A Tale of Hope By Edith Baker-Jackson

I was admitted into Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC) on March 22, 2009 with a diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure. I was later seen by a nephrologist and after a blood test the nephrologist informed me that my kidneys were functioning at 15%. On March 26, 2009 the surgeon inserted a catheter in my chest and later that day, I received my first dialysis treatment. I was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Failure (ESRD).

From March 23, 2009 until sometime in August 2009 I had a melting pot of emotions. From anger, confusion, to disappointment, but more so anger! This anger exposed itself in everything I did and said and in everyone I met. I had explained this to my nephrologist, during a monthly visit, that I hated dialysis and I didn’t think I could continue to do this every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

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Edith Baker-Jackson, kidney recipient and NJ Sharing Network Certified Volunteer Ambassador

When he heard this, he sent me to the Renal and Pancreas Transplant Unit at NBIMC. He thought I would be a good candidate for a transplant. One year later I was placed on the transplant list.

In January of 2011, during a routine mammogram, the results came back inconclusive. After a diagnostic mammogram and a sonogram, it was determined that I had NCIS which is Stage 0 breast cancer. I had to be inactivated on the transplant list in March 2011. After a partial mastectomy and radiation treatment due to breast cancer, I was re-activated on the transplant list in June 2011.

On Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 6:10 p.m., after I returned home from church, I received a phone call from the transplant staff at NBIMC. They said they might have a kidney for me. They gave me all the information they could about the donor. They told me not to eat a heavy dinner, stay near the phone and they would call me back in about 12 hours. Now after four phone calls, I thought this was not going to be the call I’ve been waiting for, so I wasn’t as excited as I was with the first two calls. On Monday, February 13, 2012 at 6:20 a.m., I received that final call asking, “How fast can you get to the hospital?” My response was, “As soon as I jump in the shower and throw on my clothes.” I got to the hospital at 7:30 a.m. and I went straight upstairs to the transplant inpatient floor (D-7). There, I was admitted and the doctor said I needed a dialysis treatment because I hadn’t had one since Saturday. At 9:30 a.m. I went to dialysis and at 2:00 p.m. I was being taken to the surgery holding room.  I actually got to see my kidney, which my daughter, Tracee, affectionately named “Kenny,” as the surgeon (Dr. Sungh) was cutting the fat away from the kidney.

I was told that the surgery would take 8 to 10 hours. Well, I was going in for surgery at 4:00 p.m. and when I woke up in the recovery room it was 8:15 p.m. The surgery and recovery only took 4 hours and 15 minutes.

I thank NBIMC Transplant Team (Doctors, Nurses and Coordinators), NJ Sharing Network, my daughter, Tracee and my family and friends and especially my donor (Unknown) and His family. May God bless all of you.

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