A change of pace (Kidney Failure)

I have been trying to keep this blog focused on hospitality and food.  God though has other plans for his creations and I find now that I will have to expand the scope to cover new topics.  I'll try to continue blogging about my menus and our guests, but expect more posts that have little or nothing to do with food.

In February of this year, My second oldest son, Asaf was diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure. Simply put, both his kidneys are damaged and scarred from some infection or defect that happened years ago.  They will likely cease to function sometime within the next six months.

The good news is that there is no immediate danger to his life.  Kidney Dialysis is a viable option and can maintain his health for up to ten or more years if necessary.  Unfortunately, the process is not easy and there are potential side effects. Given Asaf's generally excellent health and age, Kidney Dialysis is considered only a stop-gap measure and not a long term solution.

The best solution for Asaf is a kidney transplant.   Many kidneys are donated postmortem. Cadaver kidneys are the most common form of transplant. These organs are allocated on a priority basis to eligible recipients.  In Israel, you must already be on dialysis and meet a
specific set of criteria in order to qualify for one of these rare organs.

The other option is to find a live kidney donor.  Most people are born with two healthy kidneys.  The human body is a marvelous machine and can comfortably get by with just one kidney. 
I am a living example, having been born with one kidney.  Live organ donors are considered
the best option for kidney transplants.  The percentage of successful transplants is higher from a live donor and the transplanted kidney has a longer chance of surviving in the recipient's body.

Unfortunately, after we discovered Asaf's condition, upon testing the other kids, we found that kidney disease has manifested itself in various non-threatening ways in our other children as well.    Because of incompatible blood types, kidney disease (including one aunt who
also has one kidney), and age, all of Asaf's siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, and all his first cousins have been eliminated as potential donors.

The first step to being a kidney donor is to be in perfect health. The second step is to have a compatible blood type. Asaf has a blood type of B negative.  That means that possible donors are people with B or O  blood.  We recently learned that Rh factor is not an issue in donor transplants, and that should make our search somewhat easier.  B- is one of the rarer blood types, occurring in only %2 of the general population.  B+ is a bit better at %9.

Donating a kidney is not a simple undertaking and not one to be taken lightly. There are potential complications, but most donors live long and successful lives, knowing that they made a difference to someone in need.  The cost of a transplant is covered for both the donor and the
recipient for Israeli citizens.  We don't really know about the rules in the US, but we are beginning to learn.  The medical and legal community has ruled that it is illegal to sell a kidney.  As such, any payment of any kind to the donor will disqualify them.  Kidney donations from live donors must be 100% altruistic.

Please contact us if you know of anyone who might be willing to donate one of their kidneys to Asaf.  The process takes about six months and requires numerous meetings with doctors, social workers, psychologists and committees to make sure that the decision is freely made and will
not jeopardize the donor or the recipient. The recovery time for the donor after the transplant can be as fast at 3-4 days.

Right now, Asaf has no symptoms other than very poor blood tests and some slight fatigue.  He has recently changed his diet in an attempt to delay dialysis for as long as possible.  There is no cure for Asaf's existing kidneys.   At his current rate of decline, he will need a kidney transplant sometime in the next 12 months.


SuperRaizy said…
I am so sorry to hear about your son's problem. I will link to your post on my blog after Shabbat, in the hopes of generating some publicity that may help in your search. Perhaps your search can be publicized in other ways as well, such as through newspapers?
Baila said…
I am visiting through Superraizy, and wanted to wish your son a refuah Shlema. I will also link to your post and ask my blogger friends to link as well about finding a donor for Asaf.

BTW, while I was here I browsed through your blog and enjoyed it very much. I'm always on the lookout for new menus and recipes, so I'll make sure to stop by again soon.
Gila said…
(From Raizy via Baila).... I just posted it on my blog as well. I am local (Tel Aviv)...if there is anything I can do to help, please be in touch. gila.weiss@gmail.com

Refuah Shlemah.
Moshe said…
Hi Elliot- Best wishes for your son's full recovery.

I am curious as to whether you are planning to have the transplant done in Israel or the United States.

As you probably know, solid organ transplantation generally requires lifelong immunosuppression, which can have serious side effects. Several centers in the USA are developing protocols which eliminate some drugs entirely and cut the others down to very low doses. This could be especially valuable for a young transplant patient, who will hopefully live with the transplant for many decades. Do you know if Israeli centers are using those techniques yet? If not, it might be worth looking into the feasibility of having the transplant done in the USA.

Here's a website for one of the leading centers: http://www.upmc.com/Services/TransplantationServices/StarzlInstitute/Pages/ImmunosuppressiveDrugWeaning.aspx
aliyah06 said…
I posted it also--hat tip to you guys, and I hope if we keep forwarding this, it will help locate a kidney.
aliyah06 said…
Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I posted it also--let's hope it helps find a kidney!
Israeli Mom said…
I'm so sorry to hear you're going through this. How scary this must be!

Where in Israel do you live? Where does the screening take place? I will definitely post about this in my blog, but with more info, I could put up a note at our school in Pardes Hana. I'm thinking, is there some blood test that people can take at Kupat Holim to do the initial screening?
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