Saturday, March 20, 2021

Little Extra New Life

    On this day nine years ago, my hero wife gave her kidney to our son.  Sawyer was super blessed to receive Karen's kidney because her kidney has thrived inside of Sawyer.  We never take one lab report for granted and the labs have always come back showing the kidney is doing what it's supposed to be doing. Thank you Lord!


    Yesterday we visited some of our CHKD family who have been walking this out with us from the beginning.  We are pictured here with Nurse Ruth  (left) and Nurse Melissa (right).  God used the precious people at CHKD and specifically these two women to intervene for Sawyer's life and welfare. We praise God for them often and will never forget all they have done and continue to do.


    I wish all of Sawyer's tests and labs were normal, but he has a genetic disorder that continues to plague his body.  His genetic syndrome impacts almost every one of his cells.  His toughest challenge right now is progressive vision loss.  Sawyer is legally blind. He has severe myopia, night blindness and his peripheral vision continues to fade away.  It's like tunnel vision with the opening at the end of the tunnel shrinking.  Unfortunately, it appears the shrinking is picking up its pace causing Sawyer to trip over and run into things.  It's becoming more common to hear glass breaking as he knocks over one object while reaching for another or he smashes the object in his hand into something else.


   There is no therapy or cure for Sawyer's eye condition. We have been seeking out resources to help him. Virginia's Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired has been a true blessing, especially Ms. Valery.  There are gadgets and programs that are a huge help.  We are exploring it all now.


    Also, we have been working on getting Sawyer a companion dog.  Although we anticipate the dog helping Sawyer as he navigates, this pup is not meant to be a guide dog.  This dog is meant to be another good friend to Sawyer and help absorb some of the emotional toll Sawyer takes on through all of his challenges.


    Golden Retrievers are one of the best breeds for a companion dog.  COVID made the search long and challenging. However, after searching for a year, we were introduced to Momma Dog Ruth.  A beautiful golden retriever with the perfect temperament.


    Today is Kidney Day as we celebrate nine years since transplant.  We also refer to it as New Life Day.  Well, today has a little extra new life to it as Momma Ruth gave birth to her six pups early this morning! 


    God is so kind to us. We praise Him and thank Him for this new little gift that has already brought Sawyer and our family much joy though we haven't even met him/her yet.  We are praying and begging the Lord to spare Sawyer's sight.  However, whether Sawyer retains his sight or not on this side of eternity, the Lord continues to remind us that He sees Sawyer and He is with us. One way He encourages Sawyer and our family is through all of the love and support He has showered on us through so many people through the years.  We praise God for you!  

Friday, March 20, 2020

Orange Fingers and a Chocolate Milk Mustache

     Today is a DeBause holiday- Kidney Day!  This is the 8th anniversary of the day Sawyer received a transplanted kidney from his Hero Mom (and my beautiful wife) Karen.  Typically, we make much of this day with some type of big adventure , but this year the adventure is at home.  Sawyer takes anti-rejection drugs, which suppresses his immune system.  His body can't fight off a virus like COVID-19. So, we are having an all day party at home.  We are having a great time, but it would be better if we could spend it with some of the awesome people who helped us get through the hardest parts of Sawyer's kidney failure back in 2011.   We still praise God often for them.

     One of my favorite memories of the day the transplant took place was when Sawyer first woke up from the surgery.  It was about two o'clock in the morning.  He was weak and could hardly speak, but as soon as he opened his eyes, he asked for his Power Ranger's Sword, Doritos and chocolate milk.  The nurse whispered to me that the doctor would not allow him to eat for several more hours.  However, she was wrong.  Dr. Raafat checked on Sawyer soon after he awoke and she said, "go for it" in typical, and most awesome, Dr. Raafat style.  Within seconds, Sawyer's fingers were orange and he quickly grew a chocolate milk mustache.


     Typically, Nurse Ruth provides the chocolate milk and Doritos on this day, but since we can't pay a visit to CHKD, I picked up some as I hunted for toilet paper (with no success- dang virus!) this morning.

     I hate what's happening to our world right now.  However, one of the best reminders of Kidney Day for my family is that no matter how hard and upended our world gets, God doesn't abandon us in the mess.  I hate what Sawyer and Karen went through and I hate what Sawyer still wrestles with daily, but God gives us much comfort, joy and strength in the middle of it and one day He will make everything right again.  Until then, we are going to munch on some Doritos and wash it down with chocolate milk!  Happy Kidney Day!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

On Second Thought

     At the end of last evening, Sawyer said, "good night" and started walking towards my bedroom. I indignantly asked him where he was going and he confidently responded, "I'm sleeping in your room."  He's 12 years old.  He needs to be in his own bed.  However, on second thought, it made complete sense that he would head that direction, especially last night because it was on the eve of Kidney Day.  Kidney Day is the DeBause holiday where we celebrate the anniversary of the day my hero wife Karen donated her kidney to Sawyer. 

