Thursday, January 24, 2013

Approved! And an ABO Surprise

Relief.  That's what I feel.  But it's bittersweet. 

Yesterday, while at work, my sister called to say that I'd been approved for a kidney transplant and that she could now begin the donor evaluation process.  To back up a bit, my sister and one of two maids of honor, is beginning the "audition process" to become a living kidney donor.  Many people have asked me if I have a donor lined up already, since I know I need a transplant.  It's really not that easy actually.

In December 2012, I began my evaluation process as a candidate for transplant.  In order to be cleared for a major surgery of this kind I had to give a lot of blood and have several other procedures done to prove that I am even healthy enough to receive a transplant.  Inova Fairfax (I don't know if other hospitals do this) gives you 90 days to complete all the necessary steps.  Well, s*** sorta hit the fan, and my GFR dropped to 11 percent so I had to push myself to complete the process sooner.  All together, it took me about a month and a half to complete all the steps.  I'm not officially listed yet.  I need my insurance to give the final say, but because I "passed" the evaluation, my potential donor can now begin their evaluation. That's how it works. 

So, next week, hopefully, Jocelyn will be on her way to the hospital or doctor's office going through everything I went through.  It's a huge relief to me because the approval means that I'm actually OK to receive a kidney.  Some older patients can be too sick, or too old, to get a new kidney.  Which means their only option is dialysis. We're trying to avoid that.  Dialysis would really cramp my style, for real.  I'm more than thankful.  Seriously, it is GRACE that I'm not there yet!

This is also a relief because I'm one step closer to being DONE WITH ALL OF THIS.  Lately, I've been feeling like the prospect of actually having the transplant is....annoying. I've been thinking about it too much.  Making myself anxious and nervous and excited and angry.  I really just want to get it over with so that I can know really if it's as bad/good as I'm thinking it is.  And also so that I can do things like actually give my bridesmaids a date for the bachelorette party they're planning. Or actually make plans for my birthday (which is on Valentine's Day).  Sometimes I feel like I'm just stuck, waiting for it to happen. I can't...plan ahead.  Not only do I have chronic kidney disease; I have chronic planners syndrome.  I just don't want to stop, but I know I have to.  I have to take things one day at a time. 

During my sister's evaluation process, she'll also be tested to see if she is a blood and tissue match.  So here's the deal:  a lot of people, myself and Ben included were hoping that Ben would donate his kidney to me.  Awwwww. is kinda romantic :) You know that whole "flesh of my flesh, bone of my bone" thing. Yeah, it's a nice thought.  And that still could happen! We're not ruling it out. But there's just one thing.  Ben doesn't know his blood type.  He's never donated blood or given it (I think).  What we do know is that Jocelyn is O+.  Up until one week ago I swore up and down that I was A+.  I'm pretty sure I even wrote that on some applications for volunteer work.  WRONG.  Dear blog readers, find out your blood type.  It could save your life one day.  I am actually O+, just like Jocelyn.  And since we're sisters, she is more likely (not guaranteed) to be a tissue match, which decreases the chances that my body will go crazy on my new kidney and try to destroy it.  If Jocelyn's a tissue match, my little cells and antibodies and everything will be a little more...tolerant.  That's what we want.  As wonderful and awesome as it would be to have been in the next operating over, both of us enjoying sleepy time medicines, while being sliced open, we can't waste anymore time.  Ben's going to find out his blood type in the meantime, so that he can be on backup if needed.

So after getting the good news, I get a phone call at 10 AM from my dad.  He wants to get the entire family on a 5 way phone call so that we can talk about everything that's happened.  I've said it before, but it never gets old:  I. Love. My. Family.  My dad wanted Jocelyn and I to know that we're not alone in this.  That getting this failing kidney situation sorted out is our number one priority and that he and my mom are here to help.  One word: thankful.  There are thousands of people on the transplant waiting list.  Just waiting.  Sometimes I wonder if they just have no one willing to step up, willing to give.  I'm thankful for my family's selflessness.

Enough sentimental stuff: shortly after, over the phone, I asked Jocelyn if she checked the "constipation" box on her medical history form.  My younger sister Danyelle, who was so quiet during the phone meeting that I thought she'd hung up, cackled and revealed that Jocelyn had selected the seemingly less problematic "change in bowel patterns" box.  Figures.  You have to be honest on those medical things.  What did Lance Armstrong say?  The truth will set you free.  

Anyways:  this is for my family. The best one ever.  And three special out of town friends.