Team Angel- 1st of series…

I have written before about my Daugher Angel and have shared some of our lives. Thingscontinue to be complicated with my girl. She is now 12 but she is turning the corner towards 13, as she adorably tells me. In the past 2-3 years my family has been through a lot of change and we are trying to work towards what will be normal. When we get there it will be time for my son to head off to college I hope or whatever is going to be his future. My oldest daughter is 23 and lives on her own now.

Just about 3 years ago we were moving out of the house we had lived in for 8-9 years. We were moving to a totally new neighborhood to a better house and schools. No sooner did we move into that house than we found out my husband had Terminal Brain Cancer. We went from finding out about this disease and watching this disease eat him alive. I could actually write an entire series about my relationship with him. He was something else I used to call him Shenanigans as he was always involved in something. Building this, moving that, fixing this, breaking that. He was a good spirited man who had a lifetime filled with mind damaging emotional baggages. He fought through his life by outweighing the bad with the good. Somehow he stole my heart with his unique ways and truly fun to be around. During the time he was sick only parts of our lives could be altered. Angel still needed to go to dialysis and take care of her medical needs. She had Spinal surgery( the same one she just had 4 weeks ago today) the day after her Dad had a brain biopsy. There were 6 weeks where I would take Angel to Dialysis get her hooked up, drive home 45 minutes and get him and my oldest daughter who would take care of him and get him ready, off to radiation then we would usually all go home together, unless one of them needed to be admitted and then my oldest and I took turns driving back and forth taking care of everyone.

He passed on 9 months after diagnosis. Angel went to dialysis the next day. Some people think so what it is routine for her she has been doing this since she was 4 years old. Dialysis is not routine, you make it part of your routine. Any day, any treatment can go from relaxed and laughing to throwing up, or getting fever. Can go from feeling great to needing fluids, because you are crashing. It is a toll on the patient seeing their blood go in and out of them for 3-4 hours, Angel was on 4. It is also difficult on the family members who go with them. They have to hope for good days, hope there is no problems with the machines, or the water, or your access. Then your 4-5 hour day turns much longer. Angel went to dialysis the next day. We came in the afternoon instead of our normal morning the nurses said it will be quieter and be better for her to not be forced to deal with others so quickly. Her dialysis center is her comfort zone. She has grown up there and has been loved by the nurses, taught by the nurses, teased by the nurses and nurtured by them. They have been the same team for a long time and each brings different personality and experience to the unit. It makes for good outcomes during treatments, they notice something is off sometimes before the patient themselves. They also know the I have a tummy ache please play with me to the real let’s call the doctor pains. It is a comfort zone that only a person who experiences should know when they are among good people.

So back to Angel 5 months ago we were told that Angel has the BK virus. This is a virus a lot of people carry. It is likely it came with her transplanted kidney. She has not been able to beat this virus. They have taken her off this medication, started her on that and so on. It came down to Infusions every two weeks. During that time she caught many urinary infections. She was running low grade fevers on and off and something was not right. She was admitted many times. Each time the stay was about 10 days. She had the first of her spinal surgeries. Although there was complication during surgery she seems to be better from that each day.  2 weeks ago she was admitted to the hospital with terrible stomach pains, low fevers, throwing up on and off, no appetite and non consolable kind of pain. Once we got to the day hospital , the pharmacist who knows us for a very long time said, called the doctor immediately when he heard her cries. He said Dr. P, this is not Angel she does not cry like this. It took 10 days or so to figure out what is truly wrong with her, so much tests. So many things ruled out. We finally got a diagnosis. No wonder she is screaming in pain her native kidney is filled with cysts and totally infected. So now we have a source but what do we do about it. She is still with fevers and terrible pain so how do we proceed. Infectious disease is helping with antibiotics and surgery has weighed in on the we don’t want to take it out. They have already done the following surgeries on that area of her body:

Colostomy

2 Reconstructive surgeries

Colostomy reversal

Kidney  Transplant

Kidney transplant removed

Kidney transplant and Urostomy placed.

She has had many other surgeries but they were on the other side or her back or other body parts.

So now for them to go back in and take out that infected kidney is going to be very hard on Angel and very hard on the surgeon. They will do what they have to for Angel but what does it mean for her health. On Wednesday we will re-evaluate blood tests, inflammatory markers and something else and then a plan will be formed from there.

