KELOWNA – It’s an emotional twist to what two Kelowna woman thought was going to be a happy ending. About a year ago, Jeanne Usen and Caroline Lopes didn’t even know each other. When Usen learned from a mutual friend that Lopes needed a kidney, she immediately wanted to help, in a big way.
“I went well, I think I’ve got something I can help her with,” says Usen.
“For Caroline to be a single mom with this amazing 12-year-old daughter and having this fear of not being able to raise her, I just couldn’t wrap my head around that.”
Numerous tests and months later, they found out they were a transplant match, saving Lopes from having to go on dialysis.
“I’m scared, very scared. I’m a single mom and I want to see my daughter grow up,” says Lopes.
Lopes went to Vancouver General Hospital a week ago in preparation for the surgery scheduled for Monday.
“I met with the doctors and the coordinator and a couple hours later, they had told me everything was fine to go ahead,” says Lopes.
However, Friday evening, Lopes got a call from a doctor saying the surgery wasn’t happening.
“The doctor said it was due to two anti-bodies showing up in my blood,” says Lopes.
“We didn’t know that could happen and they said that it was only a five per cent chance that it could occur.”
Vancouver Coastal Health says the surgery was postponed, not cancelled. It’s something the health authority says it not uncommon due to results from final screening tests. The situation has left donor, recipient and their families devastated and financially burdened.
“Just for the four days, it was an expense of about anywhere from $1,200 to $1,400 out of our own pocket,” says Lopes.
Now Lopes will undergo further anti-body blood tests, the results will determine if she is again compatible for transplant with Usen. Despite the circumstances, both women are filled with gratitude for the ongoing support, both moral and financial, from friends and family.
“If it wasn’t for Jeanne and it wasn’t for everybody around me, I would not continue,” says Lopes.
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