At 2:30 p.m. today Chris called me from UW to tell me that she had very good news for me. The transplant team met and cleared me as a donor. This paves the way for Lonnie and I to be placed in the Paired Donation Exchange Program. The next step is for the team to meet to decide which genetic markers will be necessary to avoid for Lonnie in a potential donor. Usually they meet every Tuesday, but they are not meeting again until January 25th. Chris said that while we wait for that meeting she will have Karen(the head of the program at UW) get us started on the mounds of paperwork that will be necessary to make this happen. We will need to sign informed consents to allow the program to use all of our health information to match us up with another pair or pairs. After the January 25th meeting, Chris is hoping we can be placed into the program. UW has only placed one pair into the program so far so I inquired as to their status. Chris told me that they matched almost immediately and are now part of a 18 person chain!! She said the first 4 people in that chain have already gone to surgery. That is amazing since the pair was just placed in the program as of December! I can only hope we have similar results.
I was thinking back today to the start of this journey. It has been well over a year since I first told Lonnie I would donate -- and almost 10 months since we started the process. What an incredible, emotional journey it has been! I have never once doubted my decision to donate, nor have I doubted that this would truly happen someday. And now we have the chance to be one of the very first group of people in the nation to be included in this unbelievably exciting paired exchange program. I feel like history is being made and we are so fortunate to be a part of it!
Thank you so much to all of you who have prayed, who have supported us, who have asked about us, and even to the people who have questioned me about my decision. It has only served to make me stronger! I could never in my wildest dreams have predicted where this would go or where we would be today. I have learned so much about organ donation and the living donor process. I really thought I knew a lot about donation in general -- wow was I wrong! The need is so incredible and I am so thankful to be able to help.