Post Number: 10526
|Posted on Sunday, October 11, 2009 - 09:07 am: ||
I’m like any 20 year-old college student out there. I eat cold pizza for breakfast…I like art…I love water and laying out in the sun…I listen to country music…I work…I go to school…I have a funny looking baby toe. But, I’ve done something most college kids haven’t; I donated a kidney to my mom. Yes that right, I gave my mom, who gave me life, a kidney on January 2, 2002 at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. I’m an ordinary college gal otherwise.
My story starts about 20 years ago, literally as I was a bun-in-the-oven. My mom was diagnosed with glomerular nephritis, which is a progressive kidney disease that can be found by an over-abundance of protein in urine or lab tests. While my mom was getting her normal pregnancy check-ups for me, her physician found high levels of creatinine and protein in her labs. So, she was sent to a nephrologist, who diagnosed her with this condition.
Years went by. I was born, and so were four healthy boys after me. My mom’s condition stayed relatively the same throughout her years having kids and for many years after. Her nephrologist monitored her annually, and the only way she could tell her disease was progressing was through her labs. Her creatinine or protein would jump, never big jumps, just slight increases, pushing her progression into renal failure a little farther.
It wasn’t until about 3 years ago that my mom saw her disease surface. She started having what we would make fun of as the “gaggies." She seemed to get nauseous over everything, and sometimes nothing at all. She would wake up to get sick in the middle of the night, and it was awful to hear her, no control over the disease. She was also constantly cold, due to a hemoglobin deficiency. Mom would turn the heat up in the house in the middle of the summer, and the rest of the family would roast! It was about a year later that she was diagnosed with renal failure.
The next couple of years were a waiting game. Her nephrologist had discussed the possibility of a transplant with her, but at that point in time, she was still too healthy to need one. (She was blessed to remain healthy throughout her waiting and at the time of transplant.) Her kidney function remained somewhat constant around 25-28% functioning level the 2 years before transplant.
Then in the beginning of 2001, her kidney function started dropping rapidly, down to about 19%, when it had previously hovered in the upper 20’s. It was in June that I began my testing. As I said, I have 4 brothers, all of which are under the age of 18, all of which would not have even been an option for donation. I also have an older brother from my dad’s first marriage, but for the obvious reason of different blood types, he was unable to donate either. Out of seven kids born to my mom’s family, she was the oddball blood type, though all offered to donate. I was the first to offer, the first to be tested, and a match right away.
My decision to donate was a given for me, though it did come with a few sleepless nights. I never had to think twice about it, thought at times, this wuss wanted to back out! I knew if I wanted my mom to be at my wedding and see her grandchildren, I had to do this. So, it was for some selfish reasons that I donated; I wanted to keep my mom around for me.
Once I was deemed able to donate, we waited until my mom’s kidney function was down around 17-18% before scheduling the transplant. This frustrated me quite a lot. I already agreed to donate, so I was furious they (the doctors) were waiting. I wanted to do it while my mom was healthy, not to mention I wanted to clear my mind of the looming surgery.
We decided to do the transplant in between my school semesters. I was off on break the middle of December, but didn’t want to be laid up for Christmas, so we did the surgery on January 2. My next school semester started on January 14. Kind of pushing it, but I wanted to have Christmas healthy and feeling well.
The transplant was a huge success. My kidney took to work as soon as it was hooked up to my mom. I had the hand-assist laparoscopic procedure, and I was back to school on the 14th. We did face a small bout with rejection at the hospital, but the doctors were able to combat it with steroids. They figure my mom’s body was confused because the kidney at one time belonged to her (while she was pregnant for me).
Anyway, to make this long story short… my mom and I are both doing fantastic. She has her life back, there are no more gaggies, I have my mom with me, and I would do it again any day