Stacey Lichtman and her husband Carl came to the University of Maryland Medical Center from their home in Florida. Carl faced the prospect of dialysis because of end-stage renal disease. Since Stacey was not a match for Carl, they both entered the Paired Kidney Exchange (PKE) Program. Carl received a kidney from Emmet Davitt and Stacey donated her kidney to Bob Loudermilk. This is Stacey’s story:
(How did you choose the University of Maryland?) A friend who had a kidney transplant here recommended UMMC and its facilities. My husband Carl was told he had end-stage renal disease and was looking at the prospect of dialysis, which we both thought was extremely grim. Neither one of us wanted that as an option. Then we heard about the transplant team here at UMMC.
(What was your next move?) We made an appointment and came here in June 2009 to meet the entire team. I met with the donor team in early September and had some tests. Carl and I received a phone call in October that said we would be able to participate in the Paired Kidney Exchange Program. I was not a direct match for my husband, which was why we had to take part in the exchange. From there, things moved quickly, and on November 3 we had our surgeries.
(What did you think about the single-incision laparoscopic procedure for kidney removal?) I was very happy with that. There was almost no pain whatsoever, and I was walking the very next day. The hospital released me on the second day after surgery. I am happy to say we are both doing well.
(How are you feeling now?) I’m doing very well now and feel terrific. I’ve been up and active ever since the surgery. I have a lot of energy and look forward to getting back to work, exercising, and having my whole life ahead of me.
(How did you feel about the care you received?) We were extremely impressed by the efficiency and compassion of the entire team. Everybody at the University of Maryland Medical Center was just wonderful. All of our needs were addressed and any questions were answered promptly and with compassion. I always felt we were in good hands.
(What would you say to someone thinking about kidney donation?) I would definitely recommend kidney donation to anyone facing the same type of prospects we were facing. The outcome was extremely positive for both of us.
I just feel that if you are ever in a situation where a loved one’s life is in jeopardy, it’s a no-brainer. Who wouldn’t do this for someone they care about if the outcome is good for both? If you are in good health, it is a wonderful thing to do.