Tuesday, March 08, 2011

On Becoming a Live Kidney Donor…

Suzy and I have been best friends since our youngest children we in Mother’s Day Out at church. I would guess that most people would say that I am the outspoken one of the pair. (Even by myself, I am considered to be a loud mouth!) We have enjoyed going to Lisa Welchel’s Momtime (2x) and Women of Faith. I think we spend most of our time laughing together.

Suzy recently became ill with kidney failure. All attempts to save her kidneys so far have failed. Suzy is only a little bit older than me and I don’t think long term kidney dialysis would be much of a life. My Grandfather Ben went through his last years with kidney failure and it was so upsetting for me to watch. A transplant is the only cure for kidney failure. Her children are too young to donate and her parents are too old. Her husband isn’t a good candidate. My blood type is O positive which is also Suzy’s. So, I thought I would offer mine.

I want to do this not only for Suzy but also for the memory of my grandfather. My grandfather Ben was a wonderful person who I really looked up too. He drove a city bus in Louisville, KY until he retired. For a special treat, I would sometimes ride with him all over town. He was my step-grandfather but he cared more for me than my biological grandmother (his wife). He died when I was young so the memories are all that I have now. I want to honor his memory and our friendship by becoming Suzy’s donor.

Even if I am not a perfect match for Suzy, we can still get a donor for her with my donation. The transplant centers are now forming transplant chains. The center will match my kidney with someone who is the best match, then their donor will give their kidney to their best match, and the chain will continue until everyone has a compatible kidney. The largest transplant chain was completed here in San Antonio with 17 people getting a new kidney.

Kidney donations are the most common donations from living donors. Most people have two kidneys and can live a healthy life with just one. Live donor kidney transplants have a 97.9% patient survival rate. That is a little over 3% increase over transplants with cadaver kidneys.

My next step is testing. The transplant center will test my blood for compatibility and general good health. I have to have a colonoscopy to insure everything is working correctly. I am just beginning this journey which is going to be very incredible. I feel like I am standing at the edge of something monumental. Stay tuned.
(stats from the National Kidney Foundation, kidney.org)

1 comment:

WomanWhoRunsWithHorses said...

What a wonderful gesture for you to make, Kim. I bet your grandfather is smiling.