From a Living Donor: One year later, what is your life like now?
I recently posted a one year post-donation update* in the “Kidney transplant – The Journey from the Donor’s Side” thread and was encouraged to make this a standalone discussion. So here I am. 🙂
Mostly I was curious to see if anyone else who had donated had posted about what their lives (and bodies) are like after that donation. I.E. are there are any knock-on effects they may have noticed, or other things they’re experiencing because of their donation.
Me: I’m a kidney donor, I donated in Nov 2018, I just turned 44.
Health wise: I run, I do yoga, I talk lots of walks. I’m active.
I have a high-stress job, though, and other external (non-donation related) forces that really increased my stress and anxiety levels in 2019.
One year after my donation I basically feel I am back to normal, save for two things:
1) I get an occasional little muscular ‘pang’ from my scar tissues during yoga if I move in certain ways. So I can feel that there’s still some lingering after-effects and scarring, but these are extremely minimal these days. They were worse in early 2019 but gradually faded out.
2) My 6-month and 1-year bloodwork are both good, but I can sometimes feel that my ‘system has changed’ – for lack of a better word for it. For example I’m pretty sure my blood pressure has been affected – I can feel a slight change in now when I’m super anxious and/or stressed out. I can get lightheaded, I can feel my ears ring, I can just feel that something’s ‘off’ – etc. So I’m pretty sure that’s basically some hypertension/blood pressure saying hello.
Also: I’m acknowledge that I didn’t live as healthily as I possibly could have in 2019, which probably contributed to this. There were certainly some adverse health choices I made that I know weren’t the greatest in the world. But I’m way more conscious of this kind of thing now.
Because of that, and because of point #2 I’ve been very into doing a couple of things differently in 2019 and 2020:
a) I’m adjusting my diet. I’ve also just read a really interesting book** on food and diet that also prompted me to re-evaluate my eating habits in general, so the combination has me more conscious of my diet and how that affects the rest of my body.
b) I’m doing a lot of regular yoga. It helps my overall body ‘feeling’ in general, and it’s a stress reducer.
c) I’m being more conscious of my overall stress levels at all times
All in all I’m pretty surprised at how little of a difference I feel. I’ve been able to reconnect in person with my recipient*** since our donation – and I have zero regrets about my decision to donate. All of these things in this post are honestly very minor when I put it all in perspective. But I think it’s good to post about them anyway.
And that’s me. I’m looking forward to any other people who may want to chime in.
* Thread: “Kidney transplant – The Journey from the Donor’s Side”
** Book: “How Not To Diet”
*** Article: “College friendship leads to new kidney for Clean Elections director”