The six degrees of kidney separation
ON the kidney transplant list, Miriam Tasker has at least another three years to wait for a chance at a new life, but she may have found a loophole.
It comes down to a co-ordinated six-way kidney swap.
The Coutts Crossing mum has lived with kidney failure since 2013, and said her partner Campbell Lynne would have already given her one of his kidneys if they were a match, but unfortunately it wasn't to be.
If he could donate a kidney to someone who is a perfect match, however, perhaps that person's friend, partner or family member would be willing to help Miriam.
That's the idea behind the Paired Kidney Exchange program.
Running in hospitals across Australia, the program is designed to increase options for living kidney donation.
Ms Tasker said the couple signed up to the program as soon as they were introduced to the idea by her renal transplant co-ordinator, and about a week ago they were told they might have found a viable swap within a chain of 12 people - six donors and six recipients.
She said all of the donors and recipients were undergoing final blood tests and if it all checked out they could be wheeled into surgery as early as May.
"It will all happen on the same day," she said.
"Donors get wheeled into surgery first, to have their kidneys harvested, and the six recipients go in next."
If the transplant is successful, the 41-year-old will be able to do away with the restrictiveness of dialysis, which she has been subjected to every few days since her kidneys crashed.
"It's all very exciting," she said.
"We're going to relocate to Brisbane to stay close to hospital because it's a big thing to go through.
"As they say though, a transplant is not a cure.
"It's just a way of prolonging life and getting a bit more fulfilment out of life and a bit more normality."
Normality will be a welcome change for Ms Tasker, who describes being on dialysis as living a half-life.
She said she had no idea of just how much kidneys controlled in the human body.
"You're sort of half a person while you've got kidney failure," she said.
"It just always makes you feel yuck but you've just got to get on with it. My little girl is my biggest reason to keep going.
"I'm lucky that I can do peritoneal dialysis from my caravan, through a catheter in my tummy. But I can't do things like go swimming or have a bath.
"I really can't wait just to have energy again too"