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A Living Organ Recipient’s Account of the Pre-Transplant Experience

Mark, a 38-year old man with type 1 diabetes, kept the following journal from the time he learned that he had kidney failure till the time his transplant surgery was scheduled. Mark's brother Jeff gave him one of his kidneys. (Only entries related to his transplant are included.)

Date Comments

March 8

Regular 3-month check up with my doctor. Blood test results as follows: A1C= 6.2, Creatinine= 6.8, BUN= 73. Instructed to see nephrologist soon.

April 9

Visit with nephrologist. Blood tests as follows: Creatinine= 7.5, BUN= 72, Hemoglobin= 11.6, and white cells= 15.66K. Doctor explains dialysis treatments. We decide peritoneal dialysis would be best for me. Doctor refers me to surgeon to insert the peritoneal catheter.

May 8

Placed referral for organ transplant with insurance.

May 10

My brother Jeff and sister Dawn tell me they are both willing to donate a kidney to me.

June 14

Received letter from my insurer that my transplant evaluation has been approved at the University of Chicago.

June 18

Spoke with pre-transplant coordinator from the University of Chicago Medicine today. She scheduled me for an initial consultation with the medical staff on July 10. Also scheduled my sister Dawn, brother Jeff, and I for a kidney education meeting on July 9. She’s sending me info via mail on both.

July 10

Met with transplant surgeon and pre-transplant coordinator for the first time. Gave me a stress test, echocardiogram, blood test, and chest x-ray.

August 6

Dawn, Jeff, and I give blood for organ match compatibility.

August 9

Was informed today that Dawn and Jeff have compatible blood types for organ donation. We have scheduled a genetic test for Monday 8/19 at 10 a.m.

August 16

I have a scheduled meeting with the cardiologist at 9:45 a.m. today. Also, I am to meet with the social worker at 11 a.m.

August 18

Dawn, Jeff, and I go to the University of Chicago for a genetic blood test.

August 28

My pre-transplant coordinator has informed us that Jeff matched 6 out of 6 criteria for organ donation. We are proceeding with the required tests for Jeff.

September 4

Jeff started the transplant evaluation process. He had blood tests, urine test, chest x-ray, and met with the social worker today.

September 11

Jeff has more evaluation tests today including meeting with the kidney specialist, a glucose tolerance test, and a 24-hour urine specimen.

October 2

My final test before surgery, draw blood and meet with the doctors.

October 3

Jeff goes for CAT scan and meets with doctors.

October 8

Transplant surgery scheduled for 6 a.m.

Mark and Jeff's surgeries went fine. Mark is now awaiting a second transplant surgery--a deceased donor pancreas to treat his type 1 diabetes.

Read about Jeff's experience as a kidney donor

September 2006