     For six months prior to transplant, Sawyer slept in our room every night tethered to his dialysis machine.   Our bedroom was his refuge and the place where he was being kept alive by 10 hours of dialysis.  So, it's an important place for him.  I think he would move back in if he could.  He can't.  He has to move on and receive all that God has for him in this life, but he is welcomed back on occasion and last night was the perfect occasion.

     Today marks the seventh anniversary of Kidney Day.  I am so grateful to the Lord Almighty for sparing my son and giving him many more days on this side of eternity through the sacrificial love and gift from his mother.  What she did is so Jesus-like.  Some friends and I are reading all of the eye witness testimonies of the life of Jesus that are found in the Bible. Today's reading was Jesus laying down his life for us all.  There is no greater love and Karen reflected that love on this day seven years ago. 

     I read that passage in my favorite reading spot, the corner chair in my bedroom.  It was dark and I couldn’t turn on the light because Sawyer was sleeping on the floor at my feet.  So, I read from my tablet.  As I was reading, Sawyer startled me as he suddenly started  pounding his heels on the floor and waving his arms in the air.  I thought he was having a nightmare, but then he mumbled, "It's Kidney Day", rolled over and went back to sleep.

     We love celebrating Kidney Day! It is a one of the best days. We praise God for this day and all of the provision and love that He showered on us through our friends and family and continues to pour out on us as we walk this path.

Friday, March 20, 2015

More Beautiful.

    There is never a day, not one single day, where I don’t think about what happened on this day three years ago.  It was such a dramatic event for our family.  It was horrible.  Gut-wrenching horrible.  Yet, it was beautiful too.  As horrific as it was, it was even more beautiful.

     Today is the third anniversary of Kidney Day.  The day my hero wife donated her kidney to my son.  Though I would never wish for them to go through it again, I praise God (literally) every day that they did.

     Three years later, Karen is doing well. You can live a normal life with one kidney.  Other than the fact that she can't take Advil, she doesn't have any limitations. 

     Sawyer is doing well too.  He still copes with the progression and effects of the genetic syndrome that killed his kidneys, but this will not impact his new kidney.  It has been a great year for him.  He went the entire year without spending the night in the hospital. 

     As soon as an organ is transplanted into a person, the body begins to reject that organ.  This is why transplant recipients have to be monitored often, face multiple transplant surgeries if they live long lives and they have to take anti-rejection medicines every day for the rest of their lives.  We praise God because Sawyer's kidney is strong and thriving!  We have a great God who picked the perfect donor… who happens to be gorgeous… but I digress.

     The only "hiccup" post-transplant is the transplanted ureter.  We still face the possibility of having to surgically re-implant it, but Sawyer's doctor is exhausting other ways of addressing it first.  We are so grateful for the love and care he receives from his doctor and the rest of the awesome professionals at the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters.

     One of the highlights of Sawyer's year was basketball.  Sawyer fell in love with basketball before he could hardly walk.  This year he played on his first team and had a blast.  We see a lot more basketball in his future.

     Sawyer reached another milestone recently.  In the last two months, Sawyer started taking all of his medicines by mouth.  Shortly before transplant, Sawyer had a "G-Tube" surgically implanted into his abdomen.  Many young children who receive a transplant  have to  get a "G-Tube" to ensure they will get their anti-rejection medicines when they do not cooperate taking them by mouth.  Sawyer was definitely one of those kids who would not cooperate, but he hasn't missed a dose by mouth in over a month.  Today we celebrate with a shopping spree at Toys R Us and we hope to have the g-tube removed in the near future.

     Kidney Day is synonymous with New Life Day in our home.  Sawyer's new (47 year old) kidney has given him the opportunity to live a new life free of dialysis machines and full of basketball (and Doritos andchocolate milk and…)

     We can't even begin to thank God enough for giving us this year.  We are also grateful beyond words for the many people who continue to pray for Sawyer and pour into his life.  God has done much through you. 

     We would never wish this path for our son or anyone else's son or daughter, but God has not abandoned us on this journey. He takes something horrible and makes it beautiful.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Today the DeBause Family...

     Today the DeBause Family is putting our home up for sale.  We were not anticipating a move so soon, but a rare opportunity came available on another home and we took it.  So, here we are selling our beloved home of over 12 years.

