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Kidney-Pancreas Transplant: Brenda's Story

"I have been a patient in a lot of different hospitals and clinics through the years and I will forever be grateful to UW Hospital and Clinics for their care and treatment."
 
Brenda, who underwent kidney/pancreas transplant at UW Hospital and Clinics
 
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The following comes from Brenda, who was diagnosed with kidney failure and underwent kidney/pancreas transplant at UW Hospital in 2007.
 
I was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes at the age of 12. I was soon to enter ninth grade. As a child I took shots at home for asthma and allergies. After being diagnosed with diabetes, my teenage years were hard and I remember being in the hospital a lot for uncontrolled diabetes.
 
As time went on and I accepted the fact that this was life and I would have to deal with it, my control was better and I lived a fairly normal life. After getting married, I chose to have my tubes tied due to the length of time I had dealt with diabetes. I knew pregnancy can be hard on a healthy person, let alone someone who has been a diabetic for almost 20 years.
 
My husband Jason and I chose adoption to start our family. Well, eight years after adopting two beautiful boys I learned that my kidneys were failing quickly. So, in February of 2007, I was started on hemodialysis, going three days a week for four hours a day to a dialysis center to have my blood filtered.
 
Not a way to live for me. I was feeling like I was just existing in life. I knew that this was not the life choice for me, as I probably wouldn't get to see my children graduate, get married or have children of their own.
 
I contacted the UW Health Transplant program at the request of my nephrologist. I went through testing and filled out the appropriate forms. I met the criteria for the waiting list at the UW Hospital for a kidney/pancreas transplant.
 
After meeting with Dr. Jon Odorico, I was encouraged by my options and his calming demeanor. He was confident that he could help me and at that point that is what I needed to hear.
 
I waited patiently for the call. I was at the top of many prayer lists and God answered those prayers on April 15 at 11:20pm. We headed for Madison shortly after our phone call and I was in surgery 12 hours later.
 
After surgery I had a few minor complications and medication adjustments but now, three months later, I am no longer a diabetic and I have a functioning kidney, a new lease on life and nothing short of a miracle in my mind! I have been a patient in a lot of different hospitals and clinics through the years and I will forever be grateful to UW Hospital and Clinics for their care and treatment.
 
I have never had a more extraordinary experience as a patient in my entire life. The hospital and clinic staff truly cares and wants to see you succeed. I now have a new lease on life and hopefully will see my children graduate, get married and someday have grandchildren to enjoy!
 
Thanks so much to my donor family, Dr. Odorico, my transplant coordinator, Nancy Radke, and the UW Hospital staff for the incredible things you do!!