My daughter is one tough kid and she is no crybaby. They wake her up for blood work and she just fusses about the light coming on. When it is time for meds the most she will do is grunt and sit up. When she is feeling good we go for walks, if she is hungry which is not often I get her whatever I can that she likes. If she wants to play or do arts and crafts we do it but a very good part of the time she sleeps. She likes when the family comes to visit it makes her feel like she has people pulling for her.

She has been really surprised this admission with all the terrible pain and all the crap she has gone through, she has had some good come with it. She won a school raffle and won an IPAD Mini with a case, headphones and an Itunes card. That was so awesome for her she is loving it. Also a friend of ours did a fundraiser with the company she works for and they get her a new outfit and a donation that will be coming. Not only was it something fun to be part of it made her feel loved. People that know her people that don’t were sending her messages.

So hopefully wednesday we will get a good plan. It breaks my heart listening to her cry in pain all night. Some nurses are wonderful and know to have the meds ready that she calls out every so many hours and  others want to go through the process when she is already screaming in pain. I know some people will follow all rules but when in Peds, the rule are meant to be broken when it comes to pain management and comfort.

Today was the first day that she attended Teleclass in over 2 weeks and she was hoping her teacher would come down and see her today also, although it is not a scheduled day.She gave me the greenlight to come home, grocery shop for my son and shower and come back. I am cheating taking a little me time to write. I am glad I can type quick 🙂 .

 

Check back for updates about Angel

if interested you can follow her story on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/teamangelraye/?fref=ts

 

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BK Virus and Kidney Transplants

My daughter received a kidney transplant in 12/2015. She is now 12 years old and she was on dialysis for 8 years prior to receiving her transplant. She has other health issues, besides her kidney disease and it was a combination of reasons that she needed to wait that many years for a transplant. We knew going into it that Kidney Transplant is another treatment option. One of our dialysis nurses constantly reminded us of that. I did not completely understand why until now. She  wanted us to be prepared that although some things will get better others may not. She also saw other patients go through different battles and all of them did not have the best outcomes. Being a medical professional is not simply having the job of hooking someone to a machine, or taking blood or performing a surgery. It is so much more, it is learning to help people understand it all, help people accept it and so many other comforting things that just go along with most compassionate people. I have watched a nurse love my daughter back to health.

My daughter had a failed transplant when she was 5 she was one year on dialysis and all the signs showed it was a great time for her to receive a transplant. We all tested to see if any of our family members could be a live donor. This was not the case and she went on the National Donor List. She received the kidney, surgery went great, first night went great and then the urine output slowed down. Then she stopped breathing then came intubation and a very long recovery. During that time the kidney failed and she wound up in a medically induced coma to try to heal her. She had surgery they removed the failing kidney and back on dialysis she went. During that time one of her dialysis nurses came daily to give her dialysis and she would read to her, love on her, talk to her and pray for her. She not only did her job but she went miles above it. That was the only time her Dad and I would feel comfortable to go home together, shower and pay a little attention to our other children and family things that needed to be done like laundry every now and again and giving the other kids some kind of stability. Luckily for us our kids are amazing and they took care of cooking and cleaning and going to school and just doing what they would do if we were home. We were fortunate in those ways.

After the failed transplant, her Dad and I told everyone we will go to dialysis as long as needed or forever to not ever see our daughter like that. She was truly suffering and we very easily could have lost her. We did not and we gladly went to dialysis for years. About 5 years later the doctors started talking transplant again. We told them we will make ourselves ready when you believe she is healthy enough. They did testing each year until they decided it was time. They saw it was time right around the time we found out about her Dad’s health failing him, he was diagnosed with terminal Brain Cancer and I was not mentally prepared to watch his life go and then risk a repeat of the first kidney transplant. I told her doctors my concerns and they agreed that I needed to be prepared so that I could continue to be her caregiver and support.

About 1 year after my husband passed on, the doctors approached me again. They said that health wise she is ready for another transplant. Some of the issues with being on dialysis for so long was becoming obvious and moving forward to transplant was what was best. They also told us that since her age, the amount of time she has been on dialysis and the list and the amount of health issues she is having she will go to the top of the list, not first as she was still doing ok with dialysis but the top meaning could get a call same day they activate. We joked and said that won’t happen we are moving in two months, we will get the call five minutes after we get our moving truck. Well we were close, we got the call the night before, it did not work out the kidney was not healthy enough. We went home , went to dialysis in the morning and prepared to move that afternoon. We moved went to sleep and 5 in the morning we got the call again.Transplant went great, Kidney started working right away and we did not experience any issues that we dealt with the first time. This time we saw what successful transplant was all about.

