Zach Tremblay, 17, hasn’t been tube-free since he was 11 years of age. That is expected to change on Tuesday.
Zach and his mother, Jana, are scheduled to travel to Kelowna today (Monday), where he is expected to have surgery to install a fistula that will provide easier access for his hemodialysis treatments.
Yes, Zach is waiting and hoping for a kidney transplant; he has been for a few years, as a matter of fact.
He and his family live in Robson, B.C., which is across the Columbia River from Castlegar. Zach had been doing peritoneal dialysis (PD) until it started to lose its effectiveness late last year, and he was transitioned to hemodialysis at B.C. Children’s Hospital in Vancouver earlier this year.
As for Tuesday’s surgery, Jana posted on Facebook that “we know his antibodies are high, so this is the right choice for him while we wait.
“They will also remove his PD catheter at the same time. Once he heals, and he can use it, they will remove his chest cath, and he will be tube-free for the first time since he was 11. That’s a big deal. It’s something he’s been looking forward to for a while, as he will have all the freedoms again of swimming, sports, etc.”
But he still will have to travel from Robson to Trail — it’s about a 30-minute drive — for his hemodialysis runs three or four times a week.
Until the phone call comes to tell him that a kidney has come available.
Meanwhile, the Backmeyers are preparing for another week in Vancouver as Ferris, 3, continues her transition from peritoneal dialysis to hemodialysis after having contracted an infection.
Lindsey and Pat’s other two daughters — Ksenia and Tavia — have joined them from their home in Kamloops, so the good news is that the entire family is together again.
Lindsey reports that Ferris, other than being excited to see her big sisters, had a “rough week overall.”
Lindsey posted on Facebook that “they are really pushing for a lower dry weight and it’s wreaking havoc on her tiny body. I’ve watched her ‘crash’ on dialysis twice this last week and they added an extra day of dialysis so (Saturday) was our fourth day in a row. Her BP now is low and I’m certain it’s the reason she’s having a hard time standing/walking.”
Among the things that hemodialysis does is remove fluid from the patient’s blood. Prior to a run, the dialysis machine is set to a dry weight goal, or the weight objective without excess water. Even when the excess water has been removed, the machine can keep trying to draw out what isn’t there, and that can result in a drop in blood pressure.
Lindsey also reported that Ferris is “eating a ton so we’ve had to adjust feeds to allow her to eat more things! We’ve seen potassium as high as 6.7 also this past week. It’s been scary at times for sure.”
Potassium higher than 6.0 in an adult is considered severe, so 6.7 in a three-year-old isn’t good at all.
“We dropped the amlodipine and the last two days have been marginally better,” Lindsey reported, referring to a drug used to help improve blood flow.
“First days she’s shown any interest in getting in the swing or getting up to play. I’m hopeful we get a better handle this week and start to see more of our sweet girl again.”
What’s it like being the mother of a three-year-old in this situation?
Well, you know that Lindsey has learned a lot about kidneys over the past two years. She also works in the area of critical care at Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops, so knows something about that end of things, too, including a lot of the terminology. But that doesn’t necessarily make things any easier.
“It’s so hard walking the line of medical mama and healthcare professional,” she admitted in her most-recent posting. “Sometimes not being taken seriously and trying very hard not to be the psychotic protective parent and still advocate strongly for Ferris. It’s trying to put so much faith in people that don’t know her as well as I do. A whole new team essentially with a totally different kiddo. We both are learning her and I just hope that we can get her feeling better sooner than later! “
Through it all, the Backmeyers are working hard to make the best of the situation that has been forced upon them.
They are staying, for now, in Kitsilano, which gives them easy access to the Pacific Ocean.
They had thought this place had been “secured until the end of summer,” Lindsey wrote, “but as of (Sunday) morning we’ve been told otherwise . . . so on the hunt for a sweet place to stay for the month of August! Cost of living down here is insane, but with all the restrictions for families at (Ronald McDonald House) we are hopeful to find someplace private to rent so we can salvage some summer fun.”
In the meantime, Sunday was the family’s “first day off and together . . . should be fun!!”
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