My kidney transplant story is in recognition of the donors who do this insanely scary act and go on as usual while creating this whole new life for another person. It’s a testament to the human spirit in all its glory.
I have been living with Lupus since the age of eleven. I am very accustomed to the hospital, to procedures, to surgeries and to pain. I knew my kidneys were affected, as were my bones, my nervous system and my blood. Lupus has spent the last 27 years attacking my body.
And so, for years I lived on a renal friendly diet (managing sodium as a teenager is quite a challenge!) and was very aware that one day in the future, I would need dialysis and/or a kidney transplant. Lupus affected my kidney function every time I went into a flare. At the end of 2016, my kidney function was lingering around 12-13 %.
By the spring of 2017, I had three potential donors who were in the process of being evaluated. My husband was not a match and my mother had kidney stones. My best friend from high school, Jeanne, was a match but she was screened out because she was on blood pressure medication and was over the BMI limit.
The entire process was a roller coaster ride. It’s about waiting for results. And it’s extremely devastating when you get the news that it’s over. I was crushed but I hid my disappointment. The possibility of a pre-emptive transplant was out the window. The possibility of transplant was not even certain. Realizing I had no potential donors and was feeling worse than ever, I now had to refocus my mind on dialysis. I began peritoneal dialysis (PD) at an eFGR of 9 (kidney function %) in August, 2017.
The only thing you can do is continue on with daily life as best you can. I was feeling completely exhausted all of the time. I was not eating and not sleeping. Jeanne is truly an amazing person. In the meantime, she set out to get back in to the program as a potential donor. So from April to August 2017, she lost the weight she needed to and her family doctor took her off the blood pressure medication. She contacted the donor team and asked to be re-evaluated. She called me with the good news and I was stunned.
The day of surgery, my creatinine was 1250. It was my first time going into surgery afraid, not for me, but for Jeanne. I watched as they rolled her to the OR and I wanted to call the whole thing off. Four hours later it was my turn. My husband kissed my hand and we both said “Let’s do this“. That night I produced a little over 13 Liters of urine. This was a super kidney, we named her Gloria. Since, I feel amazing. It actually takes getting used to waking up every morning and peeing! Jeanne is the hero in this story, as are the countless donors who walk among us.
Glynis – Kidney Recipient