Tricia Conduah went to the doctor for what she thought was just a Urinary Tract Infection. But it turned out there was something more to it.
Tricia's creatinine levels were high. A biopsy revealed that she was suffering from glomerulonephritis - a renal disease that prevents part of the kidney from properly filtering impurities.
The news couldn't have come at a worse time. A month later she learned that she was pregnant with her first child. Her condition went from being manageable to "high-risk". After her son was born, Tricia's kidney function dropped to 30 percent. Still, Tricia managed to get along without medication or dialysis. And her condition continued to remain stable even after giving birth to twins three years later.
Then in 2009, routine blood exams revealed that Tricia's creatinine levels were beginning to spike; first to five then, just two weeks later, to seven. That's when doctors told her she would have to start thinking about dialysis, and possibly a transplant.
Having chosen the latter of the two options, Tricia, now a kindergarten teacher, had only one thought. She wanted to have the procedure in time to return in September to start the new school year healthy and fully recovered. Her husband was tested and proved to be a match. He would be her donor. Then the call from Yale New Haven arrived on the last day of her school term. A week later, Tricia was admitted for surgery.
What Tricia thought would be the worst ordeal of her life proved to be surprisingly simple. "I remember texting people the night after the surgery," Tricia recalls. "I was like 'wow, this almost feels like day surgery.'" Most heartening for Tricia, though, was the fact that the next day she was able to walk into her husband's room as he was recovering from his procedure. And while her husband was cleared to leave the hospital on Saturday, he chose to stay with Tricia an extra day. Tricia herself was cleared two days later.
Tricia's memories of her experience at Yale New Haven are reflective of the positive, supportive nature of the staff itself. "Knowing that it's one of the most serious days of your life, everybody smiled," says Tricia.
And when it came time to removing a shunt that was placed during the procedure, the surgical team performed the procedure at 8:00 at night so that Tricia could be home that Wednesday for her twins' birthday. "I'm glad I chose Yale New Haven," says Tricia. "They took what could have been the worst day ever and just made it almost routine. You can conquer a lot of things with a smile. And that's what they do."