LOS BANOS — When Brandon Kelley and Lindsey Miller saw each other for the first time after Kelley donated his kidney to Miller, they just smiled.
"It was awesome. It was great to see her smile," Kelley said.
Miller was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease at age 10 and has been on dialysis. She needed a kidney donor, and her boyfriend, Kelley, happened to be a match. The Los Banos couple's kidney transplant took place on July 19 at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
After the preoperative steps and blood work the couple completed the day before surgery, they didn't get much sleep, but Kelley said it was still a happy moment for him.
"Joy, excitement, nerves," Kelley said of his feelings.
During Kelley's surgery, doctors were surprised to find a third artery on his kidney.
"Had they known that, they would have looked at the other kidney," he said.
According to Kelley, this is only the fourth time doctors have done surgery with a kidney that had three arteries for a transplant patient.
The procedure went well, and both are recovering together at home.
"Her kidney function is doing great," Kelley said.
Since Kelley is recovering faster than Miller, he is able to take care of her along with her family's help.
"Currently, she does not have to do dialysis," he said. "Her kidney can fail at any time, but if you take the right steps and she takes her medication, she will be OK."
Kelley said the doctors are saying the outcome is looking positive.
"It only took a matter of hours for her kidney to start working," Kelley said. "Doctors are really happy."
So far the couple has a few restrictions, but Kelley said it's nothing major. Kelley can't take certain over-the-counter medications, and both shouldn't do any heavy lifting. The couple has about six weeks to recover and then life will go on as usual, as long as Miller's new kidney continues to function well.
"My one kidney will expand by 150 percent," Kelley said. "You can live a happy, healthy life with one kidney."