When I started this process, I was warned that there would be lots of ups and downs. In the last couple of weeks I've experienced a little bit of kidney whiplash. Things were chugging along in the right direction with my match and corresponding kidney chain in Nebraska. I received an email from my Transplant Coordinator asking me for a timeline of when I might prefer to have surgery. I immediately got super excited until I read her next sentence which said something like, "don't get too excited because we are still in the beginning stages of planning". Oh. I told her that sooner was better for me and that the only issue was that my mother (who will be helping my husband and I during my recovery time) would be out of town for a week in October. My point was that ideally surgery would be at least 2 weeks before she was out of town, or not until her return. The coordinator told me that due to the schedule of the surgeons at Baylor, surgery would most likely not take place before that October date. She informed me that she was having a "logistics" call with the other coordinators at the other hospitals in the chain and would let me know how it went. I was also asked to do another 24hr urine collection (lovely) and would need to come back in for a few more labs.
On the day of the scheduled call, the coordinator emailed me to say that the chain had fallen apart and that they would now be looking for a new match for me. What? How could that happen so quickly? I wrote her back with a few questions and discovered via auto response email that she would be out of the office for the next 10 days. So I had a lot of questions and no answers. More waiting.
I received my 24hr urine collection jar in the mail. My 5 year old son thinks having to pee in a jar for an entire day is worthy of a few giggles. I scheduled my lab work to take place the day after my collection. The day of the urine collection also happened to be my son's first day of Kindergarten. I had been drinking lots and lots of water. We only live about half a mile from the school so we walk instead of driving. Well, about halfway through my walking trek to pick him up in the afternoon, I realized that my bladder was not going to make it the entire round trip. I called my parents house and asked my poor mom to come pick us up and drive us the half mile home so that I could make it to my collection jar without wetting my pants.
The following morning I drove downtown with my now full jar of pee. I was called back to the lab area and said hello to my favorite phlebotomist Candace. She took my jar and asked for another urine sample. I was waiting for her to do my blood work and saw her pull out vial after vial and line them up on the table next to me. Just then my sweet, wonderful coordinator entered the room. I asked her to update me on the situation. Turns out one of the surgeons for one of the other transplant centers was demanding that the first surgery (my surgery) take place within a week. Uh, no. All of the coordinators told him that was not possible for many different reasons and he would not relent. Apparently that call ended with the chain falling apart. It hurts my head and my heart to think that the insistence and arrogance of one surgeon may have literally caused someone their life. Now that poor patient is back at square one as well as the other patients in the chain. I don't really understand why they couldn't just remove that one link from the chain and keep going but I guess the "weak link" may have been my match in Nebraska.
Turns out I am easy to match because they had already located a new match for me. This recipient is a lady in Charlotte, North Carolina. After extracting an additional 14 vials of blood for cross matching and other tests, they will ship that off to Charlotte and if all looks good we'll start planning for surgery again.
This journey has been so fascinating to me. There are parts that I don't really understand but I have to have faith that God will send my kidney where it needs to go. I am still praying for the man in Nebraska and also for the woman in North Carolina. I am praying for the teams of brilliant and dedicated people involved with life saving surgeries all over the world and am thankful to be just a small part of the process. I look forward to hearing back about the test results and will keep you all updated when I know more.