Kid­ney trans­plant re­cip­i­ent urges or­gan dona­tion

Dianne Lake got a sec­ond chance at life be­cause some­one ticked the box to be­come a donor

The Southern Gazette - - Editorial - BY MAR­TINE BLUE

Next month will be Dianne Lake’s 1 year kid­ney-ver­sary.

Lake has poly­cys­tic kid­ney dis­ease, a con­di­tion that causes fluid-filled cys­tics to grow in the kid­neys. It runs through her fam­ily for at least five generation­s. She started dial­y­sis in 2010 and went through seven years of painful and drain­ing treat­ments three times a week. Af­ter a few of­fers for kid­neys turned out to be in­com­pat­i­ble for her, Dianne was los­ing hope. Then she re­ceived the life-chang­ing call from the trans­plant team. A kid­ney was wait­ing for her in Hal­i­fax. Lake de­scribed that call as, “com­pletely over­whelm­ing. I had mixed emo­tions. I cried but I was very ex­cited, happy and grate­ful.”

Kid­ney trans­plant surg­eries aren’t per­formed in St. John’s, so the trans­plant team booked her on the next plane to Hal­i­fax. She was quickly prepped for surgery but had to “wait hours and hours longer be­cause there were com­pli­ca­tions in an­other pa­tient’s trans­plant. It was can­celled twice. I was very scared. Kid­neys don’t last for that long out­side the body. I was afraid my new kid­ney was dy­ing.”

De­spite the wait, the surgery went well. Through her early re­cov­ery, Lake shared a room with a man from Goose Bay whom she re­ferred to as “my brother through kid­ney.” He re­ceived the donor’s other kid­ney.

“His kid­ney jump­started from the get go, which re­ally scared me,” she re­called. “I know we can’t com­pare, but he was up and walk­ing the halls while I was wait­ing for my kid­ney to start work­ing and it was scary. By day seven I was get­ting pretty wor­ried, I thought it wasn’t go­ing to take. Then a mir­a­cle hap­pened, I peed. That proved the kid­ney was work­ing. Be­cause of the dial­y­sis, I had not passed urine for five to six years, not a drib­ble. The day I peed was a won­der­ful day. The best day of my en­tire life.”

Now, 11 months later, Dianne feels much bet­ter al­though she still feels tired, has some pain, and has to un­dergo three more surg­eries to deal with other health com­pli­ca­tions this year. On top of that is the men­tal stress the poly­cys­tic kid­ney dis­ease could at­tack her new kid­ney. “I could loose this kid­ney again. The dis­ease I have could at­tack like my two orig­i­nal kid­neys. I could end up on dial­y­sis again. I pray to the Lord that He won’t take this gift from me.”

What keeps Lake go­ing is the joy of watch­ing her two young grand­sons grow up. She named her kid­ney Chris­tian and Lo­gan af­ter them. “I live for the joy of see­ing them smile. My grand­kids, my hus­band, who has been an an­gel, and my son are what I fight for on a daily ba­sis.”

Lake is look­ing for­ward to her one-year kid­ney-ver­sary she is plan­ning for May 25. She said ev­ery­one is in­vited. She wants to thank her friend Cyn­thia Faulkner who worked tire­lessly to help her find a kid­ney match and to all the peo­ple who do­nated money to sup­port her trip to Hal­i­fax and re­cov­ery.

She is re­serv­ing her big­gest thank-you for the fam­ily of the man who do­nated his or­gans so that she and oth­ers have a sec­ond chance at life. Lake wants to carry his self­less gen­eros­ity for­ward by en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to check off or­gan dona­tion on their MCP cards and to dis­cuss their wishes with their fam­i­lies. She hopes East­ern Health will let her set up a ta­ble at the Burin Health Care Cen­tre to en­gage with peo­ple on a per­sonal level by shar­ing her story.

mar­[email protected]

PHOTO SUB­MIT­TED

Dianne Lake went through painful and drain­ing dial­y­sis for years while she hoped to find a donor.

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