Lynn Rogers was no stranger to chronic medical conditions. She had lupus, a disease that causes the immune system to attack healthy cells and tissue.
Fifty percent of people with lupus will experience kidney problems and Lynn was part of this group. She was initially unaware of her kidney problems. However, she did have severe joint pain and stiffness in her knees, ankles, shoulders, elbows, and sometimes her hips, fingers and wrists.
Lynn learned of her kidney condition after a complete medical work-up that also revealed she had hypertension, brought on by the kidney failure.
Medical crisis signals the need for a kidney transplant
One morning as she was getting dressed for work, Lynn noticed a dense gray mass on the right side of her field of vision. She remembers, "By the time I got to work it had worsened to the point of my seeing a kaleidoscope of colors fading in and out. It was extremely frightening. Finally, it hit me that maybe my blood pressure was up."
"I immediately called my doctor at Einstein Medical Center. He told me to drop everything and hurry to the nearest emergency room... My blood pressure was through the roof. It's a miracle I didn't have a stroke."
This medical crisis confirmed Lynn's kidneys were failing. She started on dialysis three times a week for three hours each treatment.
A failing kidney becomes a family affair
Lynn's best chance of survival depended on getting a kidney from a living donor, so she turned to her family of seven brothers and sisters. Every sibling offered to help.
One sister, Jackie Shirley, felt sure she would be the one to donate a kidney. She and Lynn had always been close. Their mother often spoke about how the two were so much alike.
"I could not have hoped or prayed for a better outcome. Every day is bright and full of new possibilities."
- Lynn Rogers
Jackie wanted to be her sister's lifesaver, and tests proved she met the medical requirements of a compatible donor.
Before making the decision, Jackie sat down with Dr. Radi Zaki, a transplant surgeon at Einstein, who answered all of her questions and offered reassurance that the results would be positive for both sisters.
Einstein provides support every step of the way
Four months after Lynn was placed on dialysis she underwent a kidney transplant at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia with a kidney donated from Jackie.
Lynn liked how the transplant team supported and helped her and Jackie through each step of the process. And this includes "her many, many office visits and midnight emergency calls... At Einstein, I always found a listening ear and a warm hand."
Lynn's life is now filled with new possibilities
Since the transplant the sisters are closer than ever. Lynn continues to admire Jackie's gift of love and life:
"To think that someone could do such a selfless thing fills my heart with joy, adoration and love for her. And for people to say...that's your sister so she had to help you, well, I don't agree...she didn't have to help me. Not everyone would have done what she did. Jackie donated a kidney out of love from her heart.
I could not have hoped or prayed for a better outcome. Every day is bright and full of new possibilities. I have my life back and a brand new one at that. I haven't felt this good in years. I remember telling my doctor that I didn't know how bad I felt until I started to feel better. I've gotten used to the amount of medication I have to take, but even that has now become a piece of cake. My regular check-ups continue to show that I'm doing extremely well. Words don't do it. Gifts don't do it. I cannot express how deeply and how grateful I am.
I thank God for His saving care, the prayers of so many, for the skill, talent and knowledge of the doctors and medical staff, and the tender selfless love of a sister. Without any one of these ingredients, I would not be here."