Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bye 2011

It’s been a year of kidneys and cake pops and I have a heart full of thanks.

This is an extremely long post. And just to warn you up front it involves a couple of pictures of blood and things that might make you cringe a little, so if you’re squeamish about that kind of thing, you probably don’t want to keep reading.

But, if you’re not, and you’re interested – it’s kind of a wrap up of 2011. Not of recipes from the blog, but of some things that made this year special.

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And of course, it involves cake pops. How could it not.

The year started off pretty normal, or rather I was trying to keep things up as normal. But in the back of my mind was the knowledge that my transplanted kidney was starting to fail.

But I was hoping for the best. Hoping to just maintain whatever functioning it had left. Hoping to keep living the status quo.

In February, I had what was supposed to be the beginning of a few more book signings that would take place through the spring.

I started out in San Francisco and as soon as I saw your smiling faces, I managed to forget all about feeling bad. I want to thank you for that.

Because in March I had to cancel the next book signing in Minneapolis.

I couldn’t be there because I was very sick and in the hospital with an infection in my bloodstream and transplanted kidney.

Needless to say, my already weakened kidney could not handle the extra stress and I had to go on dialysis while I was in the hospital.

There are some pics in this post that I normally wouldn’t put out there, but I hope they help someone who might be going through something similar. It’s tough stuff.

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This machine reluctantly became my new best friend. The only thing to keep me from eventually dying.

This was probably the hardest thing for me. I never wanted to go on hemodialysis. Just the thought of being hooked up to a machine and having my blood removed, cleaned and returned to my body, freaked me out. The first time my kidneys failed, I did peritoneal dialysis. It doesn’t involve your blood and it allows you much more freedom. So I was prepared to go on that kind of dialysis again if I had to. But not for an emergency port to be placed for hemodialysis. Peritoneal dialysis requires a scheduled surgery and planning. But hemodialysis doesn’t. So I had a procedure to have a temporary port placed in my chest and by the end of the very same day, I was having my blood move through those tubes on the machine.

Let’s just say my mind was not prepared. The first time I was on the machine, I can’t even describe what it was like. I just felt numb. Numb that it was happening this way. Scared that I didn’t know what would happen next. Upset that I couldn’t stay well for just a little while longer while we waited to see if my mom could be a donor.

But I was also thankful. Thankful that things like this exist. Thankful that even though there isn’t a cure for kidney disease, that there are options for treatment to prolong my life.

Thankful.

But still freaked out.

I was in the hospital for 18 days. And if I hadn’t been there so long, I probably would have come back home and kept baking as if everything was ok.

That was the plan anyway. But then I was there another day and another day and after a while I felt I needed and wanted to share what was going on because I had been absent from the blog so long.

So I wrote this post.

And I was overwhelmed by your comments and thoughts and prayers. I still am. I get teary-eyed even now thinking about it as I write this.

I will forever cherish your words and kindness. I read them while I was hooked up to that machine and it made it all better. Thank you.

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Flowers from new friends made it better, too. Thank you P is for Party, Anna and Blue, TomKat Studio, Pizzazerie, and all the other party planning friends that brightened my stay. I would list you all but I can’t find your letter at the moment. Forgive me. It was so sweet of you all to send flowers, especially since we haven’t even met. Hugs.

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And surprise visitors made it better, too.

Ree, it meant so much to me that you came by to visit. Miss you lots.

Oh and did I mention that while I was in the hospital that I gained 16 pounds in the first two days. Sixteen pounds of fluid that they pumped into me to help fight the infection.

I was miserable and swollen all over, but so happy to see family and friends like Ree, and Julie, Zoe, Danny, Monica, Amy, and Kerry and Robyn who visited during my transplant stay.

So, there were definitely good things mixed in with the bad.

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Like when I got back home, this was waiting for me. A dutch version of Cake Pops!

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And in May, I was able to spend time with friends that were attending Blogher Food. (Photo from kevinandamanda)

Thank you guys for making that a great day. So, fun things happened too while I was still on dialysis. And that helped. A lot.

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This is the clinic where I spent many hours over the next few months. I would get off work and come here four hours a day. Three days a week. And then go home and go to bed because I was still so tired. I have so much respect for the nurses, technicians and staff that work in dialysis clinics. They see a lot of sadness every single day. The beds were always full, unlike this photo I managed to take in between patients arriving. You walk in for your appointment and as soon as someone is done with theirs, they clean the bed, change the sheets, clean and prepare the machine to get ready to connect the next person. It’s a constant cycle of patients, many that were much, much sicker than me, coming here to stay alive. It has to be hard on the people that work there to see that everyday. And especially hard when someone suddenly stops showing up for their appointment because they are in the hospital or even worse.

It was definitely not somewhere I looked forward to going to. On the good side, I was very tired everyday, so I did get to lay down and rest and watch TV – as long as I didn’t get the bed that had the broken TV.

(Warning: Blood stuff coming up next.)

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And then if I got bored, I would take pictures of myself to remember what being on dialysis was like.

Here I’m trying to tell myself how much fun I’m having. Woohoo!

I have a bunch of sad pics too, but I promise you don’t want to see those.

The white bandage near my neck keeps the area where the port is, covered and clean. It would get changed and the area carefully cleaned every time I had a treatment. The big sheet was just to keep my clothes from getting any stains. The port had two lines. One would remove my blood and the other would return it. Good times.

