Did you know that people lucky enough to survive the 4-5 year wait-list for a kidney, only 30% of them would receive one from a deceased doner? I was fortunate to attend a meeting recently, held by Kidney Health New Zealand. Ten keen kidney doners crossed paths in Christchurch and shared ideas on starting a Living Kidney Doner Network (LKDN).
• Helping to increase living kidney donations in New Zealand
• A support group to donors – mentor to those donating
• Educating people on personal stories
• Increasing financial support for live donors
Continued support for people involved in this life saving operation is very important to us. Providing the public with well informed information about donating and general kidney awareness is key here, because we are bound to someone who will be affected by renal disease.
We are still in the early stages of getting our project off the ground. If you have any suggestions regarding how we can make this opportunity better than it already is, please get in touch.
Ten weeks ago my Dad and I underwent surgery in Christchurch Hospital. My procedure was an Open Nephrectomy, to give him a new lease on life by donating my left Kidney. 2011 presented some unprecedented challenges for both family and myself that I could never have anticipated. Although tough and stressful at times, I reflect on my journey and see it as more learning and appreciation for this life I lead.
An already strong bond within our family grew even though we live, at times a great distance apart. Our holistic approach to life helped us acknowledge the negatives and encourage the positives. The Initially I was afraid. The “What ifs” consumed my thoughts and I was scared for my Dad and my personal health. The more I researched the donation process and reading/listening to stories of success the more I wanted to go through with it.When I found out my blood and tissue type was a match with my Dad, I was overwhelmed with excitement.
Since the operation the 20cm scar is a reminder of my Dad, support of friends & family and general love for life. With the help of incredible surgery and hospital facilities, the donation has evolved to become a privilege for me. The bond between my Dad and I has reached a new level and as I read back on previous blog posts, all our goals have come true. He has the energy and freedom to do the things to better fulfil his life and share those experiences with Mum. Dialysis was super helpful and kept him alive and it was great to see his diligence with diet, routine and responsibility.
It has now become a new responsibility to look after his new gift, which his immune system could reject at any time. The assortment of drugs he takes will encourage his body to accept the new organ and this can last up to ten years functioning well. With his two redundant kidneys still left (which now probably resemble raisins) and my new one, he can return to a life full of enjoyment weather its dancing with Mum, biking, skiing and volunteering at local events.
Below is are some highlights from the weekend. After teaching a guest in Whistler, he and his mother shouted myself and Kenrae on a Cat trip into the hills just South of Whistler. Deep powder and large grins every run, every turn. It’s been a true test of my patience waiting until my body was ready for riding again, an awesome way to remember 10 weeks on and celebrate it with waist deep freshies.
It has been 4 weeks since Dad had surgery. The doctors knocked him out and inserted a tube into his peritoneal cavity. This tube is attached to the outside of his bladder and has a valve. Fluid is drained into the space around his intestines and sits there for a few hours, then drained out through the same tube.
The fluid acts as a third kidney removing the impurities from his blood system. Each bag is filled with electrolytes & Glucose and needs to be at body temperature when drained in.
“The best part about it he says is that I can do it anywhere, sitting on the couch or even a cafe up the mountain!” This process happens four times a day, every day until the transplant which will hopefully happen in October.
The bed slides forward and comes to a rest inside what looks like a dounut. My arms are above my head and I try to relax. ”inhale and hold your breath…’ I feel a warm rush pass through my body from the IV – into my chest, down into my abdomen, groin, fingertips & toes.
It is the iodine or tracer being pumped into my vein and eventually through my Kidneys. BEEP WHIR BUZZ… ‘Now breath normally..’The CT machine seems to have finished scanning my body. After six minutes I find myself inside the donut again getting another scan. I feel hungry thinking about donuts because I was not allowed to have any breakfast that morning. I am also busting to pee because of all the water the doctor told me to drink prior to the scan!
After two days in Dunedin I have had a Psychological Review, CT Scan and a meeting with the Doctor to see how everything is going. So far so good! My blood and tissue is a match with my Dad’s and the ball is rolling.
In a few weeks I will travel to Christchurch with Dad to meet with the surgeons and make a plan for the transplant. Today Dad leaves for Dunedin to start Dialysis. Not the best way to celebrate his Birthday but the results from the treatment will make him feel better and reduce the nausea. A coffee and a catch up with Mum & Dad was enjoyed in Wanaka yesterday instead.
Once again, If you or anyone else you know would like to know more information about this whole process I would love to listen & share more. Thanks for reading.
It has been well over a year now since I found out about my Dad’s Kidneys. They have deteriorated to the point where they’ve just about lost all their function. In about two weeks time, Rob will already have the tube put in and started the Dialysis treatment. This process will help him feel better and potentially reduce the assortment of drugs he currently takes on a daily basis.
Returning from Canada early this season was good because it allowed me to spend quality time with my Sister Rosie and of course Mum (Janey) & Dad. Lots of trips to visit were great because it meant I could bounce thoughts to them and of course get the hugs. The support from them along with friends has been amazing. It only takes a few moments to listen, but it certainly means a lot.
Last week I had a Radioactive fluid injected into my arm. Blood was taken at two hour intervals throughout the day to measure my bodies effectiveness of removing the radiation. The tests will continue, including a psychological assessment, CT Scan an numerous Doctor visits to Dunedin. If this all goes to plan then the operation may take place in October/November. To see my Dad healthy again, dancing Ceroc & Tango, walking up Mt Iron, cycling his cruiser, selling goods at the Farmers Market among many other things will make me and everyone around him very happy.
If you or anyone else you know is affected by Kidney disease, I Would love to hear from you. I hope the few photos i’ve posted share some insight on this whole process and perhaps make it easier for someone considering being a donor themselves. If you have any thoughts or questions I would love to hear from you.
Friend and room mate Emile and I decided to go exploring. We chose the Caples track which is West of Lake Wakatipu, less than an hour drive from Queenstown. Two nights in the bush staying at the Upper Caples hut was a great way to switch off from the day to day life in Wanaka. Easy to follow tracks, inspiring views, friendly company along the way made for a great trip.