We followed strict lab schedules and medicines. On time without fail everyday. Followed rules, drink tons of water!!! We did and continue to do what our doctors recommend. After the first month they did Viral Studies through blood and urine tests. They found she has the BK Virus, which is the number one reason for loss of a transplanted kidney(graft). At first it was not high in her blood and was just high in her urine. Then it started creeping up in her blood also. They reduced one of her Anti-Rejection meds, Then eventually they took her off of it. Then she started having dark and bloody urine. She spent about a week in the hospital and she wound up having angioplasty and a stent placement in her Ureter.

On this past Friday she went in for Labs. I was waiting all afternoon to hear about her lab work, of course  hoping for the best. I did not hear so I said that is probably good news, but I left a message anyway. On Monday I waited to see if they would call but they did not. Now I  said one of two things, they are totally slammed with kids that need more attention right now or they are deciding what direction they want to go with something. Yesterday I got a call from the transplant coordinator, I missed the call but her message was that she was still trying to get some information from the doctors and that she would call me in the morning. This morning came and I got a call from her Doctor. The BK is higher in her blood. Even though they took her off the one anti rejection and reduced the other and had strong antibiotics it did not boost her own immune system enough to reduce this viral load. So now tomorrow we will go to the hospital in the morning for labs, iv fluids and a medicine that will hopefully attack the virus and then more iv fluids. This medicine is pretty much a last resort at fighting this virus. This medication is also toxic to the new kidney. We will of course keep positive and hope that somehow she beats the odds, knocks out the virus and keeps the kidney. But reality has already set it that that might be the case and she can very well lose the kidney. I would love to hide in my room and cry right now but that will just scare her and right now she totally understands it that one way or another we will fight it with everything we have but we are not guaranteed a win.

On a good side though, she was approached by an organization called a second wish, my daugher was approached by Make a Wish when she was very little. She was granted a wish when she was 3. We went to Give kids the world and it was amazing, Sadly she was way to young and does not remember a thing. We have pictures and I try to show her and spark a memory but that does not happen. Well we met with the founder of this organization and she was amazing. My daughter wished to go to New York, She wants to shop, and go to shows and or museums and parks and she wants to meet her Big sister from her Dad that she has never actually met in person. We have this crazy relationship on the phone, computer and text but situations have not allowed us to be together in person. This wonderful lady is putting together this trip that surely will be a highlight of her childhood. So with all the good comes bad and with all the bad comes good.

I am hoping tomorrow goes smoothly and that this medicine does not make her feel like crap. Doc said it should not, hoping it all goes ok and that her kidney finds a happy balance. But no matter what the outcome she will have me and her brother and sister and other family members that adore her and will do whatever to make her at peace with whatever her body does.

Kidney Transplant is simply a treatment option

When it comes to talking about my daughter’s health, the words come easily. She is complicated at best and if you read my other posts you can learn a lot about her. She is now 12 years old and just about 7 months post Kidney Transplant. Everyone just assumes that since she got a kidney everything is better. She is no longer in need of dialysis treatments but she is certainly not out of danger. Her health has improved but she is far from healthy.

The first few weeks labs were required twice a week and have now dwindled down to every 2-3 weeks. During one of her very first set of labs we found out that she has a virus called the BK virus. Apparently this particular virus can lay dormant or can creep up and attack the kidney. It has been the most likely cause of a transplant patient losing the kidney. Rejection of course is another huge concern as it can happen at any time. For this virus to become a troublemaker it must be in the blood and urine. For a while it was just in her urine and they went to half dose of one of her anti-rejection medicines. Going down on the medicine allows for her own immune system to pick up and hopefully knock down the virus. This was working for a while. It has now come to our attention that it is back in the blood and urine so they had to stop that anti-rejection medicine all together. She is still on one so hopefully her body won’t start to attack her new(and very loved) kidney.