This was a temporary solution though. The area where the port goes in is an extremely high source of infection because there is a direct line to my heart and an opening at the end of the port where you connect for treatment each time. And the area couldn’t get wet, which made taking showers a real pain. I would cover it with these large plastic adhesive sheets which were so big that it made my right arm immobile. If I lifted my arm, it would create a gap in the covering and allow water in. Washing your hair with one hand is hard. And showering each day was filled with worry that I would get it wet and get an infection. And prolong my chance of a transplant.

If I had needed to stay on dialysis permanently, I would have had to have a permanent fistula made in my arm as an access to circulate the blood for hemodialysis. Or either plan a surgery to go on peritoneal dialysis again. So I tried to delay either of those happening as long as I could, waiting on my mom’s test results to all come through and hoping she would be able to donate.

Stressful.

At the clinic, my nurse, TiTi would take care of me each time I came in. She was comforting even though she didn’t talk much. I developed an attachment to her. I didn’t want anyone else to connect me to that machine or clean my dressings. I trusted her and even though I was so happy to leave, I cried with her the last day I left the clinic as she prayed for me. And I felt bad for the patients I was leaving behind. The nameless faces I had seen every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I wanted them to feel better, too. It reminded me how grateful I am for my mom. Many people live the rest of their lives on dialysis. Not everyone is eligible for a transplant or has someone close willing or able to donate.

If you’ve thought about organ donation before, please think about it again and the people laying in those beds. It’s a gift that can help so many.

And if you are already a donor. Thank you. Generosity like yours gave me 19 years of life.

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On the lighter side, during dialysis treatments, I was also trying to finish up a couple of projects for the Cake Pops Kit that came out this year. Not fun when you don’t feel good.

But even though I wanted to be able to do more new pops, I think the rubber duckies and penguins came out pretty darn cute.

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Then, Cake Pops made it onto the iBookstore. I thought this was really cool. Probably because of my love for all things Apple.

By the way, Cake Pops was one of the iBookstore’s top ten Cookbooks in 2011! Crazy! CRA-zeeee!

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I had a recipe published in Betty Crocker’s Big Book of Cupcakes. Thank you, Betty!

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And I also had a recipe published in the book, Home Baked Comfort.

Things like this, and especially all of your emails and messages and comments on the site really made dealing with being sick a lot easier.

By the way, dialysis stinks when it comes to eating, too. Your diet changes drastically because your system is so out of whack. The machine basically does the functioning of your kidney for you. But since it doesn’t do it all day, everyday, you have to be really careful what you eat all the time. I couldn’t eat cake pops. I had to stay away from foods that contain phosphorous and potassium and eat foods with very low sodium. A high phosphorous level can make your bones weak and brittle. Potassium is monitored closely to avoid heart problems, nausea and loss of consciousness. And sodium is avoided to help control fluid retention and blood pressure. That meant no potatoes, no chocolate, no cheese, no milk, no sauces to speak of, no beans, no sandwich meats, no bacon (ugh), no nuts, no ice cream, no orange juice, no bananas. Basically, nothing fun. And because my fluid intake was restricted, I could only have 32 ounces of fluid for the whole day. Boring!

I’m so glad that didn’t last long.

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After a few months on dialysis, we finally found out that my mom was able to be a donor. Such relief and excitement for us both!

And on June 14th, my mom and I both went into surgery. That was the hardest part – knowing we were both being operated on at the same time, but I had complete confidence in the surgeons.

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Especially mine. Because Dr. Larsen performed my first surgery in July of 1992 and again this year. He’s great.

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I don’t know if I could ever put into words how much he means to me, but I am so thankful for him and his talent and kindness over the years. I just want to give him a big hug every time I see him.

The entire staff at Emory is wonderful. Everyone at the transplant clinic and the transplant floor of the hospital. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for taking care of me the last 20 years.

Oh and see that white bandage on my neck in the pic above? Yep, the port is still in.

They leave it in to make sure the kidney works before removing it.

The port isn’t pretty. I made them take a picture of it for me because I never saw it unbandaged.

Scroll by real fast if you get grossed out easily.

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Yuck. And by the way that’s not blood on the port, it’s betadine where they would clean it.

I was so relieved to have this thing out of me.

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And so grateful for my mom. I know she would do anything for me, but I would have never asked her for such a gift. She is amazing and my best friend.

Here’s a story that Emory posted on their blog about us if you’d like to read.

So, A few months after the surgery and still feeling great, I started doing things again.

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I made a new video for the book with this guy. Actually, he made the video. I just did stuff like make silly faces when he wasn’t looking.

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The notecards came out.

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Where Women Cook by Jo Packham came out in October. Thank you Jo for featuring me on the cover with such fantastic company. The book is beautiful and filled with profiles from great women like Ree of The Pioneer Woman, Serena of The Farm Chicks, Sandy of The Reluctant Entertainer, Molly of Orangette, Cheryl of Back in the Day Bakery, Helene of Tartelette, and many more.

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Okay, this was something else really fun and a little unexpected. Say hi to Pop Star Jill in Illinois.

I received an email from Jill’s husband, Luke. They live in Chicago and he explained how much she enjoys the blog and cake pops and wanted to surprise her with a signed book or maybe even a lunch. So I said, sure and if they found themselves all the way in Georgia, then of course, I would go to lunch. Well, he did just that. He told her they were flying somewhere fun for her birthday, but didn’t tell her where until the day they flew. I’m sure when he told her Georgia, she was thrilled. So exciting, right?! But he explained it off by saying they were going to see and stay with some friends for a getaway.

Then, the next day, I was waiting at the restaurant and when the hostess brought Jill to the table, the look on her face was so priceless. And boy was I glad. It would have been a real bummer if she didn’t know who I was. But she did and it was a blast and she had absolutely no idea. We had a great time. I think it was as much fun for me as it was for Luke to surprise his wife. Hi guys. Hope you two are doing great.

