HELPING U.S ORGAN TRANSPLANT PATIENTS AND THEIR CAREGIVERS NAVIGATE IN THE “NEW NORMAL”

HELPING U.S ORGAN TRANSPLANT PATIENTS AND THEIR CAREGIVERS NAVIGATE IN THE “NEW NORMAL”

Organ transplant patients are being presented with unique challenges during the pandemic that required them to make substantial changes in ways that they receive medical care from their healthcare professionals.  These individuals are at higher risk of contracting the virus because the immunosuppressive drugs they take to prevent organ rejection limit their body’s ability to ward off infection.

As restrictions start to lift in the coming months and the world seems more like normal, these existing transplant patients would benefit from practical tips that help them remain informed and hyper-vigilant about safety.  And as delayed organ transplant surgeries begin to be performed with more regularity at centers around the country, new patients will be seeking out guidance about staying healthy in our “new normal” environment. Amanda Merring is an active member of her local Junction City, Kansas community, and is a band and choir teacher at Northern Heights High School in Allen, Kansas.

Amanda Merring is an active member of her local Junction City, Kansas community, and is a band and choir teacher at Northern Heights High School in Allen, Kansas and NLC Elementary in Americus, Kansas. Amanda’s also a military wife – her husband is a captain in the United States Army and just recently returned home from Europe. In addition to committing herself to educate grades K-12 and remaining steadfast in her marriage, she is also a loving mother to her 6-year-old daughter, Marti.

In September 2017, Amanda suddenly began to experience swelling in her ankles. After going to get some testing done, she ended up in the emergency room. Amanda was quickly diagnosed with renal failure, coupled with atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) – a rare genetic blood disorder.

Amanda needed a kidney transplant. In 2012 Amanda and Michael met a couple through church while stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The couples have continued their friendship over the years while being stationed in different places.  The wonderful couple, who learned of Amanda’s condition, came to her aide. Amazingly, Amanda’s friend, whom she met back in 2012, went to get his kidney tested and came back as a perfect donor match – a testament to his faith.

After receiving this gift of life, Amanda faced yet another health setback. In early March, around the time COVID-19 was gaining traction in the United States, Amanda ended up in the ER again, this time with gallbladder issues. She ended up needing to have her gallbladder removed and stayed home after surgery to recover.

Now, Amanda is facing her “new normal” as a transplant patient amidst COVID-19. She has been able to continue to educate her students virtually from home and has regular Zoom meetings to stay up-to-date on their learning. Amanda has hosted virtual “singalongs” with her junior and high school students, as well as recording YouTube videos to share – embracing technology to adapt to the new environment.

Amanda is also able to ensure that her transplanted kidney remains healthy and by undergoing regular at-home blood draws. The service she uses, RemoTraC, enables her to continue with her regular monthly testing schedule while avoiding in-person visits to a hospital or lab. Learn more at the website here: https://www.caredx.com/remotrac

Throughout the process of Amanda’s dear friend donating his kidney and the actual surgery, she has received a lot of love and support from the communities she lives in, teaches in and grew up in. Amanda relays that this outpour of generosity, love and prayers is a blessing.

Learn more at the website www.remotrac.com

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