By Daniel J. Vance MS, LPCC
Last column, you learned about 48-year-old Karen Raymer, of Hidden Valley Lake, California, who for the last five years has been searching for a kidney donor. She first discovered having polycystic kidney disease at 25, had to quit working because of intense back pain, and in 2009 doctors removed her kidneys. She promptly began three-hour, thrice-weekly dialysis treatments.
Raymer said her best shot at receiving a kidney arose from a relationship she began about ten years ago with a Kenyan named Boaz visiting America for an education, who claimed God had told him that he (Boaz) was going to give Raymer one of his kidneys. She had met him through her parents at their church.
In a telephone interview, Raymer said, “Finally, this July, my friend (Boaz) said it was time for him to come to America to get the (kidney donor) blood work done. (He had already passed the questionnaire step.) We flew him here and took him to his blood draws. We flew Boaz back home to Kenya and then had to bring him back after finding out (much later) he was a blood match and they needed more testing.”
Doctors did more blood work, x-rayed Boaz's chest, and performed MRIs, a psychological evaluation, and kidney tests. He passed everything. Doctors scheduled surgery for October 6, 2016. Three days before, they canceled surgery after learning Boaz carried a sickle cell trait, something common among Africans. He did not have full-blown sickle cell anemia, but going through with surgery with sickle cell trait meant he could have some complications.
“So with all the tests Boaz has gone through, it would be difficult for him to go through all that again,” Raymer said. “He still feels it's his goal to give me a kidney.”
With Boaz as a donor, Raymer would need to find a new hospital willing to allow the operation. Boaz, 47, already is old for such a transplant, using an African hospital is out of the question, and questions exist about how his medical bills would get paid. “Besides, Boaz has a wife and four children, and runs a worldwide Christian organization,” said Raymer. “For him to be away that long (for an operation) would be taxing.”
Besides learning to live with such emotional ups and downs, Raymer said people waiting for a kidney donation should stay on their diet and “keep as much of a normal life as you can.”
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