This past Saturday morning she woke up and said her urine smelled terrible and that it was a bit cloudy. As she has a Urostomy it is very easy for me to monitor color, clarity and volume. I told her to drink more water and see what happens. We were fortunate enough to get tickets to see a Major League baseball game and the seats were what they call Field box as they were right on the field in front of First base. My daughter really wanted to go to the game as we already made plans with my sister and my nephew(from either side of the family) I told her to keep drinking and since it was an inside ballpark being overheated was not an issue, we decided to see how the day went and call the doctor when we got home , if need be. When we got home she said Mom I did not want to complain but I am having some pain and my urine looks a little pink. We decided that we would empty it, change her ostomy bag make sure that there was not a little cut or something that would easily explain this pink color. Everything looked really good so we called the on call doctor. He stated to take extra fluids and re-evaluate in the morning. In the morning there was more blood and it was obvious sometime was not right. I called doctor again and he again told me to keep her hydrated and to call him if a fever developed. I really did not like the answer but I figured she was to see her doctor the two days later.

Without fever and the blood coming and going it did appear it was not an infection. We toughed it out until yesterday when we saw her doctor and she did full lab work and urine tests. She confirmed no infection but of course sent off for cultures which sometimes take days to grow. She is concerned but so far has not told us the next course of action. This morning there was blood again and now she fell asleep complaining of pain. She is not running a fever so I will wait until the morning but tomorrow for sure I will bring her in as they need to do an ultrasound of that kidney. I have tried to learn what could be causing this but truly I need to stop confronting Dr. Google.

A transplant is a great treatment option as quality of life can surely be improved, not being held down to diet and fluid restriction, not being tied down to a machine 3 times a week and all the other things that go along with being on dialysis. But, the truth is a transplant can be just as scary. Each and every day that she thrives is a true blessing and the days that don’t go so well are just reminders of how delicate life can be.

Part Two-It does not always work out…

Part 2

 

After 9 weeks in the Pediatric ICU, my daughter started to gain strength and start to heal. She was transferred to the floor where she immediately started going back to her regular self and was home with-in about 2 weeks time. We went back to our Dialysis and school routine. We were so happy for Dialysis and our daughter being alive and getting back to what was her normal. We told everyone we are happy to go to dialysis for as long as it takes for her to be healthy enough to try again.

In the end of the day Kidney Transplant is just a treatment for Kidney disease. It is not a cure. It does not come without risks or without worries. Kidney Transplant has ups and downs just like dialysis but it seems to have more ups. I saw several other children go through successful transplant and I did not understand why my little one had to endure so much. Why did she have to be born with all this extra crap, that believe me you would not want to wish on anyone. Why did she get a matching kidney and she not be able to tolerate it. The kidney transplant failed. She did not reject the kidney. As bad as all that was, not rejecting is good because that will affect the future less than if it did reject. So I guess that has to be the silver lining. Fast forward to today I will state the future is brighter in many ways and yes we are quite thankful that this past failure I am telling you about was not a rejection. A medical professional could explain it better but basically you have antibodies in your system and so will the donor. They have to work out or it will not be successful.

Several weeks after we were home from the hospital, we got back into our routines and we watched out family as everyone changed. Seeing your child on the verge of life and death and being completely powerless is lifechanging. That goes the same for your baby sister and that is what our kids were feeling, powerless to help their sister and afraid to hurt her when she got home.  Finally things were almost going in a good direction and I got laid off from my Job of almost 14 years. Now our family dynamics completely changed. My husband stayed home with the kids for many reasons. One was that I had a good job and with day care and such the difference of what he would bring in to what I was making was just about even for the most part. He had some specific issues that interfered with his ability to work certain jobs, although truthfully he was qualified for more than he believed in himself for. That is a story for another day. He qualified as a great Dad, up early in the morning, walk you to school or the bus stop, be back to pick you up the same with lunch or candy or  something fun more often than not. Discipline and rules were often bent to accommodate the needs of having a sister with a bunch of extra needs. I started going to dialysis regularly and my  husband started managing some apartments and we made ends meet. Not so great but well we got it done.

The truth is, although the little one has had all these health battles, you can hear our story and say wow or whatever you feel but the truth is this little girl is tough. She has been through it all you as long as she is dressed you would not know. You would not have a clue, until we told you or perhaps you noticed she is small for her age. Her brother became her hero. He would do everything for her to the point where  he would sacrifice his own fun for hers. But in a all reality he hung out with her all day, and was by her side but he was a brother, an annoying typical pick on you brother. Her sister bossed her around and yelled get out of my room just like any other sister does. So that was alway the good thing. She got treated like any other kid, but she did not of course, she had everything she could ever want that interested her at what ever age and everyone knew it. She had the entire staff at the hospital wrapped around her little fingers and she still does. They still tell stories of her many hospital stays the random things she would say and do. She is blessed to have gotten a perfect mix of the craziness of both of her parents. Mom (me) and Dad each have a crazy way about life, we beat to our own drums as people  say. She got the mix and that surely carries her with personality.

