Jeff and Patti

At the age of 39 I had just started a new career in sales after some 17 years in the engineering and land surveying industry. Things were looking bright until 3 months into the new job. On June 16th, 2007 I found myself unable to breathe correctly, it felt as if an elephant was sitting on my chest. I was visiting my sister Patty on the tail end of a business trip. I asked her to take me to the hospital; a few short hours after I arrived they were telling me that my kidneys were most likely failing due to uncontrolled high blood pressure. It had been 12 years or so since I had seen the doctor, and I sure wasn't taking care of myself. A heavy smoker, and many years of the party lifestyle had finally caught up with me. I was released 4 days later, and was told that I had a 50-50 shot of a partial recovery.

When I got home and saw a local nephrologist, he suggested otherwise, he told me on June 22nd that I needed to get on dialysis and I needed a transplant. This was probably the first time in my life that I was really scared. I sat out in the doctor's parking lot and cried, this wasn't part of my plan. As I told my family and friends of the news, I had offers from about 12 people within two days to donate a kidney. On July 16th, I had surgery to place my peritoneal catheter and a month later I began dialysis. To say that I hated dialysis would be an understatement, it was uncomfortable and a big pain in the rear. 4 to 5 exchanges a day were becoming very bothersome.

On August 23, my sister and I had our initial workup at Clarian Transplant Hospital-Indiana University. We found out that day our blood types and learned that they were compatible. As the weeks went by and more and more testing, we finally found out toward the end of September that she was a match. There were some ups and downs during this process, including the fact that she had a small kidney stone in the kidney that I was to receive, but in the end they decided to go forward.

October 26th, 2007 is a date I will not forget, my sister unselfishly went under the knife to give me a chance at a better life, later that afternoon, I was making urine and other than the pain of surgery, I could already tell that I was better. She was released 2 days later and I, 4 days later. 5 weeks after surgery, I had my peritoneal catheter removed and finally felt closure to the whole ordeal. She and I are doing great as of now, and I am looking forward to a happy and healthier life, now that I have been given that life saving gift. Here's a few pics, first: about 48 hours after the surgery and last summers big family party: