May 11th, 2007 06:11 EST
Kidney Donor Next Door Restores Life To Friend
"It`s only a kidney " to donor Art Rott of West Bloomfield Township. But to a 51-year-old Waterford Township woman, it`s a chance at a normal life again.
It`s incredible, too, " said recipient Josephine Josie " Carney, that the father of her son`s best friend will be the donor May 2 at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Carney`s son, Max, 18, and Josh Rott, 19, have been friends for about five years since they met at a church youth group. Josh`s dad, Art, is 49 and owns Tuffy Muffler businesses in Southfield, Waterford Township and Walled Lake.
Carney " who was in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., to relax before her surgery " said Dr. James Gloor told her in October 2006 that my chances of finding a compatible donor were extremely unlikely, about 1 in 9,000,000 because my antibodies were so strong. "
And, he said, "I doubt if I will ever see you again because you`re not going to find a donor,` " Carney said.
Carney had a seizure on Nov. 5, 2005, and was in a coma for three weeks due to renal failure.
I didn`t have any symptoms before it happened, " she recalled. After I came out of the coma, it took me about a week to become fully aware, and I needed physical therapy. "
She then began the six-hour ordeal of undergoing dialysis three times a week at the Divadi Dialysis Center in Rochester Hills.
I get horrible headaches and have to take pain medication, " she said, noting that as she was being interviewed on Monday, she was undergoing dialysis during her Florida break before the surgery.
(Doctors) told me they`d give me dialysis for six weeks, " said Carney, who is a captain in the U.S. Coast Guard. Sometimes, you get kidney function back, but that didn`t work for me. "
The psychological weight of knowing your life depends on dialysis hangs over you, and you think about it even on the days when you`re not receiving the treatment, " said Carney.
Art Rott said: After she got out of the hospital 18 months ago, I heard of her plight. I asked her husband (Mark) if we could have dinner with them.
She told me her story of not finding a donor. I looked across the table and said: "Josie, I`ll take the test. I`ll be the one and I`ll give you my kidney.` "
Rott said his wife kicked me under the table and said: " You`ve had too much to drink.` "
I won`t be quiet, " Rott responded. I will be the one. I just know I`m the one to be the donor. "
He went to the Mayo Clinic in March for two days of testing and it turned out that Rott, who also had O-positive blood, was a perfect match. "
I couldn`t believe it, " Carney said after learning a donor had been found, especially since it was the father of her son`s best friend.
I believe in miracles, " she added. I had felt like I was on a slow road to death. "
The two are flying out of Detroit Metropolitan Airport early Sunday. Family members of Rott and Carney will arrive Tuesday at the Mayo Clinic.
Carney said that after the surgery, she will rent an apartment for a month for $6,000. The rent for the apartment after the surgery is not covered by medical insurance. However, the cost of the surgeries for Carney and Rott are covered by Carney`s insurance, she said.
The apartment will be connected to the Mayo Clinic by a skybridge, so doctors can monitor her condition and make sure her body is not rejecting the donor organ.
My feelings for Art are incredible, " she said. He`s such a kind fellow. He said to me, "It`s only a kidney.` But to me, he`s giving me my life back. I`m very confident it`s going to work. "
After she recuperates, Carney said she hopes to write a book with Rott and speak to people on dialysis and try and help those in need some way. "