For 15-year-old Bailey Peavey, January 1, 2012 marked not only the start of a new year, but also the beginning of life with a new kidney.
“We received a call at 5:30 in the morning on New Year’s Eve telling us to pack our bags,” said Bailey’s mom, Pam Peavey. The family rushed to make the nearly five-hour drive from their home in Mississippi to Birmingham and to the Pediatric Transplant Program. In conjunction with the Division of Transplantation Surgery at UAB, the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at Children's of Alabama is one of the largest pediatric kidney transplant programs in the country.
Bailey was just two years old when her struggles with kidney disease began. “She was really sick and the doctors thought it was a stomach virus. When she was finally admitted to the hospital and they ran tests, it turned out that she had E.coli that had turned into HUS,” Peavey said. Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a condition that develops when Escherichia coli (E.coli) bacteria in the digestive tract produces toxins that destroy red blood cells, which causes damage to the kidneys.
Bailey remained hospitalized for nearly eight weeks and was on dialysis for part of that time. As she got older, she remained under the care of doctors at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. “About two years ago, her condition got a lot worse and she was placed on the transplant list,” Peavey said.
Bailey spent a week at Children’s following her transplant, before returning home to Mississippi. She began returning to Children’s of Alabama only for follow-up visits. “After about our third or fourth follow-up, her body began rejecting the kidney. They put her on steroids and it began working again. She now has half a kidney that is working, but they say as well as she has been doing with that half a kidney, it could last her for a very long time,” Peavey said.
“The care we have gotten from Children’s has been very good. Every time Bailey goes for a checkup, they’ve called even before we can get home to let us know if there’s anything different we need to do. We have everyone’s number and they’ve said to call anytime we have a question. If you call them, they call you right back,” Peavey said.
Now 16 years old, Bailey plays soccer, waterskis, enjoys being able to drive, and spending time with her friends. “She is doing great. You would never know she has had a transplant,” Peavey said.