The kidney that was transplanted into Ferris Backmeyer on Saturday afternoon in Vancouver was removed during the night.
Ferris, a four-year-old girl from Kamloops, had gone into surgery early Saturday afternoon and was in ICU about six hours later. But it was apparent early on that something was amiss.
Late that night her mother, Lindsey, reported that “things aren’t going super great.”
One of they keys to a successful kidney transplant is to get it producing urine as quickly as possible.
Following the transplant, Lindsey said that Ferris was “extubated and on room air” and that “she made a bit of urine in the OR but hasn’t made any since getting to ICU.”
All the while the medical team was “pouring fluids into her” as it tried to get the kidney working.
Shortly after, the medical team performed an ultrasound “and it looks as though there is no venous blood flow from the kidney,” Lindsey explained. “It’s soooo sooo bad. It’s likely clotted off and they used the words ‘death of the kidney’ . . . I’m so so so broken . . . it really isn’t looking good.”
Early Sunday, Lindsey wrote: “Oh my goodness you guys . . . she’s out and so is the kidney.”
As Lindsey explained, the kidney “was leaking and she had an abdomen full of blood. She looks sooooooo much better now. She’s off all the pressers and was almost maxed out when they took her in. Her right leg is obviously cooler than her left and they are keeping an eye on that. Her coags are all off and so we just wait and watch and hope she continues to stay looking good. She could be extubated later today. She will need a hemo line placed today at some point and hemodialysis.”
What’s next for Ferris?
“After this,” Lindsey wrote, “the next steps will be balancing the immunosuppression with infection risk. It’s likely they will wean it slowly to help prevent her immune system from going into overdrive and creating a bunch of antibodies so that she can hopefully one day be transplanted again . . . which at this point I can’t even imagine . . . like at all.”
With surgery over, what was an all-night vigil for family and friends came to an end.
“Thanks for everyone’s support through the night,” Lindsey closed. “I really needed that. Much love.”
The Backmeyers had been scheduled to return to their Kamloops home over the weekend. They had been in Vancouver since late December, having gone there in anticipation of a transplant being done at that point. When that didn’t happen, Ferris, who had been having issues while doing peritoneal dialysis (PD), was transitioned to hemo-dialysis. After a stint of that, she was moved back to PD and, as mentioned, everyone was to have returned home.
But then came the phone call on Friday morning informing them that a kidney was available.
Ferris was admitted to the hospital on Saturday about 3:30 p.m., and the prep work began.
“Ferris is amazing at how she handles being in here,” Lindsey wrote at the time. “She let them do most of the things but it was a hard no on the IV . . . and required a couple of extra pokes for bloodwork.”
After that and more tests and scans were done, Ferris was awake until midnight “which is really late even for Ferris!”
The kidney that would be transplanted, Lindsey explained, was said to be “apparently a really good match and a smaller size.”
And how was Lindsey handling all of this?
“Reality is no amount of mental shielding will prepare me for the disappointment if this doesn’t happen (Saturday),” she wrote. “While PD is working she has been having really bad drain pain a handful of times a night, every night since being back on. It’s really awful and leaves me feeling so helpless as nothing I have really alleviates the pain and while we’ve seen her have pain like this before it hasn’t been every night for days.
“So like yeah . . . can this please go well??!!!. We want boring. Like super routine transplant if that’s even a thing!!”
Unfortunately that didn’t happen. And now the Backmeyer family — Lindsey and husband Pat and the two older girls, Tavia, 9, and Ksenia, 7 — which already has been through so, so much, is again faced with much uncertainty as they wait to see what’s next for their little darling, Ferris.
They do know that they aren’t in this alone.
Jana Tremblay of Robson, B.C., know exactly what the Backmeyers are going through. Her son, Zach, who now is 17, went through this exact process — kidney in, kidney out — a few years ago and he now waits and hopes for a second transplant. But because that kidney left antibodies behind, it makes it much more difficult to find a match.
On Sunday, Jana messaged Lindsey:
“Love you Lindsey, Pat and girls . . . we will always, always have your back. You’ll make it out of this and fight for her again . . . because that’s what parents do. And we will be right there fighting with you because that’s what kidney family does . . . and you guys are family.”