On June 7, 2018, Jean Breeding, 62 years old, celebrated her first transplant anniversary. Her kidney transplant, courtesy of fiancée, Bob, occurred just in time to keep Jean from starting dialysis.
Jean knew she had declining kidney function and had been under the care of a nephrologist for a few years. In August of 2016, her son was in a near fatal car accident. She spent several days and nights in the intensive care unit with her son. As he began his road to recovery, Jean, a nurse of 40 years, recognized that she wasn’t feeling well. She told herself it was just the stress of the accident and long hours of being a caregiver, but a trip to her nephrologist told her it was her further reduced kidney function. Jean had a creatinine of 4.8. A creatinine level of greater than 1.2 mg/dL for a woman is a sign that the kidneys aren’t working properly. Jean was advised she needed to start dialysis.
“When I heard the news about my kidneys, I was getting ready to start a new job in 4 days,” explained Breeding. “I didn’t feel well, but I was determined to start my new job and not start dialysis.”
Jean’s nephrologist agreed to help her delay dialysis as long as possible, but advised her to keep her potassium under control. With a new medication regimen in place, she was introduced to REACH Kidney Care to assist in developing a plan to face kidney failure.
“At the first meeting with REACH I was still in shock and overwhelmed. I met Janet, the care coordinator, and Jan, the dietitian. They were both very helpful. Jan explained how I could limit certain foods to help maintain kidney function and Janet explained treatment options,” stated Jean.
The second meeting with REACH didn’t occur in the office. Janet met Jean and Bob at Dialysis Clinic, Inc. (DCI) so that they could see in-center hemodialysis, learn about peritoneal and home hemodialysis, and explore the option for a transplant.
“It really comforted me that Janet didn’t just send us to DCI to learn about treatment options, she met us there,” said Jean.
After learning about the possibility of a pre-emptive transplant and the option of avoiding dialysis altogether, Jean knew a kidney transplant was for her. Luckily, Bob was a match. After approximately six months of evaluation and testing, June 7 was chosen as the date for the transplant. Jean and Bob entered the hospital on a Wednesday and headed home to recover on Saturday. Jean’s sister was her care partner and home health provided support as well. By September, Jean and Bob were off restrictions and feeling great.
Jean, grandmother of eight, now works full-time from home, gardens and enjoys life.
“My kidney transplant made me realize what’s important in life. I’m thankful that donors provide a second chance. I’m very grateful,” explained Jean. “REACH Kidney Care helped me so much.”