The years start passing and family members and hospital family would ask, when is she going back on the transplant list, its been 2 years, it’s been almost 4 years and we would answer , we don’t care whenever Dr. C say’s it’s time, then it will be time and not until then. We hoped and dreamed of a successful transplant for her but we just made dialysis a part of life and tried our best to live life , to the best of our ability. After about 4 years of being in dialysis the doctors decided it was time to start seeing if she has made any of the milestones they believed would make transplant successful. It took a long time and a lot of appointments to decide that it was not time. She was not ready. Success would not be a likely out come. We were ok with this. We knew at some point that would change. Another year or two past. This time when we started taking the different tests, things were starting to look better. Transplant did not seem so unlikely and it did not seem so far away.

The doctors asked me what do you think about putting her on the list. I stated that when he felt it is best then I will know time for me to feel the same way. We started to make certain goals and as we started to accomplish them we talked more and more about when she will truly be ready to be active on the list.

She needed spinal surgery and they decided would be good to have done before transplant. Less risks for infection after the transplant. We had surgery scheduled but it got cancelled. That is also another story for another day. Then we finally got the surgery scheduled again. We were looking forward to her healing from that surgery and then having those final talks about actually becoming active on the list. We scheduled the spinal surgery . Now it is about 6 years into dialysis. Everything is pretty routine for us. We got to have her spinal surgery. It had to be done in a different hospital. We wound up having to cancel the surgery and find a surgeon that would do the surgery at our hospital. This took about 6 months to accomplish, As they needed a special laser that our hospital does not have. Well they have it now and my daughter received her surgery.

During the days up to her spinal surgery my husband started having terrible headaches and vision problems. Looking back he was showing signs for much longer but of course hindsight is always 20/20. I brought him to the emergency room to find out his brain was totally swollen and bleeding. He was admitted, transferred hospitals twice. The day before her spinal surgery he had a brain biopsy. It was totally hectic having him being sick and her needing the surgery. Luckily we know some great people in the hospital and they did everything they could to help us manage this situation. The biopsy revealed he had Glioblastoma( a terminal brain cancer). We were told he would have 6 months to 2 years depending on how he responds to treatment. My daughter’s surgery went well and within a week or so they were both home.

Back to Dialysis, Started Radiation and Chemo it was a very hectic couple of months. Your family truly learns what hectic means when you have two people fighting major health issues. I tried to continue to work but it was difficult with taking them to appointments and caring for them both. He had 6 weeks of daily radiation and of course it was a 45 minute drive each way to the hospital so half the day was spent driving back and forth between their appointments.

Time was passing and the doctors really wanted to move forward with transplant proceedings. I was not ready. Emotionally there was no way for me to deal with the possibility it could all go just like the first time. Especially as our family had to face the fact that Dad’s life was coming close to an end. We did not back burner the transplant all together , we just push it away a bit. We continued to go to appointments, We made sure that we did all the tests we just did not push as far as becoming active on the list. My daughter made it to the top of the list in 2009 with her failed transplant. She was never taken off the list. She continued to accrue time and when she would eventually be placed as active she would pretty much be at the top of the list, barring obvious emergency needs of another patient.

The months passed and my husband got sicker and sicker, He went from his happy self to a person who lost their entire left side, from legs to eyes nothing worked on that side. He was a very stubborn man and refused to give up. He would do things just like before, except he would fall a lot and cause more pain for himself. Eventually he realized that he really needed our help and gave in to letting us help him. A doctor explained the disease to me and the kids this way. This is a horrible life taking disease. This disease will have its ups and downs. You will see him sleep for weeks on end and then he will have ups. He will feel ok and be able to have visits or go for a little walk outside. He explained that right after radiation you will see more ups, then time will pass and the ups will be less and less and eventually he will fall asleep one day and likely not wake back up. That as awful as this disease is that is the bonus he should simply fade away and not really know its happening. Looking back I agree. I am glad that he fell asleep and did not have to see the looks on our faces when we knew he was no more. For those last months a lot happened. That is stories for another time another topic.

