Yesterday, Tommy and I had our pre-admission testing done and I met with my surgeon and transplant coordinator a final time before the big day. Needless to say, it was a long day for both of us – first meeting with an anesthesia nurse and then later with the surgeons – Tommy also saw his surgeon as well.
I guess the interesting part of the whole day for me was when the transplant coordinator and the surgeon went into detail of what will happen. It wasn’t like “you’ll go to sleep and when you wake up everything will be done.” No, they went into a little bit more detail, which I appreciated because, out of curiosity, I have been wondering how the surgery will go.
They said that Tommy will go in first and then I will go in about 45 minutes later. It was explained that the plan is to remove Tommy’s right kidney and uretor (the drain in the body that goes from the kidney to the bladder) and then place it on my left side leaving my right side free for a later surgery if a pancreas were to become available down the road. What I was a little surprised at, was that, even though they were placing Tommy’s kidney on my left side, it was ok that they removed his right one – apparently the kidneys are somewhat symmetrical and they will simply “flip” or turn over Tommy’s kidney before transplanting it into me. For some reason, I always thought, naively, that if you were taking a right sided kidney, it would have to be transplanted on the right.
I was told my incision would be like an arch or a semi-circle, probably just about the area of where I wear a belt and that they will tuck the new kidney into the pelvis, apparently there is enough room there. The one thing that I really cringed with was when they described the process of connecting the uretor to the bladder and then placing a stent there to hold it open – what made me cringe was the fact that about a few weeks after the transplant, they have to go and take the stent out – that will not be fun at all!
All in all, I was told that the surgery should only take about two hours…but I will wake up with what is called a “central line” – essentially an IV in my neck – it was explained that this will be used not only to flush my body with fluids, but also to deliver the initial doses of anti-rejection drugs.
Provided all goes well, and I am very hopeful that it will, my hospital stay will only be four or five days. I want to thank all of you who have been following me through this journey…it won’t stop here, however. I will keep writing about my experiences after the transplant is complete. I have enjoyed seeing all of your comments along the way, as well as the many emails that I have received in support – thank you!
If you, or someone you know is interested in organ donation, please contact: www.neod.org; www.donatelifenewengland.org, www.organdonor.gov; www.unos.org; www.donatelife.net; www.organtransplants.org; or www.thewaitinglist.org