A Ridgevue High School graduate acquired a pioneering second kidney donation in February — from his father, a decade after receiving a kidney from his mom.
Now the 20-year-old from Caldwell is recovering at residence, with the hope of at some point taking part in faculty tennis, only a 12 months after “he had to really battle” to remain alive.
Doctors identified focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, a uncommon illness that scars the kidneys, in Traejen Kingston as a toddler. After he acquired his first donation — from his mother at age 9 — the illness attacked the brand new kidney.
That indicated to Kingston’s docs that he had a very aggressive type of FSGS, since most individuals don’t see the illness return as soon as the contaminated kidney is eliminated, stated Dr. Paul Grimm, a pediatric nephrologist at Stanford Children’s Health, in an electronic mail to the Idaho Statesman.
So in 2021, docs at Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital initiated an unusual process, electing to deal with Kingston with chemotherapy earlier than giving him stem cells from his father in an try to primarily exchange his immune system. The aim of the process was to take away the FSGS and induce his physique to just accept his father’s kidney.
“We did this to give him the best chance of cure and a life free of immunosuppressive medication,” Grimm stated.
Though different sufferers have acquired stem cells coupled with organ transplants, Kingston’s medical historical past is uncommon, his physician stated.
“As far as we know, he is the first person in the world to have this very severe kind of FSGS who purposefully had a complete stem cell transplant from his living donor and then a kidney transplant from that same living donor,” stated Grimm, the medical director of the pediatric kidney transplant program at Lucile Packard.
But his efforts to get a brand new kidney over the previous 12 months have been fraught with obstacles.
In February 2021, he acquired the stem cell transplant. Doctors deliberate to observe up with the kidney transplant 5 months later, however inside weeks he turned severely in poor health and will hardly stroll. His mother and father took him to the Stanford hospital, the place docs found that he had developed a situation known as graft-versus-host illness, which is a complication of stem cell transplants.
Traejen Kingston spent a lot of the subsequent 12 months hospitalized. For a number of months, his mother and father stated they thought he may die. Doctors advised them there have been 4 phases of the illness, the Kingstons stated, and their son was in stage 4.
“He would just lose consciousness four or five times a day,” Dane Kingston, his father, advised the Statesman. “Each time they didn’t know if he was going to ever wake up again.”
He spent a number of weeks in intensive care, and docs thought-about inserting him in a medically induced coma, stated Traejen’s mother, Krista Kingston. The illness brought on severely painful blisters on his pores and skin, and likewise attacked his liver.
She stated Traejen didn’t have the power to carry his head.
“It was a pretty dire situation,” Krista stated. “He had to really battle.”
Traejen left intensive care on the finish of April 2021 and was launched from the hospital in mid-June, having misplaced a whole lot of weight. For the following few months, he was on the hospital round 5 days every week for dialysis and bodily remedy, Krista stated. In August, the hospital allowed him to journey residence for every week to have fun his birthday earlier than returning to California.
He returned to Idaho once more on the finish of summer time and confronted additional setbacks within the type of infections and uncontrollable itching. He spent a lot of his time hospitalized at St. Luke’s and needed to have a chest catheter put in for dialysis, the household stated.
There additionally have been the issues posed by COVID-19.
While Traejen spent months within the Bay Area searching for remedy, he typically wished to return to Idaho. But a number of instances, his mother and father stated they hesitated to take action.
“They would not have been able to offer him the care if he needed it because of (their) being in the crisis situation,” Krista stated, referring to disaster requirements of care that allowed Idaho hospitals to ration well being care if mandatory and activate different drastic measures to save lots of the biggest variety of folks. These have been in place statewide due to the pandemic.
While Traejen was hospitalized final September, Krista stated St. Luke’s advised the Kingston household that it was going to begin admitting COVID-19 sufferers on totally different flooring of the hospital due to skyrocketing affected person numbers. Within 48 hours, Traejen was transported again to California.
When he regained sufficient power for the kidney transplant to go ahead, Krista stated COVID brought on additional delays at Stanford.
“Once he got strong enough to have the transplant, they weren’t giving us a date,” she stated. “And they told us a lot of this date was dependent upon the staffing they had and that their staff was severely reduced due to COVID.”
His well being locations Traejen at nice threat if he have been to contract COVID-19, and he’s unable to be vaccinated due to his preexisting circumstances. Grimm stated that in gentle of this, Traejen acquired an antibody remedy known as Evusheld that may assist forestall the illness.
‘Overcome pretty much anything’
Traejen lastly acquired the kidney transplant from his father on Feb. 7. In mid-March he returned to Idaho, the place he has been volunteering as an assistant tennis coach for Ridgevue and convalescing.
On March 30, the group organized an occasion to lift cash and consciousness for kidney illness throughout its match with Columbia High School, which additionally made a donation to the National Kidney Foundation in Traejen’s identify.
“I’m doing pretty well,” Traejen advised the Statesman, noting that he nonetheless has fatigue and a few ache in his aspect. He additionally suffers from post-traumatic stress related to final 12 months’s huge well being struggles.
Traejen returns to Stanford twice a month for visits with physicians and stated he’s engaged on his mobility after having to relearn to stroll.
Though Traejen has to take treatment following his stem cell transplant, he doesn’t need to take the cruel medicine that almost all organ transplant recipients want, Dane stated, as a result of Dane’s kidney has been launched into an surroundings that’s now primarily Traejen’s immune system.
Compared to a 12 months in the past, Traejen’s situation is “night and day,” Dane Kingston stated. “At this time last year, we were celebrating” when he might roll over in mattress by himself, he stated.
Traejen suffers from seizures a few times every week, which his docs stated are doubtless linked to the severity of his situation final 12 months, Dane stated. The docs hope that as his physique continues to recuperate and heal, the seizures will recede, Traejen stated.
Grimm, Traejen’s physician, stated the 20-year-old is making “great progress.” In situations the place FSGS comes again to a affected person, that normally occurs inside just a few weeks, or as soon as sufferers are weaned off of excessive doses of immunosuppressive medicine. But Traejen has not been receiving excessive doses of such medicine, Grimm stated, and is “nearly off” all medicines that might have the same impact.
“At this point, two months following the transplant, if the disease was going to come back, it should have come back long ago,” Grimm stated in an electronic mail to the Statesman in early April. “The indicators suggest it’s cured and will not come back. (Traejen’s) rehabilitation is not yet complete because he has many complications of years on dialysis, but he is making great progress. He has even been back on the tennis court.”
There additionally is not any proof that Traejen has acute or power graft-versus-host illness, Grimm stated.
Dane stated Traejen’s boundary-breaking medical therapies have been geared toward main his household in a brand new path.
“The whole goal was to get this working kidney for him so we could go to a normal life,” he stated.
Traejen now not has to bear dialysis, which beforehand needed to be carried out 5 days every week.
“Throughout his life we’ve had to adjust negatively to a new normal … as things kept getting worse,” Dane stated. “We’re looking forward to reversing that trend and we’re getting to a new positive normal.”
Earlier this month, Traejen visited a school in Oregon. His mom stated he hopes to spend the remainder of the 12 months getting his power and tennis abilities again, with the hopes of nonetheless with the ability to play faculty tennis sometime.
“I can definitely fight through and overcome pretty much anything,” Traejen stated.