- Chicago, Illinois, United States
- Make Life Happen! Welcome to all of you who visit. If you are looking into becoming a Living Donor and would like a detailed idea of my journey..scroll down and begin with the older posts first. I welcome any questions or topics that you would like to know more about.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Meet My Recipient, Dr. Daniel Becker
I have had so many people ask me if I knew who would be getting my kidney and the answer was no. Since I am an altruistic donor my kidney goes to who needs it and that is the most important thing. During my evaluation process to become qualified as kidney donor, one of the many questions I was asked was you would like to meet your recipient?
My answer was yes of course! But only if it was comfortable for the recipient to do so. I have to remind myself that even though this is a tremendous gift to someone you must also respect their privacy for whatever reasons they might have.
Fortunately I have had the honor of meeting my recipient. As I said in my earlier blogs all of us were invited to the press conference following our surgeries. It was an amazing moment, truly a life changing moment. None of us had any idea that this would be the largest kidney pairing Northwestern had ever done. I know that the hospital had to bring an extra staff of 40 people in order to handle this huge kidney exchange and would require a tremendous amount of coordination and endless hours of matching and scheduling for the Transplant Staff to make it all happen. To them, I give my thanks for their dedication.
Dr. Dan Becker, a veterinarian in Naperville, Illinois is the gentleman that ended up receiving my kidney in the pairing process. Dan graduated from University of Illinois in 1984 and has been a veterinarian for 26 years this month! He practices at Boulder Terrace Animal Hospital in Naperville and has a lot of cute, fury fans. I wanted to speak to him first before writing this as I respect his privacy. I was so happy that he is allowing me to share his story. Dan felt it was an important part getting the word out about the importance being a Living Kidney Donor.
Dan and I didn’t have much time to really speak the day of the press conference. All of us were exhausted, on pain medication and were anxious to go home. I asked him to describe to me the events leading up to his needing a kidney transplant. He was diagnosed with diabetes at the very early age of 3 years old. Dan and his parents, Dick and Lynn Becker and his siblings knew that eventually he would most likely need a kidney transplant. August of 2009 Dan’s kidneys were shutting down and his fears were confirmed. He did go on dialysis and he had to coordinate his dialysis treatments so that he could go home afterwards. It was extremely exhausting for him and he had issues with dehydration. The idea of being on dialysis for an extended amount of time was definitely not a happy one. Now knowing what needed to happen, Dan and his family immediately started looking into finding a donor for him. His staff, family and friends were all supportive and many stepped forward to donate. Some were eliminated because they did not qualify, others because they were not a match. It was actually Dan’s receptionist that recommended Northwestern Hospital as an option as her Mother had received a transplant there.
Dan’s sister, Pam was determined and although she was not a direct match for Dan she wanted to be part of this kidney exchange pairing so it would be possible for her Brother to receive a kidney. She flew in from Atlanta at her own expense to participate as did Dan’s parents Dick and Lynn Becker to be there for support to Dan and Pam. In Dan’s mind, struggling with diabetes most of his life, he was amazed that the need for a transplant had not happened sooner. He managed to keep his diabetes under control with close medical monitoring, diet, exercise and insulin but after so many years it became too much.
Needless to say he was extremely grateful to his Sister for stepping up on his behalf in this pairing and I am sure the recipient of her kidney is as well! He received the magic phone call on Good Friday that Northwestern had found a match for him and his surgery was scheduled for April 26, 2010.
His progress has been excellent and no dialysis! His numbers were normal before he even left the hospital. Dan brings a very important topic to the table. It is imperative it to get the word out about the importance of living donor ship and kidney pairings. In our conversations he brought up an interesting point. Some people are more than willing to donate providing the person they want receives their kidney, but not open to it if the person they know is not going to be the recipient. What people need to understand is if they are donating a kidney in a pairing exchange like ours…EVERYBODY WINS! Being a living kidney donor to me, is a Kidney Squad Team who are there to benefit as many people as possible. Since I was an altruistic donor and Dan’s Sister was not compatible to donate directly to him, he received my kidney.
I saw Dan a week after our surgeries at our follow up appointments at Northwestern. I was amazed at how GREAT he looked. Surgery for the recipient is more intricate than the donors. He was sporting 34 staple stitches. Wow…ok…I am definitely not going to complain about my small incisions. I remember saying to Dan at the press conference to remember two things…if he craved dark chocolate that was me and if he found himself saying I have to pee out loud..that was definitely my trademark.
If you are interested in becoming a living kidney donor...Make life happen!
WTTW, Channel 11 Interview, May 19, 2010