And thank you both for such a memorable day.

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These are meds I take twice a day. Everyday. They’re different medicines from the ones they were giving to patients almost 20 years ago, but they still have to give them to suppress my immune system so my body doesn’t try to attack my mom’s kidney as something foreign to my body. That would stink. So I take these medicines to help avoid that.

Even though I feel great now, it’s always on my mind every morning and night.

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By October, I felt good enough to continue with the book signings I had begun back in the spring.

Of course, I had to visit Minneapolis first. It was such a good feeling to be there, seeing all your sweet faces. Happy smiles are like magic.

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After Minneapolis, I visited San Francisco for a book signing and to work on the video for this kit.

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Here’s a clip from the video. Cool.

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While I was there, I visited the FM offices.  They handle ads that show up on my site. They arranged a Halloween cake pop contest with a few bloggers and some of their employees. And man, they did a good job. Very creative and everyone was so sweet. Thank you for having me.

Here’s a slideshow of all the fun.

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I also attended a San Francisco Authors Luncheon with my publisher, Chronicle Books to benefit the National Kidney Foundation. It was so nice of them to donate money and invite me to attend with them.

If I haven’t said it enough before. Chronicle is great. The people. The company. Their books. I love them.

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When I returned home, I had a routine kidney biopsy. Everyone that has a transplant has one at around 5-6 months after surgery.

That’s my new baby. My mom’s kidney. In me.

Kind of unbelievable.

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Kidney biopsies aren’t as bad as they look when you consider the needle they use. Yeah, that thing in the upper right hand corner. Yikes! And I think that’s the new shorter one they started using. Don’t worry. They only go in as far as they need to depending on how much body tissue they have to pass through to reach the kidney. Thankfully, they didn’t have to go too deep.

The test showed everything with the kidney was doing great.

So I felt confident enough to continue on with the book signings. Or kit signings since by this time, those had been released.

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Seeing this poster in the Orlando Barnes & Noble really made me chuckle. Me and Bill Clinton, signing books days apart.

A little birdie told me the secret service was there the day I was, scoping out the place and one of them even bought a book. Maybe it was for Bill. : ) But I doubt it.

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While we were in Orlando, we made it to Disney World for a little while.

The place where dreams come true. Except ours already had.

It was my mom’s first time and my second.

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At most of the book signing cities, we stayed at normal nice hotels. But In Phoenix, we stayed at the nicest or most unique of al the cities. To give you an example, this guy was taking us to our casita in a golf cart. You couldn’t drive to your room by car. To get around the property, which was beautiful by the way, you had to call for someone to come pick you up or walk there. We called. And they would take you to the pool, or one of several restaurants or shopping nearby. Where ever you needed to go. The room was fantastic, too, with a deck, living room, fireplace, and walk in closet. We did not want to leave. Ever.

But we did. And headed out to the next book signing in San Diego.

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While we were there, I received a super invitation from Sarah who follows the blog and came to the book signing in Costa Mesa the previous year. Sarah invited me to come see her world. Sea World, where she works with some of the animals.

Including this amazing, cuddly creature.

I never knew a sloth could be so cute.

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My mom and I made some new friends for sure. We learned a lot, too.

Thank you Sarah for showing us around and sharing your knowledge of these amazing animals.

Here’s a slideshow of some of the fun.

Before leaving San Diego, we decided to stop and get some breakfast at a place called the Hash House.

We ordered just two pancakes.

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Yeah, just two.

We obviously didn’t know what we were doing. I just had to share this pic. I have never seen anything like it.

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After San Diego, I visited Book People in Austin for the last book signing of the year.

I’ll miss seeing all of you guys… until next time that is ; ) . Thank you all for coming out and sharing your love for cake pops. This year would not have been the same without you, whether you made it to a signing, or simply said hi on the blog. I love you guys so much. Big hugs and a little dork wave.

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The day after the last book signing, I went on a Girl Hunter weekend with my friend Georgia and a bunch of other blogging friends including Cookies and Cups, Bake at 350, Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, Wenderly, She Wears Many Hats, Ivory Hut, Tidy Mom, Cookin Canuck, Georgia, Elana’s Pantry, Family Fresh Cooking, Deliciously Organic and Recipe Girl. We laughed, shot clay pigeons, decorated cookies, learned to fly fish, sat by the campfire and ate way too much.

Georgia is something special and has just recently released her second book, Girl Hunter. It’s a fascinating read that follows her adventures on a quest to find out more about where her food comes from. And it takes her straight to the source. Here’s a video by the talented White on Rice Couple to give you a glimpse of what the book is about. And here’s a great post of our weekend by Georgia.

Check out the book, Girl Hunter if you’re interested in the journey of knowing where your food comes from, too.

Here’s a slideshow of the really great time we had.

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Once back home I received another nice surprise.

Cake Pops, translated in Japanese and another version in French, too. Can anyone tell me what it says in that circle? I’m trés curious.

Well, that’s just a little bit of some of the things from this past year that you didn’t see on the blog.

Thank you for listening. I just had to get that all out and get ready for a brand new year.

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Like I said in the beginning. It’s been a year of kidneys and cake pops.

And my mom and I would like to thank you all for helping make it one we will never forget.

So thank you and here’s to a great 2012 for all of us.

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Maggie Alvarez said...

