About Lisa (the Recipient)

As I sit here on a Sunday morning, hoping that my children will not have any more diarrhea today (yuck!) the events of the past year are still unbelievable to me.  For those of you who don’t know me, I am a 44 yo single woman, grew up in St. Paul, MN, and now live in Denver.  I have always wanted to be a mom, and when the right guy was not available, decided I could and should do it on my own.  When I was 39, I decided to adopt a baby from China. I found an agency, did all my paperwork and had everything to China in 2006.  Then I waited, and waited, and waited.  The China adoption trail had gone cold.  After 3 years, I decided to look into other options and decided to get pregnant with the assistance of  IVF.

I should mention that I am a physician, and my day job is as a vice president with WellPoint (trying to work within the system to do GOOD things for people and will write something about that one day) but I also work (or did and will again) in a high-risk obstetric clinic.  I am an internal medicine physician but did a fellowship specializing in medical complications in pregnancy.  So, naturally, I figured my pregnancy would be a bad one.  I was right, but not in my wildest dreams would I have imagined this!

The IVF process was full of ups and downs, as those of you who have been through it know, but compared to some, it was actually fairly smooth (and expensive) for me.  In early April, while sitting in an airport, I learned that my pregnancy test was positive – make that VERY positive.  Gulp.  An ultrasound a few days later confirmed my suspicion – twins! Wow.  Most of my pregnancy was actually uneventful and went really well.  I felt great, went on a last fling vacation with my friend Christine going to see U2 in London and Glasgow, and then a great tour of Scotland and Croatia.  At 30 weeks developed pretty severe swelling (edema) but my blood pressure did not go up, I didn’t have protein in my urine, and the babies looked great on ultrasound.

Monday, we went to the ultrasound appointment and right away we were told things had changed.  I went directly to the hospital where labs showed I probably had something called HELLP syndrome with hemolysis of my red cells, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelets.  I also had an elevated creatinine, a measure of kidney function, which was odd because it doesn’t go with HELLP.

They delivered the babies, Daniel and Sophie, by c-section that day and at first everything seemed fine.  The babies did great but since they were only 33 1/2 weeks they were taken to the NICU.  I went to recovery but gradually they realized I had not stopped bleeding.   That was the last thing I remembered for about two weeks.  I ended up developing DIC with massive bleeding and low blood pressure.  Several times they told my family and friends that the end was near and I credit my survival to one incredibly dedicated and brilliant critical care physician who didn’t leave my side.

The many smart people working on my case including not just the physicians taking care of my but my physician friends who also brought in folks from the university and around the world eventually decided I had something called atypical Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome, and incredibly rare and bad condition that causes kidney failure, hemolysis and low platelets.  Through a combination of plasma exchange, high dose steroids, rituximab, and other things I gradually recovered everything but the kidney failure.

I was in the hospital for about 5 weeks with 3 weeks in the ICU.  Needless to say I had a long and protracted recovery.  The babies did great and were actually ready to go home before I was.  For those of you who know my mom, ask her some time what it was like to have me in the ICU on the second floor, the babies in the NICU on the third floor, and then my dad developed congestive heart failure so was on the fourth floor!  I figured the Latts’ were single-handedly responsible for Rose Medical Center making a 4th quarter profit.

Back to the twins – they have continued to grow and thrive and now are healthy happy 10 month olds.  Despite being preemies – at their 9 month visit Daniel was in the 80th percentile for height and the 40th for weight, and Sophie was in the 95th percentile for height and the 50th for weight.

In February I had a kidney biopsy, which showed that my kidneys were unlikely to recover.  I was evaluated for a kidney transplant in March and Sarah was identified early as a possible donor.  Unfortunately individual with aHUS are high risk transplants, and while Sarah was a good match, the transplant team wanted to see if they could find a great match and so we spent another 6 months looking, while I continued on three times/week dialysis, 4 ½ hours per day.

So now, nearly a year before my ordeal began, we have decided to proceed with Sarah as my donor, and surgery is scheduled for 10.21.10. I cannot express how grateful I am to Sarah for her generosity and selflessness in being willing to do this.  Because of my higher risk, I will be doing treatments before and after the transplant to increase the likelihood of success.  The aHUS could recur in the transplant kidney immediately or any time after the transplant.  I will probably be checking labs weekly for the rest of my life.  Thank you for reading this and welcome to our blog!

