My sister saved my life when i was trying to save hers

At 6:00 am on friday September 19 2008 My sister Teresa (who is 12 years older then I) and myself were checked into the California Pacific Medical surgery Center in San Francisco for our long a waited and much anticipated kidney donor transplant. My sister had been sick for a long time and after the months of testing we were ready to get this surgery going, our match was a 6 of 6 we couldn’t be a better match unless we were identical twins!!

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, actually I was scared to death but I was ready to do this for my sister. At 7:00 I was prepped for surgery and then before I knew it I was on the operating table and out like a light…

I woke up feeling very fuzzy and in a little discomfort. I asked how my sister was and saw a shocked look on my husbands face that i couldn’t understand, the doctors told me that they couldn’t do the operation on my sister because they found a growth on my kidney that looked suspicious. I really didn’t understand what they were saying (because of the drugs) Then people started coming into my room including my sister and she was crying. I told her that I was sorry and she kinda laughed and said that this whole thing wasn’t about her all along it was about saving me!! I really still didn’t get what they were saying until later that evening when they came in and told us that the tests they ran on the tumor came back as it being a malignant sarcoma, that they would not be using the kidney for transplant. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks “i have cancer!” The hardest thing was having to tell my daughters. ( they are 16 and 12)

The doctors at CPMC were excellent and very helpful. I am now 3 weeks post surgery and healing fine. I am working with my insurances team of doctors(I have Kaiser)  to treat the cancer, the CPMC docs have also stayed involved and have given us some great advice! What I have is called a well differentiated lipo sarcoma, a locally invasive tumor that doesn’t metastasize. I am very positive and have been told that a surgery to get rid of the tumor will most likely be the only cure This has been a very scary and eye opening experience. My husband has been an incredible supportive rock that i gain strength from, I am truly blessed to have some one who no matter what is there for me! My daughters are helpful and keep me up beat and positive knowing that I have so much to live for makes me stronger and more determined every day.

My sister is doing O.K. she has thus avoided having to go on dialysis and is hoping to find another donor soon and try and avoid having dialysis altogether. I thank her on a daily basis for “saving my life”. We spend as much time as possible together and are always on the phone together.