Back Down to Earth

Before I begin this blog post, I want to say thank you to all those who stopped to wave and smile, to give a hug and to ask sincerely, “How are you?” over the past several months. Other than waving and smiling back, embracing the hugs and replying with, “I feel great”, I have been in complete and happy denial.

Being home with my husband for July and August was wonderful. It is the first vacation I have had in a long time. Indeed, it’s the first vacation my husband and I have had together in years. We didn’t go anywhere, just hung around home and worked on our garage. It was fun. But now that it’s October, I have to go for my 3-month bloodwork in preparation for my November appointment at the Renal Clinic. I had bloodwork in July and heard nothing from the clinic regarding any changes, so hence the denial. Let’s see what the next report says. But today, something else brought me back down to earth – some news about a friend.

The following is a collaborative Facebook post written by Sarah Mackinnon and her two sisters Hillary and Emily. They are asking for a kidney for their mom, Joanne Rose, from a living donor. PKD is hereditary, so like my son, Alex, Joanne’s daughters also have PKD and are unable to donate one of their kidneys to their mom. This is their plea to help their mom find a kidney.

Meet my mom, Joanne Rose, 59 years old, and in need of your help to get a new kidney.​

Born with polycystic kidney disease in 1959 and diagnosed with kidney failure in 2009, she has been through a lot. Retired registered nurse, mother of three and devoted wife of 39 years, she needs a kidney transplant.

In 2014, our family endured a very stressful and emotional 40 days that ended in a failed kidney transplant and several complications. Ever the optimist, my mom has persevered and is now doing hemodialysis (she connects herself to a machine that filters her blood, as her failed kidneys can no longer do it) at home.

Joanne is a devoted wife, loving mother, and volunteer in her community. She regularly bikes alongside my dad on his longer runs, goes for walks, and leads an active lifestyle.

As a family, we have been waiting 9 years for her to get a kidney transplant. The transplant list is long, and my mom is what they call “highly sensitized.” This means that she has more antibodies than most people, making it harder to find a match.

So, to get right down to it, we need a donor. Someone willing to donate a kidney to my mom, so that she doesn’t need to be connected to a machine for more than 16 hours every week, so that she can travel outside of Canada again and enjoy retirement with my dad. I have stared at the computer and tried to find the right words to explain what this means to my family, what it will mean for my mother, but they are lost to me. We have explored every other option and now we are turning to social media to see if through sharing this post, we can find someone would be willing to help us.

Canada has a very low number of organ donors. Despite 90% of Canadians reporting that they support organ and tissue donation, less than 25% have made plans to donate. There are currently 4,500 Canadians waiting for an organ transplant, 77% of them are in need of a new kidney.

If you think you could help, please feel free to message me directly on Facebook or email me us at akidneydonorforjoanne@gmail.com. And please share this post! The more shares we get, the more likely we will be to find a donor!

For more information on living kidney donation, click here:
http://legacyoflife.ns.ca/living_donati…/Giving-A-Kidney.pdf

For information on the provincial living donor reimbursement policy, click here:
http://legacyoflife.ns.ca/…/Living-Organ-Donor-Reimbursemen…

For information on becoming a registered organ donor, click here:
http://legacyoflife.ns.ca/how_to_be_a_donor/index.html

If you believe in organ donation, I encourage you to sign up with your health card and have the conversation with your family. I know it’s not a conversation that is easy, but you never know when someone you know and love might need an organ too.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing
Joanne and her husband.

 

When I was a lab technologist at Roseway Hospital, I knew Joanne Rose. She was a nurse so we didn’t see each other often, but she was very kind, very friendly and always smiling. She was someone who I saw seldom but it was always a pleasure when I did. I saw her a few months ago at which time I learned she also had PKD, had had a transplant that failed and was back on dialysis. I thought to myself at the time how hard that must have been – to have a kidney that offered such hope and then to have suffered its failure. And then to face again being hooked up to a dialysis machine.

I could talk more and list facts, talk about processes, etc. But I will repeat something I mentioned in a previous post that my nephrologist had said:

“…no one should have to wait for a kidney transplant because everybody has two kidneys. So there should be enough to go around.”

When I first started the conversation regarding living donors, I wasn’t just asking for myself. I hoped it would start your own conversations. Yes, it is a lot to ask for. But you are not just giving someone a kidney. You are giving them a chance to have a normal life, to spend quality time with family and friends. And like Sarah said, someone you love and know might need an organ too.

Please think about it.

Please talk about it.

Please consider becoming a living donor.

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