched at me from the inside my whole life.

Sam Schey believes writing is his passion.
My Tumblr revealed to me that people crave something real in a world that seems so unreal. It also proved to me that talking about hard topics does indeed help. I have decided to leave my Tumblr page up unedited even though there are many parts I would like to edit. I welcome you all to look and share if you so choose.

I have come to see that writing may be what I do, my passion. Writing could be my way giving something back, letting others know that they are not alone. The thing is, God has been faithful to me, holding my hand through the darkest of days. I did my best to serve Him while I was ill. I got up each morning, did my best, went to so many doctor’s appointments, worked when I could. This was all in His name, not mine.

I want my suffering to serve a purpose. God’s purpose; God’s will. I think about what Jesus told the man after dispossessing him. “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”

This blog website will serve many purposes. It will be a way for you to get to know me as I seek publication of my book. It will also help me hone my writing and technological skills. It will be fun at times, serious at times, but always honest and real. I want you to know that I will be present, here for you if you need me. If there is a topic or issue you are curious about, let me know. If it has anything to do with pain or health, I will probably have some insight. I want to thank you in advance for reading. I truly appreciate it.