I'm Back! Details Of My Kidney Transplant - Amy Brooks

Whew.  Here I am. I made it!  Amy Brooks is alive and well and absolutely better than ever on the other side of a kidney transplant.  I know, not your average chit-chat, right?  This is my first blog post with Sandra Macinnis's amazingly perfect new kidney nestled in my lower right abdomen.  Two weeks and 5 days post transplant.

Sidebar- It's funny, mentioning TWO WEEKS reminds me of a thing that happened in a class with my dearest friend, Moe.  At UNH we took a Women's Study class, with all women, save 2 young men,  attending.  The professor asked some question to one of the young male students and he answered "after a woman's TWO WEEK menstruation..." and Moe screamed out...'TWO  WEEEKS??!!  Jesus! Thank Christ it doesn't last 2 weeks!"  26 years later, whenever there's a reference to 2 weeks of anything, we scream out "TWO WEEKS?!"

But for my purposes, post transplant. TWO WEEKS is gloriously quick.  And it was the 2 week mark post transplant, when I finally slept through the night and was up and around and even cleared to drive a car.

Try this weird thing on for size. I am walking around, talking, eating, peeing, making my kids PB and J sandwiches, watching soccer games, checking e-mail with someone ELSE'S organ doing God's work inside of my little body, and it's kicking ASS!  Sandra's left kidney seems to really like it's new home. And that's the whole story.  I have met people who have taken 4-5 years of hospital stays and beefed up anti-rejection strategies before accepting their new transplanted kidney.

Sandra and me posing with our kidneys touching. HER kidneys.

But not me!  In the OR, they told me the kidney began to produce urine RIGHT away.  Right away!  Typically and understandably a freshly transplanted kidney takes at least a few hours, sometimes a couple of days to wake up once transplanted, and start working, but not this over achieving new one I got. It started kicking ass RIGHT away.

Which was a blessed event, not just for the obvious reasons but because I had begged the surgeon to remove my old, huge, diseased, polycystic kidneys at the time of transplant, which he agreed was the best plan, only he KNEW it would be a long difficult battle.  Turned out the battle was real. Removing my big hideous 10 lb kidneys, which were jammed up into my rib-cage and stuck to my liver and pancreas, proved difficult, risky and challenging.  But Dr. Nahal Elias, Director of Transplant Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and his team, persevered, despite my 2 blood pressure crashes and the 10 hours it took before they could wheel me into the ICU for recovery.  Funny thing, he promised me pictures of my disgusting, native kidneys but he had to remove them in pieces (yuck), and he said he was busy dealing with my blood pressure bottoming out.  Yeah, I guess not the best time to whip out the ol' cell phone. What allowed for them to stay the course was that my incredible new kidney started working right away.

Sandra and me the day after transplant. She paid me a very surreal and touching visit in ICU.

After 5 long hard days in the hospital, having had a brutal time dealing with the enormous discomfort of an open abdominal surgery which left me with a 12" incision from sternum to pubic bone, forbidden to eat and unable to poop, I finally turned a corner and was discharged 6 days post-transplant.  SIX DAYS! That's not bad, considering the trauma I'd had.

Since my release, I've been back in for post op appointments and the latest quote from my nephrologist was:

"it's amazing Amy, you have NO sensitivity to Sandra's kidney."

That's the whole story.  I can deal with the burning incision pain and the very sore muscles in my abdomen, because Sandra and I were such a perfect match.  Blessed am I.  Amazing is she.

Crazy to think that all of those GNOs (Girls Nights Out), where she was right next to me telling me some hilarious happening in her life, her blood and mine, her anti-bodies and mine, were virtually the SAME.  And now my body thinks her kidney belongs right where it is and it is giving me a new life.

I of course will be taking 2 specific anti-rejection (immuno-suppressant) drugs for the remainder of my days but hell, it's less drugs than I was on when my old kidneys were trying to do the job but failing miserably.  And If I had to take 30 drugs to keep this kidney going, you could be sure I'd do it with out complaint.

So yeah, science, modern medicine, the team of superb medical experts at Mass General, my angel donor, your prayers and incredible support and I suppose some pixie dust sprinkled in...and viola! I have a new working kidney, and no sign of rejection.  I never needed dialysis, and hey, I lost 15 pounds!  Woot woot!

I am just my self, only better with no issues except that I am impatient to start exercising again and getting back to doing all the things I was limited at doing pre-transplant.   I gotta keep reminding myself it's only been a little over TWO WEEKS!

My girls who not only have a Mom for a lot longer than thought, but a new healthy mom to boot!

So now, what's the plan, other than to get back on the air from 3-7p on Alt 92.9 and live my life as a mom of 2 little girls?

Well, the plan is this...to give back.  After 32 years living with PKD, my incredible radio station, Alt 92.9, owned by Beasley Broadcasting Group is supporting me in my venture to raise money and awareness for this debilitating kidney disease which effects millions world wide.

I am leading a team, called Amy's 92.9 Army, to walk in the annual Boston Walk For PKD September 30, 2017.  And with this new kidney I should be able to power walk the 2.8 miles along the Esplinade!

My hope is that this will inspire you to join my team and help me raise money for this frustrating and life threatening disease.  Anyone who joins Amy's 92.9 Army or who donates $$ is automatically entered to win an electric guitar autographed by Gavin Rossdale and his amazing band Bush.


You could win an autographed guitar personally signed by Gavin Rossdale of Bush!


Thank you again for your support, your prayers, thoughts, well wishes and especially for your love and caring. It has been monumental in my state of mind and in my speedy recovery.


Rock on!

Amy Brooks