In January 2012, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. In the early summer, while she was undergoing treatment, my dad's kidneys failed. His doctors had been watching for this for more than 25 years because his dad had died after his own kidneys failed and testing showed my dad had a kidney disease.
As I was coming to grips with the idea that my dad needed to be moving toward dialysis and/or transplant, my sister, Bekah, told me she was planning to be tested to be a donor. After talking with my husband and my dad, I decided to do the same. Bekah then learned that she was expecting and couldn't go through the testing until after the baby came.
In July, my dad and I went through the work ups. We were both eligible to do the transplant and tests showed little risk of rejection. But, my CT scan showed I had a number of aneurysms on the artery leading to my spleen. The doctors told me they only find these when they are imaging for another reason or when one is bleeding to death.
I think my family had begun to wonder why we were dealing with so many health issues at once. If my dad's kidneys had not failed when they did, they might not have found the aneurysms in time for me. And, between Bekah and me, I was the natural choice to do the transplant, because I needed abdominal surgery anyway.
On August 14, 2012, Dr. Chaudhry removed my spleen and one of my kidneys laparoscopically and then transplanted the kidney into my dad. The surgery was successful for both of us, and our recoveries were remarkable. We both stayed on Younker 5 for a few days. One of my experienced nurses told me my dad's recovery had been "miraculous," and another nurse said, "Your dad is freakin' me out. No one recovers from a transplant like that." I also had a great and fast recovery. All post-surgery indications are that the kidney will last my dad a long time without rejection, and we both feel well. My mom has finished her cancer treatment and seems to have been cured. And, I have a delightful, new niece, Leah Christine, who was born earlier this month.
We're very thankful to and for the Methodist transplant team, which was professional, helpful, encouraging and friendly throughout the process. They answered questions quickly, found solutions to problems, and accommodated our crazy schedules (especially so I could recover in time to be with my daughter when she started kindergarten). When I visited my primary care doctor in the Twin Cities for the first time after the surgery, he remarked what a skillful job Dr. Chaudhry had done. We're thankful for the terrific nurses and others on Younker 5 who did a great job caring for us. And, we're thankful for the prayer, support and practical kindness from so many family, friends and professional colleagues - Bekah and her family who hosted us as we recovered, my uncle who came from the Twin Cities to be with us after surgery and so many friends and family who sent cards and gifts, brought meals and prayed with and for us.