If you are one of the 30,000 people in South Dakota with Type 1 Diabetes or Juvenile Diabetes you probably know that at some point you'll need a kidney transplant. The surgery is more common than you may think. Over the Labor Day Weekend alone, the transplant team at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls did 5 kidney transplants. They average 50 to 60 a year. We talked to one of the recipients in this Avera Medical Minute.
As Patty Brady and her kidney transplant surgeon Dr. Michael Morris look at the "Patches of Love Quilt", Patty is reminded of all of those who died tragically but gave the gift of life. She says, "I was a Type 1 diabetic for 36 years. The last couple of years I had end stage kidney and renal failure and I was approaching needing dialysis and that was at the end of the year.
Last December a co-worker generously donated one of her kidney's. Her family was unable to for health reasons and this co-worker wasn't a close friend or anything. Patty says she is like a sister now. After the surgery she felt better instantly. "Yes. Immediately. The next day people came into my room to visit me and they couldn't believe my color was back. I wanted to get out of bed and walk and basically spring out of bed, that's how good I felt, " She said.
In April Patty learned a man in his 20's had died in car accident in Minnesota and she was getting his pancreas. She says it was a harder surgery, emotionally and physically. She says, " It was harder in that sense. I was awful grateful though. It's a miracle there are donors who chose to put that on their license. It is the gift of life. I am living proof of that. It was hard as far as complications go. It's more invasive."
Dr. Morris, with the Avera McKennan Transplant Institute says kidney and pancreas transplantation has moved from a life-style operation to a life-saving operation. He says, "Transplantation has evolved in the last 60 years. It is a successful and radical form of treatment for disease. For example a pancreas transplant cures diabetes. You are no longer a diabetic once you get a working pancreas."
Patty is a walking example of that. She has no more shots, no more insulin. She says, "Life is good."
If you have questions call 877-at-AVERA or go to www.averamckennan.com