East Lothian mum Elaine Home reflects on months since kidney transplant which saved son Luke's life
An East Lothian mum who donated a kidney to save her son’s life has been reflecting on the months that have passed since the gruelling operation.
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Elaine Home jumped at the chance to give her son Luke the life-saving organ last year after 23-year-old Luke was diagnosed with kidney failure.
The terrifying diagnosis was made after Luke began suffering from what he thought were symptoms of Covid-19. But following a negative PCR in December 2020, his GP suggested he take a urine sample to see what was going on.
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Luke was sent to hospital for tests and was admitted into intensive care after doctors found that his kidney function was at around five per cent and his blood pressure was over 200.
Shocked that Luke was able to walk, doctors told Elaine and Luke’s dad Michael that had they not come into hospital, Luke would likely have suffered a fatal cardiac arrest.
Luke’s condition was so bad that doctors avoided moving him to a renal unit in case he suffered a cardiac arrest during the 10-minute journey. Instead, Luke spent Christmas in hospital, away from the family’s East Linton home, before starting exhausting five-hour dialysis sessions three times a week.
“The fact that Luke had never really been unwell told us immediately that something was wrong,” said Elaine.
“The hardest part of Luke’s ordeal was not being able to be with him as he was rushed to hospital and knowing that he was in such a vulnerable position.”
Elaine’s fears were worsened when doctors told her Luke would need a transplant if he was to be given the best chance of survival.
She and her husband began the process of finding a match for Luke and Elaine was soon given the green light to be her son’s donor.
She said: “As soon as we knew Luke was in need of a transplant, both my husband and I instantly contacted the living donor team in Edinburgh and the moment I was confirmed as a match I was so happy, relieved and grateful that Luke was going to be able to live life off dialysis and that all the tests were carried out so quickly.”
The pair went into surgery in September and just eight months later, both have made a full recovery.
“Both Luke and I have fully recovered and are doing really well,” said Elaine.
But she added that, following her family’s experience, she wanted to do more to help fund research into kidney disease, especially as the nature of kidney transplants means Luke will likely have to have another transplant in the future.
She plans to take on the 24-mile Edinburgh KiltWalk on September 18 to support Kidney Research UK and mark the anniversary of Luke’s transplant in a special way.
“Without a cure for kidney disease, there is a lot more work that needs to be done,” she said.
“The money raised will go towards helping to find ways to improve the longevity of a transplanted kidney, as well as investigating the various types of kidney disease and how to improve the quality of life for a kidney patient.”
Marc Shaw, head of community and events at Kidney Research UK, added: “People celebrate their kidneyversary in so many ways and it is always an honour when supporters like Elaine choose to raise money for us on their special day. “