As Mom said those words, there was a determination behind them that I had seen before, only now that determination was much more intense. She began to cry a little, which, in turn, made me cry a little. But she kept uttering those words, “we will find you a kidney…we will find one, if it’s the last thing I do.”
In the days that followed, Tommy underwent the initial testing. At this point, we still did not even know what his blood type was, so we were unsure if there was going to be a need for him to have further testing done. The initial blood work took twelve vials to fill for him. I felt for him because I knew what it was like to have that much blood taken from you, as it was done with me just a week or so prior. Only with Tommy…well, let’s just say he is not a big fan of needles and having his blood drawn.
Unfortunately, the results of this type of blood work are not immediately available. The wait is an agonizing two week period, at minimum. Though, Tommy was told that if results came back sooner, it would most likely mean that he was not a match to me.
I think I was an emotional wreck on the inside, particularly by day six…because it was at this point that the first hurdle (day 7) was about to be here, and if we made it past day seven, then we still have a fighting chance of Tommy being a match
Day Seven…Day Eight..Day Nine…Day Ten…Day Fifteen…Day Eighteen. There was no use in my blood pressure being taken during this time, because no doubt it would have been high due to the anticipation of could or could not be.
Another day or two passed and I was coming out of a meeting in our company’s administrative building when my cell phone rang – it was Tommy.
“I just talked to the hospital.”, Tommy said.
“Yeah…”, I said as I took a deep breath.
“I’m a match!”, Tommy said. “Are you there?”
Tommy didn’t know it at the time, but I just started to cry…”Yeah, I’m here, the reception isn’t all that good where I am”, I said trying to explain the silence.
“They said I am a 5 out of 6 match on the antigens, so now I can start to have the other testing done”, Tommy continued. (You inherit half of your HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen)markers from your mother and half from your father, so each brother and sister who has the same parents as you has a 25% chance of matching you…it was also explained to me, that the closer the match, the less of a chance there will be of rejection – which is not to say that rejection would not occur even if Tommy and I matched 6 out of 6).