How do you thank countless medical personnel for seeing your family through two very eventful years?
How do you thank friends and family who prayed for, encouraged and supported you through those years?
As a logical sequential person, the only way I can approach it (because it is so overwhelming) is to give a bit of a timeline and explanation.
By early 2011 it was clear that my husband, Glynn, was facing kidney failure. His kidneys had been struggling for some years and had begun to fail more rapidly. At the advice of his nephrologist we both attended an informational seminar offered at SeaTac Northwest Kidney Center. After learning about several options for responding to hereditary chronic kidney disease Glynn chose hemodialysis. Then in July 2011 at Highline Medical Center he underwent his first surgery ever, a procedure on his left forearm designed to prepare him for hemodialysis.
In December 2011 Glynn’s kidney specialist said that complete kidney failure was imminent and he should plan on starting dialysis within a few months. He outlasted that prognostication as he had done many others.
On April 24, 2012 Glynn and I attended a seminar regarding living donor transplants at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle. At this seminar we learned about the possibility of a paired exchange through which I could donate a kidney to an anonymous patient with my blood type who has a friend or family member who has my husband’s blood type who would donate a kidney anonymously to my husband. On April 26th I notified the Swedish donor coordinator that I was interested in donating a kidney on Glynn’s behalf through a paired exchange. Subsequently both Glynn and I went through numerous tests over the course of nearly a year to verify that he was healthy enough to receive a kidney through transplant and that I would be healthy enough to live well with just one kidney after donation.
Glynn started hemodialysis on May 15, 2012. Although he had hoped to start with home-based hemodialysis, he started in clinic at SeaTac Northwest Kidney Center because there was no space open for him in the home training unit until later in the year.
In early August space became available in the home training unit and so we spent the next four weeks learning to do hemodialysis. We spent a few days in training at a unit in Seattle and then spent most of the rest of the training at a unit in Renton. Training went well and we were released to do dialysis at home five days a week starting September 6, 2012.
Doing dialysis at home was not easy but the staff at Northwest Kidney Center helped us stick it out until May 6, 2013 when by a series of miracles we participated in a highly successful six person exchange of three recipients and three donors at Swedish Medical Center.
We are so thankful to the anonymous donor whose magnificent gift of a kidney kicked off our exchange. It is more wonderful than words can say to have Glynn restored to a life without dialysis.
We are so thankful to all the medical personnel at Highline Medical Center, Northwest Kidney Center and Swedish Medical Center who skillfully saw us through all the processes that were required to get to this point. We can’t even imagine what it must have been like to coordinate the lives of all six people involved in our exchange and the medical teams who worked with each of us.
And we are thankful for the prayers, encouragement and practical support such as transportation and meals that helped us along the way.
We would not be where we are today without each person who participated in this two year journey.
We also know we are blessed to live in Seattle. For those with kidney disease, there is no better place in the world to be than Seattle.
We also recognize we are blessed to live in the United States where life sustaining treatments are made affordable to individuals through governmental programs.
We praise God for all these extravagant gifts and thank each person who participated in providing them.