My Husband's Gift of Life

January 15, 2015
Topics: Riley Kid Story, Transplant

Katie Curry Real Blog image
Katie Curry, Greenfield, Ind., with her father, Danny Curry

In May of 2013, as our daughter Katie's third grade year was coming to a close, Katie started complaining of a "lump" feeling in her throat. "The Lump" as we began to refer to it as would linger for a few days at a time and sometimes cause Katie to gag and vomit. I did some mom-diagnosing and landed on acid reflux.

As we headed into July, Katie started waking up in the night feeling the "Lump" - coughing, gagging and eventually vomiting. After the longest 4th of July weekend of my life, first thing in the morning when doctor's offices were back open I was able to get Katie in to see Riley Pediatric Gastroenterologist, Dr. Joseph Croffie. (I have no idea who canceled their 9 a.m. appointment on that day -- but THANK YOU!)

When we got to the appointment, Katie was so ill and so weak that she couldn't walk without gagging and vomiting. Dr. Croffie went above and beyond for my girl. Initially, he believed Katie was having an allergic reaction in her esophagus to certain foods but wanted to do a barium swallow to be sure there were not obstructions before doing a scope the next day. Radiologist Dr. Lisa Delaney noticed a "lump" or "mass" in Katie's chest area -- close to her heart, (as you can's stomach drops at this point). Katie had a CT scan, and Dr. Croffie told us he wanted to consult with other Riley specialists the next day.  He told us, “I WILL call you tomorrow."

After a horrible night for Katie, the next day Dr. Croffie told me (much to my RELIEF) that he wanted to admit Katie to Riley Hospital as a precaution. Never in all my life could I have imagined so many highly intelligent and gifted people would need to work with Katie to get to a final diagnosis: General Pediatric Doctors; Infectious Disease (the initial thought was the mass on the CT was perhaps leftover hystoplasmosis); Cardiology (Katie's blood pressure was THROUGH-THE-ROOF); Gastroenterology; and Nephrology (which, of course, I had never heard of - EVER.) All these AMAZING teams of doctors, fellows and nurses worked to figure out what on earth was wrong with Katie Grace Curry.

We ultimately learned that Katie had Chronic Kidney Disease. Dr. Jeff Leiser became Katie’s primary pediatric nephrologist at Riley. Katie spent two weeks at Riley in an effort to get her blood pressure under control (this is an incredibly long process). That’s when my husband Danny and I began to realize what the outcome of CKD is. It’s not curable. Kidneys don't get better, they deteriorate. Our tough girl was born this way! She had TWO puny little kidneys from birth. One of them probably never worked, and the second one was giving out.

I remember exactly where I was and which nurse told me that Katie would likely have a transplant. Moments like those stand out in life.

I went through a battery of tests, and it was determined that I could not be Katie's donor. Danny then began the process, and in October, he received the green light.

On December 15, Danny and I brought Katie in to Riley Hospital for her transplant. Danny (who is a pastor at Park Chapel Christian Church in Greenfield) prayed with Katie in the Simon Family Tower lobby. Then, he walked the halls over to University Hospital for his part of the operation.

Katie's transplant surgeon, Dr. William Goggins, said it went "beautifully." He also said that the kidney they removed was "ugly." We are so incredibly grateful it worked as long as it did, but are equally as thrilled that Danny had a spare that he could share!

Today, we are so grateful to have both Katie and Danny back home, growing stronger and doing well. Katie's favorite thing about having a new kidney is the FOOD she gets to eat now! She is enjoying lots of mac-n-cheese and pickles, since she was limited on dairy and sodium before.

Everyone has been so understanding of our need to keep Katie (and ourselves) out of public places as much as possible. We are washing our hands all the time to protect ourselves from germs - sometimes I get a little obsessive about this, but I'm definitely not apologizing for that!

We are thankful to our friends, family and church community for their continued prayers, love and encouragement. We would ask that you continue to pray for Katie's health - that she would be protected from infection & rejection.

We give thanks for the team of experts at Riley Hospital who took such great care of us during this life-changing journey.

We are forever grateful!

Jen Curry, Riley Parent

Jen and her husband Danny are the parents of 10-year-old Katie and 8-year-old Caleb. Jen is a full-time wife and mother, and Danny is Teaching Pastor at Park Chapel Christian Church in Greenfield, Ind. In the fall of 2014, Danny donated a kidney to Katie, who underwent a successful transplant operation at Riley Hospital. The family spends a lot of time involved in their church and community, and they also enjoy traveling and sports - especially golf, basketball and the Colts.

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