Life is on the up for the Ward family


Photo: Vicki, Georgia and Dave

OTSnews has recently been in touch with the Ward family from Southport, mother Vicki would like to share the remarkable events of recent times.

It’s been the craziest 16 months for us as a family. Dave and I have been together almost 13 years, married almost 9. We have a 4-year-old daughter, Georgia who’s at school nursery. I’m a nurse. Dave’s in the car industry but had lost his job 4 weeks before he became ill.

Dave had renal failure from birth and got his transplant from a deceased donor when he was 5yrs old at Great Ormond St. This failed over Christmas 2013. It wasn’t initially picked up before Christmas when he became unwell, but after me requesting blood tests it showed his creatinine (a measure of toxins in the blood which the kidneys excrete) to be 1600! (Normal being about 100). He ended up in ITU the day after Boxing Day 2013 and was then transferred to The Royal Liverpool renal unit. The consultant said he’d only seen 1 higher creatinine and he’d passed out. Dave had been wallpapering!!

ots-southport-hospitalPhoto: Dave (one day after his transplant)

He began dialysis on 1/1/14. He started having haemodialysis by going to hospital 3 times a week. He then had a peritoneal catheter inserted in February and by March began home peritoneal dialysis using fluid into the abdomen 4 times a day. We even managed to go on holiday for a week doing this with my parents. On our return he was started on a peritoneal dialysis machine overnight. This freed him in the day but also kept us awake with alarms and he was found to be a high fluid absorber so required increasing volumes. This lasted through to October. In this time his mum had been told she couldn’t donate a kidney due to Dave’s antibodies against her. The more transplants you have, the increased antibodies and therefore a reduced chance in a donor. However his dad had a good tissue match but had a different blood group. The consultant told us that this type of transplants had been possible for the last 6yrs and required antibody suppression prior and post transplant. Therefore his dad started further tests.

By October we had found out I was expecting our second child. It was more of a surprise with his treatment and that we struggled first time to get pregnant. We decided we couldn’t put our life on hold for this disease and did not want to prolong our family’s future.

We also found Dave’s peritoneal dialysis was failing and his creatinine was rising again to 900. They suggested increased dialysis overnight to 10hrs however Dave said enough to this and took the plunge to return to haemodialysis.  He had a further neck line inserted and returned to 3 times a week hospital visits for this. All his dad’s tests to this point we’re going well. The specialist suggested tests would take 6mths and by January he would’ve had his transplant. However Dave had to await further surgery for a parathyroid removal in order to improve his calcium levels. This was done the end of January 2015. Following recovery Dave was taught to haemodialyse at home daily. His surgery was then arranged for 26/3/15.

We realised then his surgery was cutting it fine to the due date of 23/4/15. Especially with recovery averaging 4 weeks.

He began plasma exchanges over a few days the week prior to transplant. By the Tuesday leading up to the Thursday planned surgery he still hadn’t got enough reduced antibodies to have the transplant. So this was done daily and we were told the Wednesday evening the surgery was cancelled due to this. Emotions ran high as his dad was admitted and discharged. We were told if his antibodies didn’t reduce in time for Friday the surgery would be midweek the next week. Thursday night we were told the treatment had worked and it was all systems go for his dad to go back in and the transplant to take place on Friday 27th March.

His dad was longer than expected in theatre- 3hrs due to difficulty accessing it using laparoscopic surgery. They were within 5minutes of open surgery when they had success. Dave went in for the transplant around 2pm and was back on the ward by 10pm! All went as expected.

ots-southport-fatherPhoto: Steve

We visited the next day and his dad was up and appeared very well. Dave slept the whole time. His dad was discharged on the Sunday night (after just 2days) and Dave was able to have leave over Easter and return daily for blood tests. He was finally discharged on Tuesday after Easter which he was made up about as the Weds 8th April was his birthday. He returned to clinic on the Thursday but then had to return to the ward for further alternate day plasma exchanges due to having to reduce antibodies so they didn’t reject his kidney. This has just finished and he’s now returning to clinic. He’s doing really well. He feels breathless and very tired.

Baby has not yet arrived (4 days to go!)


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