Here's the scoop on our home…

905 White Oak Court- Chesapeake, 23320

For more info go to

Large (2,216 sq ft) 3 Bedroom (+ office) home

Builder's model in cul de sac

2.5 Bathrooms

Brand New HVAC System w/ 10 year warranty.

Brand New Gutters and maintenance-free wrap on Trim

Updated throughout.

Additional room next to office
Extra Large Pantry in kitchen
2 Sheds
Custom Playground

Wood Floor and tile.  Carpet upstairs.


If you or anyone you know is interested, email to schedule a visit or get more information.

Currently, we are offering our home  For Sale By Owner (FSBO).  FSBO maximizes our return, but it also allows us to keep the price lower and share some of the savings with our buyer which could include helping with closing costs, making another desired upgrade on the home, etc.

Buyer’s agent welcome. 3% commission recognized.

What we love about our neighborhood…

Our Neighbors!
Our neighbors are remarkable people.  If we could take our street and cul de sac with us, we would.    We are grateful for the late night texts when we left the car door open or the interior light on, meals randomly being delivered to our door step, corn hole, the Christmas Huddle, impromptu cook outs, the Redskins/ Dallas feud, anonymous grass cutting, caring for our children, great conversations and so much more.  This has been a true caring community that we will miss greatly.  So thankful we get to keep the life-long friendships.

In the heart of Greenbrier. 
Our home is 1 mile from Panera's and Cold Stone Creamery and 1.8 miles from Target and Buffalo Wild Wings.  Need we say more?  Aerial View

Walking Paths, the Lake and sledding down the Great Hill after it snows.
Our family has walked many miles through the walking paths tucked away in our neighborhood.  Each one eventually wraps around our neighborhood lake where the kids feed the turtles on "turtle bridge" and swing on the monkey bars at the nearby parks.  The paths are well lit for early morning jogs or an evening stroll and maintained by our property owners association (POA).  The POA fee is $100 every six months, but worth every dime.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kidney Day!

     Two years ago on this day, my hero wife Karen donated her kidney to our son Sawyer. So, today we celebrate New Life Day or, as Sawyer affectionately refers to it, "Kidney Day". 

     In some respects the two years have gone by quickly.  However, Sawyer suffered so much between the kidney failure and transplant, that it seems like a very distant memory now.  Distance is good.  We can appreciate looking back only to realize how far God has carried us since those difficult days.  We are grateful for where we are today.

     Sawyer's kidney has been performing like a champ.  What more could you expect considering the awesome (and beautiful) donor?  All of his labs have been very encouraging and we are praying that Sawyer's new (46 year old) kidney will last much longer than expected.  We hope he sets a few new records in the transplant world.

     We've known since birth that Sawyer was a fighter. Really, it's God's grace on him as He equipped Sawyer for the battles he has already fought and the war ahead. 

     Day to day, Sawyer does very well, but he is still challenged with the genetic syndrome that continues to plague his body. In recent months Sawyer has started to become more aware of his limitations or at least he communicates his frustration and disappointment more often.  Recently he stood at the doorway looking out with tears in his eyes as his friends played in our front yard at sundown.  He said to Karen, "I can't see.  I'm different than everybody else. I hate that I can't see.  Can we talk to the doctor about fixing it?"  Sawyer's genetic syndrome causes him night blindness and severe myopia. 

     Also, in the last few months, he has been struggling through pain in his legs and hips.  This is most likely from the bone dysplasia which is also caused by his genetic syndrome. Being the tough guy he is, we really don't know how much pain he wrestles with physically and emotionally, but we know it's daily. 

     Sawyer is so tough.  I vividly remember him waking up from transplant surgery asking for his sword, chocolate milk and Doritos.  He could barely speak.  He only had one arm mobile and he was hardly strong enough to use it.  However, he did use that one arm to wield his sword, gulp down the chocolate milk and Doritos (his first meal post-surgery) and lick the Dorito dust off of his fingers (his favorite part of the Dorito experience).

     Tonight, we celebrate New Life Day with chocolate milk and Doritos (maybe a few wings too).  We are grateful for God's faithfulness and provision to this family.  We cherish everyday with each other. 

     Thank you for your continued prayers for Sawyer.  We are overwhelmed and greatly blessed by the number of people who pray for him often and some still pray daily. So many have walked this journey with us and we cherish you too

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The moment when...

... you find out if you are on the naughty or nice list.

Santa's 2013 Declaration Video for Sawyer

Friday, December 13, 2013

All hail the B.D.P.!

Today is Emma's 14th Birthday. All hail the Birthday Princess!!  

Emma at her birthday lunch with dad.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013