Kidney Transplant Patient Story
Pamela Clark never let her polycystic kidney disease keep her out of the saddle.
For years after receiving the PKD diagnosis, Clark managed her condition through strict diet, and led an active life as a wife, mother, and pharmacist. Clark even continued to ride her horse, Holly, three to four times a week.
However, more cysts developed over time. When her kidneys grew two to three times the normal size, her local nephrologist referred her to Henry Ford Hospital, where she was evaluated and waitlisted for a kidney transplant.
After five months on the waitlist, Clark received a call from the transplant coordinator. She had matched for an available cadaver kidney.
“I was surprised, because it all happened so fast,” says Clark. “I still felt good, like I could go a few more years without the transplant.”
Clark turned down the donor kidney. A month later, she began to second guess her decision. She needed surgery to remove cysts from her gallbladder, and she developed complications with her liver.
With Clark’s health deteriorating and the need for a transplant growing more apparent, a colleague of Clark’s husband offered to donate a kidney. The transplant took place on December 12, 2012, or “12/12/12” as Clark has coined the day.
At the two-month follow-up visit, Clark asked nephrologist Anita Patel, M.D., when she could return to normal activities, which for her meant horseback riding.
Dr. Patel suggested Clark visit the stable, with the caveat that she protect her immune system by wearing a mask and gloves.