Kelly's Story

Kelly's Story

Kelly is a 49-year-old wife and mother of 6 incredible children.  She and her husband, Steve, have been married for 20+ years and live in Worthington, Ohio.  Kelly is suffering from a genetic kidney disorder called PKD and recently her medical team decided that the time has come for transplant, the only "cure" for PKD.

Kelly was formally diagnosed with a genetic kidney disease called Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease, (PKD) in 2001, but suffered with symptoms of it as long as she can remember.  Kelly's dad also had the disease (like father like daughter) and had a cadaver transplant at newly formed (at the time) transplant clinic at The Ohio State University Medical Center in Columbus Ohio. Ironically, he was the same age as she is now, 49. However, he had been on hemodialysis for several years prior to the transplant. Hemodialysis is really tough on the body, so he was already very weak when he finally got to "the call" that there was a kidney for him.

Kelly was a teenager at that time, in her senior year in high school and planning for college in the fall so she doesn't remember very much about when he had the transplant. He also was very private about his illness and preferred to hide most of the details from his children.  Kelly dad was an only child, doted upon by his mom. Kelly and her grandma accompanied her dad three times a week to dialysis, which was 1 hour away, 4 hours in the dialysis chair and another hour back home. When he received the call that a kidney was available for him, he was rushed to Ohio State University Medical center where he received one of the first kidney transplants at the center.  In the 10 years that followed, he suffered with chronic rejection, some type of fungal infection unique to transplant patients, required and had a double hip replacement and was generally unwell until his death on July 3, 1993. Almost exactly a month before Kelly would give birth to his first grandson.

As you can imagine, when Kelly found out that she had PKD, she remembered her father's long and arduous battle with dialysis, transplant and rejection and was afraid of suffering the same. She was only 34 when diagnosed. Though she remembers many years as a child being doubled over in pain with what felt like a "stitch" in her side and many bouts with pyelonephritis, she was never told that PKD was genetic.  In fact, Kelly has 3 sisters and her dad, probably trying to protect his little girls, told them that what he had could only be passed down to boys.  And that worked - until her little brother was born.

Kelly lived many active years raising her young children and the many foster children she and her husband brought into their home. Everything came to a halt in May 2007 when she was home with their then 6 yr old son and suddenly felt like she needed to lie down immediately. She felt very weak and found she had a temperature of 103F.  This turned into a week in the hospital with an IV full of strong antibiotics and morphine, diagnosed with acute pyelonephritis.

The years that followed included dozens of hospitalizations, MRI's, CT scans, pyelograms, ultrasounds, three long months of sclerotherapy, the development of life-threatening antibiotic allergies, pain medications - a wholly negative and discouraging experience.  As you can imagine, this has been very difficult for Kelly's children, her husband, her family and friends and....Kelly.

Kelly knows she has a lot of trying times ahead: finally realizing and accepting that her kidneys have failed, dialysis and the dreaded awkward discussions with people asking them to consider being a living organ donor for her and God willing, a kidney transplant. Kelly says her Catholic faith has allowed her to offer up her uncertainty of her future to the glory of God.  "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9)

The plan is a preemptive live donor transplant but first, Kelly will be having both kidneys removed and placed on, what we hope is temporary dialysis.  If a match is found quickly enough, she could avoid dialysis (at least, not be on dialysis for long). She has already been approved for transplant at the Ohio State UniversityComprehensive Organ Transplant Center.  She says with God's grace, a match will be found and two lives will be changed forever.

If you'd like find out more about becoming a living donor for Kelly, please call the OSU Comprehensive Transplant Center at 800-293-8965 and choose option 3 and option 3 again.  Let them know you're calling to be assessed to be a living donor for Kelly N. and they will send a donor packet out to you right away.

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