Kidney transplant - The Journey from the Donor's Side

Posted by mauraacro @mauraacro, Jan 2, 2018

I’m headed to Rochester on the 10th for surgery on the 12th. I’m excited and nervous! I didn’t know the recipient but have gotten to “meet” her and some of her daughters through phone calls and emails.
I’ve had labs done at my doctor’s office and went to Mayo a few weeks ago for a million more tests. My case was presented to the donor board a few days before Christmas and I was approved and notified the same day. It seems like everything took so long and now is going so fast.
I’m interested in hearing from donors but haven’t had a lot of luck. It seems like the recipients are the ones who post the most, which gives me some info and reassurance but it would be nice to hear from the other side too.

@mauraacro

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some of the things but I’ll try to go in order of how it went for me and maybe it will jog my memory as I go.
In October, I signed up on the breeze Mayo site to test as a donor for a named recipient. I was contacted by someone within a few days and she asked various questions about my health and health history. She said if I got things like my colonoscopy, mammogram and pap out of the way, things would go faster, so I had those done. I received a blood lab kit in the mail, my doctor did the draw and I shipped it to Mayo.
I didn’t match on all of the things that can match but she had no antibodies that would reject my kidney so I passed that part. I think I was shipped 2 more blood draw labs and a 24 hour urine collection kit that I did here and shipped back.
The scheduling nurse set up my appointments at Mayo, I still can’t believe how organized and well run it is. I got there at 6AM on December 12th for blood and urine testing and needed to go back for 3 more of those throughout the 1st day. I met with the nephrologist, received an 18 hour blood pressure cuff, had a renal function test, met the surgeon, the donor advocate, financial services and the donor coordinator,
The second day I had a CT scan, got the results of the BP cuff, met with the social worker and a nutritionist, had an electrocardiogram and a stress test, more blood draws, a chest xray and finally back to the doctor for the results. I was asleep in his office in the 4 minutes it took him to come in to see me. We went over my results and he said he would recommend me to the donor board as a candidate.
After I got home, I received calls from the advocate and the social worker. They were checking and and seeing how I was doing and if I was still interested after I had some down time. A few days later I got the call that I was accepted and we talked about a good date for my schedule. The recipient’s side does the surgery scheduling and they called me that day with confirmation.
I’ve since had 1 more blood draw that I shipped to Mayo but I think that’s all I have left to do here besides pack and fill out paperwork. So far, for my pre-op in Rochester, I have 2 more blood and urine tests scheduled as well as appointments with the doctor, surgeon and advocate.
If I could do anything different, I would eat more (or better) when I wasn’t fasting and get to bed earlier because it was hard to sleep with anticipation for the tests. I had a paper schedule and made notes on it that said things like, “fast after 7, 1 cup of water between 12-5. Eat between 9-945. 2 hour fast for test at 11:45” that was invaluable because there were a lot of eat/don’t eat on my instructions. I got to some appointments as much as an hour early and sometimes they were able to take me and sometimes not. I think I would have felt more rested if I had, well, rested during those times instead of trying to beat the clock. I learned that the elevators in the Charlton building are super slow but the volunteer on the lower level is a font of Rochester information.
This was probably way more than you meant for me to reply with but it was nice to get it out!

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@rosemarya – There were two other posts (earlier in the conversation) where I did the same thing. I tried to edit/fix it and I could not figure out how to do it. Are you able to do that for me so @onecentwalsh sees my comments?

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@mauraacro

I’m sure I’ve forgotten some of the things but I’ll try to go in order of how it went for me and maybe it will jog my memory as I go.
In October, I signed up on the breeze Mayo site to test as a donor for a named recipient. I was contacted by someone within a few days and she asked various questions about my health and health history. She said if I got things like my colonoscopy, mammogram and pap out of the way, things would go faster, so I had those done. I received a blood lab kit in the mail, my doctor did the draw and I shipped it to Mayo.
I didn’t match on all of the things that can match but she had no antibodies that would reject my kidney so I passed that part. I think I was shipped 2 more blood draw labs and a 24 hour urine collection kit that I did here and shipped back.
The scheduling nurse set up my appointments at Mayo, I still can’t believe how organized and well run it is. I got there at 6AM on December 12th for blood and urine testing and needed to go back for 3 more of those throughout the 1st day. I met with the nephrologist, received an 18 hour blood pressure cuff, had a renal function test, met the surgeon, the donor advocate, financial services and the donor coordinator,
The second day I had a CT scan, got the results of the BP cuff, met with the social worker and a nutritionist, had an electrocardiogram and a stress test, more blood draws, a chest xray and finally back to the doctor for the results. I was asleep in his office in the 4 minutes it took him to come in to see me. We went over my results and he said he would recommend me to the donor board as a candidate.
After I got home, I received calls from the advocate and the social worker. They were checking and and seeing how I was doing and if I was still interested after I had some down time. A few days later I got the call that I was accepted and we talked about a good date for my schedule. The recipient’s side does the surgery scheduling and they called me that day with confirmation.
I’ve since had 1 more blood draw that I shipped to Mayo but I think that’s all I have left to do here besides pack and fill out paperwork. So far, for my pre-op in Rochester, I have 2 more blood and urine tests scheduled as well as appointments with the doctor, surgeon and advocate.
If I could do anything different, I would eat more (or better) when I wasn’t fasting and get to bed earlier because it was hard to sleep with anticipation for the tests. I had a paper schedule and made notes on it that said things like, “fast after 7, 1 cup of water between 12-5. Eat between 9-945. 2 hour fast for test at 11:45” that was invaluable because there were a lot of eat/don’t eat on my instructions. I got to some appointments as much as an hour early and sometimes they were able to take me and sometimes not. I think I would have felt more rested if I had, well, rested during those times instead of trying to beat the clock. I learned that the elevators in the Charlton building are super slow but the volunteer on the lower level is a font of Rochester information.
This was probably way more than you meant for me to reply with but it was nice to get it out!

