Chris called me from UW this afternoon around 5:00. She explained that the lab has to do further testing on my blood to determine whether or not this DQ gene is going to be an issue. Apparently the lab is taking me out of the freezer(or at least my blood!) and running more tests in the next couple of days. There are two different variants of the gene that I could potentially have -- if I have the first variant, it is not a problem and we could proceed with the transplant process as planned. The second variant however could pose a problem. Chris explained that this genetic testing is really quite recent. Just a few years ago it was not even known that this gene could cause problems. But now through the miracles of modern medicine, not only have they identified the gene, but they have found a way to help decrease the odds of rejection due to the mismatch. So, if this second variant does indeed exist we will have to consider the desensitization process. Desensitization will make it less likely that Lonnie will reject my kidney, however the rate would still be 25-35% higher than if this genetic variant did not exist(that rate is for UW, the national rate is more like 40-60%). However, without desensitization the rejection rate would most likely be 100%! Just think, before they knew about this gene there were rejections that occurred that possibly could have been avoided. The desensitization process would consist of Lonnie visiting UW 3 times per week for a week or two prior to surgery to have plasmapheresis -- a blood filtering process that would remove the antibodies from his system that would likely attack the foreign kidney. So it would add trips to Madison, along with the knowledge that rejection would be more likely than it would be without the variant. So Chris told me I need to consider that as well. But as I have told Lonnie and Ginger before, I am here for the long haul! And as Chris said tonight -- there are just no guarantees in transplant surgery! Even a "perfect transplant" can be rejected. So now we wait...again! Chris hoped to maybe have answers from the lab by Friday.
Tonight Lonnie and Ginger's daughters Kellie and Janel met me at their house around 5:30 p.m. Lonnie and Ginger thought we just all "happened" to stop by to visit. But in reality we were there to tell them about the bracelets. After giving them each one I broke the news to them that we were selling the bracelets and all of the money would go towards their expenses for the transplant. They got emotional, as I think we all did! They are extremely grateful to everyone for purchasing and wearing the bracelets. Kellie's son Riley immediately took several and went around the neighborhood selling them. Within about 1/2 hour he had sold a dozen! I think he might be in the running for "Salesman of the Month"!
You may have noticed my updated picture. My friend Jolene mentioned to me that she thought everyone needed to see a picture of Lonnie -- so here it is! The picture is from tonight at their house. I had just arrived home from Packer training camp, where I treated my kidneys to a day of family fun. Lonnie changed into his Packer shirt so we would match for the photo! For those of you who don't know Lonnie, I hope you are glad to finally put a face to the name.