My husband passed away in August of 2014. The next morning my daughter needed to be in dialysis. All the people we know that truly never understood what she went through, saw it that day the little girl lost her Dad but she could not take the day off or she would be in the same boat. Off to dialysis we went. Luckily for us our nurses there know and love our family and they helped make it not so overwhelming. They allowed us to come in a different time so we would not have to face the other patients. This was we could deal with our emotions a little more privately. Of course our dialysis family is as much family as our actual family. The next weeks were a blur. Everything routine but we were all walking around zombies. My oldest daughter turned 21 and 15 minutes after her birthday ended her Dad passed away. She did what may be typical of a 21 year old. She ran to her friends and stayed drunk for several weeks. She was unbearable to be around. Refused to deal with emotions and only wanted to think of happy things. I wanted so much to help her and reel her back in but I could not. I was broken hearted and sad. I wanted her to be my leaning post but truly she needed to branch out on her own to deal with these emotions. My son he still to this day prefers not to talk about it unless he remembers funny things. My step daughters shut down. His two daughters from before me were of course heart broken. One of them lives in the same state so she was there with us the night he passed but have not seen her since. I do talk to her from time to time but she is married to a man who never respected her Dad or us so our relationship is flawed. We do how ever love one another and we talk on the computer and such. The other one is different , she never grew up with him and their relationship had only gotten on a good path about 6 years before he passed. She was heart broken and we still talk regularly. She is a part of my world although we never have seen each other. We talk on the computer, the phone and text. We share emotions and strangely we have formed a bond, She had a bad relationship with her Mother and Father and only decided to give him a chance because she figured half of what she knew was probably a lie. I am always glad she did that as that truly made his life better. He always tried to reach out to her but it took a very long time for her to reach back. She did and they worked through it.

So now a few months pass and the doctors tell me, Time to discuss transplant. Truth is she has been on dialysis now for 7 almost 8 years and for all the health reasons it is a good time to move forward. The dialysis was started to affect her in lots of ways, bones and skin and diet and parathyroid and all kinds of issues she was having.

We started to do all the testing again to make sure everything was in order for transplant. We saw urology to see if they still recommend Urostomy after transplant, we Neurosurgery to make sure the back is ok for now, We saw Endo to make sure her hormones doing what they are supposed to. We saw the Dentist and the eye doctor and the pediatrician. We did all the recommendations…….

 

For more on our Journey to my daughter’s Kidney Transplant see part 3

A Successful Transplant….

The Journey to my Daughter’s Kidney Transplant

Part 1

 

My daughter is almost 12. She was born with a condition called VACTERL/VATER or Sacral Agenesis or Caudal Regression. They all basically mean the same thing. They basically mean that my little one is really complicated. Her first 48 hours started off with fear, surgery, uncertainty and some more fear. They also started with Love. You can’t imagine the emotion seeing your tiny little person so sick and so helpless, yet so full of life. She may have been complicated but she sure was a little  fighter. Time past and we learned of just what all this would mean and the amount of actual health-care she would need just to be ok.

It was in those first few days that we learned about her Kidney’s. We actually knew from sonograms that she was likely to have Kidney problems. We were also told people live with one Kidney. We did not make that our biggest concern at the time. The next 4 years we learned so many things. We watched her endure, surgery after surgery, sickness after sickness, pain after pain. When she was 3 we watched her Kidney Function go down. By the time she was 4 it was obvious that she would be on dialysis before to much longer.

When she was 4 she had her dialysis catheter placed and she started dialysis that day. By the time she was 5 we had gone to LifeLink for Transplant evaluation and to see if either myself or her Dad would be a match. Neither of us was a match for her. The few family members that would have been willing to test for her, had other health issues that automatically disqualified them. A living donor from a family member was not in the cards. That was not the worst news. There was good news. She was an excellent candidate for a cadaver donor. Although no one likes the idea that someone will die for you to live, the reality is that person will die anyway and they or their family chose to make the worst possible scenario, a little less, not so bad.  As my daughter was so young and had already endured so many health issues she was placed fairly high on the transplant list.

