Thursday, March 17, 2011

Meet Barbara and Karen

In my previous post, I had mentioned that Jeanne had gotten a call from Marian, our transplant coordinator, stating that Jeanne's donor would like to be in touch with her. Since then, we've made contact (via email and Facebook) with Barbara, who donated the kidney that is now inside of Jeanne, and Karen, who is Barbara's daughter who received a kidney as part of the chain. They both seem like wonderful people.

Barbara, as it turns out, is not from California, as we originally thought, but from Florida. Barbara flew out to California, where her daughter lives, to participate in this kidney donation chain. Sadly, Barbara lost her first husband to an aneurysm due to PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease, the same disease that Jeanne has) at the very young age of 25. You can learn more about Barbara from the comment she left on my previous post.

Karen, Barbara's daughter, also has PKD, which she inherited from her father. As has been the case with Jeanne, the disease has impacted her life at a relatively young age. Karen is now about the same age as Jeanne was when she got her first transplant. Karen has been very involved in the PKD Foundation and its activities - including being both a chapter coordinator and a walk coordinator when she lived in Utah a couple of years ago. You can learn more about Karen from the blog that she and her husband put together, or from this video I googled up last night.

Some interesting things I've learned from Barbara and Karen:
  • Apparently, Jeanne was not the originally planned recipient for Barbara's kidney. Something happened along the way which made the original recipient unable to get Barbara's kidney, opening up the opportunity for Jeanne. Something similar must have happened in my case as well, as I was originally told that my kidney was destined for a "he" and it turned out that it went to a "she".
  • It turns out that Karen and Jeanne both attended the same PKD Convention at Disney back in 2007. So, we were all within a few feet of each other just a few years ago!
It's been very exciting to get to know Barbara and Karen - and there is something about Karen and Jeanne both having PKD that seems to make it even more special. I guess because of everything I have seen Jeanne go through, I feel I can relate to what Karen has had to deal with, and it makes me very happy to know that she was able to obtain a kidney and avoid going on dialysis.

In the meantime, I seem to be improving. Best as I can tell, my infection is healing OK - I'll be back to see Dr. Del Pizzo on Monday to find out for sure. Yesterday was my best day yet since the surgery- I was able to make it though the entire day without even so much as a Tylenol. I can feel my energy starting to kick back in more every day and my appetite is getting back to normal. I'm still working from home, but am able to put a full day in now. I just need to keep reminding myself to pace myself, so I don't get too wiped out.

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