I met a woman today who is 16 years post-transplant. She says no one knows why her kidneys failed - she's not a diabetic, she never had high blood pressure. It was just one of life's mysteries. She did hemodialysis via a catheter in the veins under her collarbone for a while and switched to peritoneal dialysis at home for a few years until she moved up the list and got her transplant. No one knows why her donor kidney is failing, it's just par for the course with transplants. She came to the office to do paperwork so a local agency would set her up for assistance at home. Between the anemia, the dramatic leg swelling, the lack of appetite and the nausea that come with the final stages of kidney failure she simply doesn't have it in her to keep up with her housework or go out and get her groceries.
She's my age.
They are delaying hemodialysis as long as possible, giving time for her new arteriovenous fistula to mature so they won't have to insert another catheter, decreasing her risk of infection. She can't do peritoneal dialysis again: The weight she's gained from the anti-rejection medications and the amount of scar tissue from the transplant make that impossible. And dialysis itself is risky. People don't think of it that way, but it is true. It is very unlikely that she will get another kidney. She has a rare blood type and has a number of tissue antibodies which will make her difficult to match.
She's Babygirl's future.
Except she was in her forties when she got her kidney. Babygirl was 12.
We need a cure.