Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Bay mother hopeful after lifesaving operation

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HOPEFUL: Frankie Egglestone, with her daughter, Lexi, 7, and friend Lianne Bateman, who donated a kidney to Ms Egglestone. Photo/File.
HOPEFUL: Frankie Egglestone, with her daughter, Lexi, 7, and friend Lianne Bateman, who donated a kidney to Ms Egglestone. Photo/File.

Despite a wee medical setback, Tauranga mother Frankie Egglestone says she's in good spirits after her life-saving kidney transplant.

Ms Egglestone, 29, said her new kidney gifted by Tauranga mother Lianne Bateman was not yet working properly.

Ms Egglestone, who had been close to death several times, had her life-saving transplant operation in Auckland Hospital on October 5.

The Brookfield solo mother was born with one kidney which failed when she was five. She received her mother's kidney at age 6 which lasted almost 19 years before it too failed.

She had almost lost hope of finding a suitable donor until Ms Bateman, a former customer at the cafe where Ms Egglestone worked, stepped forward.

Ms Egglestone said she was in surgery for about six hours, ended up with about six different incisions in her stomach, and was in the intensive care unit for one night.

"I was in a huge amount of pain for about four days but luckily I don't remember a lot because they kept me heavily medicated. I now feeling a lot brighter but I have got what the doctors call a 'sleepy' kidney, and they say it could take four weeks for it to properly kick."

Ms Egglestone said her surgeon told her the kidney was working at 60 per cent capacity but it was quite common for a new kidney to be a little bit slow, particularly given her complex medical history.

"However, I'm off dialysis and taking thymoglobulin to help avoid any rejection of the kidney, although so far there is really only small signs of rejection which is tremendous."

Ms Egglestone said to assist in keeping the antibodies down in her blood she needed to undergo a course of seven chemotherapy treatments. Each course takes four hours.

"It's still quite overwhelming ... I'm still trying to figure out what my new way of life is going to be like after being attached to a machine four times a week for so many years. "

She said she was recuperating at a motel close to the hospital for six weeks so she can have regular blood tests and chemotherapy treatments, a cost she must meet herself.

"I can't wait to cuddle my daughter Lexi and once I'm fully discharged from hospital and back home again, we can start to plan the next phase of our new life together."

Ms Bateman, who now back home in Tauranga, said she had visited Frankie every day while in hospital as their rooms were close each other.

"Apart from taking some pain medicine for residual wound discomfort, my other kidney seems to be working just as well as when I had two which is really good news," she said.

Ms Bateman said apart from three monthly check-ups at Waikato Hospital, her part of the transplant process was done.

Now it was just a case of waiting for Frankie's new kidney to start working properly. But her doctors are feeling quite positive about the prognosis and it will just time for the kidney to wake up," she said

"Frankie is a peeing on her own and the new kidney did start working almost immediately which is a really good sign. We are all very hopeful for her," she said.

Kidney donations facts

At least 2370 Kiwis rely on life-saving dialysis
Average life expectancy of patients 3-5 years
Patients waiting for kidney could wait up to 7 years

Sources : Live Kidney Donation Aotearoa

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