Dear Angie:
My name is Maggie Alvarez, i live in mexico city and my sister-in-law “Angie” is a big fan of your Art. I have to say art because that is exactly what you do. Angie introduced me to you and I have fallen in love with all you do but especially with your spirit. After I read this blog I couldn’t resist the need of telling you thank you for sharing such personal treasures with all of us. I admire your straingth and courage. thank your for letting me see your heart and soul and for inspiring me to do even more,. May God Bless you and your mom, may your lives be filled with peace, love and happiness so you can continue doing what makes you what you are. Besos y abrazos desde México (hugs and kisses from Mexico)
Maggie Alvarez

January 12, 2012 05:43 PM
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Akiko said...

Hi, the Japanese in the circle says “Japanese version” and on the ribbon says “Cake pops book”

Hope 2012 will bring you lots of happiness!!

January 12, 2012 06:36 PM
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Sammantha said...

So I teared up a little bit (should probably check if I am pregnant because of all these emotions) but you are just such an inspiration to me! I have been following your blog for years, I used to talk to my friends about cake pops and they all asked “What the heck is a cake pop?” so yep, that long :) I just wanted to say that you deserve all of this, I mean look what you have been through and to still have a smile on your face through it all. You are one dedicated, hardworking girl! I am so proud of you (just sounded like your mom) but I am, so awesome for you! :) Congrats on your books, your cake pops, your success, and having an amazing mother(she must be like mine.) :) Good luck, too many years of success, happines and health (raising glass of ice water, I don’t drink) lol.

January 12, 2012 11:20 PM
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Susan said...

<3 to you and hoping 2012 brings nothing but the best for you!

January 13, 2012 11:49 AM
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jennifer said...

Angie, I have only two things to say,

1. “Often the test of courage is not to die but to live.” –Vittorio Alfieri. And, wow, have you been tested!? I have no doubt that you brightened the day of all your healthcare givers. You are inspiring!

2. You are rockin’ those shoes in the BookPeople picture! Sorry I missed you :).

January 13, 2012 04:32 PM
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Viviana said...

I´m from Argentina. just wanted to thank you because you made me wanna cook again, with your yummy pics and comments. i´ve tried several of your recipes and they turned out great.
I´m sorry to hear you went through so much pain, but it´s great to know you´re better!

January 14, 2012 09:48 PM
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Lori said...

I use to work as a Nephrology Social Worker. I worked for Gambro for a time and then I worked in a local hospital. I am so glad you shared your story. I can see that many people were moved by your story as there are 505 comments of last. Its beautiful that you, despite some pretty major setbacks, have overcome. A triumphant story. A beautiful smile. Bravo to you.

January 15, 2012 11:27 AM
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Hanh said...

hi there! This is probably my first comment on your blog, but I’ve been following you for almost 2-years. =) My friends enjoy making cakepops and they are fans of yours too!

I’m glad you had such a great time in Phoenix. The accommodations you had there sounded so dreamy!! Also, the pictures at Sea World looked so fun and cool!! Thank you for sharing your experiences and blogging about them. It is very inspiring. Especially about yours and Bill Clinton’s book signing being within a few days of each other too. ;)

I praise God for your successful kidney transplant this past year. Blessings to you, your mother, and loved ones in 2012!!

January 15, 2012 08:49 PM
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Cindy said...

Cake pops or not you and your mom are simply amazing women! Here’s to a fantastic new year! Can’t wait to see what you have in store!

January 15, 2012 09:24 PM
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Marie said...

You are amazing, Bakerella! Thank you so much for sharing your experience and photos. I am so glad that you are doing better now.

You are such an inspiration to me too!!!

January 16, 2012 03:41 AM
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Aline said...

You’re so cute! And inspire me every time I read your blog!

Wish you always the best!

January 17, 2012 02:41 PM
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Tracey said...

I’m so glad for the update. Every time I see a cake pop, I send prayers and blessings for you and your mother.

My father was diagnosed with end stage renal failure over the summer. It helped me to hear things from your point of view if that makes sense. It’s hard to know what he’s going through.

January 17, 2012 08:54 PM
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Dawn said...

Seeing that dialysis machine brought back memories…for a while, dialysis was my boyfriend’s and mine ‘together time’. We played Scrabble, did crosswords, watched shows (when the TV wasn’t broken ;) )…and I learned how to reach for the barf bowl, run for a nurse, surreptitiously hit a few buttons here and there (eek! don’t tell on me please!), and sneak extra warm blankets from the warmer. Reading your story is so heart-warming…thank you for sharing! You’re honest without being gory, and the reason for your success is obvious: you’ve learned to accentuate the positive. I wish you continued good health & happiness!

January 17, 2012 10:57 PM
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Dawn said...

LOL! literally! I just noticed that the tags on your kidney cake pops say yiPEE! Nobody talks about pee quite like kidney transplant patients and their loved ones!

January 17, 2012 10:59 PM
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Carol said...

Congratulations! Thanks for sharing your story. I am a kidney transplant recipient — Feb 14, 1999. Getting ready to celebrate 13 years. Thank you for your inspiration!

Ps. I love your cake pops, books, photos, and stories….keep ‘em coming!

January 18, 2012 12:26 PM
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Ysondra said...

Omg, I’m so gald you’re doing fine, I do love your work, and I learn a lot with you.

I wish you the best this year.

Love & kisses from Barcelona

January 18, 2012 01:18 PM
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Kristy said...

Goodness, I teared up- and I follow your blog, so I already knew your story! Blessings to you!

January 18, 2012 09:41 PM
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Aimee S said...

I’m a mess of tears after reading that. Tears of so much joy for you. You have such a sweet spirit, are incredibly talented and I love reading your blog. I’m so thankful for answered prayers and that you are feeling much better. What a trial…but what a testimony!

January 18, 2012 10:18 PM
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CakeStory said...

