March 14, 2013 | Vol. 116 -- No. 47

Cheney mom gives gift of life to daughter

The mysteries surrounding why Katelynn Janes needed a life-saving transplant remain. But at least the critical surgery was able to take place so life could go on.

The 2012 Cheney High grad ought to be home recuperating – and so hopefully will her mother, Lisa, who donated one of her kidneys to Katelynn last Friday at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.

According to Katelynn’s dad and Lisa’s husband, Ben, the surgery went well.

There was never a warning alarm, however. Everything seemed normal this past December, until Katelynn injured her foot at work. She was given medicine and went back to the doctor and was given a clean bill of health – for her foot at least.

“One of the side effects would be that she would be sleepy,” and she also didn’t eat well, her mother said. Katelynn woke up with hives, and the lethargic behavior continued.

Finding an answer became paramount because Janes was supposed to be headed off to college at Brigham Young University, Idaho at Rexburg in January.

But the health issues persisted. “Let’s just go to the clinic and see what they will do,” Lisa Janes told her daughter. Lab work came back with a diagnosis of Janes being “critically anemic.”

Later came a phone call. It was Katelynn’s doctor and he told her she was in renal failure and needed to get to the emergency room immediately. Katelynn handed the phone to her mother so the doctor could explain. “I think it went in one ear and out the other,” Lisa Janes said.

The feeling of shock and confusion set in.

“Which renal, I didn’t know what renal was, which part of your body is that,” Lisa Janes said. “Regardless, the news did not sound very good.” The two took a journey to Sacred Heart to get answers.

“All of her numbers were so out of whack,” Lisa Janes explained. Little by little doctors got a better picture of Katelynn’s situation. “It just kept getting more serious and more serious.” A biopsy revealed 70 to 80 percent of her kidneys were scarred. “It was kidney failure and she would be in dialysis until they could find a transplant,” Lisa Janes said.

Dialysis involves hooking equipment through a catheter in Katelynn’s chest, her mother said. “They just hook her up,” and the process both filters the blood and removes fluids.

Even with all the extensive testing that went on, there is not a clear picture of what caused the problems in the first place. “It could have been a virus,” Lisa Janes said. “We don’t know how long it’s been going on either.”

Prior to the transplant, Janes underwent dialysis three times a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – three-and-a-half hours at a time.

Unknown to Lisa Janes, her husband Ben put the need for a transplant out on Facebook. “Family was saying if she needs a kidney I want to be tested,” Lisa Janes said.

Some friends and even just acquaintances said they wanted to be tested, too.

The transplant decision ultimately came down to Katelynn’s parents, both of whom were matches. Parents and children have a 50 percent match because only half of the genes in a child come from each parent according to Renalsource.com.

Lisa Janes will live her life with one kidney, but Katelynn will have three as the non-functioning kidneys are not removed. “I think for what I’m giving the tradeoff is OK so my daughter can live,” she said.

Aside from living a very healthy life from here on out, Janes can’t race cars or bungee jump she joked. “That is what the doctor told me,” she said. “Don’t worry, that’s not my style,” she told him.

Katelynn Janes will swap being hooked to the dialysis machine in favor of taking a regimen of immune suppression and anti-rejection drugs. Insurance and Medicaid will cover portions of the treatment, for now. But once Katelynn reaches age 26, and off her parents insurance, there are many unknowns.

An account to assist Katelynn with those expenses has been set up at Spokane Teachers Credit Union.

Paul Delaney can be reached at pdelaney@cheneyfreepress.com.

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