It was a Christmas miracle, says Jill Bowers from her parents’ house in Eagle Head.
© Robyn Bertling photo
Carson Cole got a kidney transplant a little more than a year ago. His mother Jill Bowers says it was a miracle.
Just before Christmas last year, on Dec. 18, 2011, the phone rang. That’s when Bowers learned there was a possible kidney match for her son, Carson Cole.
Born Feb. 6, 2010, Carson has posterior urethral valve (PUV) disorder. The disorder varies from mild to sever, and not all newborns that have it need transplants, says Bowers.
After he was born, Carson went to the IWK Health Centre in Halifax where he was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for a month. After a month, Carson moved up to the oncology / nephrology unit on the sixth floor.
Bowers describes the situation as awful.
“You think you’re going to have a baby and go home,” she says. “It was just heartbreaking watching him go through all that stuff.”
After three months on the sixth floor, Carson was able to go home, but Bowers says he’s back and forth between home and the IWK each week.
“Except for now if his blood work’s good, we get to stay out for two weeks,” Bowers says.
Carson has been an in-patient a total of 350 days.
In October 2010, Carson got pulmonary edema, which means there was fluid on his lungs, says Bowers.
“That was a four-month admission, and in that admission the doctors suggested that maybe because of his medications, and if he ever got really sick, that he should have a (gastrostomy) tube,” she says.
A gastrostomy tube (G-tube) is inserted through the abdomen. This is how Bowers gives Carson his medication.
During that admission, Carson had to go on dialysis, and doctors said he would probably need a transplant to get off dialysis.
Bowers and Carson’s father met with a transplant coordinator to see if they were matches. They both were, so they had to undergo more tests. Carson’s father decided he wanted to give his kidney to his son, but in November 2011 there was a call about a possible match. That kidney did not end up being the one.
About a month later, Bowers was in Eagle Head when the phone rang at 11 a.m.
“They had a match for Carson, and could we come in?” says Bowers.
She and her mother drove to Halifax to prepare for the operation, and the following day Carson had his transplant. Following the transplant, because of various medical complications, Carson was in the hospital for about 50 days – first in the pediatric intensive care unit and then on the sixth floor, explains his mother.
“It was like a nightmare,” says Bowers softly.
And it was for her son that Bowers says she stayed strong. Friends and family also helped by being there, by visiting the hospital often.
Soon to be three, Carson loves to play in mud puddles and play with toys. Bowers says the kidney is allowing her son to be a “normal little boy again.”
“He has a smile that melts your heart,” she says.