Two-Years Post-Transplant, Hanna Siblings Doing Well With One Kidney Apiece
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Two years ago, KMXT spoke with our friend Wes Hanna. At the time, he was visiting from Portland, but had high hopes of returning some day to Kodiak, the community he had come to call his own – which he has. But a life-long health condition had postponed that dream. Hanna had kidney disease, and was about to receive a transplant from one of his siblings. KMXT's Brianna Gibbs spoke with both of them and finds out how they're doing two years later.
On September 27, 2010, Hanna’s younger sister, Chelsee
Hanna, made what she calls the best decision she’s ever made and helped
save her brother’s life by giving him a kidney. Chelsee came to Kodiak
this year to celebrate the second anniversary of their operation and
shared some of her memories of the surgery.
-- (Wes Hanna 1
:25 “I was 21 and it actually was very scary for me. I’ve never
broken a bone, I’ve never had stitches, I’ve never done anything like
this ever in my life. So it was very scary that the very first operation
I’ve ever had or hospitalization I’ve ever had is to take an organ out
of me. You know. And everyone always says it’s harder on the donor than
the recipient because it makes me feel bad for a while and makes him
feel better almost instantly.”)
Both Wes and Chelsee found that to be true after the surgery.
(Wes Hanna 2 :30 “A day and a half after the operation it
was like a cloud had removed itself from my mind. My thoughts were
clearer, I felt wonderful, which was hard because my sister felt so
terrible. They actually brought my sister into my room a few days after
the operation and she was not feeling well. It was fairly obvious that
she was really, really hurting. Where I on the other hand was feeling
better than I had in a year and a half.”)
Wes said the gift
his sister gave him is something he can never repay, but he hopes to
honor her bravery by not taking this second chance for granted.
(Wes Hanna 3 : 24 “I’m a better person on this side of the
kidney transplant than I was before. And part of it is I think having
been given a second chance, but part of it too is understanding the
suffering that people go through. I really do feel like the past two
years have been a great gift. It’s great to still be here. I do really
feel like it’s a new life.”)
Chelsee said “their” kidneys are
doing very well and while Wes will take anti rejection medication for
the rest of his life, she has fully recovered from the operation.
(Wes Hanna 4 :24 “I don’t have to take any sort of
medications or anything. You know my scars are almost completely gone,
you can barely see them. You know I brother a kidney, it was the best
thing I’ve ever done but it’s not like it’s a constant reminder every
day for me. I don’t have pain, I don’t take medication, I do remember it
obviously, but it’s not a lifestyle change. It makes me wonder why more
people don’t do it because you definitely don’t need both of them.”)
As for Wes, he said despite having to take medication he is very optimistic about the future.
(Wes Hanna 5 :29 “In the transplantation clinic I was able
to meet an individual who has exactly the same kidney disease that I
have. And he works there; he’s actually a nurse in that transplant
clinic that’s there at the hospital. And he’s had his kidney now for 20
years, with the same kidney disease I have. And he let me know his story
and it gives me a lot of hope that my sisters gift, my sisters donation
will give me many, many years of a good healthy life.”)
Chelsee was able to watch Wes perform in the Fairwind Players
production of Rounding Third, something she said he was not able to do
before the operation. She said people constantly ask her if she’s
worried about her kidney, but she said what Wes had was rare and saving
his life was worth whatever risk may remain. Plus, she said as a living
donor she gets to cut the line if something ever does go wrong.