Monday, October 25, 2010

Brother, can you spare a kidney?


As you may (or may not) know,  I have been battling chronic kidney disease for several years now.  The story of how that came about, and my surgery in November, can be found in my prior post here.  Starting on Friday, October 22nd, the purpose of that surgery was put in to practice.  My kidneys are in a state of failure, and I have started on dialysis three days a week.  The surgery was to provide an easy access point for dialysis. The picture above is of the very machine I was connected to on Friday.

Juggling work and trying to maintain a decent amount of hours along with regular dialysis treatments is, as you can imagine, rather challenging.  I work for a consulting firm, so every hour I work is billed to a customer.  It not only matters that I get my work done, but that I bill a sufficient number of hours each week.  I am trying to arrive at work very early and work until it's time to leave for my treatment.  I also plan to try to get some work done at home after I've had an hour or two to recover.  I'm not sure how well that's going to go, though.  Dialysis treatments literally take something out of you.  You leave with low blood pressure, and the arm that was connected is very weak.  You weigh before and after the treatment, and after only two hours for my first one, I had literally lost 1 pound.

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining -- I know in my heart that God has a plan for me, and that everything is in his hands.  My human mind, however, still needs a bit of convincing that I'll be able to keep this up and maintain somewhat of a "normal" life.

I am currently on the kidney transplant waiting list at Emory Hospital.  I am technically not "active" until I lose about 10 more pounds, but I am accumulating time on the list.  Typically, people on the list who have A-positive blood like me tend to wait about 3 years for a "non living" donor.  However, I would much prefer not to have to wait that long.  Also, a kidney from a living donor is much more preferable.   They tend to "take" better and last longer than a kidney from a "non living" donor.

Generally, I am not one to ask for favors of people.  I like to DO favors.  I believe God has granted me the resources I have so that I can help the people I care about.  This time, though, I would like to ask anyone reading this to prayerfully consider donating a kidney to me.  The entire process will be paid for my my insurance, and (bonus!) I would be eternally grateful.

If you feel led to submit yourself as a possible kidney donor for me, you can call the Emory Transplant Center for an initial interview.  Here is their contact information:

Emory Transplant Center
Living Donor, Kidney Transplant Program

Clinic Building B, 6th Floor
1365 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA  30322

Initial Living Donor Interview:  404-712-4857

Toll Free Donor Line:  1-866-727-3250

Fax Number:  404-712-7311


I cannot thank you enough for your prayers and support.

Rich

4 comments:

  1. My husband just donated a kindey two weeks ago!

    Here is the before post: http://thevogelfamilyoffive.blogspot.com/2010/10/getting-out-of-boat-kidney-story.html

    And after: http://thevogelfamilyoffive.blogspot.com/2010/10/more-than-blessed-kidney-donation.html

    Praying you find a donor soon!

    John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life (or his kidney) for his friends.

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  2. I have extreme sympathy for your plight, but as a living donor, I do take issue with some of your verbiage.

    You 'prefer' a living donor because they 'take' better? I wonder if you're aware of the sacrifice you're asking someone to make on your behalf. Transplant centers do a poor job of informing would-be recipients of the true risk to living donors (shoot, they don't bother to be honest with the donors most of the time), and instead, encourage folks in your position to solict for a well-meaning person to come forward and relinquish an organ.

    I'm not trying to be unnecessarily cruel but I think that if you're going to ask someone to give you a kidney, you should be prepared to take ethical responsibility for any harm that might befall them.

    Here's a primer:

    According to OPTN, 4.4 living donors die each year in the US within 12 months of donation.

    Others experience permanent nerve damage, hernias, blood clots, intestinal blockage, chylous ascites, adrenal dysfunction, pancreatitis, organ laceration, testicular swelling and sensitivity, chronic pain and fatigue etc.

    20-30% of living donors experience depression, anxiety and PTSD yet not a single transplant center offers support services or aftercare. In fact, in a country with a foundation and support group for everything, not ONE exists for living donors.

    There is NO long-term data on living donors' health and well-being. Living donors have been used since 1954 but no one collected a social security number until 1994. Since 2000, OPTN has required one-year follow-up on LDs, but 40% are lost within 6 months and another 40% by year one. Some transplant centers have reported ALL of their LDs as 'lost to follow-up', which means they don't even bother, yet they have seen no consequences and continue to profit by performing living donor transplants.

    Living with reduced renal function (as LDs do) means a higher risk of hypertension, cardiac disease and death, and kidney disease and death. It also increases risk during pregnancy. 200+ living kidney donors have registered on the waitlist in need of their own transplant since 1994, a number that will continue to rise.

    If you want to know more, www.livingdonor101.com

    Good thoughts toward losing those ten pounds (if you haven't done so already) and on a deceased donor kidney becoming available.

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  3. Cristy, I am sorry if you didn't like my "verbiage", but I stand by most post. You are the first and only person to take any issues with it.

    It is factually true that kidneys from living donors have lower likelihood of rejection, and tend to last longer than those from non-living donors. Also, the wait for a deceased donor takes years. I'm simply telling the truth. Do you think people on dialysis WANT to stay on dialysis for as long as possible?

    I have never said nor implied that I thought giving a kidney was a walk in the park, nor have I said or implied that I deserved one.

    I understand that there are risks to donorship, which is why I ask that people "prayerfully consider" it.

    I could remove your comments from my blog, but I will leave them as proof that I understand the risks to donorship, and I welcome anyone who is considering it to research for themselves the risks.

    Thanks,
    Rich

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