We hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! One of the blessings that Mark and I are especially thankful for this year is all of you who have offered to become Mark's living donor!!! The living donor nurse coordinator at UK commented that Mark must be a special person because they have never had so many phone calls from individuals wishing to donate to a patient in such a short period of time. So, once again, thanks to everyone who has expressed interest in donating.
About ten of our family members and friends have inquired about becoming Mark's living donor. Unfortunately, several of those individuals were ruled out due to having an incompatible blood type or health condition (i.e. high blood pressure, autoimmune disease, etc.) that makes donating too risky. I cannot express how fortunate Mark and I feel that so many of you were willing to literally give a part of yourself to Mark. Even though several of you were ruled out, we will always be grateful for your willingness to help.
We found out last week that three family members/friends who were deemed to be the "best potential candidates" are scheduled to go to the transplant clinic on December 8th for additional testing. The three candidates are me, Mark's Aunt Carma, and Justin White (the son of one of Mark's co-workers). As we understand it, three tests will be completed using a blood sample from each potential donor: blood typing, HLA crossmatching, and tissue typing. Blood typing will be completed to double check each potential donor's blood type. (Mark's blood type is A positive; Carma and I both have type A blood; Justin has O; So, this should work out okay). During the HLA crossmatch, each donor's blood will be mixed with Mark's blood to check for the presence of preformed antibodies. Antibodies are produced by the immune system to help the body fight infection and foreign substances. If antibodies are present, they can harm the donated kidney. Thus, a "positive crossmatch" prevents a transplant from the potential donor, while a "negative crossmatch" is a predictor of a successful transplant. Finally, tissue typing is completed using the white cells found in blood.
After the testing is completed, if one of the potential donors is found to be both blood type and HLA crossmatch compatible, the donor evaluation process continues (i.e. chest x-rays, EKG, psychosocial evaluation, Spiral CT, etc.). If Carma, Justin, or I are not compatible, additional family members that were deemed in the "top tier" of Mark's potential donors will go in for the three tests described above. We are unsure of how many people are in the top tier-we know my Mom is in the top tier. If none of Mark's potential donors are compatible, he will wait for a kidney from the deceased donor waiting list.
So...please join us in praying for God's continued Guidance, Peace, and a compatible donor!