Today we met with Dr. Fabrega. He was extremely knowledgeable and even
somewhat personable. We discussed pros
and cons of transplant surgery. This is
a necessary part of the process. Everyone wants to make sure that we realize that a lifetime of immunosuppressants
isn’t a walk in the park. But, of
course, it beats dialysis hands down.
We talked about the differences between
live and cadaveric donation, and how much more significant that is than whether or not an
organ is a good “match”. Everyone keeps
pushing the choice of a live donor on us…as though we have some control over
this. Such things are out of my
hands. About the only criteria that we
have for Kajsa’s kidney is that it be type O and healthy. And, of course, the younger – the
better. I learned that a good kidney can
last a lifetime if one is careful.
We talked about half-life. This is a concept that I didn’t really
understand before. I’d only heard it in
the context of, oh say, uranium and Twinkies. The formula behind half-life is quite simple really. If 100 people get a kidney, they measure how
much time passes before there is a failure in half (or 50) of the people. Now, this can be attributed to anything from a
person discontinuing meds to patient mortality for any reason. It turns out that the average half-life of a
kidney is 15 to 20 years. This is
different information than we’d remembered receiving, and very
encouraging. Considering that Kajsa will
be under our care for the next many years, and is starting out young…we can
hope for a much higher retention than the average.
So after our uplifting conversation with
Dr. Fabrega, Chris, Kajsa and I went back to the HLA lab to perform her final
blood draw. This is the batch that will
test her DNA etc.
Now we wait. I’ve performed all my tasks. I am not very good at NOT being somehow in
control of this part of our lives. Kajsa’s
health care is my full time job. It’s a
bit frightening to know that someday, when I least expect it, we will get a
call…and then everything will change, again.