A Montpelier woman has a new lease on life after receiving a kidney transplant from her postal carrier.
Tanya (Ruble) Likens received her new organ Sept. 14 at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. She is recuperating at her home and looking forward to the future.
The surgery ended a lifelong struggle.
“I learned I had kidney disease when I was nine,” Tanya said. “Three years ago I was put on the transplant list.”
Time was running out on the 28-year-old as she began dialysis two years ago. She had been undergoing periotoneal dialysis where a catheter had been inserted into body, but that malfunctioned and after four surgeries in two months, the catheter never worked again.
The she had to go through regular dialysis a few times a week.
She learned of her donated kidney Aug. 19 at work in Toledo. She was with her co-workers when she got the call.
“Everybody cheered,” Tanya said.
When she got home, she and Brian, her husband of four years, immediately began to do a deep cleaning of their house.
“We bleached everything,” Tanya said. “I will have to take amino suppressants the rest of my life. I wanted a fresh start.”
They decluttered the house and threw out many items.
“If we don’t use it, we don’t need it,” Brian said.
The donor learned of Tanya’s need through his son who has saw it on Facebook. It was then he asked “Why can’t I donate,” Tanya said, relaying the conversation they had.
“When Patrick reached out to me, there was light at the end of the tunnel,” Tanya said.
The surgery went well and now Tanya has seen an immediate change in her life. She has more energy and she has to use the restroom more frequently than before.
She still has to watch her diet as she is susceptible to diabetes, and she has to get rid of the toxic fluids in her body.
Brian noticed the difference right away.
“She was up and walking within two days,” Brian said.
Brian has changed as well. A lifelong Buckeyes fan, he has yet to take the Michigan bracelet off he put on at the hospital. The experience showed him a different side to that school up north.
“It’s hard not to respect them,” Brian said. “They were good to us. They made sure we were as comfortable as Tanya.”
As for her donor, Tanya said she was amazed that someone she did not know would do such a thing.
“Apparently he didn’t need it (kidney) anymore,” Tanya said.
While family and friends were supportive throughout, she wanted to thank her nurse, Michelle, for her tireless efforts in getting the help she needed.
“She was my biggest advocate,” Tanya said. “She looked for other options.”
As for the future, Tanya said when she is healthy enough, she will be getting a banana split. Previously she has never eaten a banana because of the potassium. Other experiences include sleeping on her stomach, a no-no when she had the catheter.
“The sky’s the limit,” Tanya said “I am not tied to a machine.”
James Pruitt may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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