LCSC's Pande awaits kindey transplant
The is a from an article in the Lewiston Tribune that appeared on Christmas Day
By Kerri Sandaine of the Tribune
Monika Pande would rather be home helping her sons with their homework than attached to a kidney dialysis machine 12 hours a week.
She tries to sleep as much as she can as her blood pumps through the equipment. After awhile, patients get used to the background sounds of televisions, conversations and beeping machines.
Dialysis has become a part of life for the 38-year-old Lewiston woman, along with waiting and hoping for a kidney transplant.
So far, she has been unable to find a relative who meets the donor criteria, and she hasn't had any luck on a waiting list.
"I just wish I could find someone," says the mother of two. "I feel very uncomfortable asking people. It has to come out of their heart."
Pande needs a kidney from someone with O positive blood. Many of her relatives are in that category, but they have health complications such as diabetes or high blood pressure and can't donate a kidney. Some live in Nepal, where Pande was born, and can't afford the costs associated with the surgery and its aftermath. Others, such as her parents, do not meet the age restrictions.
"It's very unfortunate. They want to help but they can't."
She is exploring a kidney swap program that would allow someone who is not a match to donate a kidney on her behalf, but so far no details have been worked out. Lining up a living donor requires extensive testing.
Pande says she had no idea she had a kidney disease with no cure until she was sent to a specialist, nephrologist Jose Garcia in Clarkston. Her symptoms at the time were high blood pressure, protein loss and a low blood count, but she felt fine. She was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy.
"I was so shocked I didn't know what to say. An X-ray and biopsy showed the kidney damage, and I was put on tons of medication."
When her kidney function kept dropping, she started dialysis through Clarkston's Tri-State Memorial Hospital and was placed on a transplant list at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.
Dialysis removes waste, salt and extra water from the body, keeps a safe level of certain chemicals in the blood, such as potassium, sodium and bicarbonate, and helps to control blood pressure. It's a time-consuming procedure, but the friendly staff at Tri-State makes it bearable, Pande says.
"The people at dialysis are very nice and I really appreciate that."
Pande, the manager of Sodexo food services at Lewis-Clark State College, moved to Lewiston in 1995. She is married to Balram Pande, who is general manager of Washington State University's concession stands, and they have two boys, Monix, 15, and Rohin, 10.
Juggling a job, family and dialysis appointments requires a lot of energy, but Pande says overall things are going OK.
"I feel pretty good. I have my days, but I try to act normal. I don't think of this as a sickness. It's my life and I can live it."
Kai Fong, a co-worker and tennis coach at LCSC, is not surprised by Pande's coping skills.
"She has been stricken with an unfortunate condition, but her strength and patience have masked the personal challenges - physically, emotionally and financially - she has had to endure," he says.
An account has been established at Zions Bank in Lewiston to help the family with medical expenses.
Waiting for a kidney match isn't easy, but Pande knows all it takes is one phone call, and she'll have a shot at living a more normal life.
"That would be the best Christmas present I could ever receive," she says. "I have dreams I want to fulfill before I have to leave. I want to be here to see my kids graduate from college and get married. I want to see my grandkids."
Sandaine may be contacted at email@example.com or (208) 848-2264.