In 2009 I received bone marrow and kidney transplant from my younger brother Stephen. Its been 11 years and my kidney is still going strong.
I was lucky enough to be accepted into the MGH Tolerance Study which allowed me to participate in a kidney transplant trial. The goal was to achieve tolerance with the transplanted kidney. On Tuesday morning March 31st, 2009 I went to surgery and my life changed forever. I woke up on Wednesday morning feeling energized and clear-headed. I am so thankful for my brother Stephen.
The magic of the Tolerance study is the immune system is 'reprogrammed' to recognize the transplanted kidney as a nonforeign objective. This is the struggle with all transplants. The body's battle to fight off a nonnative organ and the recipient's control of the necessary and sometimes dangerous immunosuppressant drugs. These drugs are powerful and while keeping your immune system from attacking the transplant put you at risk for infections and other dangerous side effects.
This next statement needs to stand on its own.
I have been living medication free with my transplant. I am free.
One humorous side note is my brother Stephen though younger is almost double in my size. The unintended side effect of that is his kidney was very large. At the hospital, we joked about the big juicy kidney I received. I have been living with one kidney for 11 years but with a function comparable to or better than a person with two native kidneys. I am thankful every day for this sacrifice and his talent for growing extra-large kidneys.
I am so thankful for the talented and dedicated people at MGH. I am so thankful for my friends and family supporting me throughout that process and continuing to support me and my effort to give back to help others suffering from kidney disease.
My family and friends and I have been walking in the Boston Kidney Walk in 2009. I left the hospital in April 2009 and we walked our first walk in May 2009. We haven't stopped walking since!
Thank you for reading my story and considering a donation!