Story of Ms. Z.A., as told to UMMC Communications
I am originally from Serbia but have lived in New York, New York for more than 20 years. I received my kidney transplant on January 5 at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
I needed a transplant because my kidneys were failing from polycystic kidney disease, a genetic condition. About four and a half years ago, my nephrologist in New York told me that I needed a kidney transplant, so I got put on the wait list at Mt. Sinai, the closest transplant center. The team at Mt. Sinai was wonderful, but they told me that I would likely have to wait seven years for a transplant. Seven years!
My nephrologist recommended I look into other transplant programs that would have shorter wait times. New Jersey is subject to the same transplant wait times because of overpopulation, so we looked farther south into Baltimore. My nephrologist had sent several other patients to the University of Maryland Medical Center, and Dr. Bromberg, chief of the division of transplantation at UMMC, used to work at Mt. Sinai. So I began the process of getting listed at University of Maryland.
Many patients don’t know that it’s possible to double list and even multiple list. I will admit, the more places you get wait listed, the more effort it requires to keep all your lab work and evaluations current so that you can stay listed at multiple places. But my nephrologist chose carefully, and I only joined the wait list at the UMMC transplant center. I knew University of Maryland had shorter wait times than the national average because of how aggressive they are in accepting donor kidneys. The surgeons here are very technically gifted and are able to repair kidneys that other centers might pass over, making more donor kidneys available that meet the same high standards of criteria.
After a few false alarms, I got the final call on Saturday, January 5 that they had a kidney for me. My daughter and I hopped on the 4:00pm train from Penn Station in New York and arrived at Penn Station in Baltimore just after 7:00pm. I was excited to get the call, but immediately became focused on catching the earliest train so I could make it to Baltimore in time.
So here I am, two days after my transplant. It really happened. I never had to go on dialysis, thank God.
If I hadn’t been transplanted when I was, I would now be considering dialysis while I continued to wait for a donor kidney at Mt. Sinai. It pays to seek other options and take the train!