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I'm seeing every post!

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Thank you all for the great information! I'm so glad I found this site & group! It's so nice to hear how everything is doing on the donor end. I am now officially a living kidney donor for my husband! I had my evaluation the first week of March and we found out last week. We haven't set a surgery date yet but we anticipate it will be this summer.

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@mrasmith15

Thank you all for the great information! I'm so glad I found this site & group! It's so nice to hear how everything is doing on the donor end. I am now officially a living kidney donor for my husband! I had my evaluation the first week of March and we found out last week. We haven't set a surgery date yet but we anticipate it will be this summer.

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@mrasmith15, Congratulations on your remarkable 'yet to be' miracle!
We are equally happy that you have found this site. I am a volunteer mentor, and a recipient, I want to extend a sincere Welcome to Mayo Connect. We are all learning together and supporting each other based on our own experiences. I invite you to continue to check out our discussion groups, as you continue to move closer to a surgery date. You are welcome to join in anywhere.

I also want to share the Transplant Pages with you. In these pages, there are materials for transplant recipients as well as living donors. https://connect.mayoclinic.org/page/transplant/

I look forward to hearing more from you.
Rosemary

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@onecentwalsh

Officially accepted as a non directed donor this past Wednesday!!! Everything looks good for me health wise. I will be donating in may, as I'm a teacher and will be finishing out my spring as to not take too much time off of work for recovery.
They will be now doing their job to find a match and create a, hopefully, long string of paired donations starting with mine! I'm excited and really can't wait to see what God has in store for this process. Will post again as I get closer to surgery.
In the meantime, I'm working on a few diet changes- less salt intake especially!!!

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@onecentwalsh, I have had you in my thoughts as the school year nears its end. And my experience is thinking end of May. I just realized that you were scheduled for surgery yesterday. I send you my day-late wishes for a successful surgery and healing. I hope you and the recipient are doing well.
When you have recovered and your strength has returned, we invite you to let us know how you are doing.
Blessings to you and spouse.
Rosemary

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@onecentwalsh

Officially accepted as a non directed donor this past Wednesday!!! Everything looks good for me health wise. I will be donating in may, as I'm a teacher and will be finishing out my spring as to not take too much time off of work for recovery.
They will be now doing their job to find a match and create a, hopefully, long string of paired donations starting with mine! I'm excited and really can't wait to see what God has in store for this process. Will post again as I get closer to surgery.
In the meantime, I'm working on a few diet changes- less salt intake especially!!!

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@rosemarya You are not a day late…. my surgery is scheduled for the 22nd!

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@onecentwalsh

Officially accepted as a non directed donor this past Wednesday!!! Everything looks good for me health wise. I will be donating in may, as I'm a teacher and will be finishing out my spring as to not take too much time off of work for recovery.
They will be now doing their job to find a match and create a, hopefully, long string of paired donations starting with mine! I'm excited and really can't wait to see what God has in store for this process. Will post again as I get closer to surgery.
In the meantime, I'm working on a few diet changes- less salt intake especially!!!

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@onecentwalsh, I will be offering prayer for you, your recipient, your surgeons.

I was at Mayo a month ago for my annual checkup, and I met (can you believe it!) one of our members who had received a kidney transplant from her daughter the previous week. Both mom and daughter were doing well. It was amazing and a blessing for me to share a special waiting room visit.
When do you report to the transplant clinic? Will you have to have any preliminary labs on the day of the surgery?
Rosemary

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@onecentwalsh

Officially accepted as a non directed donor this past Wednesday!!! Everything looks good for me health wise. I will be donating in may, as I'm a teacher and will be finishing out my spring as to not take too much time off of work for recovery.
They will be now doing their job to find a match and create a, hopefully, long string of paired donations starting with mine! I'm excited and really can't wait to see what God has in store for this process. Will post again as I get closer to surgery.
In the meantime, I'm working on a few diet changes- less salt intake especially!!!

