“I can’t say enough about how great the transplant center has been. The nurses and doctors are always helpful and professional,” Palumbo says.
Palumbo says the transplant team at Lehigh Valley Institute for Surgical Excellence guided him before and after the transplant and continues to monitor his kidney health. “As you can imagine, we had many questions, and the nurses and doctors answered every question in a very understandable manner,” he says.
He says Sue Eckhart, a transplant coordinator with LVHN, even helped him get needed transplant-related medications through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) when Palumbo hit a roadblock. “She fought the battle with the VA to get me the medication. That was pretty special,” he says. “Everything they did was special. They go out of their way to work with you.”
Palumbo’s life after his transplant has been good, he says, with the exception of COVID-19 restrictions. As a transplant recipient, someone such as Palumbo has a compromised immune system because of medication to fight organ rejection and that makes him more prone to infection.
“The most important thing I gained was freedom,” he says. “I am now free to take vacations, play golf and visit my children and grandchildren. I attend my grandchildren’s sporting events and am able to do spur-of-the-moment things, like taking day trips.”
Working with transplant program social worker Tyler Baldes, Palumbo wrote a thank you letter to his donor’s family. “I told them the gift of the kidney changed my life and now I can really live my life,” he says.
Through it all, Palumbo’s family was by his side, including Pat, his wife of 55 years. “As things started to deteriorate, my wife went to each doctor’s appointment and asked pertinent questions of the doctors. She continues to go to doctor appointments with me,” he says. “My entire family was there when I went into transplant surgery and stayed until I woke up after the surgery. They all reassured and supported me through this entire process.”