Please pray for Mark and his donor, and for Kyllee and the young boy who will be receiving the kidney that she is donating on May 2.
This isn't a simple procedure; it simply give Mark life.
Here is what Mark wrote on Face Book
April 4, 2018: I already shared this on the kidney page, but thought I’d share here for people who aren’t connected to that.
We have a transplant date!
Well, two dates actually. Since we are not doing a direct donation (Kyllee to me) but rather a paired exchange (where we swap donors around so everybody gets the best match they can find), my surgery and Kyllee's won't be on the same day. My surgery will be on May 1, and hers will be May 2.
We are not told a whole lot about the rest of the exchange chain, but it must be at least 3 donor/recipient pairs. The kidney I will get will be coming from a 27 year old male who is doing his surgery at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. That's about an hour from here, so the kidney will be in transit only a short time, which is a good thing. So we're very excited to know that.
The real news, at least in my mind, is that Kyllee's recipient will be a 14 year old boy who will be at Cornell for his transplant. The fact that a kid will be able to benefit from this is really moving for me and for Kyllee.
In fact, the longer I've had to think about paired exchange donation, the more I'm convinced it's actually better for the world as a whole than direct donation. Obviously, if a direct donation works, then great. And I understand that some people feel more comfortable with knowing their recipient.
But it seems to me that, if the Kidney Registry is able to match us up with an uknown number of people in a chain, all in a couple of weeks, there must be a large number of mismatched donor/recipient pairs out there who are stuck, waiting only for someone to come along and start the chain that breaks them free. So I encourage everyone, the next time you know about someone who needs a kidney donor, to think about (and more importantly promote) the idea of paired exchange--of being the someone who becomes the key to saving several lives.
In our case, Kyllee was that someone, and now we know that at least one person in the chain is a young person with a long future yet to be decided, who now gets a shot at that future. To think about that kid (and all the other people in the chain and all their loved ones) who will be helped makes my struggles seem less like a burden and more like a gift. Though I could never donate a kidney for obvious reasons, the fact that I'm a part of this chain means that I get to feel at least a part of what that would be like.
So once again, thank you Kyllee for your generosity and selflessness. Thank you also to all our friends and family who have stood by us and encouraged us. And thank you universe for forcing me to reach out for help that is ultimately going to help others as well.
April 21, 2018 I went yesterday for pre-surgical testing and a meeting with the surgeon, and I thought I'd post a bit about what they're planning to do and what I can expect recovery-wise, for those who are interested. I don't expect I'll be doing a lot more posts on this page, seeing as I'll be getting my transplant done a week from Tuesday.
They are not only going to give me a new kidney, they are going to take the old ones out (this is not standard procedure). My kidneys are really big (imagine swallowing a couple of Nerf footballs) and riddled with cysts that sometimes burst and cause me a lot of pain. Getting rid of them will get rid of the gut that I have (I'm vain enough to admit it's troubled me for years that I look much fatter than I am), and will also eliminate problems with bursting cysts. It means I'll be able to return to bicycling once I'm recovered, which has been one of the most disappointing of the things I've had to give up in the last few years (and as a hidden bonus, they will wind up incidentally fixing my umbilical hernia in the process).
But of course this gain does not come without a cost. Because the old kidneys are so big, they're gonna open me up from the bottom of my sternum to just below my belly button, which is a much larger incision than they'd make for just a transplant, and they'll have to jostle more of my insides around. That means that instead of 3-5 days in the hospital I can expect 5-7 days. Not a huge amount longer, but let's face it--any time in the hospital is longer than you want. I'm hoping that because I'm healthy going in my hospital time will be more on the 5 day side, but there's no guarantee.
After I get home, recovery is much like if I'd only done the transplant: No heavy lifting for 4 weeks, no driving until I'm off pain medications, lots of pills, lots of return visits to the hospital for tests (like twice a week for the first couple of weeks, then once a week, then once a month, etc.). With luck, I'll be back to something approximating normal in a couple of months.
It's hard to believe this has all come together, and that we're about to go through yet another life-changing experience. We remain extremely thankful for the generosity of Kyllee, and for the caring of our friends and family. Thank you all so much.