Love and Support Through Kidney Transplants
Kim and Scott Meyer of Holyoke met at Baystate Medical Center during dialysis in 2011.
“He came in frantic. I told him 'calm down, calm down.’ We ended up chit chatting and became friends,” said Kim. A while later, after posting on Facebook that they wanted to go to the Big E, Scott commented to Kim, “If you drive, I will buy all the stuff we aren’t supposed to eat.
As a Big E ritual, Scott bought her first cream puff and she ate the whole thing. “I was so impressed – it was love at first puff (cream puff). They've been together ever since and supported each other through their kidney transplants.
The Transplant Journey
In elementary school, Scott fell 22 feet onto his back. He was feverish and urinating blood. At the time it wasn’t known that Scott had a kidney problem and his symptoms were attributed to the fall. As an adult, Scott had another accident and fell again. It was found that he had stage 2 kidney disease and the doctors expected he would need to be put on dialysis in three years.
About three years to the date, Scott was rushed to Baystate Medical Center and was instantly put on dialysis after determining he was in kidney failure. He was on dialysis for three years before getting his transplant.
“I consider myself very lucky because that is a relatively short time to wait compared to other people,” said Scott, who received his kidney transplant from a deceased patient in 2013. His body responded very quickly to accepting the kidney and he had no complications.
In 2009, before Kim met Scott, she had her first transplant at Baystate Medical Center due to a hereditary condition called polycystic kidney disease. Her mother also had the disease and received a kidney transplant. Kim’s first kidney lasted only two years and she was put back on dialysis. It wouldn’t be for another seven years in March of 2018 that Kim would return to Baystate to receive her second transplant. She shared that the recovery time was even quicker the second time around with the advancement of science and medicine.
However, about a month later, Kim had some complications and ended up back in the hospital. Her kids were terrified and didn’t want to continue to see her suffer. With her optimistic mentality, Kim assured them that it would be okay and that everything happens for a reason.
“If I didn’t need my second transplant, I wouldn’t have met Scott,” said Kim, who is now home and doing great. “I feel like a new person, my color is better, and everything is working right again.”
Both Scott and Kim feel extremely grateful for the care they received at Baystate Medical Center and the compassion of the Wesson 3 nurses who took care of them during their transplants. “We consider the nurses family and always visit them whenever we are at the hospital. The whole team is great and we can’t thank them enough,” they both said.
Love and Marriage
Scott and Kim tied the knot on October 8, 2017, at the lodge building where Scott is a Freemason. In January 2018 they started their own business together called G Street Vinyl, where they produce and sell products such as banners, signs, and marketing materials. They keep very busy by getting involved in many community projects, including the public library and work to support and honor our veterans. One of their biggest passions is helping the donor community.
As ambassadors of Donate Life, they manage information booths around western Massachusetts to share information about registering to be a donor. They also are very active talking to people pre- and post-transplant to help them navigate through that challenging journey, and they have plans to one day start their own support group.
Together they share the importance of giving the gift of life and the urgent need for donors.
“You’ve been interviewing me for about 20 minutes now and already about two people have been added to the list nationwide and by midnight tonight about 22 people will have died waiting for a transplant. Over 120,000 people nationally are waiting for a transplant. We were lucky, we could go on dialysis, but people waiting for a heart, lungs, liver, they can’t do that,” said Scott.
The Myers also debunked a few myths that might keep someone from becoming an organ donor. The first myth that often comes up is, “I am too old or not healthy enough.” Kim shared that even if you are not in perfect health, you can donate some of your organs.
The second myth is the fear that as an organ donor, you can’t have an open casket, which is untrue. Many believe that caregivers won’t work to save your life if you are registered to donate. Scott noted that the process is done in a respectful way and there is a protocol in order to find out if someone is on the list.
“The caregiver has to call Life Choice Donor Services to come in and determine if they are on the registry, as well as talk to the family before any decision is made,” said Scott.
The Gift of Life
Scott put things in perspective about what it truly means to register as an organ donor: “By going online and filling out the form or going to the registry, you are potentially giving someone the opportunity to remain a parent to a child or a son to a mother, you never know. One person can save up to eight people and help others through skin graphs and other tissues,” he said.
Learn more about registering to be an organ donor.