Profound results: Kloft family returns home after kidney transplant

June 2021 Posted in Community, People

By Melissa Wagoner

John, Mike and Patty, post surgery at Stanford Medical Center — courtesy of Patty Kloft

In less than a year eight-year-old John Kloft went from being diagnosed with kidney disease to receiving the transplant of a new, healthy, functioning kidney, courtesy of his mother, Patty.

“I’d do it again,” 31-year-old Patty said unhesitatingly. “I’ll never take health for granted again.”

It’s been a whirlwind journey for the family, who received the devastating news that John had stage four kidney disease and would need a transplant in May 2020. It was in the midst of the pandemic, making healthcare decisions difficult.

Thankfully, both Patty and her husband, Mike, were able to receive COVID vaccinations in February, early on in the process, which enabled them to schedule John’s life- saving surgery for March 17, 2021.

“They waited three weeks past the second shot,” Mike said of Stanford Medical Center’s vaccination protocol. “And they still made us quarantine for 10 days.”

But all of the hassle  became worth it when Patty and John were wheeled into surgery in the early morning hours of March 17.

“Patty went in at 8 a.m. and was done by 3 p.m.,” Mike explained. Due to COVID protocols he was the primary caregiver for both his wife and son during that stressful time. “Then John went in an hour after Patty and they were closing around 6:30 p.m. They sent text message updates but that makes for a long day.”

Fortunately, both procedures went off without a hitch. In fact, unlike a deceased donor transplant, which can take days
to “wake up,” John’s new kidney began working immediately.

“He went from a 3.0 creatinine level to that night at 8:30 p.m. a 1.5 and then the next morning it was a 0.03,” Mike said of the serum creatinine tests John underwent to track his kidney function post-surgery.

“I’m feeling better now,” John confirmed. His energy level and appetite had dropped significantly in the weeks prior to the surgery. “But I don’t remember how I felt right after the surgery… I had to wait for all the anesthesia to wear off.”

He also had to stay in the hospital for a week longer than Patty, who was able to fly home to Mount Angel on April 5 in order to watch over their business, Lonely Lane Farms. It was still weeks before she felt like herself again.

“This is the first time I feel like I have some energy,” she said in early May. Explaining that, when she first arrived home, she could do very little. “You’re just tired and laying on the couch,” she said.

But the most difficult part was being away from her husband and son, who continued living in their California rental house near Stanford until April 19.

“When I left and they had to stay, that was a hard two weeks,” Patty admitted. “That was the first time we’ve been away from each other – ever.”

Luckily for John and Mike, they were kept very busy with blood tests – verifying that John’s body wasn’t rejecting his new kidney – and with schoolwork as well.

“We kept John on track, which is unusual,” Mike said of the second-grade classes John continued to attend virtually through Butte Creek Elementary School.

Rather than fall behind, his reading – which prior to his surgery had been a struggle – actually came easier than ever once his health was on the mend. “After his transplant he was reading everything,” Patty said.

So far, John is exhibiting far more energy than he has in a long time and happy to be back on the farm where he can explore with his dogs.

“He gets a biopsy at six months,” Mike said of the monitoring John will continue to receive.

Then, at one year, a checkup,” Patty continued. “Stanford is really thorough. They make sure he’s not showing signs of rejection. And then, two years after the surgery you’re considered good.”

Good, but not completely out of the woods. Because, chances are high that John will need multiple transplants throughout his life.

“A lot of people are getting 20 years,” Mike said hopefully. Adding that the family has had numerous potential donors volunteer to be tested the next time around.

Family, friends, employees and even strangers have helped them through one of the hardest periods of their lives.

“We want to thank all of the people who donated to John’s transplant fund,” Patty began. “We met our goal for $100,000.”

“And we want to thank our customers and staff that helped while we were away,” Mike continued. “We made it. We’re back. And it’s so nice to be back.”

Donations are still being accepted for the costly medications John continues to receive as well as for future surgeries
at https://cota.org/campaigns/COTAforJohnsJourney/blog/our-story

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