The road to transplant.
Updated: May 6, 2021
It has been a while since I updated everyone about our transplant. It has been one of those roller coaster ride and I was feeling overwhelmed and couldn't write about anything.
We are now in March 2020 and my transplant took place on November 11, 2019. Steve's kidney donor surgery happened on November 13, 2019. We were briefly in the hospital together, but couldn't really spend a lot of time together because we were both trying to recover! As an incentive to start moving I would go visit him several times a day and he would do the same. It was great to have him on the same floor and just down the hall from me. He ended up going home on the 16th and I went home on the 17th. And we are both doing really well.
But let's back up a little!
The last post left you wondering whatever happened to us and whatever happened to the last few tests I was supposed to do! All the tests went really well and they didn't find else wrong with me! Except for my mammogram. It came back inconclusive, which meant I had to redo it 6 months later.
Living in an RV and traveling means that if we need to get tested, or see a doctor we need to find someone new. So far though, we have been very blessed by the wonderful doctors and nurses we found along the way.
Last August, I had to redo my mammogram while we were in Acadia, Maine. I found a great hospital in Bangor and scheduled my test. All the nurses and technicians were excellent and I felt completely comfortable. And the test came back NORMAL! Praise the Lord!! It meant I could continue with the transplant process. And soon after, I was listed on the UNOS list. The UNOS list is long and without Steve I would have had to wait almost 10 years to receive a kidney. There are more and more people in the United States who are being diagnosed with ESRD, end up on dialysis and then get waitlisted for a transplant. As of March 26, 2020 there are 93,000 kidney patients listed on the transplant waiting list which means that some people will wait for 10 years before receiving a life saving organ transplant. There are several factors that could contribute for a longer wait such as a rare blood type, other conditions like Lupus, heart disease and more. My hope is that more people will be willing to donate their organ to save a life.
As for Steve's testings, we hit a little snag last summer when something showed up on his kidneys and they weren't sure he would be eligible. He had to do more in depths tests to take a complete look at his kidneys and surrounding organs and then wait for the urologist's and the surgeon's review. This took a little while, but eventually we got the go ahead!His kidneys worked / and his one kidney is still working great! I am so thankful for Steve that had the courage to donate so I could receive. We were then listed inside the Johns Hopkins program, at the beginning of September. What a relief that was!
The best part is that we got a call not even 2 weeks later saying that they had found a perfect match for me! They said this was one the fastest match they had seen! We are so blessed, thankful and grateful for the other donors who are also just as courageous as Steve, and for their supportive families. This kidney exchange affected a total of 6 people - 3 donors and 3 recipients. One of the donors was an altruistic donor, which means she just wanted to donate to someone and didn't come as a pair. This wonderful woman ended up matching me! She is 25 years old and in great health. and that is all I know about her for right now.
The kidney exchange was set for November 11, 2019! Which happens to be Veterans Day here in the United States, and it is especially fitting since Steve is a Marine. This will be a wonderful way to celebrate every year!!