In 2006, I volunteered to be tested to see if I was a match to donate my mom a kidney. My sister Michelle also started the process to see which one of us would be the best match. Thankfully, we were both Type-O Blood and we were allowed to continue being screened. I received a phone call part way through the process from Dr. Mahale telling me that I was no longer being considered as a donor because I had polycystic kidney disease myself. They had found cysts on both kidneys and I was told to start seeing a nephrologist. My sister, Michelle, donated my mom a kidney and gave her the gift of life. I continued to see Dr. Mahale and my creatinine level stayed stable for thirteen years.
Fast forward to this January...I had a pain in my right side one morning and went in to have it checked out. My blood pressure was extremely high and they did an ultrasound on my abdomen. They found out that I had a ruptured cyst in my right kidney. I was given medication to avoid infection and went home.
In May, I had another pain in my right side. This time it was hard to stand up. I went to the walk in and after some testing, I was sent to the emergency room. I was seen by an internal medicine doctor and they said I needed to be checked into the hospital. While in the hospital, my hemoglobin was extremely low and my kidney function was down. The medical team figured out that I had a hemorrhagic cyst in my right kidney. The cyst was bleeding and infected. I was put on IV fluid and medication for the bacteria. After four days, I got to go home.
I had a follow up visit with Dr. Chemiti the end of May. He asked me if I had a living donor lined up for my transplant. I was sitting in his office in shock and disbelief. I knew that I would eventually need a transplant but up until this point, everything seemed to be going smoothly. My blood pressure had been up for several months and it had decreased my kidney function. My kidneys are currently functioning at about 15%.
Since then, I have lost count on how many vials of blood I've had drawn. I'm on four new medications, received two iron infusions at the hospital, met with the dialysis team, met with the transplant surgeon Dr. Mistry, met with the transplant team, met with a nutritionist and multiple other people to discuss transplant, insurance, my support system etc. Everything is happening very fast and feels like it's a blur.
I will be meeting with my new nephrologist, Dr. Phadke on August 22nd. I have various other appointments following that to make sure that I am healthy enough to receive a kidney and to get on the National Organ Waiting List. There is a medical review board of 23 people that will decide if I can be added to the list. I am currently in Stage IV renal disease and the transplant team decided my best option was to find a living kidney donor because the wait list has over 100,000 people on it and I would start at the bottom.
It's all very overwhelming so I have decided that it is time to share my story. I will continue to post updates about my journey. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, support and encouragement throughout this journey for me and especially for my three amazing kids (and their significant others).
If you would like to learn more about how to become a Living Kidney Donor, you can call the Sanford Transplant Program at (701) 234-6715. More information is available at https://www.kidney.org/transplantation/livingdonors.