Looking For a Living Donor

“Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace.  All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them.  But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.

  • Malachi 4:1-2

Until that day when everything will be made right, we must live in this world.

The photo is of our two youngest grandchildren and their new puppy.  They would rather be hugging their Oma (Grandma, my wife).

This page will be updated as things change. The hospital transplant team will be evaluating all of the tests that my wife has gone through and we should know if she is on the waiting list for a kidney. This would be in case someone passes away – about a five-year wait. Whether she is on that list or not, she can receive a kidney from a living donor.

My wife is now on the waiting list for a kidney, but there is a notation in her file. The tests revealed that the transplant may become complicated, thus emergency transplants in the middle of the night might not be done. This makes the need for a living donor all that more important. Stay tuned for further updates.

Update as of 11/18/2022: The emotional roller coaster, some of it unnecessary, has been in full force of late. As I write this, my wife is third in life for a pair of kidneys that are an exact match. If one of the other recipients has a complication after getting to the hospital, we will have to drive into downtown Pittsburgh as quickly as possible, less than an hour away unless there is trouble at the tunnels. If not, then we know that we are next in line if there is an exact match – both blood type and antigens. Probably much further down the list for a kidney that “will do.” But back in June, my wife was taken off the transplant list. We did not have a current echocardiogram and stress test on file. The problem was that the transplant team’s automated system had failed, and we were not given lab orders to have it done, but we suffered while my wife was off the list. Because of people not wanting to work anymore, it took two months to get the tests done, but my wife just got back on the kidney transplant list about two weeks ago. It is God’s blessing that she was on the list when a match was found, just as an alternate standby, but there is hope. But back to the delay in getting back on the list, the hospital that did the tests failed to send the transplant center the results. I kept calling and emailing to no avail. I had no idea why she was not back on the list, but finally, the kidney dialysis center berated my wife, in an ugly manner, for not getting the tests done. They even yelled at the cardiologist for not doing their job. Of course, the cariologist was confused, so he called me, and the proper forms were sent to the transplant team. I wonder why everything seems such a horrible struggle! Maybe it was to show that God was at work rather than be tenacious.

On my blog, I have written many times about my wife and her health problems.  She is now in end stage kidney failure as many of you know.  She is on dialysis, but her life expectancy will double, roughly, if she can get a kidney transplant.  In the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area, there is about a five-year wait for a suitable donor.  You know, when someone passes away, say from an automobile accident, and the medical personnel at the scene notice that they elected to place “ORGAN DONOR” on their driver’s license.  There are so many people on the waiting list, it takes five years to reach the top, and then there must be a decent match.  That is blood type (with some variations), leukocyte antibodies and leukocyte antigens.  There are other factors that might make the organ unsuitable.

And sadly, as my wife approaches the top of the list, there will be the hope / despair cycle.  A kidney becomes available, and you may not be at the top of the list, but they put you into “ready mode” in case the person in front of you is sick and cannot go into surgery.  That might bump you up and you must be ready.  So, here you get prepared, but the other person is well enough, and you got your hopes up and now you are back, waiting again.

What can end that cycle, and provide a normally scheduled surgery, is if there is someone who will be willing to donate a kidney.

If you would like to donate a kidney to my wife, you may register at:  LivingDonorReg.UPMC.com  Be sure to identify the person that you are donating for as Catharina Rackley, and please get the spelling correct.

And if you wish to donate a kidney, there are a number of things that you should know:

  • Testing to see if you are a match takes about 3 days.
  • The expenses for the tests are paid by the recipient’s insurance, not the donor’s insurance.
  • Kidneys can be donated without letting the recipient know who is donating.
  • If you are not a match, you may be a match for another person in the area and a “Paired Donor Exchange” may be possible (aka kidney swap) with two recipients and two donors all going into surgery at the same time.  That assumes that the other person has a donor that is a good match.
  • The surgery takes only four hours and recovery takes 1-2 days.  There are rarely complications afterwards and no donor has ever died at UPMC.  Dying by donating a kidney is rare (0.03% nationally), less than three deaths in 10,000 donors.
  • Through the National Living Donor Assistance Center (NLDAC), the donor and the donor’s caregiver can be reimbursed for travel expense and living expenses (hotel and food) up to a certain limit.
  • Normal activity (such as, lifting more than 10 pounds) may be resumed in six weeks after surgery.  If at a light duty job, maybe a little sooner.

We are looking for someone who can provide a kidney.  You could be the one.

As Malachi wrote, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.”

And here is the important thing, if you are ineligible to donate a kidney or you do not wish to do so at this time, you can become a Living Donor Champion by simply Sharing this link on Facebook or Twitter or by Reblogging on WordPress.

Share or Reblog – You may save a life.  And if you wish to donate, use the website above to register.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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