When you are living with kidney disease and are waiting and hoping for a transplant, it oftentimes can feel like time is running out.
While trying to get through your daily life, you have the spectre of dialysis hanging over your head. You know that the best-case scenario for you is a transplant before you need dialysis, and all the time you know that if that doesn’t happen you will end up on dialysis.
That is what’s going through your mind in what used to be ‘normal’ times. These days, the pandemic adds even more stress to your life.
That’s the situation in which Julie Dodds of Kamloops finds herself. She has a genetic kidney disease — Medullary Kidney Disease Type 1. In August, she turned to Facebook as she began a search for a living donor. She and her family — she is married with three young sons — have yet to find that donor. And she is moving ever closer to dialysis.
Here are some of her thoughts from a Facebook posting on Saturday:
“Getting down to crunch time. My kidney function as of (Friday) has my GFR at 16. That means I’m going to get the ‘what type of dialysis do you want’ talk very soon.
“This pandemic obviously shut down all the donor testing for a couple months but happily it’s been starting back up and I have a virtual appointment with the Vancouver doctors in a couple weeks.
“I don’t know the state of donors or matching. I don’t know if I’m going to last long enough to get a kidney match before having to do dialysis. I don’t know if COVID-19 is going to flare up again enough to shut it all down again. Honestly, it’s pretty scary to think about doing dialysis and where things are gonna go in the next few months.
“Thank you to everyone who is frequently checking in on me. I feel tired, achy and occasionally stressed, but most of the time life is just going on as normal.
“Trying to imagine what life is going to look like in the next year is a bit much so taking it one little step at a time.”
Julie’s GFR (glomerular filtration rate) of 16 means that she has Stage 4 kidney disease. If your GFR falls to between 30 and 15, it’s Stage 4 and a transplant or dialysis is looming. When the GFR slides below 15, the person has kidney failure and it’s time for a transplant or dialysis — either hemodialysis or peritoneal. In adults, a normal GFR would be 90 or higher, although between 89 and 60 can be seen as normal in some people, especially those over 60 years of age.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
There is some good news for people in B.C. who are awaiting kidney transplants.
Michael Coyle of Coquitlam underwent a transplant on Friday in Vancouver.
Coyle, who has polycystic kidney disease, had a date set prior to the pandemic coming along, and kept waiting for it to be postponed because of the pandemic. In the end, it was postponed — but only for one day.
Coyle has been with Coquitlam Search and Rescue for 20 years. His donor, Jody, is the wife of another SAR member.
Monika Gul and Lisa Steacy of News 1130 in Vancouver have more on Coyle right here.
Three months ago, Coyle told his story to the Tri-City News and, if you haven’t seen it, it’s really worth a read. It’s all right here.
Elsa and Robert Garza share the same birthday in the same year. They were born in the same hospital. Now he has given her a kidney in a transplant that was done before Elsa had to go on dialysis. . . . There’s more in a story right here from ABC-7 in Austin, Texas.
On Friday, Zack Hedrick posted this on Facebook:
“Got an update that Robert and Elsa Garza’s kidney transplant surgery went well!! Both are stable and recovering!
“Robert donated one of his kidneys to Elsa, who was close to going on dialysis because of an autoimmune disease which attacked her kidneys. Elsa was in stage 5 renal failure.
Their surgery was delayed a couple months due to COVID-19, but went off without a hitch earlier this morning!”
With our annual Kidney Walk having been cancelled, my wife, Dorothy, is raising funds in support of a ‘virtual’ walk that is scheduled for June 7. All money raised goes to help folks who are dealing with kidney disease. . . . You are able to join Dorothy’s team while putting a smile on her face by making a donation right here. . . . Thank you.