Just over a year on dialysis, we got “The Call”. I will never forget when the phone rang early in the morning. We were all up, I was getting ready for work, we were all getting ready for dialysis and school. My husband saw the phone and right away recognized the phone number as he was the one taking her to dialysis and appointments while I worked(there are lots of stories inserted here for future reference), He told me, Get the phone it’s yours ringing. (as I later found out he already told the Doctors, like she is always at work and feels bad that she does not go to dialysis please call her when the call comes) So I answer and I start crying like the sap that  I am . So instead of going to work and school, we ditch the book bags and all head to the hospital. They do a normal dialysis treatment, and everyone is talking and excited and there is so much going on. Our unit was blessed with not one match, but two. My daughter and another little boy(her kidney brother as we fondly call him) were to receive a kidney that day back to back. My daughter was second as she is more complicated and well I don’t really know why but that was the decision they made for whatever reason they made it.

I remember making phone calls, my Dad, my sisters, my job and so on. I remember one of the supervisors at my job telling me that everything is not as easy as I am making it sound so I should prepare myself that this is a big surgery for my daughter. I remember thinking why is she always such a bitch. Well in turn she was right. The surgery went off perfectly. The surgeon was pleased with the way things went and off to ICU she went and we not very patiently waiting to be able to see her. Soon enough we were all really excited, looking forward to everything positive that would come from her having healthy kidney. It was something we just can’t describe unless you truly witness and experience on a personal level. The gratitude for the family that made the unselfish decision to donate. The gratitude for top of the line surgeons that can get a kidney in a child that has no bladder and everything has totally been re-constructed.

That night she started producing urine. The doctors were ok with the amount but not thrilled. They told us that she is so sedated that we should go home and rest as when she starts waking up it will hurt and she will need tons of attention getting her comfortable. We listened. Very early the next morning we went back to the hospital. Sat quietly with her and waited for the doctors. They said that the kidney needs to wake up. This is not uncommon and there are big technical words to describe and explain all this. They continued to work at getting her kidney going. Lots of going ons. Finally she started waking up and they were able to get her off the vent. This was a fabulous day. We were so happy to see a little progress after several days of watching her basically sedated.

When we put her to bed everything was really looking up. Nurses assured us go home. Better for the kids to sleep in their bed than sleep in the waiting room. They need to have somewhat of a normal life. Well well all went home. It was my husband, the girls and my son and we were tired, excited and hopeful. We Just got home and we were hungry we started making some scrambled eggs. Just the second I flipped off the the stove the phone rang. It was the nurse. She said  you should get back to the hospital, you daughter had an episode, she stopped breathing and we are putting her back on the vent. We flew out of the house so fast that we literally arrived, with the kids upstairs as they were still intubating her. It was the scariest possible moment I ever could tell you about, except if I keep writing and I fast forward 6 almost 7 years later, I will tell you so many more scary and even scarier moments.

So, now the next 9 weeks pass. She is on and off the vent for various reasons. She is back on dialysis. Our dialysis nurse was our save all. The only time we felt comfortable actually going home and being home for 3 hours together. The doctors still held  high hopes the kidney would recover. A biopsy revealed that their hopes were founded. This kidney should recover. We watched and worried and hoped. Each day passed and those hopes started to fade. After the initial night that she had the breathing event, I spent every night in the hospital. Feeling like I would neglect one child for the next I struggled with the whole situation I was facing. My daughters health was literally in the balance. I would sit in the morning when the doctors would do rounds and listen. I would hear these brilliant voices discussing my child. They would talk if we do this , this will happen and if we adjust would this cause this to happen. It was like she was a puzzle that required great intelligence as well as balance. You must piece together this puzzle while you stand on a balance beam suspended in the air. That was what I saw. I continued to gain admiration for my daughters medical staff. I continued to be thankful for my family. My husband forced me to toughen up and be brave so I can take whatever may come. I would cry to him and he would cry to me and then we would say no time for crying, time for being tough. We were but our family struggled. We had two children suffering, with being distracted in school or missing school. We had one child who’s life was supposed to be getting better get worse.

 

During that 9 weeks, eventually she did lose the kidney. After everything she went through. Us watching her in a medically induced coma for so long and her being on life support caused fluid in the lungs and things were truly not looking good. Our doctors knew that they must piece together this puzzle and balance and that she would eventually be ok. After they removed the failing kidney they were able to get her back to her normal with dialysis and lots of medication in a few short weeks. ….

For more of our Journey through Kidney Transplant see Part 2