I held back tears as I read about your hospital experience and all that you and the other patients have to go through. I work with breast cancer patients doing research and have also never seen a port unbandaged but the thought of it always unsettled me and sometimes thinking of the patients that come and go gets me down too. I’m so happy that you’re better! You have been such an inspiration and have really added to our lives! Xoxo!

January 19, 2012 04:34 PM
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Lynette said...

Great post! So glad you are doing good…I have to admit, you made me cry a time or two!

January 19, 2012 08:26 PM
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Julia said...

Thank you for the wonderful update. Glad you are doing so well after your kidney ordeal! I can’t seem to find your cake pops book on the ipad or ibookstore. Is it not officially released yet?

January 19, 2012 09:45 PM
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Becky Honaker said...

I have been looking for 8 years for a kidney shaped cake to make for my husband. He gave me a kidney July 1, 2003, and I’m still going strong! I love the kidneypop idea and may have to try it this year to celebrate our 9th kidneyversary! I appreciate your candor and the pictures as a fellow transplant recipient and a woman who loves to bake! I get requests for the Red Velvet cake for every get together. Keep up the awesome work!

January 21, 2012 10:20 AM
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Baker1222 said...

Happy New Year! Your post is unbelievable! You’re so brave, reading this made me get chocked up… We’ve got to count our blessings and lately I’ve been pretty negative and taken everything for granted. Thank you so much for sharing and reminding everyone what life is truly about!

January 21, 2012 08:55 PM
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Molly said...

Thanks for sharing your kidney story! I absolutely agree that these things need to be shared!

My husband donated a kidney to my father-in-law. While he passed away last year, that kidney gave him nine great years — years in which he taught my boys to fish, when he went on memorable trips and just enjoyed life free from dialysis.

When he died, his corneas were used to give two people the gift of sight.

“Recycling” yourself might seem like a weird subject to some, but if you have the opportunity to completely change someone’s life for the better with some spare parts that you might not be using… go for it! Just requesting that the DMV add that “donor” abbreviation to your driver’s license might help so many people.

Thanks again! (and I’ll be making cake pops to celebrate Chinese New Year (the year of the dragon) this morning! The red velvet cake’s been cooling all night…. can’t wait!)

January 22, 2012 11:49 AM
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michele said...

I just got your book from the public library and love it. So many cute ideas. Thought I’d stop by your blog to see what new things you had. You are an inspiration and thank you for sharing that. I love your happy kidney “bean” pops :) Pray that this another remarkable year for year minus the hospital/clinic visits. Thanks for being sweetness in life and pops to the blogoshpere.

January 22, 2012 09:31 PM
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Laura said...

Hi Bakerella!
i´m a 23 year-old girl. I follow your blog since you began it. I´m from Madrid (Spain) so forgive my bad english. I love all the things you do. You´ve got a great imagination and you always make me smile.
I study medicine. I´m at my fifth year. This last year I was at the department of Nephrology at the hospital. I´ve seen a lot of people that are suffering the same as you. You´ve touched my heart with this post. You´re a great human. You´re brave and you´re doing things the best. I´m sure everything is going well.
Even you looked so pretty in the photos at hospital…
I´m gonna pray for you.
And please, never stop making new cupcakes and posts!

My best wishes from Spain!

January 23, 2012 02:21 PM
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Joanna said...

So thrilled you have started the new year so positively! You bring soooooo much joy to thousands if not millions of people around the world with humour, creatively and humility, i’m sure i don’t just write for myself when i say i wish i had just 10% of your bravery and enthusiasm for life.

I’m in the UK and eventhough i can’t get all the ingredients you use, your ideas always make me smile and wonder what i could do with a bit more creativity!

Best wishes and big hugs from London!

Joanna x

January 23, 2012 06:08 PM
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Jean Ortega said...

Hi Angie!! I read your whole article and I think it’s amazing. It brought me back so much memories cause 6 1/2 years ago I also got a kidney transplant and my mom was the donor. It was such a blessing and I’m grateful for it every single day of my life. I just wanted to tell you my story too and that you have been such an inspiration in making cake and cheesecake pops. I have so much fun. Thanks for everything and I hope your new kidney will last you another 20 years or more. Blessings to you and your mom.

January 23, 2012 08:44 PM
529
Erin Jankosky said...

My husband and I are both emergency room RN’s, and we are both living kidney donors, as well as routine blood donors. As you see from my e-mail address, my first love is baking! Not only do you impart the best baking advice, you are sharing important information regarding NOT BEING AFRAID to be a DONOR! Yes, there’s much to consider, but conquering the fear of the unknown is the first step. Thanks for putting your story out there, and thank you for your wonderful contributions to the baking world!

January 24, 2012 01:11 PM
530
Sandra said...

I just read this Post and the tears … stop!
You are fine now and I just wanted to say, that you are wonderful and I hope that you stay well!!!!

I love you and your delicous cakes!

January 26, 2012 11:57 AM
531
Becky in Japan said...

Thank you for sharing your story. You are amazing and an inspiration to all. I just wanted to let you know that it says “Japanese version” in the circle since you were curious. I am excited to find your book here!

January 27, 2012 01:13 AM
532
kelleyn said...

Congratulations! I am so happy for you. I am so happy that you are doing much better because what would this world be like without you and your amazing cakepop creations. Your doctor is dreamy. Wishing you a happy and healthy 2012!

January 29, 2012 10:29 PM
533
Jenny said...

Thanks for sharing such a touching story! You are an inspiration!

January 30, 2012 12:19 AM
534
Greenwick said...

What a nice summary. :D I’ve never seen someone holding a sloth before – so adorable!

