I had a friend ask me why I can’t go ahead and get my family tested to see if anyone is a match for a kidney transplant. It’s a great question and one that I have been asked before so I thought that I would answer it on my blog today.
|Scar from kidney transplant. Check out this cute blog, she has lupus like me too.|
Check out her blog here:FlowonLupus
The quick answer is that while it sounds like a great solution, it’s really a double edged sword. Once I get a donor kidney, I will have to start taking anti-rejection meds for the rest of my life. These meds are no walk in the park and have serious side effects. Also, the kidney does not last the lifetime of the recipient, I know of one person that has had her kidney for 20 years now, but the average is much less.
A lot of people find it interesting to learn that the diseased kidneys are not even removed during the transplant; the new kidney just gets placed (normally in a different location) and the old ones are left. The reason for this is that even if they are only functioning at 5% they are still helping filter blood. As they die and stop working completely the body just reabsorbs them. The surgery to remove the kidneys would also be very invasive.
Currently, my kidney function is around 25% which means that for a person with healthy kidneys their blood is filtered through the kidneys about 8 times an hour and so for me it’s a lot less. In order to be considered for a transplant, my kidneys would have to be in failure, and I would likely have to start dialysis while the search begins. Sometimes, I wonder if my kidneys even know they are sick because most days I don’t feel like I have a serious disease. They are just down there doing their thing at a much slower pace.
The procedure is really tough, requires a long stay in the hospital, and is something I hope I can post pone for as long as possible. In fact, I’m waiting for advancements that will reduce the anti-rejection meds, and who knows how long that will be. Lastly, I'm praying for complete healing.