Hi, my name is Rebekah Barbour and I would like to share my husband and I’s transplant story. Thanksgiving weekend 2015 was one I’ll never forget. I took my husband, Bob, into the ER Sunday night on November 29th because he was retaining fluid in his legs and he was a grayish color. I simply thought that we’d go in, he’d get an antibiotic and we’d go home. That’s not quite what happened.
At first the doctors told us he was going to be transferred to a different hospital to see a cardiologist because he had some fluid around his heart. They needed him to pee just to run some more tests, but he couldn’t. He kept asking for some water or ice chips only to be told “no”. They ended up drawing some blood and running some test and discovered his kidneys were only functioning at 5%. They needed to get him to a different hospital to start him on dialysis.
The next day he received his port and started his first round of dialysis only to have it cut short because his blood was too thick. They called in an oncologist specialist who looked at it through a microscope and we were told he needed to be transported to yet another hospital to do a plasma exchange. He was transported to Methodist Dallas where they discovered that he has very rare disease called AHUS. This required him to go to the oncologist weekly for an infusion (he now goes every two weeks). This was hard on our family. This kept him in the hospital for two weeks, keeping him from working full-time due to having dialysis three times a week on top of oncologist and doctor visits.
This all happened around Christmas and it was hard for the kids and me. That year, there were no gifts under our tree. We were just thankful that Bob was alive and still here. He continued to do dialysis for a year before we even talked about the transplant process.
In January of 2017, we started the process to see if he was even a candidate for a kidney transplant. Once I received the papers to see if I knew of anybody that wanted to be tested, I didn’t hesitate for a second. I filled out the paperwork that day and unbeknownst to my husband, faxed it back in. After he had been cleared by the appropriate doctors and his case was heard, we received the news on April 7, 2017 that he was being placed on the National Transplant List. I got the call the following week to start my testing process to see if I was a match. I told my husband that I was being tested and of course he cried, but I needed him to be here and more importantly our kids needed their dad to be here. Thankfully I was a match for Bob, and I set our transplant date for July 12, 2017 – two days after Bob and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary.
Of course, my kids were scared because, not one, but BOTH of their parents were facing a major surgery. Everything went well until I realized I was in the recovery room longer than I should have been. Come to find out I ended up having two arteries instead of one, so they had to meet with his set of doctors to go over how they were going to handle the situation. They finished and I was released two days following and my husband was released a week later. He was out of work for about 2 1/2 months but was able to return to full-time with limited restrictions. I returned to work two weeks after our surgery.
I’m happy to report that we just celebrated our two-year transplant anniversary and he is doing phenomenal. He still flies to the oncologist every two weeks, but he’s here and we’ll take that. Being a perfect match and helping to save the life of my husband, was such a selfless act, and it’s one that I’d do again if given the chance.