Cesar Godinez is no longer one of 101,189* people waiting for a kidney transplant in the U.S. Rather, as the first kidney transplant from the Wichita Transplant Institute, he is relishing his newfound freedom – filling endless hours he spent hooked up to a kidney dialysis machine instead with planning a trip, watching sports, visiting with friends and savoring leisure time with Karen, his wife of 34 years.
For nearly six years, Wichita resident Godinez was in a prison of sorts—his captor was renal disease that forced him to undergo dialysis two times a day, seven days a week. Even after he started doing peritoneal dialysis at home, Godinez’s schedule revolved around treatments. “I have Type II diabetes and am a prostate cancer survivor,” he says. “Those two things pushed my renal disease over the edge.”
When Godinez was approved to do the peritoneal dialysis in the comfort of his home a year ago, he thought of it as freedom – but on a leash. “It was still difficult to have a natural life, but it was better than before,” he said.
The long ordeal left the normally gregarious and optimistic retired pharmacist sick, week and disheartened. Like many who suffer from the disease, Godinez was on a very long waiting list for a healthy kidney – and his hopes were raised several times that he had a donor but were then dashed. The illness had made it impossible for him to not face a very difficult fact: Godinez could be one of the 12 people who die each day waiting for a life-saving kidney transplant.*
Finally, on Sept. 25, he and Karen received the call they longed for from Research Medical Center: get ready – there’s a potential donor. After arriving at the hospital, the couple waited for several hours. Finally, at 9:30 p.m., an anxious Godinez was rolled into surgery.
“I was about ready to ask if there was an express lane,” he said. “Both Karen and I were nervous, but I was ready to end what had become a miserable existence with hopefully a new lease on life.”
Renowned board-certified transplant surgeon Dr. Daniel Murillo, MD, performed Godinez’s surgery and released him on Sept. 29. Returning home with Karen – who observed that her husband’s transformation was quick: “He perked up the minute he woke up from surgery and even his skin tone changed” – Godinez began a three-month journey to recovery, beginning with regular doctor visits and short walks around the block in his neighborhood.
“The readings we’re getting are good,” Godinez said. “I am in excellent hands with the entire team at the transplant institute. Dr. Murillo is to the point and extremely knowledgeable, and everyone I deal with is compassionate. They’re my biggest cheerleaders, next to Karen and my family.”
And that newfound freedom?
“I never realized exactly how limited in life I was,” Godinez said. “I can’t even begin to describe my gratitude – I have my life back again.”
The Wichita Transplant Institute, located on the Wesley Medical Center campus, is a partnership between Wesley and Research Medical Center in Kansas City. The institute offers physicians and patients in the Wichita area access to high-quality, specialized kidney transplant services close to home. Patients who need to be evaluated by a transplant surgeon and transplant nephrologist for the consideration of a kidney transplant are seen by Research Medical Center physicians at the clinic, which also provides pre- and post-transplant care.
The Research Medical Center Transplant Institute offers a nationally recognized kidney transplant program and the area’s only simultaneous pancreas/kidney transplant procedure. The institute serves the entire region, including the greater Kansas and Oklahoma areas. In 2012, the institute earned the Medal of Honor for Organ Donation from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Over the past 30 years, the Research Medical Center Transplant Institute has earned a reputation for technical excellence, advanced research and excellent patient outcomes. It has performed more than 1,000 transplants under the leadership of Dr. Murillo, who has served as medical director of the kidney and kidney/pancreas transplant programs at Research Medical Center since 2003.
To schedule an appointment at the clinic, patients or physicians can call (316) 962-6350. For more information, visit researchmedicalcenter.com or wesleymc.com.
*According to the National Kidney Foundation