58 thoughts on “About Lisa (the Recipient)

  1. Our thoughts and prayers are with you guys… Robert (Michele’s husband at Denver Dog Works).

    Robert Forto, PhD
    Dog Works Training Centers
    Team Ineka
    Iditarod bound 2013

  2. Lisa: I’m am so happy that you’ll be getting one of Sarah’s kidney’s. It’s a good one filled with love, hope, compassion and peace. I’ll be praying that everything goes smoothly and that you’ll be back to a regular healthly life.

  3. Oh, Lisa! I had no idea that you were going through all this ordeal! Organ donation is very near and dear to me…my father was a kidney and liver donor back in 1992. Somehow, donation made our loss seem like it wasn’t for nothing. I had the honor of knowing one of the kidney recipients, who, in a weird twist of fate, lived about 10 miles from Boyd’s parents. What an incredible friend you have! I will pray for you both in the coming weeks for a good outcome and a speedy recovery for you all. Please let me know if there is anything, I mean ANYTHING, I can do to support either of you. God speed.

  4. Lisa: I have heard about you for a long time but haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you. Bingley’s brother, Jackson is the only grandchild I am going to get from my son, Spencer and Boyd Bell is my son in law. Your babies are so sweet. I will pray for both you and Sarah as you start this part of your incredible journey. I consider it a blessing to be able to share it with you. May God watch over you all.

  5. Barbara Boehm Lindsey

    Hi Lisa,
    You have quite an amazing story. You have such wonderful courage and determination — not to mention an incredible sense of humor. You will be in my prayers as you move through the upcoming days; you, your beautiful babies, and that incredible mom of yours. I hope everything goes perfectly!
    Barb

  6. Lisa – You are an incredible person with great strength, endurance and sense of humor! Thank you for sharing this blog. I’m learning so much. 🙂 You and Sarah will be in our prayers.

    Jeff

  7. I am very sorry to hear you are going through all of this. my family and I wish the best for you.

    marc

  8. Lisa,

    As the big day approaches, my love and prayers and wishes that all goes well.

    Thank you for the blog because I didn’t know any of the details of what you’ve been through. Thank goodness for friends and family,
    what an amazing person Sarah must be.

    I told Beth Korinek I’ve done blogs only rarely in the past, but this is different. I’ve also never seen one like yours – it’s incredible, and I’ll be a regular visitor.

    Love from Bozeman, Montana (we moved in August) – we’ll have a chorus up here cheering for you (and Sarah).

    Dennis

  9. Lisa,

    I am overwhelmed with all that’s before you and what you have accomplished up until now. I read the hospital information certainly sometime ago, but this blog has and will help me understand your amazing journey even more.

    I am so happy you have Sarah willingly sharing a part of herself so that you can have a better life. You will both be in my thoughts and prayers for successful surgeries and quick recoveries. I will be at the 6th BCD Reunion in California that day, around all our mutual friends of old — and we will join together in passing on our powerful best to you and Sarah during this time.

    You know I send my love to you and your wonderful friend, your families, and of course, Daniel and Sophie, and the furry ones, too.

    Always,

    Janine
    Las Vegas, NV

  10. Cynthia Applegate

    I haven’t met you, Lisa, but have heard of you from Sarah (I’m a friend in New Mexico). I’m so happy to hear the surgery went well and will continue to think of you and send “good vibes” to both of you and your children.

  11. Yes!! I am sooo glad to hear you and Sarah are doing so well!! David called me this morning to see how you were. We love ya and look forward to seeing and hearing all about your adventure!! Love ya a buncg!!

    Sheila

  12. Anita and Sander Frindell

    Hi Lisa,
    We are so glad that you have made it thru the surgery and hope everything will go smoothly from now on.
    You are in our thoughts….
    Love, Anita and Sander

  13. Hi Lisa

    Glad to hear you and Sara are doing well.Hope you have a good recovery. Our prayers are with you.
    Love
    Pamela

  14. Lisa….I would like to send you some information. Please provide me with your email address.

    Thanks.

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