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Norfolk wife gives husband her kidney

PUBLISHED: 12:00 05 April 2010 | UPDATED: 15:50 07 July 2010

Sarah McCready with her husband Titus, pictured at their home at Lyng.

Sarah McCready with her husband Titus, pictured at their home at Lyng.

Kathryn Cross

Just two weeks ago breakfast in bed was a luxury Titus McCready could not afford.

But now, instead of having to get up and start the first of five kidney dialysis sessions every day, he can greet the new day in a more leisurely manner - and with a renewed sense of hope for the future.

Just two weeks ago breakfast in bed was a luxury Titus McCready could not afford.

But now, instead of having to get up and start the first of five kidney dialysis sessions every day, he can greet the new day in a more leisurely manner - and with a renewed sense of hope for the future.

And it is all thanks to his devoted wife Sarah who made a life-changing decision to donate one of her kidneys to him and give him the chance of a normal life.

Titus, 45, a care co-ordinator for adult social services in Norwich, was born with polycystic kidney disease which was diagnosed in 1997. Last year his kidneys started to fail and he was put on dialysis while he waited for a transplant. But when Sarah, 50, found out one of her kidneys would be a suitable match she did not hesitate and offered to become a live donor.

When the EDP spoke to the couple, who live in Lyng, near Dereham, ahead of the operations on March 23 they said the whole procedure could take as little three hours.

But in reality Sarah found herself in theatre for eight hours after the surgeons at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge changed their minds over which kidney to remove.

“Because I had had some previous surgery it made things a bit more difficult and also they were not keen on the number of blood vessels going to the first kidney they looked at so they had to go for the other one,” she said.

“It was a bit gruesome. They do most of the dividing of arteries and loosening it with a laparoscope, like a telescope inside you, and when it is loose they make a 10cm long cut down your side and put their hand in and grab it. It was a good job I did not know anything about it until I woke up in the recovery room.”

After the kidney was free the surgeons brought in Titus who had a “nest” prepared in his lower abdomen where the new kidney was connected.

Now back at home the early signs show that the operation has been a complete success.

“Titus goes to Addenbrooke's twice a week for check-ups and they said his blood levels went back to normal very quickly,” said Sarah. “I wouldn't say he is a new man quite yet because he is still recovering from the anaesthetic and a massive operation but it is a great relief it is all over. It is just nice to have a lie-in and breakfast in bed for a change without having to get up and do dialysis.”

Sarah is also recovering slowly but surely and although she admits it was more painful than she was expecting there was never a moment when she wondered if she was doing the right thing.

“As I am a district nurse I am used to being busy so it is hard to rest,” she said. “I don't think I will be back to full strength for a few weeks and I really feel it if I overdo it. But every day it gets easier.”

The surgeons are very pleased with their progress and Sarah is still hopeful that their story might encourage other people to think about live transplants.

“I don't know if there has been more interest in it since we told our story to the EDP but if one person just looked into it and thought they could do it then I would be really pleased.”

To find out more about organ donation or to register on the transplant list, visit the NHS organ donation register at www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call 0300 123 23 23.

Website: National Kidney Foundation - www.kidney.org.


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