Peter and Nick grew up in a household that was pulled apart by divorce when they were young. It forced them to cling to one another as they went through difficult times. When Nick was diagnosed with Lupus at the age of sixteen, it came as a shock to the family. Peter took it especially hard as he watched his normally vibrant, energetic younger brother become a shell of who he once was.
Lupus is a disease that attacks organs. In Nick’s case, the Lupus attacked his kidneys and they started to fail when he was only eighteen. Healthy kidneys remove waste and extra fluid from the blood. But when your kidneys fail, waste and excess fluid can build up in the blood and make a person sick. To help improve his symptoms, Nick started dialysis at home. A dialyzer (filtering machine) is used to remove waste and extra fluid from your blood, and then return the filtered blood into your body.
It worked for a while, but he soon had to attend an outside dialysis clinic three times a week. Nick became weaker, pale and depressed. He rapidly lost weight, he was not producing urine and his condition was quickly getting worse. The entire family knew that something drastic had to happen to literally bring Nick back to life. Without hesitation, his big brother Peter, a fit young man, offered to donate his kidney so Nick could have the life he deserved.
After 6-8 months of intense medical testing that included blood tests and blood pressure monitoring, the good news came. Peter’s kidney was a match.
The day arrived when Peter’s healthy kidney would be removed at a hospital in the state of Washington and flown down to California where Nick lived. Everyone was on edge, not knowing if Nick’s body would accept the transplanted kidney. Within hours of the removal and transplant surgery, Nick produced three gallons of urine with Peter’s kidney. The surgery was a success and brought Nick’s kidney function up to 78%.
The brothers, both recovering from surgery, once again bonded through emotional and now physical pain. But this time, they also connected over the possibilities of a happy and healthy future.
As the months passed and the transplant surgery was behind them, Peter imagined his upcoming wedding day with his healthy brother by his side. He got that wish when he recently married his now wife Jennifer in a ceremony at which Nick stood up and gave a moving speech. This was something neither of them believed could happen if not for the precious gift of life, their talented doctors, and the support of all of those who love them.
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