By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Michael Miller is celebrating his time in the sun.

“It’s a lot to take in right now,” Miller said.

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He is coming to terms with the fact that for two years he spent hours every day sitting though dialysis hoping for a life-saving donation.

“I was doing it daily, I was on the peritoneal dialysis,” Miller explained.  “I did that at home, it ran for about eight and a half hours.”

Miller says he was faced with dialysis and insulin for the rest of his life until he got the call April 10. Doctors at M Health Fairview had both a kidney and pancreas ready for transplantation.

“For a couple of weeks, transplants were down to a trickle but now they are picking back up,” Transplant surgeon Dr. Raja Kandaswamy said.

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Doctor Kandaswamy says transplants were almost non-existent nationally and locally beginning the second week of March.

“Less people are getting around with shelter in place so the incidents of mishaps out in the community that result to unfortunate events that led to organ donation are also down,” Dr. Kandaswamy explained.

Doctor Kandaswamy says testing both donors and recipients effectively and uniformly without restriction allowed for more surgeries but they are continuing with a new level of precaution.

“We are still being careful with high-risk populations such as the elderly or extremely medically debilitated folks but for the most part we are back and open for business,” Dr. Kandaswamy said.

“Going from being diabetic to not being diabetic, to not having to do dialysis every day, its a lot of pills but its definitely life-changing,” Miller added.

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For Miller,  the risk was worth the end result:  a second chance at life.

Reg Chapman