normal life with no major restrictions. As long as they stay relatively healthy, follow their doctors’ orders and avoid activities that may injure their kidney, Cesar’s new kidney and Laura’s remaining one should last for decades to come. “Take care of it and it’ll take care of you,” says Dr. Ingulli. “We’re going to do everything we can to have this kidney last a long, long time. It all depends on how well you take care of yourself, and how well you take care of this gift that you’re given.” Cesar is looking forward to enjoying his newfound independence—working, going back to school, traveling without dialysis equipment, and eating and sleeping without a strict schedule. He’s also spending more time with Laura, and they help keep each other on track with their health. “With my new kidney, I’m able to do whatever I want. That’s what I always kept on my mind, before the transplant and after, like, I’m able to do everything. That’s what made me stay positive. ”
or maybe had a bad cold, or you’ve been pregnant and you got reactive to some of those proteins, you’re not going to be able to accept a kidney from someone that expresses those proteins,” says Dr. Ingulli. “Cesar didn’t have any reactivity, so he was very lucky. He happens to match half of those proteins with his sister, which isn’t common. With a sibling, you can have anywhere from no match to a 100 percent match.” Once Cesar and Laura were determined to be compatible, a date for their surgeries was set and the countdown was on. Laura would undergo her procedure at UC San Diego and Cesar would receive the transplant at Rady Children’s.
“I never imagined having to get a transplant,” Cesar says. “It was
process typically takes four to six hours.
honestly pretty hard in the beginning, but then once I talked to the surgeons, Dr. Ingulli, I felt relieved. Like I was in the right hands.” Coordination Is Key On March 4, Cesar and Laura parted ways and prepared for surgery. Doctors at Rady Children’s readied themselves as their counterparts at UC San Diego removed Laura’s kidney. The two hospitals kept in constant contact since the timing was key. Once Laura’s kidney was removed, it was secured by an organ transportation team and surgeons at Rady Children’s fully prepped Cesar to receive it. The kidney was rushed to Rady Children’s and transplanted into Cesar’s body. Following the surgery, Cesar was moved to an intensive care unit to recuperate. The whole
“His kidney was functioning beautifully from day one,” says Dr. Ingulli. “There were no questions, no problems, no complications at all with his surgery or his sister’s. It’s remarkable. She’s one strong woman.” The two were reunited a couple days later, and the already-close siblings were able to bond over their life-giving and lifesaving experiences. “It’s amazing how we were a match, and she was able to do it, and everything came out smooth,” Cesar says. “We’re
both doing pretty good.” A Bright Future
Both Cesar and Laura have much to look forward to. Like many donors and recipients, they’re expected to live a
22 HEALTHY KIDS MAGAZINE SUMMER 2022
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