"After each transplant, I felt like a new person"
David Raine didn't think twice about being only the second kidney transplant patient in the newly approved program at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center. He had all the proof he needed that St. Luke's could offer him a highly successful outcome. Twelve years ago, at age 54, David was on the verge of dying from congestive heart failure. Thanks to a heart transplant at St. Luke's in 1988, he has since enjoyed a full and active retirement.
"I had been sick for so long and had so little strength and energy," he recalls of his pre-transplant years. "After the transplant, I was a new person. I felt so good I just wanted to run around... and I did!" In the years that followed, David and his wife, Lois, have gone skiing, biking, golfing, traveling, and even whitewater rafting. "Once you get your strength back, it's so great," he says. "You just want to go for it!"
David's wonderful experience with St. Luke's heart transplant program more than a decade ago was the very reason he came back.
Just as miraculous, however, were the results of Leslie's many tests to determine if she would be a suitable donor for David. She was a perfect match.
On January 4, 2000, David and Leslie underwent surgeries to transplant one of Leslie's kidneys. The operations, performed one after another by Dr. Stevenson, went smoothly. Like his heart transplant 12 years prior, David says that after the surgery, he "had the greatest feeling in the world. "You feel healthier almost immediately," he says. "I could feel the energy coming back right away." Leslie also recovered without complication.
"The people at St. Luke's are just super," says David. "All the surgeons, doctors, nurses, everyone on the team... It's the most caring environment you can imagine. The attention they give to their patients is really something. I though it was great 12 years ago. It's even better now."
Months after David's kidney transplant, he and Lois became regular participants in a fitness group. "We're in the so-called golden years, and there are a lot of things we want to do," says David. "I'm not a guy to sit around on the front porch in a chair. Once again, we're just going to go for it!"