IT WAS the ultimate gesture of motherly love. When Lucy Howe was told she would need a kidney transplant, her mum Yolanda didn’t think twice about helping her daughter.
Now, after the pair underwent operations at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, 31-year-old Lucy is a picture of health and has her life back.
‘It has been life-changing,’ said Lucy, a legal secretary from Port Solent.
‘Before the transplant I was always tired. That was the main problem for me. I used to struggle to get up in the mornings.
‘But now I wake up and I’m bursting with energy. I really have noticed the difference.’
She added: ‘I’m really grateful to my mum for what she’s done for me.’
Lucy’s problems started 10 years ago when she began to suffer from high blood pressure.
After numerous tests, doctors discovered that one of her kidneys was in fact not working and the other was deteriorating.
In the last four years Lucy’s situation worsened and it became apparent she would need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
She was put on the donor waiting list and her parents were soon found to be matches.
Mum Yolanda, 60, said: ‘Lucy’s dad and I obviously wanted to help, although at first she didn’t want it to be us being the donor.
‘It turned out we were both matches, but I was the better match. Of course I was going to do it.
‘It has been a worrying time for all of the family but we have got through it and it was worth it.
‘Our treatment and care at the hospital has been excellent and we are both doing well now.’
Without the transplant operation, Lucy was destined to have to go on dialysis. She would have also faced a two to three-year wait on the transplant list.
Sam Dutta, a consultant transplant surgeon at QA, said: ‘Lucy would have had to go on dialysis but it is not the best long-term solution. Transplant is the best option for kidney failure.
‘For a young patient, it gives them better quality of life and longer life. Lucy will now have both of these. Without the transplant from her mother, she would have had to go on the waiting list.’
Lucy and Yolanda had their operations at the end of March this year.
The transplant was in fact a milestone operation for QA hospital as it was the 25th hand-assisted keyhole kidney transplant.
It involved surgeons making a small incision on Yolanda’s abdomen, and using a camera and fine instruments to locate the kidney and get it ready for removal. The surgeon then had to make a two-inch incision to remove the kidney.
The kidney was then transplanted into Lucy, but this was done with open surgery, not keyhole.
The first hand-assisted keyhole kidney removal operation was performed at QA 18 months ago.
Since then Mr Dutta has performed all 25 of the operations.
He said: ‘We are delighted that we have been able to help so many people with this kind of procedure in Portsmouth. ‘The operation is so beneficial to the patient; it means less time off work, less scarring and less pain after the operation.’
· A kidney transplant is the transfer of a healthy kidney from one person into the body of a person who has little or no kidney activity.
· A living person can donate a kidney – because we can live with only one. Relatives are often the best match. But kidney donations are also possible from donors who have recently died, although they have a lower chance of long-term success.
· There are about 7,000 people waiting for a kidney transplant, but only 2,500 operations carried out each year and about 700 people die every year waiting for a kidney.
· To become a living donor call 0300 123 23 23 or visit uktransplant.org.uk.