Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Requirements of a Kidney Donor

Quite a few of you have expressed an interest in donating.  Here is what is required:

  • You must be blood type O as Joe is type O.  Positive or negative don't matter.
  • Our insurance will cover all the medical costs.  There might be other costs, transportation, lodging, and meals, and we will try to help you with that, but money is VERY tight right now.  I can't promise that we could cover all those costs.
  • You cannot have diabetes.
  • You can't have a history of kidney stones.
  • If you just had a baby, you must wait six months after delivery.
  • You can't have high blood pressure.
  • Ages: no one past 60 years old.  Anyone in the 50's would have to be a really good match.  Anything less than 50 is ok.  
I recently read an article about the health affects to the living donor.  You can link here to read the whole article.  Basically, it says that donors have the same life expectancy as non-donors.  After the kidney is removed, the remaining kidney compensates and will be working at 85% within 2 weeks.  The rate of donors who themselves end up with End Stage Renal Failure is much lower than the general population.  If it does occur (usually for family genetic reasons), those patients are moved to the top of the wait list for a kidney.

If you do meet the above criteria, you can call the donor line.  The number is 480-342-1010.  Ask to be transferred to Mindy's backline.  She is helping us find a match for Joe.  If she is unavailable, you can say that you are a potential kidney donor.  There is a phone interview that takes about 10 minutes.  It's basic medical history stuff; pretty much the things I mentioned above.  They will need your name, social, and date of birth.  Organ donation is highly regulated by the government.  They want to make sure that people are not paying donors for their organs.  Or that donors are being threatened into donating.  They will then review your numbers.  A nurse will call you back.  When she calls you back, she will have you take a blood test.  This can be done long distance.  The test will even determine your blood type.  So, if you don't know it now, you can still do these steps and they will tell you your blood type.  After you have passed the 10 minute health history part, the blood test part, then Mayo will need you for 3-5 days of testing in Scottsdale.  The tests are similar to what Joe did.  Blood work, urine, EKG, ultrasound, stress test, etc.  

The timeline goes like this:
  1. Joe goes through all the testing to determine his health.
  2. Next Tuesday, a committee will go over his results and vote on if he would be a good candidate for a kidney transplant.  They will call us immediately to let us know.  If not, he would have to continue life on dialysis.  This is VERY hard on him.  Please pray that he would be a candidate for transplant.
  3. Our insurance will need to clear everything.  
  4. Joe will go on the wait list for a cadaver kidney.  
  5. We begin the search for a live donor.
*****UPDATE****We have cleared steps 1, 2, 3, and 4.

That's where you come in.  Maybe.  We realize how enormous this decision is.  HUGE.  Let's face it; it's an organ.  If you have thought about it and have decided to not go ahead, we understand.  If you do still want to proceed, you would need to call the Mayo Clinic.  We are not allowed to call for you and they are not allowed to call you directly.  

Thank you for your time.  Thank you for your prayers.  This is an amazing journey we are on.  It has made us realize the fragility of life.  Every day truly is a gift.  

where Glory meets my suffering