23.12.09

Donation discoveries

My sister Ashley (who is in negotiations for my kidney) may have pneumonia ... or worse. She's currently in the hospital so her awesome medical team can figure out what's happening and fix it. That's as technical as I get when it comes to the mysteries of the human body (especially one that stays screwed up ... like her's).

On the way from my house to the hospital, we reminisced about the transplant orientation meeting. Mostly, we guffawed over licky fingers (who she reminded me also sported a crazy camel toe [as pointed out by me]) and made fun of the severely overweight guy two seats down from me who spent any free time lamenting over the mandatory diet changes that come with renal disease and dialysis ("I can't stand a vegetable! All I eat is chicken. Chicken and steak. And maybe a pork chop. And potatoes. But no vegetables! They gonna havta come up with somethin' ain't got vegetables in it if they want me to eat it.")

But after we got our giggles out, we began speaking in awe of what we learned about pregnancy and antibodies. Perhaps everyone else knew this, but when a woman gets pregnant, her baby is considered half foreign to the mother's body thanks to the baby's father's DNA. The mother's immune system creates antibodies against that DNA, though pregnancy hormones keep the baby safe inside the placenta.

But those antibodies remain in the mother's immune system. Therefore, the baby's father is ruled out as a viable candidate for organ donation. And the more pregnancies a woman has with the same man, the stronger those antibodies become. Which means if I ever need a living donation, my mountain man would almost certainly not be a candidate. That makes me incredibly sad, but also awed by the miracle that is the human body.

We are at the beginning of the transplant road. I can't wait to learn all the things I don't know that I don't know!

4 comments:

  • Katie Jones

    Wow- I had no idea about those antibodies! So, Saunders is like a virus to my system ... hmm ... somehow I knew that already. Haha - just kidding! :)

  • Harvey

    I wish the Millers the best in their journey.

    The Living Kidney Donors Network, (LKDN) offers Workshops with transplant hospitals and LKDN Get-Togethers that inform individuals about living kidney donation and prepare them to effectively communicate their need to family members and friends. To learn more, visit any of these links.

    Wishing you well!!!!

    FYI, fathers can be a donor...there are ways to overcome the issue with the antibodies.

    Harvey Mysel
    Living Kidney Donors Network
    a Not-for-Profit 501(c)3 Organization
    Office 847-656-0408
    Mobile 847-912-7059
    www.lkdn.org
    http://lkdnblog.blogspot.com
    www.twitter.com/harveymysel
    harvey@lkdn.org

  • Atchka!

    CF sucks. My wife used to work for CFF. Good luck to your sister. I'm saying a prayer for her. Pneumonia and CF is a bad combination.

    Peace,
    Shannon

  • Kelly @ The Miller Mix

    @Shannon - CF does suck! Ash had a double lung transplant in 2001, so we haven't had to deal with lung issues in a really long time. We're hopeful that the fluid they detected is not infection. She had a bronch a bit ago and is still sleeping off the meds, but we should know something soon!

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