Hi all. I'm about three weeks post-kidney transplant and am trying to figure out how to "honor" my second chance. I have ideas but would love to hear yours.
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@2gallonhabit Here are a couple of discussions that you might find interesting:
Living life after your transplant: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/living-life-after-your-transplant/
Organ Donation and Transplant Stories: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/living-life-after-your-transplant/
Life is good! https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/life-is-good/
My husband had a kidney transplant Oct 2016, from a younger deceased donor. We wrote a letter to the donor family and outlined his renewed opportunities including volunteer work, doing things he enjoys like travel and camping, and spending time with his grandchildren. All of these are now more possible due to the gift from his donor. Knowing a recipient can live more fully is often an afterthought at the time of donation.
So glad to hear you are doing well!
I too have struggled with that. I'm a liver transplant recipient, so my donor is deceased. I honour my donor by getting up everyday and enjoying life. I'm not going to run a marathon or climb Mnt. Everest. That's not in my wheelhouse. Share the word!!! Let people know about transplants and how important it is to be a registered donor. That's how I honour my donor. Spread the word!
I transplanted 13 years ago. And every year on the date of my transplant anniversary, my husband and I go somewhere for dinner to celebrate. I believe it is a day worthy of remembering and worthy of a celebration. Our celebration is a quiet dinner, often a simple quiet meal that begins with an iced tea toast! and ends with a desert! I remember one year when we were at Mayo Rochester for my annual evaluation, and we had our anniversary dinner in the Patient Cafeteria! There was a late spring heavy snow and the roads were covered so we went to dinner before we left the clinic that day!
My transplant experience was difficult pre transplant and involved emergency dialysis for kidney failure and an air transport out of ICU 800 miles away. However my recovery after the surgery was immediate. My husband and I told each other that we would forever honor my anonymous deceased donor by taking care of me to protect these beautiful organs. Every time I take my meds-no matter how inconvenient, or get labs drawn, or make the annual 758 mile drive (one way) to Mayo, we find opportunity to share my support for organ donation because I have a Donate Life License plate on my car and a frame that says "An organ donor saved my life".
I have written to my donor's family to express my thanks and condolences. I am forever grateful for my second chance at life. I still get tears in my eyes when I talk about it.
What a Great question, and I honor my transplant which was this past week. 5 years ago with a new Heart. I actually truly believe it was not only a gift from my donor but from God. So I honor that by including the gift The Lord Jesus gave all of us thru his sacrifice on the Cross. So I spend my days teaching and helping others to learn about God and Jesus Christ. Thru giving to worthy charity's, teaching the Bible and sharing the beautiful gift I've received.
I have written 2 letters and still hope someday to hear from the family. But I suspect I may meet my donor in person someday in heaven.
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Congrats on your 5 years. My 6th year heartiversary was January 7. Heading up to Mayo Phoenix next week for the tests and evaluation. Have you completed your yearly eval?
Like you, I've written two letters to the donor's family and have yet to hear back. But that's okay. I think taking good care of ourselves is a way to honor our donors. And I saw an amazing quote yesterday I'll share here.
“I would like my life to be a statement of love and compassion – and where it isn’t, that’s where my work lies.”
– Ram Dass
Take care Dana.
@estrada53 I received my heart and lungs a little over 18 months ago at Mayo Rochester. I have written a letter to the donor family the last 2 years around Thanksgiving. I have yet to hear back as well. So you and @danab are not alone in this. Besides all the items already mentioned, I also honor my donor by living life to the fullest – enjoying each day, exercising, spending time with my family, friends and animals. And being grateful for my donor family and my medical team too. I have also started to become more active in my regional donor organization – Gift of Hope. As events start to pick back up I plan to be a speaker and also advocate for organ donation.
My stem cell donor is a young man from Germany. We were allowed to correspond a year after my transplant without revealing our identity. Two years after the transplant, we each requested to have direct contact. He has visited me twice in the US since my transplant in 2016. I really appreciate being able to thank him in person for his lifesaving gift to me.
I will be 1 year post liver transplant on Feb 28th. I wrote my donor letter, but have not yet heard back. My life has changed in immeasurable ways. My liver damage was sudden and unexpected, so it was a shock to me both physically & emotionally. I have found that I am a different person – more joyful, grateful and thankful for the everyday things in my life – a beautiful sunrise, sunset, a baby’s laugh, a good meal or time spent with family & friends. A transplant friend called it “post-traumatic growth”.
I have started volunteering with the local organ procurement organization here in N.Florida, speaking with anyone who will listen about the importance of organ donation, and getting people to sign up. I’m “show & tell” at drivers ed classes, nurses training sessions & community events. I have met so many inspirational transplant survivors & donor families thru this. I have also started volunteering on the transplant floor of Mayo Jax as a nurse’s aid, restocking warm blankets, supplies and helping with non-medical patient needs. I thought I would suffer from PTSD, but have found it so rewarding. I also occasionally get to see & personally thank some of the doctors, nurses & aides who cared for me during my complicated surgeries. They look at me, with some recognition, but then once they realize they cared for me, are amazed at how fully I have recovered.
During one of my hospitalizations for sepsis pre-transplant, I expressed feelings of guilt to a priest at Mayo (Fr Charles), that someone had to die for me to live. His response was amazing & has changed my life. Fr Charles said that my concern was all wrong. That I needed to think of life as a relay and that my donor’s time & purpose on this Earth was done, and he/she was handing me what I needed to fulfill my purpose here on Earth – whatever it may be.
His words have affected me profoundly and I share them with all other transplant patients and recipients I meet. I am trying to figure out what “my purpose here on Earth” is – but it may be as simple as providing a warm blanket and words of encouragement to those other patients struggling with health issues.
I too have a Donate Life sticker on my car, and got a new license plate with my date of transplant on it – 22822. Now I just have to find the frame that says “an organ donor saved my life”!
@gerryp whaf a great story and I really like the Relay analogy. Congratulations! We have a lot in common in our approach of appreciating each day and our interest in helping spread the word on organ donation too.
Mayo did a story on me and I’m sharing the link. There are some similar questions I asked after my transplant too.
That's a great way of looking at your donor, I too(heart transplant) had some trouble with guilt too but my Pastor and the chaplain John at Mayo Phoenix really put it in prospective. They were leaving e I ther way but on there way out left a gift of life to someone else. I still now 5 years later hope to hear from the family.
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