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From Kidney Transplant to Kindergarten

February 22, 2018

From Kidney Transplant to Kindergarten

Kidney Transplant Patient

Brinlee is an energetic 4-year-old from Kirby, Arkansas. She loves to play outside with her dogs Molly and Bella, and tend to the cows with her parents. Just a typical little girl growing up on a farm. Except Brinlee is anything but typical.

When she was born, Brinlee had one kidney that didn’t form and she was left with one working kidney. On a routine MRI, doctors found a mass that was believed to be cancer. Although the mass came back benign, she was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure and the safest option was to have her kidney removed and start dialysis at home. "Our lives revolved around a dialysis machine. Your life is mapped out for you, but it saved her life every day," said Brinlee’s mom Traci.

After 21 months on dialysis, Brinlee was placed on the organ donor transplant list, and the Bean family received the call only 12 days after being listed. "We received the phone call from the transplant coordinator, and I was silent, "Traci said. "It was kind of a miracle. Surgery was scary, but the team did a great job explaining to us the process and how it would go. We met the surgeon before surgery, and it was comforting knowing who was going to be with your baby."

Just three months post-transplant Traci described Brinlee as a completely different child. "Before the transplant, she didn’t have much energy and looked so frail. Now she’s so healthy, strong, growing and thriving, "Traci said. And this girl loves to eat! With very few food restrictions now, her favorites include all dairy foods, potatoes and chocolate.

She enjoys playing outside, taking bubble baths and staying up late -things she couldn’t do before her surgery. And now Brinlee is preparing for another milestone, starting kindergarten in August.
Although her parents and teachers will have to take extra precautions at school, her mom feels she’s ready." Illness around her is the scariest part for me," said Traci." It’s a different kind of worry, but she’s going to do great in school, and her quality of life is so much better than it has ever been."

» Read more about our Nephrology Department

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