Meg and I met with her transplant surgeon at Yale yesterday. He is also the head of the kidney program at Yale. We are in the 1% of transplants that get cancelled at the last blood match due to an effort to avoid a rejection. While it all seems logical why we had to cancel, and I understand that, it is still a bitter pill to swallow. The good news in all this is that I am still eligible to receive a transplant only it won’t be from Meg.
Our best option is the ‘Paired Exchange” program where Meg donates to someone who has a donor that is a match for me. A lot needs to happen before this can become a reality. Meg’s information will go into a database to see if anyone can receive her kidney and then we will see if their donor is a match for me. This may involve only 4 people but some paired exchanges can become more involved and have like 8 – 12 people involved to get the perfect match for everyone but also a match for me. They will first search the donors/recipients within the Yale Paired Transplant program and then go to the two national databases to search for recipients/donors that match with us. Once matches are found they need to coordinate the surgeries of all the individuals, the schedule of the surgeons involved and also ensure transportation for all the kidneys to their correct recipient – and all this has to happen at the same time! Apparently it is not like we originally thought where Meg and I go in for surgery at the same time in neighboring OR’s.
We signed up for this yesterday and now Meg needs to do some additional blood work, and then they are starting to look for potential recipients for Meg’s Kidney. The surgeon said the average wait time for this is in the 4-6 month range but the Paired Exchange Coordinator told us she has people who have waited for up to a year. This is not the same plan we originally envisioned but it will work and is our next best option. So we are back on the daily dialysis treadmill for now. I have survived a year and a half on dialysis and am certain I can survive another year or more if I need to get the transplant.