About Me

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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.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Reaching out for Help

Many of you know from reading my past blogs that Harvey Mysel, founder of the Living Kidney Donors Network was and is my mentor for not only becoming a living donor, but also for being a living donor advocate to others. He has educated thousands of people on how to find a living donor as well as educate them on the many options available such as kidney pairings. LKDN has been instrumental to the well being of many recipients.

Harvey himself is a recipient of a living kidney from his beautiful wife Amy. Unfortunately Harvey is now in need of another transplant. I ask all of you who read this to please reach out to anyone you many know who is considering being a donor to think about Harvey. Below is his letter that I hope you will take the time to read about the latest conditions that Harvey is facing.

Harvey Mysel – Kidney Transplant Update March 1, 2012
The transplanted kidney I received in 2007 has been damaged as a result of the BK Virus I contracted. While the BK Virus is rare and terribly unfortunate, recent studies show that patients who have had the BK Virus do well when re-transplanted. To read more about the BK Virus go to: www.lkdn.org/Kidney_Graft_Loss_BK_Virus.pdf

I would be honored if you would serve as an advocate to let others know about my need. To do that you’ll need to know a few key things about being a kidney donor:

 We are born with an extra kidney. Studies show that kidney donors live a normal, healthy life with only one kidney and are no more likely to suffer kidney failure. Go to: www.lkdn.org/Long_Term_Effect_Kidney_Donors_Health.pdf to read a study from the “New England Journal of Medicine” about kidney donors’ health after their transplant. (An interesting fact to realize is 1 in every 750 people are born with one kidney and their life expectancy is the same as someone who is born with 2 kidneys.)

 As a result of the new anti-rejection drugs, the “matching” of donor/recipient has become much easier. For situations where the donor/recipient are not compatible, “kidney paired exchange” programs allow these donors to be paired and matched with other incompatible pairs. To learn more about the matching process go to: www.lkdn.org/LKDN_Matching.pdf For more information about kidney paired exchanges go to: www.lkdn.org/LKDN_Paired_Exchanges.pdf

 I’m blood type A, and can receive a kidney from a blood type O or A. Interestingly 85% of the population is one of these 2 blood types. The (+) and the (-) after the blood type is not a factor for kidney transplants. If a donor has an incompatible blood type, a kidney paired exchange program becomes an option.

 Organ donors need to be in good health, without high blood pressure, kidney, heart, liver or other major health issues. For more details on donor qualifications go to: www.lkdn.org/who_can_be_living_donor.html

 Donating a kidney involves a major surgical procedure, and the donor is usually in the hospital 1- 3 days. The recuperation period is anywhere from 14 - 21 days for those with an office job, and about 6 weeks if the individual’s work entails more physical labor. The majority of the procedures are done laparoscopically, with 3 - 4 small holes for the instruments. A small incision is made to remove the transplanted kidney.

 Medical expenses relating to the transplant are paid by the recipient’s (my) insurance company (Blue Cross Blue Shield). Donors could be reimbursed for lost wages or travel expenses.

If you would like to learn more about the donation process, please contact me and I would be happy to discuss it in detail with you.

I am working with Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. In 2010, they performed 167 living kidney transplants, ranking them as the #2 hospital in the U.S. You could contact their Independent Living Donor Advocate, Jami Hanneman, MSW, LCSW, CCTSW 312-695-0828 who could answer questions (confidentially) and coordinate donor activity.

Please feel free to pass this information along to your family members and/or friends. Telling them about my situation will raise awareness and the potential of finding a compatible donor.

I greatly appreciate your support and concern.


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