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@onecentwalsh, I know how busy your last minute packing and travel must be. So I want to send my assurance, now, that I will be sending prayers on Tuesday.
Hugs,
Rosemary

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@onecentwalsh

Officially accepted as a non directed donor this past Wednesday!!! Everything looks good for me health wise. I will be donating in may, as I'm a teacher and will be finishing out my spring as to not take too much time off of work for recovery.
They will be now doing their job to find a match and create a, hopefully, long string of paired donations starting with mine! I'm excited and really can't wait to see what God has in store for this process. Will post again as I get closer to surgery.
In the meantime, I'm working on a few diet changes- less salt intake especially!!!

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Let me know if you have any last minute or middle of the night questions or just want to talk. I had a transplant buddy who helped me so much by listening to me & by telling me her story. I'm sure there's a private or direct message spot on here where I can give you my email address & phone #.

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@onecentwalsh

Officially accepted as a non directed donor this past Wednesday!!! Everything looks good for me health wise. I will be donating in may, as I'm a teacher and will be finishing out my spring as to not take too much time off of work for recovery.
They will be now doing their job to find a match and create a, hopefully, long string of paired donations starting with mine! I'm excited and really can't wait to see what God has in store for this process. Will post again as I get closer to surgery.
In the meantime, I'm working on a few diet changes- less salt intake especially!!!

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Thank you. Just really feeling honored and blessed to be a part on this journey! Heading to rochester after my daughter's lacrosse game tonight. I have pre op appointments early tomorrow. Excited!

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@onecentwalsh

Officially accepted as a non directed donor this past Wednesday!!! Everything looks good for me health wise. I will be donating in may, as I'm a teacher and will be finishing out my spring as to not take too much time off of work for recovery.
They will be now doing their job to find a match and create a, hopefully, long string of paired donations starting with mine! I'm excited and really can't wait to see what God has in store for this process. Will post again as I get closer to surgery.
In the meantime, I'm working on a few diet changes- less salt intake especially!!!

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thanks so much. I have a very good friend who donated seven years ago. She has been a great support and reference for questions!! Thanks for your support

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@onecentwalsh

Officially accepted as a non directed donor this past Wednesday!!! Everything looks good for me health wise. I will be donating in may, as I'm a teacher and will be finishing out my spring as to not take too much time off of work for recovery.
They will be now doing their job to find a match and create a, hopefully, long string of paired donations starting with mine! I'm excited and really can't wait to see what God has in store for this process. Will post again as I get closer to surgery.
In the meantime, I'm working on a few diet changes- less salt intake especially!!!

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@mauraacro, At the top of page there is an envelope icon for private messaging is you need to share personal information.

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@onecentwalsh

Officially accepted as a non directed donor this past Wednesday!!! Everything looks good for me health wise. I will be donating in may, as I'm a teacher and will be finishing out my spring as to not take too much time off of work for recovery.
They will be now doing their job to find a match and create a, hopefully, long string of paired donations starting with mine! I'm excited and really can't wait to see what God has in store for this process. Will post again as I get closer to surgery.
In the meantime, I'm working on a few diet changes- less salt intake especially!!!

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@onecentwalsh, I've been thinking of you. How are you doing?

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@onecentwalsh

Officially accepted as a non directed donor this past Wednesday!!! Everything looks good for me health wise. I will be donating in may, as I'm a teacher and will be finishing out my spring as to not take too much time off of work for recovery.
They will be now doing their job to find a match and create a, hopefully, long string of paired donations starting with mine! I'm excited and really can't wait to see what God has in store for this process. Will post again as I get closer to surgery.
In the meantime, I'm working on a few diet changes- less salt intake especially!!!

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I'm doing great!!!! One week after donor surgery, and I'm taking it easy, but pain free and feeling more like myself every day.
I had surgery at 5am on the 22nd, back in my room by 9am, walking by noon that day. I was released the next evening. Haven't had to take any pain meds, other than Tylenol. Resting when I need to and getting moving more each day.

My kidney went to a recipient in Florida. That's all I know at this point. I heard that it started a chain, but that will reveal itself over time!
I'm just so thankful to have been a part of this for someone else. I imagine that person feeling good today, feeling like there are new opportunities for them. Hopefully my 42 yr old kidney is serving them well. Ha!

If anyone has any questions about the whole process, please feel free to ask. I would love to share from my very positive experience!!!

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I decided to be a donor this week although I've considered it at least 2 yrs. & have done some research. Because I need to do this during the FL primary school year summer break I'm concerned with timely progress. I did the online health questionnaire as well as left a voicemail message yesterday morning stating my intention.
Is donating during this summer break a realistic goal?

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