John’s Six-Month Biopsy Results! – Oct 18, 2021

This month (October) we went back down to Stanford for John’s routine six-month kidney biopsy. We hadn’t been down to California since April! The six-month biopsy is standard for all kidney transplant patients at Stanford, and Stanford was monitoring the kidney and looking for any signs of rejection. John will have another biopsy at the one-year mark after transplant, and again at the two-year mark.

The biopsy results were good! There were no signs of any rejection, and no signs of donor-specific antibodies. For the antibodies, this basically means that the team uses a blood draw to see if there are antibodies in the bloodstream specific to the kidney. If there are no antibodies, that’s good news, because it means the body hasn’t noticed the new kidney isn’t John’s own.

We were very, very excited to hear that.

On the downside, through the biopsy, they did find that portions of John’s kidney have atrophied (shut down). And they found that John has Prograf toxicity—which means that one of his immunosuppressant medications has accumulated to toxic levels in his kidney. There was no other way to find this out except for doing a biopsy, which is exactly why they do it. Before we did the biopsy, his nephrologist let us know that in about 40% of kidney cases, the team has to adjust medications based on what they find in the biopsy.

We knew something like prograf toxicity could happen, but we were of course disappointed. His medical team assured us that everything is going well overall, and that they were very happy. The biggest thing they’re concerned with are signs of rejection—and we didn’t have any of those!

The outcome of all this is that John’s kidney team is playing around with medications to get the right mix. The medication John will move to is a newer version of the medication he was on. The advantage for us is that he took the previous medication twice a day, and now he’ll take it once a day. The disadvantage is that since this is a more newly developed medication, it’s more expensive and we’re still waiting for insurance authorization.

Overall, John enjoyed seeing his transplant and medical team again. He really likes Dr. Grimm, the head of nephrology. John asked Dr. Grimm, “How does a biopsy go?” And Mr. Grimm thought that sounded like a song title and made up a song on the spot! John thought it was hilarious. “Biopsy! Biopsy! Let’s go get a biopsy!”

It’s not necessarily going to top the Billboard charts, but hey…

The two days following biopsy were rough from John because he wasn’t supposed to move. Playing video games and watching shows was good for the first four hours. But in the end we got through it. Good flights down and back. We got the results we were hoping for.

We’re also very excited that since his transplant, John has grown about four inches! His energy levels are great and he seems like a ‘normal’ kid. Patty is starting to feel like herself again, as well. We feel like she’s probably at about 80% of her previous energy levels. She gets frustrated that she can’t work as hard as she used to, and we like to remind her that she still works an 8- or 10-hour day no problem. So it’s a bit of a forced reset for her, and the farm, since farming and running the business are 24/7!

Thank you again for you amazing continued support, care, and concern! It’s thanks to COTA and our community that we feel like we can continue to get through anything that comes our way.

One thought on “John’s Six-Month Biopsy Results! – Oct 18, 2021

  1. Great news! And, Patti, when you’re 78, you’ll look back and wish you could do as much as you did post transplant!

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