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Joyce Mullins of McKee, Kentucky is the very grateful recipient of a kidney transplant.
I had been having dialysis 3 days a week for 14 months due to the progression of a genetic disease called Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).
PKD is one of the most common, life-threatening genetic diseases affection 600,000 Americans and 12.5 million worldwide. I was in stage four of PKD.
I was placed on the waiting list for a kidney in July 2010. I had a sense of anticipation all the time; it kept me on my toes. I did everything I knew to do – kept my labs in good score, took my meds correctly, did everything so there would be nothing to hinder if I should get the call saying they had a kidney for me. It was hard. I saw two people die while I was at dialysis. I’d sit there watching the blood go in and out of my arm, hearing the machines pumping, and I would think, “Is this really happening??” My prognosis without a transplant was long term dialysis with the daily risk of further medical problems. I could not plan vacations or extended trips. Everything had to be planned around dialysis.
I was driving back home from dialysis on Monday, January 26, 2013, feeling so low. I started crying and praying for God to move. I know that God moved. The next morning around 8:13am my phone rang and the called showed UK Hospital. It was surreal. The caller immediately told me, “We have a kidney for you. It is a perfect match. How soon can you get here?” Well, I ran around and around the kitchen table crying and praising God. I called Valerie, my sister-in-law to share the news, jumped in the shower, packed, and we drove to Lexington as fast as we could. My children all left their jobs and rushed to the hospitals. We were all crying, hugging each other, and praising God.
The transplant surgery was performed January 28, 2013. Wednesday morning at 3:15am, and I was back out in a room by 10:30 the same morning.
After the transplant, I had to take lots of vitamins and anti-rejection meds. I keep getting better news each time I go for doctor checkups. I have had a 100 degree turnaround. By the end of March I was back to being the country woman that I am – mowing the yard and gardening. I can now go on trips, no dialysis, blood pressure is controlled, and I am able to be more involved in church and senior citizen activities.
I have resumed full quality of life. It may not be the storybook life that most would desire but it’s my life, and I love the life God has given me. He’s given me a home, children, my first grandchild. I look forward to each day. I have a humble respect for life and I am so awed at how one person, through organ donation, could help so many people. One donor saying, “I want to help.”