Thank you for sharing the story about your dialysis. So glad you don’t have to go through that anymore! (And amazing – you even managed to get awesome photos while doing that. You have a magic touch with a camera!)

January 30, 2012 12:58 AM
535
Monique said...

I had no idea..I am in awe and humbled.
I was of your talents..and now of much more.
God Bless you both..and your doctors etc..
xx

January 30, 2012 07:26 PM
536
Marty said...

estoy sorprendida!!!! no solamente haces maravillas con tus manos, también con tu corazón, eres una persona muy maravillosa de la cual podemos aprender mucho, lástima que estoy un poco lejos( en México) me encantaria conocerte algún día… felicidades por ser tan especial!!
Dios te cuidara porque aqui aprendemos mucho en todos los aspectos de ti

February 1, 2012 01:01 AM
537
Marhta said...

Eres un ejemplo a seguir, cuando pierda animo te recordaré siempre para seguir adelante, le pediré a Dios por ti, tu doctor y toda tu familia.
Tu historia es sorprendente igual que tus cake pops!!
Gracias por compartirnos tus recetas de cake pops y la receta más especial: “siempre luchando con una sonrisa”

February 1, 2012 01:30 AM
538
FoxKitchen said...

It is midnight now in Hanoi, Vietnam, and I am crying and smiling reading this post. Thanks God that you have left behind you all the bad things, to start a new year 2012 so positively. Love you love you love you!

February 1, 2012 11:56 AM
539
Brenda Roake said...

Those cake pops look amazing, after I finished reading this post I went back and read several others. Have a great year and thanks for the great posts.

February 4, 2012 11:32 PM
540
parisbreakfast said...

Thank you for sharing all you have been through with us.
Your talent is such a delight and your joie de vie an inspiration.
Bravo!

February 7, 2012 08:29 PM
541
JackieA said...

Hi there! Your blog has always been a source of inspiration to me…..only because your products look so very beautiful and I could never make cakes as beautifully as you do! I am only a silent reader though, never commenting or telling you how much I admire what you do until now. Your post touched me because I recently lost a dear uncle of mine who was also a dialysis patient. He was in his mid-60′s when he passed on…and I miss him so much. He died more so because his children abandoned him and there was no one to take good care of him (except for when he occassionally had enough strength to make the 45 minute drive to my place) rather than kidney failure. I am glad that things are working out well for you and I pray that you live a long, healthy and wonderful life.

February 8, 2012 03:23 AM
542
Jacqueline said...

Wonderful post! So glad you are doing better. You are such an inspiration and so talented. How wonderful to be able to receive such a gift from your lovely mom. She is just gorgeous and I can tell where you get your beauty from.

Hope this is an easier year, although I am sure it will be plenty busy!

February 9, 2012 10:15 AM
543
Melissa W. said...

I am a little late reading this post. But I just wanted to say that I am glad you’re doing well. I had my second kidney transplant on June 10, 2008 and it is doing well. I had the same permacath in my chest for a few months before the transplant (for plasmapheresis, I was actually on peritoneal dialysis for 4 years before the 2nd transplant) , so I know how annoying that thing is! Much love to you!

February 11, 2012 12:26 AM
544
patricia said...

I’m reading this months late, but my mother is semi-going through the same thing and your road of recovery was a beautiful read. Here’s to making 2012 even better! Much love.

February 17, 2012 06:21 AM
545
Carolina said...

Bakerella youre such an inspiration! I admire you for being a strong woman who strugles to smile eventhough times are hard, never ever lose your spirit and keep rocking the bakery! You rule!

February 23, 2012 01:25 PM
546
Mónica said...

I just came across your blog some days ago and became a fan right away. Coming and going came to find this post and find it very touching. You are a very happy person…. I really admire the courage and strength you show. You are a true inspiration: you love what you do, you love people, you love life!!
I, like you and all your friends and fans, love to bake and find your blog very helpful and beautiful!!
Thank you for sahring recipes and life!
I really hope you have a great many years to come!

Mónica
Ciudad de México

February 23, 2012 07:44 PM
547
Kristina said...

You two are just amazing to read about!!! Had tears in my eyes. My mom has done both dialysis too, just started in the past year and it’s been a very hard journey. I can’t donate a kidney because I’m trying to get pregnant so reading about your story has really helped a lot. Thank you for sharing!!

February 23, 2012 08:40 PM
548
Nina said...

it makes me tear when i read your story, especially I have a sister who has kidney trasplanted like you. I wish you feel good everyday after you waking up….

February 27, 2012 12:48 PM
549
Angela said...

Last Friday 2/24/2012, I purchased your book – didn’t realize I was purchasing (YOUR book) it…but discovered today I did. The cakepop thing is new to me…discovered one sold at that large coffee establishment and thought, “I could do this”. First try was a flop…didn’t do any real research…Then I found your book last week, haven’t have time to read it yet, as I purchased it when I stopped at the store for a kid birthday gift, on my way home from my doctors appointment – my appointment where I found out I am 3.5 years clear of KIDNEY CANCER. :) Renal Cell Carcinoma is it’s formal name. I was very fortunate, found first stage. They removed 1/3 of my left kidney and I am fine. Then, today I decided to do a little research on how to get those darn pops to stay on the stick while you dip them and for a better tasting dipping chocolate than the one I found…and came across your blog. I saw the Martha Stewart clip and went looking for your suggestions on where and what to buy…and I came across this blog. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the book I just bought!!! Your blog made me laugh and it made me cry and I know what you go thru each day and each night. Although our diseases are different, the same concerns run through our heads. My children were 3 & 6 when I was diagnosed and had surgery and we weren’t sure if I would live or die (Renal Cell is resistant to all radation and chemo therapies…if it metastasizes…survival is less than 5% over 5 years…average is 3yrs survival). I AM SOOOOO incredibly excited you have had this 2nd or I guess, 3rd chance. The relationship you share with your mom is like one I have with mine. I feel as if the cake pops and your blog weren’t an accident to cross my path. You are an inspiration and your cake pops are going to allow me to share amazing fun with my now 7 and 10 year old children! I have a whole new “get up and go” in me to make these with my kids. Share the fun and the glory these little gems can allow me to share with my family! THANK YOU! GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY.

