My Third Transplant – Miracles Happen

Thanks for visiting today and I hope you have found the story about my transplants interesting. They happened over an extensive period, beginning in 1986.

My First Transplant – Part One – Link HERE

My First Transplant – Part Two – Link HERE

Early Rescue – My Second Transplant – Link HERE

Today will be the story of my third transplant – Miracles Happen. I love telling this story because it is about Hope.

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My second transplant was in July, 1987 and I really count it as my first one. The first one only lasted a very short period despite desperate attempts to save that nearly cost me my life.

My second transplant came after returning to hemodialysis three times a week from September 1986 to July 1987. That transplant gave us a scare then last a wonderful 31 years. A big success, thirty is a number few transplants succeed to but I hope that improvements in transplant surgery and kidney matching will see transplants last longer and longer.

As the years passed since 1987 my kidney transplant gradually lost its ability to do its job. The numbers slowly went down but there was not much anyone could do to stop it.

As I approached my 60th birthday in 2018 the situation was inevitable. I was struggling and I had gone already past the point of when hemodialysis could/should begin.

Finding it tougher each day, I wrote a post called ” Don’t le me Die, Until I’m Dead” – the link is below in the caption, shortly before resigning myself to begin dialysis again, as a life sentence.

Don’t let me Die, Until I’m dead – Link Here

Looking back I wanted to celebrate one more birthday without relying on a machine’s life saving work. I tried hard but didn’t make it. I was aware that once I began dialysis, my struggling transplant would stop completely. It was like a marathon runner that had gone so far and done it’s best, it finally would take a seat and never rise again.

The day I called the hospital to say I had to come in and begin dialysis was sad but the staff on the ward were great, and that is no surprise. That day I began doing dialysis and feeling better. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays – even on Christmas Day in 2018. The inability to eat the same or drink the same was super frustrating but important as the days in-between treatment were as important as the days on dialysis in order to stay healthy. I wanted to stay healthy.

In preparation for going on dialysis I had done all the tests, vaccines and appointments to go back on the transplant list. Once I was doing dialysis again, and if my health met standards, then the transplant coordinator would look four times a year NATIONWIDE to try to find me a kidney match.

There was GOOD news and there was BAD news.

The good news was that I have a universal blood type – AB Positive – I can receive a tissue match from anyone. That was a big help.

The bad news was that because of my long transplant I had developed antibodies that would make me a difficult person to match to. My odds of finding a match were told to me to be about 2 in a hundred. As a result the matching process could be eight years or more.

Eight years or more. (sigh) That was demoralizing because that is a long, long, long time on dialysis and dialysis is not without its effects on the body. Perhaps too long to survive or too long to be healthy enough for a transplant.

My wife said to me “Two percent is way more than Zero” – let’s pray and have hope“. Instead of agreeing with my sad perception that it sounded hopeless she focused on the hopeful. I listened, and it helped.

Amazingly I got a call after three months from the transplant coordinator, Andrea. She said “Dave, this has never happened before, and it may never happen again – but we found a match, a close match for you on our first search!”

I was so excited but she said it was a cross country DONOR chain and it would be until April next spring to organize all the different donors and recipients in different hospitals (eight months away).

Since the chain could break any time up to the time of surgery – I was not to talk about it. So I didn’t – at least not for the first 7 months until I had an actual surgery date. Then I was excited, so excited.

A DONOR CHAIN is when each person in a chain is giving their organ to someone they don’t know in order that someone else donates an organ to someone they don’t know. That’s because the person they do know, they aren’t a compatible donor and so cannot donate directly.

These chains match organs to recipients who would otherwise not receive a transplant.

Ten minutes before they wheel me down to the cold operating room in 2019

That was my miracle, an amazing friend of mine had tested to donate to me directly but was not a match. They offered the chain idea as an option and he agreed. As a result of his YES I received my kidney in BC and someone in Ontario received their kidney as well. In fact everyone in the chain got their kidney. ♥ (Thankfully three years later and my friend is doing well! )

My Miracle Happened, I didn’t have to wait and try to survive on dialysis nearly as long as anticipated.

I am and my family are so grateful for a third opportunity to extend my life.

If not for dialysis and transplants I would have died at age 24 – 39 years ago (five years on dialysis and 34 years post transplant.

