By Ed Hrabe, Kidney Transplant Recipient
This is my story, somewhat condensed. When I was about 8 years old I started getting severe back pains, only to discover that one of my kidneys had failed to develop. Shortly thereafter that failed kidney was removed and I lived with one kidney for the next 56 years. 4 years ago I learned that my one kidney was failing, due to an uncommon disease called IGA Nephropathy
, also known as Berger’s disease. There is no cure for this disease, other than kidney transplant. I was seeing my kidney specialist (nephrologist) in Shakopee, MN, who told me my kidney function was at 5%
. Most people start dialysis with a function of 15% or less. The latter part of 2013 I started doing home dialysis treatments
. These consisted of 4 half hour treatments each day. Although they were time consuming, they were of great help. I also immediately went on the transplant waiting list
, in hopes of getting a new kidney from a donor. My children put out information on social media and also got the local paper to do a story on my condition
, which ran in the New Prague Times on November 26, 2015, these efforts were all in hopes to find a person willing to donate a kidney to me.
On February 11, 2016 my prayers were answered when a donor came forward, and was a perfect match. The donor’s name is Ann Sletten. We’ve known the Slettens for years, as our sons graduated from high school together. Ann, her husband Pete, and a friend of mine set up a meeting with my wife Diane and I and I, three days before Valentine’s Day to give me the great news. Ann, in her witty ways, gave me a Valentine’s Day card which read:
“Roses are red, Violets are blue,
God is brilliant so he gave me two.
I only need one, so please work with me,
as I’d like to re-gift you a healthy kidney.”
It also read “I can’t give you my heart, its already taken, but I can give you a kidney.”
Our surgery was scheduled for Leap Day, February 29, 2016 (a day I’ll never forget) and it was a success. Now, a year and a half later, Ann and I are both doing fine. I call Ann my walking angel. Since then, I have been able to reach out to other people in need of transplant and try to give them hope that they too will meet their walking angel.