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Stories of hope

Two times a kidney recipient

My name is Peggy. I received my first kidney transplant when I was 44 on June 23, 1993.

I learned in 1992 that I had to be my own advocate.The internet was not that popular then and I didn’t have a computer. I started my footwork on the phone, going to the library, and making appointments with hospital social workers. 6 months later, I was on the transplant list.

My only child was tested and did not match. Needless to say, he was almost devastated. My daughter-in-law asked if she could get tested. She was a 2 out 6 match. But the first hospital did not feel it would be a good match.

Having done so much footwork, I knew I could list with other hospitals. I called a different one to see if they would consider transplanting Pam’s kidney. I was interviewed by the head transplant surgeon, and he approved the transplant.

My first transplant lasted 26 ½ YEARS. It may have lasted a few years longer but I was pro-active when I saw the symptoms of kidney failure starting in 2017.

In 2017 I requested my nephrologist  to give me a referral. I proceeded to go through the rigorous prep required by the hospital I was referred to to qualify for transplantation.

During one of the prep classes, I and two others in the class of about 30 were asked to remain after the class. We were given a form to either accept or decline a hepatitis-C infected organ. The transplant team explained that due to our blood type, etc., was going to be difficult to find us a match. We were told that if we were accepted, it could be up to seven years or longer to find a donor. I declined anyway.

In November 2019, my creatinine had gone up significantly and my eGFR was down. On November 14th I called the transplant coordination team and said I would accept a hepatitis-C infected kidney. I signed the release that day. 29 days later on Friday, December 13th, 2019, at 4 am, the hospital called me and said they had a kidney for me.

I would be turning 71 on December 29th and would have hepatitis-C, but only for 5 weeks. I was put on the medication as soon as it was approved by my insurance company, on January 1st, 2020, and 5 weeks later I no longer had hepatitis-C. I never experienced any symptoms of hepatitis and have been tested every 12 months with negative results. My transplant will be four years old next week and I will be turning 75 on the 29th of this month. I am living proof that not only transplantation works and can last longer than 4 or 5 years, but with the medication, transplanting a hepatitis-C infected organ should not be feared anymore.

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