Giving the Gift of Life...Twice!
By Marilyn Unger
February 1, 2008. That was the day we discovered that Katelyn had only one kidney.
On February 6, our doctor called and told us to get Katelyn to the emergency room at Children's Mercy immediately—she was in renal failure!
After the initial exam by the ER doctors, the diagnosis was "end stage renal disease."
We were completely shocked and overwhelmed by the news. Katelyn, then 17, had never been sick in her life, other than with a cold or touch of the flu. This was the first time we had ever taken her to the hospital, and now they were telling us that she was going to have to be admitted for several days.
It was the worst day of our lives.
Taking a difficult path
We were all very scared about what was going to happen in the coming days. On Feb. 7, Katelyn had a hemodialysis catheter placed in her chest and began dialysis treatments. She had dialysis three days a week, four hours each day.
We were told that Katelyn would remain on dialysis until she could get a kidney transplant. At first, dialysis was very hard on her. She would come home on dialysis days completely worn out and would just go to sleep.
She had to miss a lot of school and adjust her class schedule to allow for her absences. It was a tremendous adjustment for Katelyn.
When a mother can help
Although Katelyn remained positive and was extremely strong through it all, we knew we had to get the transplant done as quickly as possible, and so I was the first to be tested. I began my testing in early April and on May 7 we received the news that I would be her donor. I was thrilled that I would get to give my baby girl the gift of life a second time.
This was one of the best days of our lives!
Katelyn's transplant was performed on June 17, 2008. She has had her new kidney for almost three years now and is feeling wonderful!
Getting on with her life
She is finishing her second year of college at Missouri State University with a major in accounting. She will graduate in December of 2012 with her bachelor's degree and plans to graduate with a master's degree the following December.
Katelyn will be transitioning to adult care this fall. We will miss the exceptional care we've received at CMH, but with the help of the staff in the Kidney Center, we are confident that they will make it a smooth transition for our family, and especially for Katelyn.
Words can't express our appreciation for the staff at CMH. Everyone we met was exceptionally kind and caring. Katelyn's doctor always made time for our questions and concerns, and Katelyn felt very comfortable with him.
He was always extremely positive about Katelyn's recovery, even when things were at their worst. We are so thankful that we were able to get Katelyn's treatment at Children's Mercy!
How you can help people like Katelyn
You can influence lives and provide hope to patients like Katelyn by including Children's Mercy in your estate plans. It isn't difficult and doesn't need to affect your current finances.