We retired Jan 2012, sold our house/belongings bought a Ram 3500 and DRV fiver and hit the road.
FSGS a rare kidney disease that was diagnosed 20+ years ago finally caught up with me when I had a routine annual primary care doc visit and was told my kidney function was down to 28 as measured by GFR, normal is 60 - 100. The previous year the doc told me I should consult with a nephrologist, I had had the disease for 20 years with no impact on how I felt so I said thanks and just kept on going down the road. The next year he told me I was in dangerous territiory and MUST SEE a nephrologist.
Well I made the appointment and I was in full blown kidney failure with a GFR of 12 and he was referring me for evaluation for a kidney transplant. I asked him to do everything he could do to keep me off of dialysis. It is common for kidney patients to feel sick with nausea, fluid retention shortness of breath etc begin dialysis when their GFR drops to 15 and their kidneys quit producing urine. I still felt what I thought was good for an overweight 64 year old male and had none of the physical symptoms of kidney failure. This forced me to accept my kidney disease and do something about it, threw the salt shaker away, quit drinking 2-3 litres of soda every day and lose some weight(which I did not do). We bought and spent a couple of months remodeling a house in tornado alley in OK moved to the house to be close to friends and relatives in case things took a turn for the worst(I expected to be on dialysis by the end of the year, (why else anyone would move to OK is beyond me), hoped for the best and sold the RV and truck to a very nice couple from TN.
I went to Integris Medical Center in Oklahoma City and began the process of being evaluated to get on the transplant list in November 2014 . This is when I found that the expected wait time for a cadaver kidney for O+ blood type was 3+ years in OK and up to 10 years in CA. Prior to starting the listing process I assumed I could probably find a donor kidney and be back on the road in a couple of months. I decided to be very proactive regarding my potential transplant, this after 8 months of effort on my part, support from my wive and a lot of traveling to several states ultimately resulted in being listed at 3 additional transplant centers Methodist in Des Moine Iowa, St Lukes in Kansas City and the Ft Worth Transplant Center by September this year. Several people wanted to donate a live kidney but could not for various reasons.
I got the call for a transplant at 7:15AM November 17, 2015 from Plaza Medical Ft Worth TX 2 1/2 months after being listed, they transplant most people on the transplant list within a year and are very aggressive and very good. Our bags were already packed and we were on our way to TX within an hour. They took me to surgery at 7:15PM and in 4.5 hours I had a new 21 year old kidney that was a 100% match. The doc told me a twin would not have been a better match and that if I took care of it the kidney would last me for my lifetime.
I was released from the hospital Sunday night at 10 PM and will be spending the next 4 - 6 weeks in a suite in FT Worth. One week post transplant I feel great, off the pain meds. I expect to spend the next year taking care of my new kid, lose some weight and god willing and the creek don't rise buy another small used class a and toad, and resume traveling with my beautiful wife and new kid at least part time for as long as we can. Special thanks to my daughter Tanya and her husband Justin for supporting us during this trying time. Prior to the transplant I had not spent a single night in a hospita
Hope to meet some more of you escapees when we return to the road.
If every thing continues going well I intend to play it forward and do everything I can to share my transplant experience with other kidney transplant candidates. So if you know anyone in this situation please give them my email address and I wll be glad to share my experience
Dennis & Stella
OKKIDNEYDONER at gmail