Paired Kidney Transplant Brings New Outlook to Redding Man
Blessings can occur when you least expect them. Or as John Moran, a 46-year old landscaper from Redding, CA describes, “Blessings come out of the storms of life.”
As the father of five, a husband and owner of a landscape business, John’s “storms” started in 2000 when he was diagnosed with kidney disease. Being uninsured, he did little to address this situation until he broke his back in 2005, necessitating him to pursue Medi-Cal to pay for hospital bills. In June 2005, John was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy. “My doctor said I should have five to seven years of kidney function decline, but one and one-half years later I was on dialysis,” recalls John. Going to dialysis left him feeling depressed, as he wrestled regular sessions, running his business and trying to provide for his family. John slowly pulled out of this depression by setting personal goals and challenges.
A Donor Makes Offer
While on dialysis, John continued to maintain the landscape at the home of Debbie and Mike Figueroa, as he had done for years. Debbie, a 49-year old mother of four, knew of others who had given a kidney and made an offer to John. Two years passed before John finally told Debbie, “Go ahead and get tested and see if you’re a match.” She immediately started the process to see if she could be a living donor.
John and his wife reviewed three kidney transplant programs and felt none stood out like California Pacific Medical Center. John also knew a dialysis technician at his DCI Redding unit who had personal experience with California Pacific, and he told John they provided excellent care and treatment. So John underwent a transplant evaluation and was placed on the waiting list.
Match Leads to Paired Donation
“I find it miraculous that we could be a match, but we were,” says Debbie, who is petite and more than a foot shorter than John. Their size difference made her start thinking about paired kidney donation. “I asked Dr. Patel about whether it might be better for John to get a larger kidney given his size,” explains Debbie. John and his wife Amy also had apprehensions about receiving Debbie’s kidney, so they independently inquired about other options for the transplant. Ultimately, another donor-recipient pair was identified, meaning that two individuals—John and another recipient—could benefit from Debbie’s donation.
When the paired kidney donation occurred in February 2009, Debbie says “I felt completely at ease walking into the operating room. I had no reservations and felt very positive about the whole experience.” Her kidney was given to an anonymous recipient while John received a well-proportioned kidney from the anonymous donor. Debbie was released from the hospital four days after her surgery and immediately returned to her normal routine. John’s hospital stay was longer due to a rejection episode with the donor kidney, which stabilized after a strong dose of immunosuppressive medication.
John is now working part-time while his wife goes to school. They are both pursuing more studies to build skills for jobs that will provide insurance once John’s Medicare coverage drops three years after transplant.
“Through this experience I have learned to be thankful and grateful,” explains John. “I am now a better husband and father, and recognize that everyone takes a part in helping each other. As it says at the end of the movie Private Ryan, ´I want to live my life in a way that says thank you to those who have sacrificed for me and my family.”