Jan. 01--Monika Pande had high hopes for 2011.
She's at the top of the list for a kidney transplant at Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland and actively seeking a donor through a kidney swap program. She has a lot of support from family and friends, but as a new year begins, she is still waiting for that life-changing call.
The Lewiston mother of two has IgA nephropathy, an incurable kidney disease that forces her to undergo dialysis three times a week. She needs a kidney from a donor with O-positive blood who meets all of the transplant requirements.
In November, the 39-year-old woman thought she had found a match, but a transplant was ruled out during the extensive testing process. She has been on this roller-coaster ride for several years, and each time a kidney has been offered, it hasn't panned out.
"I am not so hopeful as I was in past years," said Pande, who was featured in a Tribune article that ran last year during the holidays. "I am kind of going with the flow now. I was really hopeful in 2011, but nothing happened."
Even so, Pande, who manages Sodexo food services at Lewis-Clark State College, said she still gets excited when she sees a missed call from a hospital on her phone.
"I am disappointed when it's just a question," she said. "I'm ready for the real call anytime. I hope I'm going to get that call."
In the meantime, she plans to do what she can to raise awareness of kidney disease and help form a support group in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley. Pande said the group will meet on the last Thursday of the month at LCSC, and people who are interested in attending can contact her for more details at hope
"I've always wanted to do this and I'm really excited about it," Pande said Saturday. "Kidney disease is a silent killer and many people don't know about it. We want to welcome people who are newly diagnosed, loved ones who have questions or anyone who wants to learn more about it."
In addition, another fundraiser is in the works for 2012, along with other events to bring attention to kidney disease. Last year, about $15,000 was raised for Pande at a dinner and auction at the college.
"Everybody has been a huge support," she said. "I'm blessed with great family and friends. This is not a cheap disease. My husband's insurance has helped a lot, but it doesn't cover everything."
Pande is married to Balram Pande, manager of Washington State University's concession stands, and they have two sons, Monix, 16, and Rohin, 11, who both attend school in Lewiston.
Working full time, going to dialysis and raising a family isn't always easy with her health problems, but Pande said she doesn't dwell on her situation. She is grateful for the good days and realizes many people have it worse than she does.
"Who knows? Maybe 2012 will turn out to be my lucky year," she said.
Sandaine may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 848-2264.
(c)2012 the Lewiston Tribune (Lewiston, Idaho)
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