Lance and Layne’s Story

Site created on May 20, 2021

Welcome to our Caring Bridge website.  We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place.  We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement.  You can check here periodically for postings, or with an account you can opt-in for notifications (click "My Account" and then "Notifications" to choose the types of alerts you receive).  Also,  the "Tributes" link and any messages requesting donations are Caring Bridge's fundraising efforts to support their website costs-  not a request by the Morton family.   

Here's the backstory:   
About 20 years ago, Lance was diagnosed with Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease.  The condition causes kidneys to radically enlarge as cysts form throughout the kidneys, and renal function declines over time due to the damage.  This is usually an inherited disorder, affecting 1 in 1,000 people; however, Lance is the only person in the family who has it (1 in 10 people with PKD get it from a random mutation).   There’s no cure for PKD, and 50% of the cases move to end stage renal failure by age 60.   Lance reached this point at the end of 2020 and needs a new kidney.  

Lance had three people step up and offer a kidney: Lani (his wife), Lori, (his sister), and Layne (his fraternal twin brother).  Being blood relatives, Layne and Lori were the most likely candidates.  They each went through initial testing, but Layne got a head start and did the extensive follow-up testing.    It turns out that he is a match (and a male-male transplant is more ideal), so Layne will undergo a nephrectomy and  give a kidney to Lance. 
The transplant is set for June 21st at UT Southwestern Medical/Clements University Hospital in Dallas, Texas.  (Fun fact:  Normally a transplanted kidney is placed alongside existing kidneys.  However, Lance’s native kidneys are too large and diseased to remain in his body, so they’re being removed.)  Layne will spend several days in the hospital and recover here in Texas until cleared to fly back to his home in California.  Lance will be in the hospital a bit longer, and will recover at home until cleared to return to work.    

Newest Update

Journal entry by Lance Morton

Hello Morton Kidney Transplant supporters!  Eight months ago today I had my kidneys removed and one of Layne’s kidneys Scotch-taped into the lower right side of my abdomen.  (Fun fact: When I run my hands over it, I can feel the kidney.  It’s sort of like a medium sized potato simmering away in a Dutch oven full of menudo.)    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, “THANK YOU, LAYNE!”

So many people have reached out recently to ask how I’m doing, I’ve decided to make this journal entry. In my opinion, the interest is mostly based on the current odds posted on a popular sportsbook gambling web site.  I found out there is a pool for “Lance Morton: month/year when he returns to normal”.    Don’t throw your money into that pit; it’s a sucker’s bet.  I’ve never been normal.  

Current situation

For the most part, I’ve bounced back from the rejection episode I experienced in November.   The primary problem I’m dealing with is an ongoing low red and white blood cell count.   The doctors are mildly concerned about the red blood cells, but they're mostly focused on the white blood cell counts.   Evidently, being immunosuppressed with a diminished white blood cell volume is a recipe for trouble.  It's the equivalent of taking a mega-laxative and sleeping pill at the same time.  Maybe there won’t be a horrific event in the middle of the night, but it's entirely possible you'll be shopping for a new bed in the morning.  

(Note:  Yes.  I am aware that you can just wash your sheets.  However, if you know me, you can understand that I’d even go way beyond buying a new bed.  I’d burn down the house and take the family to a new state where we’d live under assumed names. I’d go by “Layne”, Lani would be known as “Lori”, and we’d call our dog/cat “Herb” and “Carey”.)

What is causing this issue?

In short – nobody is sure.   The doctors keep adjusting the doses of the medications I’m taking, but they're considering the possibility that the infusions I received in the hospital during the rejection episode (thymoglobulin) may have done something funky to my bone marrow. 

Also, after the rejection episode I’m on a larger than normal cocktail of immunosuppressant drugs.  It’s possible these combine and interact with my body in a way that causes me to produce fewer red/white blood cells as a side effect.

Or, it could stem from my love of radium M&M’s (limited release Chernobyl edition).   They’re tasty, but they’re becoming increasing difficult to eat as my teeth fall out.   Fortunately, “They melt in your mouth, not in your hands!” 

Next Steps

The current plan is the ever-popular, “Let’s wait and see what happens” course of treatment.    As one of my doctors said, “Either you'll improve or you won't.”   After that was said, we just stared at each other for about twenty seconds of uncomfortable silence.    

So, at the moment, we maintain focus on keeping free of infections.  They’re going inject me with monoclonal antibodies next week to help me fight off COVID.  Additionally, I’ll have to continue to avoid other humans as much as possible. 

That’s all the news that's fit to print.  If things go sideways, I’ll make a post here.  Otherwise, you can assume it is business as usual.  That would be a great deal of monkey business.  

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