We have been following a mother and son from Whitewood, South Dakota who has gone through a life changing experience in the last month. Susan Pickett gave her son one of his kidneys. In part three of our special series on the importance of living donor kidney transplants, we check-in on the duo post surgery and as they pack the car to head home to the Hills.
Just two short weeks after kidney transplant surgery at Avera McKennan donor and recipient, mother and son, are doing great.
Susan says, "There is nothing to it. I was amazed at how easy it is. I was tired afterward, but that's normal. As far as pain, it's hardly anything. I wouldn't think twice about it."
Jonah says, "I'm feeling good. I'm a little sore, but for the most part, I'm doing really well. I'm eating a lot of food I haven't been able to eat in a long time like French Fries and ketchup. We've been eating out a lot. I feel like I'm playing catch-up for all that I missed when I was on dialysis."
In June of 2009, Jonah was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy; an autoimmune disease that caused his kidney's to shut down. He was forced to go on dialysis 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. Without a kidney transplant, his prognosis wasn't good. He was lucky his mom was willing and able to give him one of hers. Most people have to wait on the transplant list for years.
Avera Transplant Surgeon Dr. Tariq Khan says, "The longer you are on the list, the longer you are on hemodialysis the person's overall mortality and morbidity increases. With a live donor you don't have to be on the list that long, the kidney is healthy because it comes from a healthy person versus someone who has died."
As Susan will attest to, it's not hard on the donor either. Her surgery was done laporascopically and she was out of the hospital in 2 days.
Susan, "My incisions didn't hurt at all, not at all. Everyone down here was wonderful. We couldn't have asked for better care."
While Jonah was on the mend, he and his mom stayed at an apartment on the Avera Prince of Peace Retirement Community Campus. Although they hated to say good bye to all the staff at APOP and Avera McKennan, they were happy to head home to the Hills healthy, hopeful and humbled.
Jonah says, "We've always been close, but now I have her kidney inside of me so I guess that makes us even closer."
Susan says, "Yeah, we've always been close. He's the baby of the family. He's my child. I would do it again definitely."
Susan's so thankful her son has his life back. Jonah's grateful his mom gave him the gift of life... twice.
If you are interested in learning more about being a living donor go to: The Avera Transplant Institute.