#53. Digesting the news - June 2012

Tracey, the transplant co-ordinator, also told me I might be part of a chain of transplants involving eight people…I’m at the beginning of the chain. 

Several months ago I agreed that I would put my name in a Canadian kidney registry. It’s set up to help people who need a kidney who are hard to match, broadening their pool of possible donors. This group meets four times a year to try to find matches. 

The advantage of this type of donation is that I would be more likely to be part of a chain of donations.  Because I am an anonymous donor and don’t need to receive a kidney for a family member, the chain does not need to close, and so they are able to create the chain more easily. My donation can help to trigger a number of other transplants. 

I really debated whether I would go to Toronto to donate. If you’ve read my blog, you know that some of the reasons why I was willing to donate was because that I knew the surgeon and the hospital in Hamilton from my husband’s time of illness. 

I decided that personally I could face going to Toronto and donating there. But my decision is also about how this will affect my family. It’s a lot less stressful for my husband to have me being operated on by a surgeon he has trusted with his life. The hospital and the routine in Hamilton are familiar to him and to us there. And it’s closer, just 45 km instead of 100 km away from our home.

So I decided that I want to donate in Hamilton. It just means that they will transport my kidney to the recipient. I wondered whether that meant there was a higher risk of rejection, or whether the kidney would not last as long.  But the research that I did showed that transporting kidneys doesn’t reduce the positive outcomes in kidney surgeries.

What happens next is that I have to go in for a blood test next week, where they will do a physical match-up with my blood and the person who needs my kidney. We match on paper, but will we match in reality?   They put our blood together and analyze what happens. This is an essential part of testing our compatability.

It feels sort of like eharmony or Lavalife, or one of those big on-line dating services, but with a more scientific approach, and a lot more at stake. 

This news has got me wondering all over again who this person is. Right now they are on dialysis, and they are hoping for a new lease on life with this transplant. They are going to get a blood test the same day as me, and we will meet in a test tube somewhere! And if that works out, we will meet in a much more intimate way.  Intimate and yet surprisingly distant!