Stayin’ alive

A kidney dialysis/transplant diary

Not the best news

A letter came from Mayo Clinic last week.

You remember them don’t you? They and their evaluation of my prospects for a kidney transplant were the impetus for starting this blog. That was before the leg troubles, the biopsy, the flood, the three operations that led to the leg amputation.

Yeah, those guys.

The letter informed me that their taking on “last chance” transplant cases and the resulting low numbers of success has prompted them to limit the number of last resort high-risk transplants they will perform.

Damn. Makes me want to offer up a prayer or forty to St. Jude, patron saint of hopless cases.

It’s not even that it makes me feel my chances for a transplant have lessened.  I’ve nearly come to the conclusion that transplant would not be possible for me since the costly anti-rejection drugs required on a permanent basis are only covered by Medicare for a couple of years.

I mean, let’s be practical: I’m already 62 years old. A new kidney would be great for me since it would probably eliminate the need for me to restrict fluids and allow me the freedom to eat more freely (though a new kidney would not cure my diabetes. A new pancreas would, but the kidney/pancreas operations are normally only performed on people who have Type 1 – what used to be called brittle – diabetes) but it wouldn’t solve other nagging medical woes like arthritis, general aging problems, the lack of a leg, etc.

In other words, even though a kidney would make me feel better and elevate my quality of life, my already existing problems would undoubtedly keep me from working full time and I think I’d need that level of work in order to afford the anti-rejection drugs once Medicare stopped paying. They’re now around $4,000 a month, as I understand it.

So I don’t think I’m pining for or entreating St. Jude for myself.

I understand on many levels why Mayo’s would want to have statistics that reflect a high rate of success. They’re known deservedly so for quality care. I was highly impressed with the evaluation process and the accessibility of the physicians. And I’m sure there are minimum standards they must meet even if they don’t take Medicare assignments.

But it just seems hard-hearted (a term I would not apply to any of the professionals with whom I had contact at Mayo’s) to pull the rug out from under ESRD patients who feel their last chance for a transplant is Mayo Clinic. Even if I decide there’s no transplant in my future, I want the hope that I could find a team to take on my case if I so wanted.


February 15, 2009 - Posted by | diabetes, dialysis, fistula, health, kidney, renal diet, renal recipes, transplant, weight loss

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