Thursday, January 13, 2011

Kidney Changes Cousins

Kathy Bonds and Nancy Gibbons have some things in common - they're cousins, love horses, and have had the same kidney. Yes, that's right - they've had the same kidney. Nancy has suffered from polycystic kidney disease (PKD) for years. PKD is a disease passed down through families in which cysts grow on the kidneys. The cysts cause the kidneys to enlarge and eventually fail causing a life-threatening health situation for the patient. The disease cost Nancy's father his life and led to a kidney transplant for her older sister. So, Nancy knew what she was up against.

Kathy, in good health at 67 years of age, volunteered to donate one of her own kidneys to her cousin, Nancy. I learned in a story, Kidney Donation Deepens Cousins' Strong Bond, on, that because of her age, the medical staff's biggest concern was whether the donor, Kathy, would do well after surgery with only one kidney. They decided that because she was a marathoner, and so fit, that she should do fine. However, they ran into a problem. Kathy had her tests run at Froedtert Hospital in Wauwatosa, WI which has an age limitation for donors. Kathy was too old to do the transplant there. However, with Nancy living in Hawaii, they both decided to travel to California to UC Davis to have the transplant done because there was no age limitation there. So, on November 30, 2010, doctors at UC Davis performed Nancy's sucessful transplant.

Both cousins are doing well and should have many years left to enjoy each others company. The doctor's believe the transplant should be good for 16-19 years since it was from a living donor. Kidneys from a deceased donor typically last less than eight. Even though Kathy had to travel a couple of thousand miles to save her cousin's life, in the end it worked out for the best. Congratulations to both of them.

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