Hey, I'm Jason. I'm a chronically-ill-super-freedom-loving-medical-self-journalist.
*** Post Post Prologue … To clear things up on the post you’re about to read: Suzanne is the first person to get tested, and can not be a direct-to-Jason donor. Her kidney will not work for me, but she qualifies for the exchange program. That in itself is not an automatic solution – it is just another method for searching for a kidney. The more people who are willing to get tested at UCLA for me, the better my chances will be. Thanks, and now back to the previously posted story…”
My first potential donor emerged before this blog began. My father and Suzanne Pineau met in high school back east. Through a lovely and interesting history, they’re still friends. Our families gather together regularly for holidays and assorted dinners. Suzie is owns a knitting store and is a remarkable knitter herself (an image of her work is here). Suzie was the first person to jump at the chance to donate her kidney to me, and she did so without hesitation. She lives in San Diego, but never needed to leave her area for testing. She remarked to me that the testing and coordination by UCLA was professional, without hassle and extremely easy.
Suzie doesn’t match my tissue type, so she can’t be my donor. But, as you’ll see from the letter below – UCLA is willing and able to gather her information and offer her kidney to another recipient, in an exchange program which you can read about in my “How Can you Donate” section. Below is the letter Suzie received from UCLA after her testing was complete:
Thank you for your interest in being a kidney donor for Jason Hamlin.
We have completed the compatibility testing for you and your recipient. The testing determines three levels of compatibility: tissue typing, blood typing, and crossmatching. The results of your compatibility testing are as follows:
Your tissue typing match to the recipient is one out of six antigens.
Your blood type is O+, which means your blood type is compatible to your recipient’s blood type.
The crossmatching results indicate your recipient would require immunosuppression prior to transplant. [this will be the case with any donor, and would mean I’d do a repeat of the IVIG treatment described in “Three Days of Paranoia.” -jh]
There may be other options available for you and your recipient through our blood-type inconpatible or donor exchange programs; please call me to discuss them, as well as the test results and any questions you may have.
Our living donor team looks forward to working with you!
Suzanne McGuire, R.N., High Rish and Living Donor Exchange Kidney Transplant Coordinator
A note to you, my next potential donor: I asked Suzanne if I could post this letter. The testing process is so confidential that, unless you tell me, I cannot know what the results show. If you decide to get tested as a donor, your willingness to do so remains between you, me and UCLA.
I left a message. Will they call me back or do I need to keep checking in? Type o-
Amanda, I guess they’re busy over there at transplant HQ. But they will call you. The standard procedure is that they’ll ask you a number of questions about your health and situation and then will discuss the case with the physicians and get back to each candidate within a couple of weeks. I hope you were able to get through and talk to a coordinator. And, thank you, a million times, for considering this great gift.
Well, golly, Jason–I am immensely pleased to be involved. It is not, I know, a small thing to offer up a body part. But, really, I’ve got a spare, and it seems like a no-brainer to do this relatively simple thing to help someone I care about.
It is at first slightly less compelling, psychologically, to do the thing as part of a larger exchange. But, obviously, since the result would be the same for you (and with the added benefit of a good result for one or more others who need kidneys), it doesn’t take long to decide that the exchange program is the way to go. I have called Nurse McGuire today to make myself available for that.
Fun to see a bit about my story with your dad on your blog. Thanks for the mention of me and my store (Knitting in La Jolla!).