"Having the transplant program near my home has allowed me more balance in life."
Kewaunee resident Kathy Brydon was one of the first patients to visit the abdominal outreach transplant program at Aurora BayCare Medical Center this summer, but her journey began earlier.
In 2007, doctors told Brydon her kidneys were starting to fail. In May 2008, Brydon was strongly advised to see a doctor after she had unexplained weight gain while on the Weight Watchers program. Sensing the urgency, she visited the emergency room with swollen feet and ankles. Doctors ran tests and admitted her to the hospital with a kidney failure diagnosis. She was put on kidney dialysis in the hospital for one week.
Since then, Brydon has been visiting the Aurora Dialysis Center in Green Bay three times a week for four hours at a time.
She has undergone a series of tests at Aurora BayCare Medical Center to make sure she is a candidate for kidney transplant surgery.
"My pre- and post-care is five minutes from my door," said Brydon. "This program came to Green Bay just in time for me."
Before Green Bay's first abdominal outreach transplant program, patients needed to travel to Milwaukee or Madison for transplant care. Now, abdominal transplant services are offered locally in Green Bay at Aurora BayCare Medical Center.
"Having the transplant program near my home has allowed me more balance in life," said Brydon who works a full-time job. "I am home at night and don't have to drive far."
Patients see physicians at Aurora BayCare for pre-transplant consultation and post-operation care and visit Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee once for surgery.
The program brings a team of transplant medical professionals to Aurora BayCare in Green Bay from Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee to give local patients convenient access to care.
That team includes Jeffery Steers, M.D., transplant surgeon and medical director of abdominal transplant at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center, and Aurora Abdominal Transplant Coordinator Nancy Contreras, R.N.
They visit Aurora BayCare Medical Center three times a month to meet with patients.
"This program has really grown by leaps and bounds," said Steers. "We have full schedules every time we visit Aurora BayCare."
He continued, "Based on the response from patients, this program is fulfilling a great need in Green Bay and we are happy to provide convenient care for our patients."
Recently, blood tests determined that Brydon's sister could be a potential kidney donor match. If Brydon's sister passes all the health tests, she will fly from Massachusetts to start the pre-transplant consultations.
Brydon expects to have a new kidney in the New Year.
To learn more about Aurora's abdominal transplant program, click here.