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Edith Kelley: Kidney Transplant

A Kidney for Valentine's Day

After an annual checkup indicated something was happening with Edith’s kidneys, she was sent to a kidney specialist and underwent a biopsy. The results were not good. The lower part of her organ was diseased and not working. In 2015, Edith went on dialysis and followed protocol, checking in with her doctors and making changes to her diet, but nobody could do anything more for her. She remained on dialysis until her transplant on March 6, 2019.

“I feel very fortunate that I only had to wait a little more than two years for a new kidney from anonymous living donor. They called me on Valentine’s Day and I was at the top of the list. I just cried.”

Edith says she could not have asked for a better hospital, doctor, or team than UPMC Harrisburg. Describing Dr. Ladie and her associate Dr. Hoffman as “amazing,” to all the nurses who knew exactly what they were doing, her medical care and their compassion was, in Edith’s words, unreal.

“They are awesome people. I was so pleased with my treatment and everyone is organized, responsive, and goes above and beyond.”

So far, everything is on track for Edith and her kidney is working well. No longer hooked up to a machine, she considers her new life a blessing and enjoys every aspect, including the good food she couldn’t enjoy while on dialysis. She also found the energy to keep up with her four-year old great-granddaughter, whom she and her husband are helping to raise.

“Lola is the love of my life, and she gives me the purpose and a reason to keep going. I couldn’t always do for my daughter or granddaughters what I can for her.”

Edith remembers Lola wanting to see her “boo boo” (her fistula while on dialysis). Although she tried to keep up with her prior to surgery, it was difficult. Today, she no longer is limited by a disease and she is going to the park, cooking, taking walks, and otherwise enjoying conversations with Lola and her other family members. They share life lessons during these conversations.

One life lesson for Edith was the power of positive thinking. She used to be scared, impatient, and almost didn’t care about the future prior to her surgery. If you ask Edith, she admits she gets that honestly.

Edith is one of 12 siblings, of which two also had kidney disease. Additionally, she says her brothers and sisters, aunt, and dad can be described as difficult, stubborn, and bullheaded.

While the road has been rough in the past, today she can see everything a little clearer and wishes to embrace life and people more often. Surely there is one specific person she has in mind—Lola.

“This transplant has given me a new life so that I can watch my great-granddaughter grow up and live hers. My old kidney was running my life, but now I am in charge.”

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Meet Edith Kelley's Care Team