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Offline Karol

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Wife gives him kidney, then that fails ...
« on: January 14, 2013, 04:14:31 AM »
Published: Jan. 12, 2013 Updated: 7:31 p.m.
Wife gives him kidney, then that fails ...
After his kidneys fail, his wife gave him one of hers. After that one gives out, what can be done?


FULLERTON – They became the face of organ donations in Orange County.
In 1998, Kathleen Hostert gave her ailing husband, Craig, one of her kidneys. Following years of dialysis to treat a genetic-kidney disease, he had a second chance at life.

Craig Hostert, center, received a kidney from both his son, Justin, left, and wife Kathleen. Kathleen gave her husband a kidney in 1998 and Justin gave him a kidney on Dec. 11.
Donate Life California
What: A nonprofit organ and tissue donor registry, which offers a website where adults and children (see below) can sign up to give their organs and tissue when they die. Since July 2006, people applying or renewing their California driver's license or ID with the Department of Motor Vehicles can have the pink dot that symbolizes their wish to be a donor pre-printed on their cards.

Website: donatelifecalifornia.org.

Donations: Participants can specify limitations.

Children donors: Those between ages of 13 and 17 can join the registry, but their parents will make the final decisions.

Source: donatelifecalifornia.org

They became ambassadors for kidney transplants – and for the growing need for organ and kidney donations.
Kathleen quit her job as an elementary school teacher and went to work full-time for Donate Life, a pro-organ-donation organization.
The Fullerton couple started a fundraiser run/walk to tell people about organ donations. In its first year at Cal State Fullerton, it attracted a few hundred people. Over the years, it grew into a massive event – the largest of its kind in California.
Last spring, Craig and Kathleen stood on the stage on the university's athletic field for the 10th annual event and addressed the crowd of 10,000 attendees and celebrated their good fortune.
Indeed, they had become the face of organ donations – and yet their story was about to take an even more dramatic twist.
They didn't know it, but that healthy kidney was failing.
By summer, Craig did know that something serious was wrong. His creatinine level – which indicate how well the kidney is filtering blood – was nearly twice what it should be.
His doctor took Kathleen aside: "Brace yourself."
Craig went back on dialysis and awaited another transplant, which can take years.
"When I went back into the dialysis room and they stuck that needle in my arm," Craig says, pausing to recall the weight of that moment. "It was like the past 14 years hadn't happened at all."
A sense of shock and disbelief settled over the Hostert family. Daughter Nicole, 16, was just a baby when Craig got his first transplant.
Their son, Justin, 23, was nonchalant.
"Don't worry, dad," he reassured. "I'll give you a kidney."
"The backup"
The family had always joked that Justin was "the backup."
But now it was real. Craig needed another kidney. And he didn't want to have to turn to his son. Besides, there was certainly no guarantee that Justin was a match. A series of tests must be conducted.
Justin had no doubt.
Kathleen recalled how he'd reacted as a child when he learned that she was giving a kidney to Craig.
"When we announced it at the dinner table, Justin, who was just 9, stormed out of the room, crying and stomping his feet," she said. "We didn't know what he was thinking.
"Then a few nights later, he announced, 'Mom, if you want to give dad a kidney, I'm fine with that.'"
Turned out that Justin was jealous – he wanted to save his dad's life.
Now, 14 years later, he just might get that chance.
Craig waited to hear about a possible match and attended dialysis treatments at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange every Friday and Monday. He talked to doctors, nurses and, most importantly, to other patients.
He answered questions about his first transplant. And how it revolutionized his life. How he was able to see his kids grow up. To exercise. To work alongside his brother rehabbing major hotels. And to take vacations with his family.
"I told them it's a 180-degree change from where you are now," Craig says. "Dialysis centers can be dismal. My whole goal was to go there and show people hope through the experiences I've had."
Finally, in late August, Justin's doctor called. Craig left the room, too nervous to hear the news.
After a brief conversation, Justin hung up the phone, found his dad in the other room and embraced him: "I'm a match."
The good kidney
Justin, who'd interned with the Angels as an athletic trainer and was finishing up a semester at Cal State Fullerton, hoped to plan the surgery around his school schedule. Give a kidney, then back to class, he thought.
The surgery was set for this past Nov. 16. Craig caught a cold. A new date was set: Dec. 1.
Justin's transplant doctor got sick.
The only other doctor who could perform his surgery at St. Joseph would have to do a more invasive technique, a less-advanced technique, that would leave a larger scar on his abdomen.
"No way," Craig said.
Finally, a plan was put in place. Justin would have his donor kidney removed at UCLA Medical Center early on Dec. 11. Kathleen could follow the kidney down to St. Joseph, where Dr. Ervin Ruzics – the same doctor that had performed the initial transplant in 1998 – would hook up the son-to-father kidney.
In operating rooms 45 miles apart, Craig and his son exchanged good wishes over FaceTime on iPads. Then the transplant began.
Kathleen waited anxiously outside Justin's UCLA hospital room. Dr. Ruzics came to observe – and to reassure Kathleen.
His was the first face she spotted after the surgery, prompting her to burst into tears. She knew it was over and, by the look on Ruzics' face: Her son was fine.
She spotted the box containing her son's iced kidney, ready to make the trip south to save the life of her husband. She kissed the box. And wept.
And off the kidney went, in a medical-courier car, Kathleen trailing behind.
Father and son
The day after Craig received Justin's kidney, it had immediately "pinked up" and was working great inside Craig's body.
Justin was wheeled in to see his dad at St. Joseph.
Craig was groggy and weak. When he saw his son, the pain vanished, the strength returned to his legs.
Craig stood up and walked to his son, took him in his arms and hugged him tightly.
No words.
"I'll never forget his face," Justin says. "I just thought, 'Finally.' We were done. We got our lives back."
These days, the color has returned to Craig's face. The kidney's working great; he's resting at home.
Justin is again active. He's going out a lot – in dad's F-250 truck that he always wanted to drive. And he's starting his last semester at Cal State Fullerton later this month before heading to grad school.
The family will be back at the university's athletic field on April 27 for the 11th annual Donate Life Walk.
"They want me to stay away from big crowds for now, but by then I should be two months in the clear," Craig says. "I'll be there."
Kathleen says that at last year's walk, dozens of people approached her and Craig throughout the day to say thanks for giving them an event – a huge family reunion – to look forward to every year.
"We want to continue to give people hope," Kathleen says.

Daughter Jenna is 31 years old and was on dialysis.
7/17 She received a kidney from a living donor.
Please email us: kidney4jenna@gmail.com
Facebook for Jenna: https://www.facebook.com/WantedKidneyDonor
~ We are forever grateful to her 1st donor Patrice, who gave her 7 years of health and freedom


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