(KUTV) Polycystic kidney disease affects around 600,000 people in the United States. It often results in the need for a kidney transplant which was the case for one Utah man.
“I found out about it when I was 18 years old,” says Michael Densley.
While in high school, Michael was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease. After having pain on one side he went into the hospital, ran tests, and found out he had cysts in his kidneys. Michael’s kidneys were filled with millions of balloon-like cysts that eventually filled with fluid.
“With polycystic kidney disease the kidneys grow over time and they get huge,” says Michael.
“They’re not just a mechanical nuisance, they will go on to progress and the patients lose function of their kidneys,” says Dr. Titte Srinivas with Intermountain Medical Center’s Kidney Transplant Program.
As Michael’s kidney function began to decline, doctors determined his kidneys were in bad shape and needed a transplant.
“The nice part about having the lead time is that one can plan for a living donor transplant,” says Dr. Srinivas.
First item on the preparation list: find a donor.
“My sister-in-law was one of the very first, if not the first to step up,” says Michael.
With a donor set, it was time to remove Michael’s diseased kidneys, each weighing about 8 pounds. Then, after six weeks on dialysis, it was time for surgery number two. Michael’s sister-in-law was taken in to surgery first, and Michael followed shortly after.
“As soon as the kidney was out of her, they put it in a bucket of ice, ran it over to my operation room, and from there they quickly get it into me,” says Michael.
The new kidney began working immediately. So far, it’s functioning very well and Michael says he’s feeling great and is thankful for the gift he received from his sister-in-law.
“She’s absolutely amazing. I can’t thank her enough. I’m going to owe her forever, really,” says Michael.