“‘It’s really happening, Lynette. Do you really want to come in for it?’”
That was the other side of the conversation.
“‘Oh, we’ll be there,’” Lynette says she responded.
And for the rest of the night she didn’t sleep. She says she lay in bed “wide-eyed” waiting to leave. She and her husband Lloyd Joudrey left at 5:30 a.m. to get to the Dixon Centre at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax.
When the call came four months ago, Joudrey had been on hemodialysis for three and a half years.
Oct. 21 will be Lynette’s second time participating in the ‘Give the Gift of Life Walk,’ in Liverpool. The event is slated to begin at 1 p.m. at the Carroll Tri County GM Dealership on Bristol Street.
Upon getting to Halifax the morning after the call, Lynette and Lloyd saw the surgeon who told the couple there was still a wait. Lynette and Lloyd left the hospital for the day and returned at 7 p.m., she says.
“The next morning they came in and said, ‘We’ll know by dinner time,’ so it was a waiting process because it could or could not happen. It was either or,” says Lynette.
Just before lunch, Lynette found out she would be going in for surgery around suppertime.
“So that’s when I knew it was going to happen,” she says.
And it did. Lynette went in at 7 p.m. and was in recovery at 9:30 p.m., though she says she doesn’t remember that part. A couple of hours later, Lynette saw her family.
“Kind of euphoric,” she says about how she felt.
Lynette says she was told the kidney was producing urine, which is a sign it is trying to work. It took four days, though, for the kidney to really begin working.
Despite a couple of bumps on the road to recovery, which kept her in the hospital longer than normal, Lynette says things have been awesome.
Though Lynette was supposed to stay in the lodge after her surgery, she says she knew she would heal better at home. As long as Lynette was willing to travel to the hospital when need be, she was allowed to go home. She and husband travelled back and forth every other day for two weeks.
With her new kidney, Lynette was allowed to consume some things she wasn’t allowed to before. As she was preparing for the process of dialysis, Lynette went on a renal diet. The diet means staying away from sodium, potassium and phosphorus foods, among others.
“The list is endless of the things you can and can’t have,” she says.
Lloyd says Lynette’s surgery and new kidney has changed a lot because now his wife’s feeling much better.
“Way healthier than what she’s been in at least 10 years,” he says.
The couple can now take walks together, which they hadn’t done in a long time, says Lynette. She says she couldn’t tolerate a long walk, but now Lloyd and Lynette have been getting ready for the five-kilometre ‘Give the Gift of Life Walk.’
The average wait for a cadaver kidney is about three to five years because there are so many people who need one, says Lynette.
“Live donors are great, but all of my siblings and most of my family have the same disease,” she says.
When Lynette began dialysis, she was prepped for the transplant list. Each month she gave a vial of blood. This was so her blood and tissue could be matched with a donor’s, she says.
Lynette started hemodialysis in November 2008.
“It (hemodialysis) is the one where you’re hooked up to a machine for four or four and a half hours,” says Lynette.
Rather than a fistula, Lynette had a line. Three times a week she was hooked up with a line.
Lynette has polycystic kidney disease, which is hereditary, she explains. Her father and uncle were on dialysis. She has two brothers, a sister and three sons who have the same disease.
“The only thing that they suggest you do is watch your diet, make sure you exercise, stay away from smoking and drinking and recreational drugs, and try to keep as healthy as you can,” says Lynette.
She adds the symptoms generally start when people are in their 30s or 40s. Some people progress rapidly, which Lynette says happened to her. She was 42 when she began to present signs that could mean trouble. For others, like Lynette’s father, the disease takes longer.
Lynette and Lloyd will have lots of company on Oct. 21. Lynette’s mother, son, daughter and granddaughter will also be participating in the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s annual event. Lynette says she and her family are hoping to raise about $600.
It’s a fun, non-competitive community event. Volunteers and sponsors will help to raise money for research, patient services and awareness about the importance of organ donation.
The event began on the South Shore three years ago, and according to a letter written by Elaine Park, organizer of the walk, last year’s was the most successful to date.
To find more about the walk, visit www.kidney.ca/ns/walks.