February 28, 2012 05:28 PM
550
Sherlia said...

Hi bakerella,
I am a young mom of twins and a boy with a sweettooth for cookies, cupcakes, cakes with chocolates. Your website is in my favorites list on my laptop, ipad and cellphone. Well i just found out about this magnificent story and i thought i has to praise you for your strength, and how you kept baking and made so many people happy with your recipes. Though im here very far away in indonesia, very unlikely but always hoping to be able to attend your signing, your recipes are satisfying our tastebuds here!

March 1, 2012 10:12 AM
551
Alice said...

Only last year that I became interested with cake pops and saw your website. Since then I’ve been making it, but I didn’t bother to look up who isbakerella. Today I got the chance to know who really is behind Bakerella. You had such an amazing journey. Truly you are blessed with your love and care for others. I was touched by your story. I work in the hospital and I completely understand what you had been through.I pray that everything may go well with you and your family. Now,I want to buy the book and hopefully you’ll have another book signing schedule in San Francisco for this year. I admire your courage and your outlook in life.

March 1, 2012 11:06 PM
552
michelle said...

Congrats! I celebrated my 6th year anniversary with my kidney transplant. I am happy to hear ur doing well! Thank u for ur wonderful website me and my cousin do cake pops for our family get togethers. May the Lord continue to bless u! And i know its tons of pills but ill take that over hemo any day!

March 7, 2012 12:37 AM
553
Yvee said...

thank you sooo much for sharing the whole story with us! i’ve decided to become a donator two years ago. im 25 years old now and to think about what will happen with your body after you die is not the most common thing you do during this age ;)
but only some months before my decision my grandpa died. he had cancer but a kind of the ones you can’t cure with “just” exchange the ill organ. that made me think about the many other people behind the doors on the same floor in the hospital. there are so many familys going through the same pains we did….but maybe a donor could have had helped….
now when i read your story i become proud of what i did and it makes me know that i have made the right decision :) here in germany it is so easy to become donator. you yust fill out a card that you can print out from the internet, put it into you wallet and it’s done.
my mom isn’t happy about what i did. she said when the doctors know that you are a donator they sometimes don’t do their best to save your life. i don’t believe that and i thing even IF IT WERE SO….i won’t feel anything of it and i even saved some other lives and what could be a better destiny in life?
i send you wishes and all the best for your future :)

March 7, 2012 05:08 PM
554
Divya said...

Hey! This is the first time I’ve visited your blog and I think I’ve smiled and pinned more in the past half hour than I have in the entire day. :)

Great stuff here and wish you a great and healthy life!

March 9, 2012 01:22 AM
555
EmmaMT said...

You are AMAZING !!!!!!

April 1, 2012 01:24 PM
556
Marilú said...

Hi!
Just read about your health condition. Just want to let you know that I’m happy you’re better. AND that I’m a fan of yours living in Madrid, Spain. What I Iove about your work is that I can actually feel how you love it.
Keep on enjoying …. and, a big hug for you and for your mom.
Marilú

April 13, 2012 12:53 PM
557
lilly said...

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April 13, 2012 11:51 PM
558
Lourdes said...

You made me cry and smile at the same time. I really. really admire you so much! I have Polycystic Kidneys and a Cornea transplant and whenever I feel sad or feel pity on me I remember what you have gone through, I go to your page and you make me feel good again. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and your beautiful creations. You are really an inspiration and a motivation for everyone. I am pretty sure everywhere you go you light up any room you walk into. God Bless you always! Many blessings for you and your wonderfull Mom. Ps I am also greatful for the 25 year old boy that donated my cornea, another inspiration. I just found out by accident, he had testicular cancer when he was only 20 and died on a skateboard accident at such a young age and was unselfish enough to be a donor before his passing. Everyone who read this, please be a donor, it is the greatest gift of all.

April 14, 2012 01:52 AM
559
Rachel said...

I discovered cake pops a bit ago and have been curious about them. I tried them at a birthday party and loved it! Then I saw them at a starbucks and had my husband try them. He too fell in love with them! I decided to start my quest with cake pops and ran across your wonderful blog!!! I just read your story on your kidneys and i too have a rare autoimmune kidney disease! It’s IgA Nephropathy. I am stable now, thank goodness and off my medication. I LOVE to bake and i loved reading your blog. I am so glad you are well now!!!! Thanks for being an inspiration. I am going to make my first batch ever of mini cupcakes and cake balls! I will make cakepops too. I ordered your book and CAN’T WAIT to receive it! Hope you are having a wonderful year so far! God Bless!!

May 5, 2012 11:08 PM
560
Lucia said...

Congrats on your transplant! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog especially since I’m in Boston with my husband who just had his 2nd kidney transplant 6 weeks ago. You are an inspiration to many and travelling the roller coaster ride you have in 2011 was certainly an emotional one. My hubby lost his 1st transplant in 2009 & was in hospital for 1 month.
I am going to try making cake pops for the 1st time today to take to renal clinic tomorrow. I love baking and since we are so far from home I’m using the time to try new things in the kitchen like cake pops.

