Armstrong’s Miriam Hoekstra (centre), formerly of Lumby, is a mother of three kids in dire need of new kidneys. Both of hers are working at less than 10 per cent. She is hoping for a live donor. (File photo)

Armstrong’s Miriam Hoekstra (centre), formerly of Lumby, is a mother of three kids in dire need of new kidneys. Both of hers are working at less than 10 per cent. She is hoping for a live donor. (File photo)

Okanagan woman seeking kidney donor

Armstrong’s Miriam Hoekstra, 37, mom of three, formerly of Lumby, is in dire need of a transplant

Her 17-year-old daughter helps out mom and dad when she can. Her two youngest sons, nine and six, kiss their care aide mom on the head before bed and say they wish she didn’t have to be sick.

Miriam Hoekstra wishes that, too. So does her husband, the three kids, her extended family and friends.

Hoekstra, 37, is in dire need of a new kidney. The two she has are both working at less than 10 per cent.

“I got a call this month from the kidney doctor who said, ‘Look, your kidneys are never going to recover so let’s look around for a kidney for you,’” said Hoekstra, formerly from Lumby but now residing in Armstrong.

Hoekstra presently receives dialysis twice a week at the Vernon Renal Clinic, a procedure that leaves her feeling sick. A day after dialysis she’ll vomit, her body will be itchy all over and she’ll have massive migraine headaches. When she starts to feel better, it’s time for dialysis.

“It’s hard, actually,” said Hoekstra, whose story the Morning Star chronicled in July 2020 after sister-in-law Kate Hoekstra began a GoFundMe campaign.

Hoekstra began having extreme pain in her abdomen in April of last year, and a cyst the size of a melon was discovered on her ovary and fallopian tube. She underwent a hysterectomy on June 15. And while recovery should have been smooth, it was anything but for Hoekstra, who was still really sore from the procedure. A scan showed that her bowel had been lacerated and she was immediately taken into surgery.

“That surgery saved my life,” said Hoekstra, who was given an ostomy bag, and a nasal tube was inserted down into her stomach to drain fluid.

It was then, she said, that doctors noticed her kidneys didn’t work. She had been in intensive care at Vernon Jubilee Hospital but was transferred to Kelowna as VJH, Hoekstra said, did not have dialysis machines in ICU.

She was in KGH for about four weeks, which included being in a medically induced coma for a day or two after her lungs filled with fluid. Hoekstra returned home to the North Okanagan on Aug. 7, 2020, and immediately began dialysis.

Hoekstra is scheduled for surgery Monday, Feb. 1, to reverse her ostomy bag which would allow her to go to the washroom normally, and she has reached out to girlfriends and to her three brothers to consider testing to be a live organ donor.

She could be placed on the waiting list for deceased organs, but there’s a two-year waiting period with COVID-19 playing a big part in that.

“For my overall health, I’m better with a live donor,” said Hoekstra, who has been unable to work since her original surgery.

You can find information here on being a live donor from the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s website, kidney.ca.

The GoFundMe campaign organized by her sister-in-law netted more than $5,600 to help with Hoekstra’s expenses.

READ MORE: WATCH: North Okanagan Mountie shares PTSD story in powerful video



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Health

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A protest has been planned for March 5, 2020 over Penticton council’s decision to reject an application from BC Housing to keep an emergency winter shelter open over a year longer than originally planned. (Jesse Day - Western News)
‘Bring your tent’: Protest planned in Penticton’s Gyro Park over winter shelter closure

Protesters plan to show council ‘what the result of their decision will look like’

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki responded to BC Housing minster David Eby’s remarks that the city has put themselves at risk of creating a tent city Wednesday, March 3, 2020. (Western News file photo)
Penticton mayor calls out BC Housing minister for ‘irresponsible fear-mongering’

Council recently rejected BC Housing’s request to keep a winter shelter open longer than first planned

Robert Emms spotted these beauties in a waterway in downtown Penticton. (Robert Emms)
Trumpeter swans visit downtown Penticton

The beautiful birds are regulars near the shores of Okanagan Lake on Highway 97

Ecologist and writer Don Gayton wraps up the Penticton Arts Council’s March events. (Submitted)
Penticton Arts Council unveils March’s programs

Making your own comics and short stories highlight March events

After 20 years in the community, Pathways Addiction Recovery Centre has had its funding cut by Interior Health, who says they are bringing addictions services in-house now. (Facebook)
Community outraged at Interior Health’s decision to cut funding to Penticton addiction services centre

People question why Pathways addiction services would be cut during an overdose epidemic

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

John Hordyk said it isn’t fair to just look at COVID-19 deaths as many survivors are experiencing long-term impacts, himself included. (Photo by Rachel Muise)
Not getting better: Revelstoke man diagnosed with post-COVID-19 syndrome

‘I hope the damage isn’t long term, but it could be permanent’

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

The restart of the program means seniors can receive affordable meals delivered five days a week Photo by Scott Suchman for The Washington Post.
Princeton Meals on Wheels one year trial will cost $92k

Program restarts, and volunteer drivers are needed

Most Read