At 5:30 tonight I received a call from Chris, our transplant coordinator at UW Hospital. I was so surprised to get the call -- especially at 5:30 on a Friday evening! I had not talked with her since the day in August when she called to let me know that Lonnie and I could not do our surgery. Tonight she told me that she was calling with the news that UW was planning to "go live" on a national kidney swap program in December. She was calling to see if Lonnie and I were interested in being listed in the database. Well...OF COURSE!!
For those of you unfamiliar with a swap(or paired) donation, let me take a minute to explain it to you. When a donor and a recipient find out they are not a match for each other they can choose to be paired up with another "non-matched" donor and recipient pair. In this case Donor A would donate a kidney to Recipient B and in exchange Donor B would donate a kidney to Recipient A. Although this sounds like a great idea, up until now they have only been able to compare donor/recipient pairs within centers -- not between centers. And even then they have had to try to make the connections all by hand. It could take a transplant coordinator weeks to match up one pair with another so the chances are finding another pair were very slim. The great news from Chris today was that now there is a computer program that has been designed to do the work much more efficiently. It also allows centers to share information on their donors and recipients, thus greatly widening the pool of available pairs.
Once Chris found out that I was definitely still on board she needed to call Lonnie and make sure he was okay with the plan as well. Of course he said YES! So, the next step is to get all of my physical testing done at UW Hospital. I had all of these tests done at Froedtert Hospital back in May, but never had them done at UW. Due to the 6 month time lapse and the fact that UW never did the testing themselves, they will need to be repeated. Then Lonnie will be re-assessed to make sure he is still healthy enough for transplant. If all works out we will get listed in the national database. Then....we wait. Chris says that Lonnie and I would definitely still have surgery at UW and the organs would be flown wherever they needed to go.
So...we possibly have another chance at this kidney thing! We are cautiously optimistic tonight! Of course we know that it is possible that we will not find another pair, but we indeed have renewed hope. Prayers are certainly appreciated!