AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — An Amarillo U.S. Navy Veteran is on the mend and nearly headed home after receiving a life-saving kidney donation.
Mike Green has been diabetic for most of his life and dealt with kidney disease for the past five years as a result. He was also on dialysis for the past year-and-a-half.
“I was hoping to get a kidney transplant,” Mike said. “Originally, my brother was going to donate to me but it was found that he was unable to donate because of other health conditions and then my sister stepped up and it turned out she was a good match.”
Then, the VA in Houston found another Navy Veteran, Adrian Luna, also needed a kidney. Mike’s sister, Angela Green, was an even better match for Luna, and Luna’s wife, Sandra, was a better match for Mike.
“So, we did what they call a kidney swap and so I got his wife’s kidney and he got my sister’s kidney,” said Mike.
For Angela, the surgery was a no-brainer.
“I just sort of instinctually said yes because if it was medically feasible and it allowed to get two people to get kidneys instead of one, I was for it,” she said.
In October, the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston performed all four surgeries simultaneously—saving both Mike and Adrian Luna’s lives.
This kidney donation was the first single-center paired kidney exchange performed there.
“The fact that two lives get saved instead of just one is amazing,” Mike said. “The day of the surgery I started feeling better. The next day my energy levels were higher than they’ve been in years”
Mike and Angela said the bond they have formed with the Luna family left an impression on them. They even have plans to go visit.
“So, it was a really wonderful time that we had just getting to know each other and you know, comparing our experiences and stuff like that. It was just really nice to get to know them,” said Angela.
Angela said she would encourage others to look into whether they, too, could become kidney donors.
“We’ve become very close friends. Basically, we’ve become family together,” Mike said.
Mike is still in Houston to make sure his body accepts his new kidney. He said his two daughters have been taking care of him while he recovers.
The Navy Veteran is scheduled to return home to the High Plains on Friday.