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Chainey adjusting to new normal after transplant

By Kevin Anderson, The Northern Times

Marie-Eve and her aunt Manon Desrochers pose for a photo together.

Marie-Eve and her aunt Manon Desrochers pose for a photo together.

Longtime readers of The Northern Times will be familiar with the name Marie-Eve Chainey.


It was some 15 years ago, that the then 18-year-old, Val Rita resident sat down with this publication to talk about her battle with kidney disease. Since then, The Times has published several updates on not only her physical condition, but also her herculean effort not to let her ailment control her life by creating “a new normal” for herself.


She maintained as high of a level of physical activity as her body would allow, most notably working with “Alive To Strive”, a charitable event benefiting The Kidney Foundation of Canada.


“I believe very strongly in it,” she commented. “Staying active has always been a priority for me and fully intend to keep working with that program.”


Well, as of June 22, the now 34-year-old has had to create another “new normal”, albeit under much happier circumstances, as she finally underwent a kidney transplant and is doing very well in her recovery thus far.


“The recovery has been going a lot smoother than I expected,” Chainey told The Times.


It took over 15 years for Chainey to have a transplant because her fluctuating health and the nature of her ailment did not allow for a suitable window for the procedure.


“I wasn’t allowed a transplant because I was too sick and then I got better but they weren’t sure exactly what my illness was… so it’s been a long process,” she explained. “I didn’t wait for a transplant to start my life, but this is a huge bonus for me. I’m super happy to have a chance at a life without being attached to a machine.”


Chainey used to have to do dialysis every night at home while she slept.


Once a transplant had been approved, things moved along quite quickly.


“The medication I needed to control my condition was $750,000 per year. There was no way I could cover that so I couldn’t get a transplant. I was approved in mid-November for coverage on the drug and from there the process was fast,” she said.


“It was really hard for me to wrap my head around it. I didn’t even tell my family for a month after I found out. We’ve all had a lot of disappointments with this process before and I didn’t want to go through that again with my family. I still didn’t completely believe it was happening until the day of the surgery.”


Marie-Eve’s aunt, Manon Desrochers, provided the kidney for transplant.


“Some people were tested early on in my illness but I had a bad reaction with female donors so they were all ruled out,” she explained. “We found out around Christmas that (my aunt) was a suitable donor.


“It’s hard to put into words what her gift means to me. She’s given me freedom from a machine I’ve been hooked up to for 15 years. She’s given the chance to have a life that’s a lot more ‘normal’ than I’ve known. I don’t even remember what life was like before the machine. It’s incredible and even that isn’t a grand enough word to accurately describe it.


“It’s a big operation for someone to go through, but she was so calm and confident about the whole thing. We’ve always been very close, but now this has brought our relationship to a different level. We have more of a connection that we’ve ever had.”


With her “new normal” on the horizon, Chainey said one of the things she is most looking forward to is traveling.


“There are a lot of things, but that’s at the top of the list,” she commented. “It’s been extremely complicated since I’ve been ill. I’m actually planning on my first trip being to Kap for a friend’s wedding.”