May 6, 2012 11:29 AM
561
Heather said...

I just found your blog, thanks to Pinterest!! Ordering your book! Sounds like 2011 was a crazy year for you! I’m glad your mom donated to you. I am a donor too, I gave a kidney to my friend in 1999 and both of us are doing well and I’m still very healthy and even gave birth to my 2nd daughter (my girls are 17 years apart!) in 2010! Mom’s are always giving, aren’t they? Your’s is extra special! All the best to you! Keep baking and creating!!

May 16, 2012 02:26 PM
562
Anne said...

I been following you for just a few weeks and I already think ur amazing! I couldnt believe my eyes while reading about all the kidney journey, you really are a super woman. Please dont ever stop smiling. I have been wondering of how does a person becomes a one-person-own-name-company and I have reached the answer, they had to be like you! (my spelling isnt great, im from guatemala, sorry) I will tell your name when asked for a great woman!!! Best wishes!

May 28, 2012 12:04 AM
563
Yan yan said...

Inspiring!

May 30, 2012 10:02 AM
564
Yvonne said...

You and your Mom are amazing! Bless you ! Your website is inspiring! The pictures you post are so well done and cheerful!

June 6, 2012 08:56 PM
565
Angela Jones said...

Blessings by thousands

June 19, 2012 07:56 PM
566
Christy Stambaugh said...

\What a sweet, precious, brave darling you are! I just found your blog today while I was searching for a perfect “Red Velvet Cake” recipe! Yours sounds wonderful and your photos are beautiful. I am thankful I found your blog, reading your posts are very inspirational. May God continue to bless you and your lovely mother with health and strength. I will follow your blog, and keep you in my prayers. You have blessed my heart, and YES, I am a registered Organ Donor!

July 1, 2012 09:54 PM
567
Candice Cruz said...

My 5 yr old daughter was watching one of your shows in utube about cake pops when I came across it. Inspired by your designs I went to check out your page. Upon reading your blogs I came across your dialysis page. I am a dialysis technician for at least 12 years I am humbled by your praise for the medical team who took care of u n for the people who does the same thing for other people. Having said that, this pass weekend I had the opportunity to do a 5k walk/run for kidney awareness and raised funds for people who cannot afford dialysis in third world countries. Stories like yours help other people to continue to thrive and continue with life. You are an inspiration to many, in spite of what you have experienced u continued to stay strong and continued to be successful! Your experience is a great example for young kids and adults who are and were on dialysis ! I wish u all the best with ur health and ur blog page!

August 17, 2012 09:06 PM
568
Karla said...

Wow, thanks for sharing your story! You truly are a role model and an inspiration for so many women !

Best of luck in everything ! Greetings from Peru :)

November 11, 2012 12:25 PM
569
Vyvacious said...

What a great post. I have no words other than to say I’m so glad you’re doing well now. As we come up to the end of 2012, it was great to recap and see where you were right when the year started. Hope all is still going wonderfully :)

November 13, 2012 08:23 PM
570
Pamela Gordon said...

I am new to your Blog and you brought me into tears.Your story touch me so much,You really put a smile on my girls and I face.Thank you for sharing your wonderful cake pops blog .May God Bless you each and everyday.I will always have you in my prayers.

December 11, 2012 10:34 PM
571
Becca said...

you and your story are amazing!

February 1, 2013 03:23 PM
572
soldiernurse said...

May God continue to bless you and your family!!!

March 10, 2013 04:27 PM
573
Cristina said...

It’s been a while since you wrote this post, but I just came accross it. I like it from beginning to end.
I’m a donor of everything they can use of me since about 12 years ago. And as I’m from & live in Spain, I’m proud to say that we’ve been the 1st country in the world in donations and transplants for many years now. And we have free health care, so it’s also free.
Hope you recovered well & will be well for many years to come.
Ah! The thing in the circle on the japanese versio says just that: Japanese version :-)
I don’t bake much, because I haven’t been very lucky with the results, but I guess it’s just a matter of trying and trying. I’ll check your book
XOXO,
Cristina

March 19, 2013 09:04 AM
574
Margaret said...

Dear Angie, I have only just come across your blog. Perhaps strange, but true. Your work is amazing and adorable. I have been reading over the past few days and now have read about your physical ordeal. You are truly inspirational and very positive. I understand a little of what it must have been like for you and now with a transplant, things are still not easy, with all the pills and check-ups. I run an 18 stationed dialysis unit and see every day what kidney failure means for my patients. It never ceases to amaze me how positive most of them remain. Life is not easy for any of them. Thank you for sharing your work and life. You have inspired me to bake mini cakes today; almond and lime cakes. I must tell my secretary of your blog. She is a friend and amazing cupcake maker. I know she lately had an interest in cake pops. Every year we hold a fundraising event for World Kidney Day. Last year we did a coffee and cupcake morning. Perhaps this year we will try cake pops. Thanks again for being wonderful. Hugs.

January 26, 2014 12:42 PM
575
Anonymous said...

Wow, it’s weird how two lives can cross paths by something as simple as a cake pop. I was on printertest looking for an inspiration to make kidney pops for my brother and I transplantiversary on March 15. I donated a kidney to him in 2013 and wanted to make kidney pops to share with my family , friends and co workers and hope to spread the word about live kidney donation and how great it is. I have never made a cake pop and admit I’m going to have to do some research. It seems easy enough. I will take a lol at your web site. I’m so happy that everything is going well for you. It brings a big smile on my face to know that with faith , hope and trust in god that all things are possible.

February 25, 2014 04:13 AM
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