Former Dialysis Patient Reaches 38-Years With Kidney Transplant. What's Her Secret?

© ALL CREDIT TO THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS.

© ALL CREDIT TO THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS.

Valerie Coombes is now 80-years-old, and when she suffered Kidney Failure and had to conduct Dialysis she did not think that she would make it to see her 40th birthday. When she received her lifesaving Kidney Transplant, surgeons said that it would not last longer than 5-years. Fortunately, she proved both herself and the doctors wrong. Now, 38-years after her Kidney Transplant, Mrs. Coombes is still going strong with great kidney function and she is a great-grandmother. "I never thought I’d see my grandchildren grow up, let alone the great-grandchildren," said Valerie. However, the question that must be at the top of every Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patient's mind is, "How the heck did she get her kidney to last so long?"

A Kidney Transplant from a Deceased (dead) Donor lasts for approximately 10 to 15-years while a Living Kidney Donor transplant last on average for 15 to 20-years.  However, a kidney transplant that maintains strong function for 38-years is rare. In fact, Valerie has one of the longest lasting Kidney Transplants. 

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She attributes her extended kidney function to the unconditional support of her loved ones. Mrs. Coombes mentioned, "I want to thank my family. My husband and I have had a difficult time over the years and they have been absolutely wonderful and supportive to me." 

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Although this assertion might appear a bit elementary, there may actually be some truth to it. The American Journal of Health released a report stating, "Available data clearly indicate that social relationships have the potential for both health promoting and health damaging effects in older adults."  Further, the Journal of Diabetes, Metabolic Syndrome, and Obesity stated, "Family and social support are important aspects of adherence to Diabetes management." The same is true for Kidney Transplant patients.

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If a Kidney Transplant fails, a Chronic Kidney Disease or Dialysis patient can potentially pursue another transplant. Yet, the Kidney Transplant wait times are now exceeding 5-years with a growing demand, and some patients sadly never find a match. Hence, if given the opportunity for a Kidney Transplant, every patient wants it to last for a very long time. Consider the following tips to enhance Valarie's insights and help your existing or future transplant last as long as possible:

Showers: While a tailored exercise program is very good for Kidney Transplant recipients, patients should avoid "extremely hot or cold showers after exercise," said Clevelandclinic.org. They also mentioned, "Do not exercise if you are not feeling well or have a fever. Wait a few days after all symptoms disappear before starting your exercise program unless your Healthcare Team gives you other directions."

Diet: While renal failure might have caused you to experience many limitations on the types of foods you could eat before your transplant, several of these dietary restrictions might not apply after transplant surgery. Still, it is usually advised by Physicians to limit foods that are high in fat and calories. Instead, include more high-fiber foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, and pasta in your diet.

Food Safety: For Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients that have received a Kidney Transplant, food safety is not straight forward. For instance, Kidney Transplant recipients should limit fresh fruits and vegetables to avoid germs and infections. If they do eat fresh fruits or veggies, patients should make sure that they wash them off well. This also means that patients are strongly recommended to avoid under-cooked or rare meats and eggs.  What's more, the Cleveland Clinic noted that Kidney Transplant recipients should, "Limit your restaurant meals, avoiding salad bars and buffets."

Phosphorous: Oddly enough, transplant patients may be encouraged to increase their phosphorus intake by eating low-fat dairy products. This is because increased kidney function causes the body to also increase bone mass. Therefore, the bones use the blood phosphorous to gain strength, dropping phosphorous levels which may lead to anxiety, irritability, irregular breathing, fatigue, loss of appetite, and muscle weakness.

Potassium: Potassium levels may spike or plummet depending on your medication. Do not take this for granted, it is a serious condition. Stick closely to the foods that your Transplant Dietitian recommends.

Never Miss A Dose: It is very important that you do not skip or miss a dose of your Transplant Medication. Always follow the medication instructions to prevent rejection. Unfortunately, the third major cause of transplant failure results from not taking anti-rejection medicines as prescribed, reported the Cleveland Clinic.

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If you are currently waiting on the Kidney Transplant List or considering Kidney Donation and would like assistance sharing your story to connect with potential altruistic living kidney donors, then click here to sign up for the Find A Kidney Donor Campaign. Also, ask the over 38,000 Facebook Friends who have liked KidneyBuzz.com  about any questions you may have regarding the Kidney Transplant process (click here). KidneyBuzz.com is rapidly becoming a leading go-to resource for the Chronic Kidney Disease Community with over 1.2 million individuals viewing us within the past twelve (12) months. Hence, visit KidneyBuzz.com every day for the latest Breaking News, Information, Daily Impact Meals, Inspirational Quotes, Freebies, Products, and Services which teach those with Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis, Kidney Transplant, Diabetes, and High Blood Pressure how to better manage and improve their lives. 

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