The saying that "All good things must come to an end", may be cliche, and in this case comes with mixed emotions. Our stay in Rochester will be coming to an end tomorrow as Matt has been fully discharged to leave and head back home. However, this won't be a "goodbye".
In our final meetings with the doctors, they again have stated how pleased they are with Matt's recovery process. His actual GFR (remember- health of the kidney) is at 58 and his creatinine is 1.64. OK, here is my meager attempt at another anatomy lesson.... We have learned that your kidneys, individually, do not always function at 100%. (Kinda like a marriage or relationship:). The total is 100%, but at times, individually it may be 70/30 or 60/40. After a transplant, some of the globulins (proteins in your blood) are dormant, and because the kidney is now functioning on its own, it will take some time to realize that it will need to pick up some of the slack to function as a solo kidney.
The fact that after 2 weeks, Matt's GFR is at 58 means that Pete's kidney continues to perform as a "Super Star!" The actual GFR numbers are the result of a proprietary Mayo test that was developed by the team and measures blood and urine almost real time. It is often referred to as the "Golden Test". The doctors anticipate that over time Matt's GFR will increase as the new kidney will continue to acclimate. There have been no antibodies that have been generated in his body which means he is accepting Pete's kidney very well!
To say this entire experience has been humbling would be an understatement. The nurses, doctors, surgeons, fellows, technicians, researchers, coordinators, pharmacists, dietitians, and all the amazing people at the Mayo Clinic who have helped us thru this process are all heroes! Matt has often referred to Mayo as the place where the magic happens- I would say magic and miracles!
When we came up to Mayo back in December for the original transplant and were sent back home, we didn't quite understand why- only that God had a special plan for us and we just had to trust in HIM. Again, when we had a new surgery date of April 1st, and 10 days prior, we were told that date was cancelled due to Covid-19 and would need to be rescheduled, we knew that God had a plan and we needed to trust Him again.
May 6, 2020, will forever be "Kidney Day" for us and our family. It is the day that Matt received new life from his brother, it is the day that God blessed the doctors and surgeon's hands that worked on both Matt and Pete to complete a successful transplant. It is the day that a son, husband, father, son-in-law, friend, brother, coworker, uncle, cousin, nephew, brother-in-law, Godfather was blessed with the power of prayer.
We still have a road ahead of us as the first 12 months are extremely critical regarding anti rejection, and Matt's suppressed immune system. We will be back up at Mayo in September and then again next May for biopsies and tests to measure the health of the kidney. After the 12 month visit, we will continue to be back up on an annual basis for the next 10 years. As, stated earlier in this journal entry, it's an end to our visit, but not a "goodbye".
We thank you for allowing us to share our story with you as this is something that came up out of the blue about 2 1/2 years ago. We know that life is full of curve balls, and when it gives you lemons, try to find the way to make some sweet lemonade. Medical professionals are human and in some cases when something doesn't sit right, seek out other opinions/options. Advocate for yourself and don't deny your body when it speaks- you know it best!
For now, we will leave you with one of Matt's favorite quotes from Mayo Clinic, "When we are in the midst of a fog and can't see the shoreline, we need a compass. Reach out to a trusted friend or advisor for perspective. We are not hardwired to go it alone. We need others to survive and thrive."
During these unprecedented times, I find the last part of that quote extremely poignant- we need each other now more than ever! Thank you to all who have supported us with your kind words, phone calls, FT, text, cards, prayers- you will never know how much they have all meant to us!
Be kind to each other and stay safe. We look froward to seeing you all from a "social distance". Much love to all, and so long for now, Rochester.
XO- Matt & Kim