My dad was diagnosed when he was 31 with kidney failure, I watched him go through dialysis, transplant, kidney failure again, and continued dialysis before he passed away.
My younger brother was diagnosed at 18 with kidney failure. He too had a transplant, rejection of his kidney, and has been on dialysis since.
After I had our daughter in 2014 I was diagnosed with an acute kidney injury that did not resolve. I had a biopsy when Ava was 3 weeks old. The results that came from that biopsy provided a true diagnosis for myself as well as my family. The biopsy showed Medullary Cystic Kidney disease. The Nephrologist that I see told me that at his practice there is a combined 150+ years of nephrology practice and not one of them had ever had a patient with this diagnosis. This disease is very rare and very genetic.
After having been diagnosed I saw Nephrology once a year. My nephrologist was very good at making me a part of the plan from the very beginning. We worked together to try and avoid dialysis, and get on the list as soon as possible. I was added to the transplant list April 30th 2021. I was called March 3rd 2022 for a kidney at 0330 in the morning. Cody and I got there and were quickly sent home as I tested positive for covid. This was devastating.
Finally in August I got a call, though not the one I was expecting. The transplant team called to tell me that they had an anonymous humanitarian donor. I was shocked. They said they would call back with a date, they called a couple hours later and the date was set for October 24th 2022. Waiting was nerve wracking, but good. It gave Cody and I time to plan. The day came and everything went well. I spent three days in the hospital with Cody by my side. We did a lot of walking, trying to speed up the discharge process. I almost immediately felt better within 24 hours. My creatinine and BUN reduced by more than half in the first 24 hours. I struggled most with sitting still when I got home. I hadn’t felt this good in 10 years, and now I was expected to rest and recover. Cody always tells me I’m a terrible patient when it comes to resting, and I am.
I later found out that my donor (Matt) donated on his 42nd birthday. We were able to meet Matt and his family on November 22nd. It was moving. Too many people don’t realize that you can donate a kidney while living. I wrote Matt a card while I was in the hospital, prior to meeting him, I’ve never spent that much time trying to find words to write to someone. How do you thank someone for saving your life? There isn’t enough thank you's in the world to convey the feelings I have. Matt gave me so many years with my children that I might not have had.
Unbeknownst to either of us, we have a similarity with our kids. His first born is a daughter, and son 5 years later. Our children, Ava and Wes, are also 5 years apart with Ava being our first born. This was meaningful to both of us. Since transplant we have kept in touch. We recently did an interview for Unity Point on living donation. I would highly encourage anyone who has thought about the process to go forward. You will literally save someone’s life.
At Greater Regional Health we care about our employees, and we care about what matters to them. Join us, with Desiree, and celebrate Donate Life Month and find out more about being an Organ Donor.
Learn more about Donate Life Month at https://donatelife.net/ .