- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

POWELL, Wyo. (AP) - “I feel so good I can hardly stand it,” Tim Seeley said last week.

That’s something he, his wife Lynnae and their three children celebrate every day. It’s also a dramatic change from his outlook from just more than a month ago.

Tim’s kidneys and his health were failing, and he was preparing for daily kidney dialysis to keep him alive.

“I was really at a point where I was slowly kind of just coming to the realization that probably I just wouldn’t last that long,” Seeley said, sitting with Lynnae in the living room of their Powell home.

But that scenario changed completely when Nicolle Cruz underwent testing and found she was a good match to donate a kidney to Seeley.

Seeley and Cruz are co-workers at Powell Valley Healthcare.

Seeley, 54, said he was 25 or 26 when he first learned his blood sugars were high. Although the use of an insulin pump has kept his diabetes under complete control for the last eight or nine years, his kidneys already had sustained damage that was compounded by high blood pressure.

Starting nine years ago, blood tests showed his serum creatinine had increased gradually, indicating his kidneys were stressed. That was when his doctor helped him get an insulin pump.

The doctor advised that, after the initial rise in serum creatinine, it likely would plateau for a long time, “then go down on a slope quite quickly,” Seeley said.

That proved to be true for him in January 2012, when his serum creatinine increased dramatically, and he was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure.

“By April, I was feeling so sick,” he said. “At that time, we started talking about the options, whether transplant or dialysis. Though dialysis was more available, it doesn’t really fix anything, and a person continues to deteriorate under it.”

The latest research shows patients do better if they go directly to a transplant without having dialysis first, “but we thought chances of that were very slim, so we were looking into options for dialysis.”

Seeley was told he would need to start dialysis in December. In preparation, his doctor in July surgically implanted a fistula in a vein in his arm. The fistula makes dialysis possible without damage to his blood vessels, but it takes four months to heal after the procedure, Seeley said.

Meanwhile, the doctor advised Seeley to consider a transplant.

But, because Seeley’s O positive blood type is not common, the chances of finding a donor quickly was fairly remote. It usually takes about four years to find a donor for someone with an O positive blood type, he said.

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