UPDATE October 3, 2019 5:15 PM
Message from Scott Dunn, Cindy’s husband concerning her kidney transplant surgery that was held this morning: “Everything went great. Linda [Croley] is doing good. And Cindy [Cynthia Dunn] is doing good too. The new kidney started working for Cindy right away and doing great.”
On October 3, 2019, a Georgetown, Kentucky woman, formerly of Williamsburg, will receive one of the most precious gifts that anyone could receive from another human being. Cynthia “Cindy” Dunn will receive a kidney from Linda Croley, of Tackett Creek, in Williamsburg.
Linda is a healthy 65-year-old mother and grandmother, who recently made the huge selfless decision, that will not only change her life, but will also change the life of 36-year-old Cindy.
“I found out three years ago that they [her kidneys] were failing, but I didn’t go on the transplant list until December of 2018,” said Cindy.
Cindy is a mother of five, three children of her own and two stepchildren. She found out three years ago that she was experiencing kidney failure. Both kidneys were failing, according to the doctors, because of high blood pressure. Her kidneys are now operating at only 13 percent.
She thinks the kidney failure may be more of a hereditary problem as her mother also experienced kidney failure, and at the age of 34 had a kidney transplant in December of 2000. Cindy’s mother is doing extremely well after her transplant, and just knowing how well her mother has done through her surgery and almost 19 years after, gives Cindy hope for great results.
“God knew what he was doing when he led me and my family to Watsons Chapel, because if it hadn’t been for that, I would have never met her.”
“I was super blessed that God made a way so fast. He blessed me not to do dialysis and everything.” said Cindy.
Usually it takes around four to five years to find a match.
Most people who receive organ transplants don’t know who their donors are, but surprisingly, Cindy and Linda are friends. They met at Watsons Chapel Baptist Church in Williamsburg, approximately six years ago, before Cindy’s husband, Scott, took a job with Toyota.
He searched for a job with good insurance to help with the rising medical costs involved with her condition.
As Cindy’s condition worsened, the couple moved to Georgetown to be closer to his work and to her doctor.
“God knew what he was doing when he led me and my family to Watsons Chapel, because if it hadn’t been for that, I would have never met her,” said Cindy.
Linda’s involvement with the transplant started early one morning in May, when she was scrolling through Facebook on her phone. When she read Cindy’s post requesting help to find a kidney donor, she said it touched and tugged at her heart. “I just started crying”, said Linda. “I thought, Oh my goodness, Lord, are you trying to tell me something, and I just started praying about it.”
Determined to help Cindy find a kidney, Linda sent her a private message asking for the phone number for the hospital so she could see if she was a candidate. Linda then went thru the process of taking all the tests, etc., and found that she was essentially the “perfect” match.
Although almost 30 years of age separates the two, the women are close to the same height and build and the doctor told Linda that they were a “mother-daughter match”.
That’s when Linda said she knew, without a doubt, the Lord was in it. She said the first thing she thought was, “Thank you, Jesus! It really was. I’m like, Oh, I really want to tell her so bad. I wanted to share the news,” said Linda.
However the doctors discouraged Linda from saying anything until the surgery was scheduled, for fear that she might back out, as some people do. It’s such a major decision.
The hardest part of the process so far, according to Linda, was not being able to share the good news with Cindy.
She said the doctors explained to her the risks involved with donating. Of which, there is the risk that she might not do well with the remaining kidney. Be that as it may, since Linda is donating a kidney, she will be placed at the top of the transplant list. She said that was kind of like insurance, in case her own kidney fails.
There are also the normal complications with any major surgery such as the possibility of bleeding out, or nicking a bowel or things such as that nature.
The surgery to remove Linda’s kidney will be done laparoscopic and if all goes well she will need to stay in the hospital three days.
Then she will be down approximately six to eight weeks recovering.
Very fit and lean for her age, Linda takes no medications, which is unusual. And, although she is much older than Cindy, Linda’s kidneys are in great shape.
Linda said according to the doctor, receiving her kidney, would be better than receiving a younger person’s kidney that hasn’t taken care of their health.
“ I feel like, if you can do this, if you can help someone out there in the world that is in need, do it. The Lord will reward you for that.”
She has had tubes and tubes of blood work done, an EKG, CT scans, etc., to ensure she is healthy and ready to go through the surgery. She has met with the surgeon, anesthesiologist, etc., and feels that she is prepared.
When surgery is complete, Linda will have to adopt a whole new lifestyle to protect her remaining kidney, much like what Cindy will have to do.
Both women will have to watch everything they put in their bodies from now on, so as not to damage their kidney. They won’t be able take Tylenol or ibuprofen or anything like that for pain, and they will need to delete sodas from their diet, as well as make other changes.
Linda and Cindy will be prepped at the UK Hospital in Lexington, where the kidney transplant will be performed. The transplant team will take the kidney from Linda, clean it, and then place it in Cindy.
According to Linda, they will not remove Cindy’s failing kidneys, but will place the new kidney into a pouch or a pocket. The blood vessels of the new kidney will be attached to vessels in the front lower part of Cindy’s abdomen, just above one of her legs. The new kidney’s ureter (urine tube) will then be connected to Cindy’s bladder.
Linda admits that she may be a bit nervous, but she is confident that she has made the right decision. “I always tell everybody I’m a winner either way. I’m saved, and I know where I’m going.” She hopes her kidney might extend Cindy’s life for many years.
“I hope I get to meet with her [before surgery]. Even if they could wheel us down the hall together holding hands, that would be just awesome,” said Linda.
Both ladies say they have a great support system at home to help them through recovery.
Charlie Croley, who is retired from the US Postal Service and is Linda’s husband, will be a big help to her. “He takes such good care of me. He can cook, and clean and he does laundry. He will take very good care of me,” she said.
Cindy’s husband, Scott Dunn, who is a pastor is equally caring and will help her through the healing process.
Linda hopes to share Cindy’s life after the kidney transplant. “I think this is going to be the beginning of a really close relationship,” Linda said, and she will want to know what is going on in Cindy’s life, and know if she’s doing well. “I think this is going to bring us closer,” said Linda.
A very caring and sincere person, Linda doesn’t want any credit at all for what she is doing. She gives all praises to the Lord. “I feel like, if you can do this, if you can help someone out there in the world that is in need, do it. The Lord will reward you for that,” said Linda. She says she is just doing what the Lord put in her heart for her to do.
Cindy learned that Linda was her donor on the 24th of September. She posted on Facebook, “So Oct. 3rd I will get the most precious gift that anyone can receive from Linda Croley. God is so amazing at how He places people in your life. He never ceases to amaze me at how He works even when we don’t know or see it.”
The two women will be prepared for the complete kidney removal and transplant early Thursday morning in Lexington at UK hospital.
“I ask that you remember her [Linda] and myself in your prayers for days to come. We both know God has His hands in the midst of it all and I will forever be grateful for everything that Linda has, and will do, from this point on,” Cindy said.