Thanks for reading. – David

Please take two minutes to become an organ donor. In my province of BC – this is the link here.

About dfolstad58

I live in the South Okanagan. BC. I enjoy reading, exercise, toastmasters. spending time with my son, my daughter, & her husband , and my patient wife. I try to respond personally to every comment on my blog, and in this way I hope to get to know my readers a little bit and and am able to thank readers for their encouragement on what they liked and suggestions on what they would like to see me try in order to improve.
This entry was posted in FAVORITE POSTS - A Few of them ♥, health, Thinking Out loud and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to My Third Transplant – Miracles Happen

  1. You are truly a miracle David. My sweet brother-in-law, also named David, died while waiting for a kidney to become available. He was also on dialysis with lots of other complications. When I read your stories, the generosity, and success of your transplants it’s as if a message from our departed David! Makes me so very happy! Be well my friend, xxoo, C

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Darlene says:

    This is a story about hope. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Greg DeGagne says:

    👍

    Greg

    >

    Like

  4. Greg says:

    Great write up, Dave. Just wanted to add that my kidney donation never would have been possible without the support of my lovely wife, family, co-workers and especially the amazing transplant teams in both Vancouver and Toronto, both of which I had the pleasure of meeting in person (each and every one) long before the operation, as well as up to and including the momentous day. It really gave me confidence that I was making the correct decision to save a good friend’s life as well as have an enormous impact on the lives of many other patients, and their families who I’ll never meet.

    Liked by 3 people

    • dfolstad58 says:

      Thank you for adding that comment Greg. There were countless numbers of people involved in the dozens of steps involved. I am immensely grateful also to your entire family, here and in Ontario, and your co-workers etc. I like to think that being part of something positive that saves lives creates goodwill and it multiplies as every person can put their little input in. There are big and little contributions but they all count, and they all make a difference and everyone who contributes can feel glad they did their part. I think that’s one of the reasons why raising awareness and being outspoken is critical. Each story is repeated and people hear it and the wave touches more people and hopefully other families and donors. Where there is so much negative, it’s nice to create some light in the world.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Wynne Leon says:

    Wow – what a story! And so lovely that you didn’t have to wait 8 years. Thanks for the story and the awareness of organ donation.

    Like

  6. debscarey says:

    That is such a moving story David – it’s actually brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  7. LA says:

    Wonderful series!! Thank you for sharing your story!

    Like

  8. Judy Sloan says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Dave. I’m in my 7th year of my deceased kidney transplant and like you I am highly sensitized and only 4 out of 100 will be a match (including blood type etc. ). And I am an 0. I am a low functioning kidney person – my GFR ranges between 22 – 27. So having someone who understands my concerns is great. I value each day and praise God for his guidance on this journey. Bless you and Susan! Judy Sloan

    Like

    • dfolstad58 says:

      Dear Judy. thank you for reading and commenting. I do understand. I have done the gamut from CAPD, hemodialysis, peritonitis, surgeries on my wrists multiple times to repair my fistula. Bless you and it’s nice to talk to you. Please follow and comment in the future so I can chat with you again. – David

      Like

  9. Pooja G says:

    Wow you have been through so much. I’m so glad you got so lucky and got this amazing third chance. Truly a miracle to be grateful for and definitely proof that having hope is important.

    Like

  10. lghiggins says:

    Your pie chart really tells your story clearly. Thanks again for sharing. I love your wife’s positive attitude.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. pkadams says:

    God bless your friend, and you !

    Like

  12. I’m an organ donor. Your story is inspiring, Dave. Thanks for sharing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I always love reading about your transplant history. My husband is in year 11 with his transplanted kidney. We were so blessed that I was able to be the donor. I love that your wife said 2% is way better than 0. That is definitely someone you want on your side cheering you on.

    Like

  14. Jake Vandermeer - Centra Windows says:

    You are a true inspiration Dave! I am so happy to hear you are doing well. I find it very inspiring the way you guys have worked through these situations without losing site of hope! It has paid off and you are an example for so many people. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Like

    • dfolstad58 says:

      Hi Jake, big smile on my face reading your comment. It’s not to unexpected that life includes these twists and challenges. When they happen though and they do, attitude and gratitude for what you have and not focusing on the negative can make the difference. You can complain you always hit the red lights, or you can be glad you have a car. My best to you and your young family – I’m glad to know you – David

      Like

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