Donated a kidney in May, new to Connect!

Posted by leftyleft @leftyleft, Nov 17, 2021

My friend and I were part of a donation chain in May, she and I weren’t matches. Both of us are doing well and I’m finally remembering to reach out to get connected with others to swap stories and information share 🙂

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Transplants group.

@leftyleft, Welcome to Mayo Connect. I am honored to greet you as a new organ donor! I am a recipient of a liver and kidney from an anonymous deceased donor in 2009. I will always remember the joy of receiving a phone call from my transplant surgeon who informed me that I was a match to receive an organ transplant. It was an immediate change in my life, one that I had hoped for, but feared would never happen. I cannot imagine, although I do try, to know how it must feel for you and other donors to go thru the transplant donation process and then to be scheduled for a life giving surgery by sharing one of your kidneys.

I look forward to learning more of your story as you join into the discussions here on Connect.
Leftyleft, What was it like for you to learn that you could not be a match for your friend? How did you decide on an organ donation chain? How much time lapsed between your surgery and your friend's surgery?

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@rosemarya

@leftyleft, Welcome to Mayo Connect. I am honored to greet you as a new organ donor! I am a recipient of a liver and kidney from an anonymous deceased donor in 2009. I will always remember the joy of receiving a phone call from my transplant surgeon who informed me that I was a match to receive an organ transplant. It was an immediate change in my life, one that I had hoped for, but feared would never happen. I cannot imagine, although I do try, to know how it must feel for you and other donors to go thru the transplant donation process and then to be scheduled for a life giving surgery by sharing one of your kidneys.

I look forward to learning more of your story as you join into the discussions here on Connect.
Leftyleft, What was it like for you to learn that you could not be a match for your friend? How did you decide on an organ donation chain? How much time lapsed between your surgery and your friend's surgery?

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Hello @rosemarya and thank you so much for your volunteer mentoring! Wonderful to hear of your story and hopefully continued health.
The best I can conceptualize and articulate when going through the first first matching test is that it’s like going to buy a lottery ticket. You’re so hopeful that you’re a match, but trying to caution yourself that you’re not, but ohhh that glimmer that you could ‘win’ and have that elated moment. It was a little sad and disappointing to not have that “meant to be” rare match, but, I knew that it was an option for me to proceed as an ‘exchange’/donation chain donor.

Being 35, and healthy, (and very long story(s) short!), I knew that my life/lifestyle was conducive to the testing and donation process, so we proceeded with scheduling and the battery of tests – so many!!! It was a life changing day finding out that I had been approved, then the next week she had been approved, then that WE were in the system waiting for a chain to come together.
Without mention of anything religious in tone, I will just say that it was ‘meant to be’ that we actually ended up being wheeled off to our respective OR’s at the exact same time, though that was not the original scheduled plan. My left kidney (“LeftyLeft”) was flown to Rochester, NY and my friend’s was flown in from Cleveland, OH.
So very thankful to have been given the gift of going through this process and everything that Mayo has done for my friend. And their staff has been incredible for me, again, life changing!!!

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@leftyleft

Hello @rosemarya and thank you so much for your volunteer mentoring! Wonderful to hear of your story and hopefully continued health.
The best I can conceptualize and articulate when going through the first first matching test is that it’s like going to buy a lottery ticket. You’re so hopeful that you’re a match, but trying to caution yourself that you’re not, but ohhh that glimmer that you could ‘win’ and have that elated moment. It was a little sad and disappointing to not have that “meant to be” rare match, but, I knew that it was an option for me to proceed as an ‘exchange’/donation chain donor.

Being 35, and healthy, (and very long story(s) short!), I knew that my life/lifestyle was conducive to the testing and donation process, so we proceeded with scheduling and the battery of tests – so many!!! It was a life changing day finding out that I had been approved, then the next week she had been approved, then that WE were in the system waiting for a chain to come together.
Without mention of anything religious in tone, I will just say that it was ‘meant to be’ that we actually ended up being wheeled off to our respective OR’s at the exact same time, though that was not the original scheduled plan. My left kidney (“LeftyLeft”) was flown to Rochester, NY and my friend’s was flown in from Cleveland, OH.
So very thankful to have been given the gift of going through this process and everything that Mayo has done for my friend. And their staff has been incredible for me, again, life changing!!!

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@leftyleft Thank you for stepping up to the plate, so to speak, and getting that testing done! Just think how many lives you have touched, not only during the testing and surgery, but those reading about your experience here.

I bet you found out a lot of things about your physical, emotional, and mental health as you powered through the testing procedure. And how awesome to be a match, even the chain. It never ceases to amaze me how they can get all the information in to a central database to make the best choices for donor and recipient!

My husband is a deceased donor kidney recipient, and we are ever-so-grateful everyday for the gift he was given.
Ginger

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Thank you for being a donor! As a liver transplant recipient I wake up every morning and appreciate my donor. I was truly given a second chance at life. For you to be a living donor is an amazing act of giving!

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So this may sound strange, (and completely sappy), but this process has been such a tremendous gift to ME. To have a better understanding of yourself, and purpose, identity and being a part of something greater than yourself, that you got to contribute to and know that you belong to something important that happened, is a true gift. To know that you always have these connections and belonging within this amazing group of ‘fighters’ is incredible. Recipients braving so many health challenges and pressing on everyday, other (stubborn) donors who, like me, were told a soft “no” that we’re not direct matches, but press on. It’s all very humbling.

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@leftyleft

So this may sound strange, (and completely sappy), but this process has been such a tremendous gift to ME. To have a better understanding of yourself, and purpose, identity and being a part of something greater than yourself, that you got to contribute to and know that you belong to something important that happened, is a true gift. To know that you always have these connections and belonging within this amazing group of ‘fighters’ is incredible. Recipients braving so many health challenges and pressing on everyday, other (stubborn) donors who, like me, were told a soft “no” that we’re not direct matches, but press on. It’s all very humbling.

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@leftyleft, I like your words that you were a stubborn donor and that you chose to press on to be part of a donor chain. Was this your idea? Or was it proposed by the transplant program? I have always wondered how this works.

Leftyleft, What kind of follow ups will be required for you as a donor?

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@rosemarya

@leftyleft, I like your words that you were a stubborn donor and that you chose to press on to be part of a donor chain. Was this your idea? Or was it proposed by the transplant program? I have always wondered how this works.

Leftyleft, What kind of follow ups will be required for you as a donor?

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I knew it was an option to be part of an exchange or chain, the transplant program didn’t ’push’ for it at all. That side of the process is very interesting and at just about every opportunity to punctuate a statement, there’s mention that potential donors (candidates) can stop the process at anytime. There is a VERY high sensitivity in that aspect of the process.
The battery of physical tests and all of the blood draws and ua’s is pretty intense and fatiguing, but the thoroughness of the psychological profile, psycho-social interviews, etc, etc, etc is INTENSE.
Follow-up blood draw and ua happened at one month post-op, and will happen at 6 months, 1 year and 2 years.
Happy, honestly honored and thrilled to answer any questions on my experience of the process in the hope that it helps inform a candidate and/or recipient, and raise awareness on the topics and issues involved.

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@leftyleft, @athenalee, As you scroll thru the list of Transplant Discussion topics, you might have come across this one:
Organ Donation and Transplant: What is Your story?
https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/organ-donation-and-transplant-what-is-your-story/
When you are ready to do so, I invite you to add your story there, too.

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