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Countdown to Kidneys Being Included.......

Sunday, March 6, 2011

You got to work for it!

There is a common misconception I've noticed about kidney failure. Many people think your kidneys shut down and you automatically go on some list for a new one. If only it were that simple. It doesn't happen like that at all. For example, I am not even eligible for the list. "The list" refers to the list of people who want to be an organ donor upon their death. They are called cadaver kidneys. You have to meet certain requirements to be on the list. I was not eligible because I have to be in the hospital 1 week before transplant. I have to have a scheduled transplant surgery. With the list, when its your number, you go. You only have a certain amount of time to get to that kidney and have the transplant. That is not an option for me. Every state has a list. And you can get on every list in each state if you want to. You just have to go to a transplant hospital and be evaluated and approved for their program. Many people have asked me questions like, does your doctor put you on the list? No, from my experience the patient has to do all the work. If you need a kidney, then it becomes your full time job. Filling out forms, going to doctor appointments, being evaluated, poked, prodded and blood draws. And if you have to go out of state, there is a lot of expense involved. But it is all worth it. It's my life, so it was my job to figure out how to get a kidney.

My entire immediate family was tested and my Mom, Dad and Brother were all 3 matches. Chris was the only person not a match. But we knew he wouldn't be because we are not the same blood type. He insisted on being tested anyway. But then about 3 months after I had decided my brother was going to be my donor, we found out my blood disorder is genetic and that took away the option to have a related donor.

I never in a million years thought it would happen so fast that I would have a live, non related living donor. Lindsey spoke up very quickly and said she was willing to get tested. That in itself to me, is a miracle. God has definitely worked hard on this transplant too. He knew from the beginning, the day I went into kidney failure that I would need a transplant one day and He already had Lindsey in mind. Two years ago, neither she or I had a clue what God had in store for us.

I just wanted to share how difficult it really is to find a donor. In my case, which is not normal, I have had weird obstacles. But Lindsey came into the picture and made it a breeze. She was the one and only person tested....aside from my family. And the fact that she was a match, is nothing short of a miracle! I have a friend on dialysis who has had over 300 people tested and nobody has been a match. That pains my heart. I pray she finds a matching donor. But you see, it is our responsibility to get ball rolling. I am not sure how other transplants work. I think if you have to have some type of organ failure, kidney failure is the one I would pick. It's the only one I know of with a machine to keep you alive while you wait and everyone has two kidneys.....you have pair so you can share!!!!

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