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2 hours ago · Kidney transplant - The Journey from the Donor's Side in Transplants

Part one of my reply was so long I thought I would do this separately.
Most of the people here are recipients and would be better able to answer question about how your mom will fare. I met the woman I donated to the day before surgery so I can't give you too much back story. She was 60, had been on dialysis for almost 5 years and had acquired diabetes and gout along the way. She couldn't walk more than a block without resting and was only urinating once a day.
The kidney started working immediately and her gout disappeared quickly. She is able to manage her diabetes through diet now. She was walking around the day after surgery and left the hospital after 4 nights. She was able to walk the 5 blocks to our hotel. She had to stick around for about a month (she lives 5 hours from the hospital) for appointments.
She had some minor signs of rejection in the 1st year but has been able to drastically reduce hers meds since then and is not showing any signs of rejection. I think she still goes in for labs about once a month and to the doctor every 6 months.
We talk every week and don't go into much medical detail but she is doing well and decided to go back to work because she was getting bored! Since her surgery, we have gone to Mexico for her oldest daughter's wedding, she was at the hospital for the birth of her daughter in law and son's baby.and is helping plan her youngest daughter's wedding. She is very active and I love hearing about her adventures.
Organ donation is truly a miraculous thing and I'm so glad when someone can be a part of it.

2 hours ago · Kidney transplant - The Journey from the Donor's Side in Transplants

Complications can happen and I completely understand being nervous about.
I had complete faith in the medical side of things. All of the tests you had were to determine not only how well you would live the rest of your life with 1 kidney but how you would do in and after surgery. The very cynical side of me says that not only is this a very expensive surgery but the surgeon and the hospital have a reputation to uphold and would not do it if they didn't think the outcome would be positive for you and your mom.
I am great at avoiding thinking about scary things and worried instead about having time to clean out my furnace filter and fridge before I left. I did want to know the real deal about surgery, before and after so I talked with people on here and also found a "donor buddy" because I had a hard time finding (non medical) info from the donor perspective.


I don't know if you read the very beginning of my "journey" but I was 50, not a marathon runner or even a regular at the gym and could only find stories about those guys donating and I wanted to talk to someone more like me. My donor buddy was a lot more like me than someone doing decathlons.
I had laparoscopic surgery so only have the one incision. I don't know if what goes into the surgeon's decision to do it that way but it seems like a good question. Do you have a social worker from the hospital? Mine worked as a go between for all of the different departments and could either answer questions or direct me to the answer.
As for pain, I had an injection into my abdomen before they stitched me up which lasted 24 hours and of course had pain meds in my IV and to take orally while I was in the hospital. I left with a prescription for 10 days of pain meds and extra strength Tylenol. I think I took the pain meds on schedule for a couple of days and then only at night after that, I took the tylenol mid day or as needed for about a week. I was not being strong or tough, it didn't actually hurt enough for more than Tylenol.
As @contentandwell said, hospitals err on the side of caution and pick the longest times they'd expect you to stay. I was told 2 nights but passed all of my checkpoints so left early. They encouraged me to stay 1 more night if I would be more comfortable.
Keep asking questions and talking about it! As you probably noticed, there isn't much out there from the donor side and the more donors and potential donors searching and finding information, the better!

3 days ago · Kidney transplant - The Journey from the Donor's Side in Transplants

Congratulations! Donation is amazing enough but paired donation takes it to a whole new level.
Those tests are really something, aren't they? I almost think they were harder for me than donation.
I practically used this site as a journal, I was very wordy but received great info & hope I helped someone with their journey.
The short version of surgery day is, it went well (for both of us!). I woke up & said I was hungry which made the nurse laugh. I was taking short walks a few hours later & walked a lot more that night. It was surprisingly not painful but felt tight or like I did too many crunches. It was difficult to get out of bed so make sure they teach you how. I highly recommend high waisted or maternity leggings, they were very comfortable.
I left the hospital the day after surgery but stayed in town for almost 2 weeks, mostly because I didn't want to sit through a 5 hour flight, also because I knew I would take it easier away from home.
I was back to work at a somewhat physically active job within a month, with a 10# lifting restriction for 6 weeks.
Ask me anything! If I don't know it, someone here does or we can find the answer.
I wish you & your mom the very best!

Thu, Oct 24 4:43pm · Living Donor, maybe? in Transplants

I'm so glad that you are considering donation!
I wasn't technically non directed because I had a named recipient but I didn't know her or her family (her daughter had a Twitter post about her mom needing a kidney).
My husband & grown children were initially worried but encouraged me every step of the way. My husband said it was similar to what I do in my daily life but on a bigger scale.
My extended family brought up a lot of the points you mentioned. I donated at Rochester Mayo and don't know if its the same everywhere or for every person but here's what I learned.
You will have 1000000 tests to make sure that you will not only do very well living with one kidney but are able to successfully go through surgery. If you donate and need a kidney at some point, you will go to the top of the list. If for some horrible reason your son needs a kidney, you will know exactly what the procedure is and will be better able to explain the process to a potential donor. Also in regards to your son, you've probably been teaching him his whole life to help and encourage others. Isn't this another way of showing him what humans are capable of doing?
If people continue to call you crazy you can let them know that there is a psychological evaluation done during testing and all is well!
I found the whole process gave me more back than I gave up and would do it again if possible.
The best of luck to you!

Thu, Sep 19 10:07am · Live Donor Weight Loss Surgery Prior to Transplant in Transplants

@christygb You have some very exciting and positive things ahead of you!
A few replies have already touched on what I would say.
Fill out the donor questionnaire now even though it's early. A nurse will call you and go over your answers so that you'll have some info to start with.
A higher BMI may not be a "deal breaker". If you pass the initial evaluation, there will be many tests to check your overall health which will determine if it's safe for you to donate.
I thought I read in another post that Mayo doesn't do both liver and kidney transplants from the same living donor but can't find it. The nurse/social workers at Mayo are excellent and will be able to answer that for you.
Whatever the outcome of your evaluation is, you are doing great things. Deciding to lose weight for your health will pay off for you and your family. Inquiring about live organ donation means 1 more person in the world has info that they can pass on to others.
Good luck to both of you

Tue, Sep 3 10:52pm · Confused Recipient in Transplants

I can't imagine how frustrating that would be, I hope things fall into line soon.
Before I had my 1st official Mayo appointment I did an initial screening, talked with a nurse, talked with a social worker, filled out a more lengthy questionnaire, had a batch of blood tests & a 24 hour urine collection sample done. This was over about a month's time.
It was all part of testing but none of it was on their books as a donor appointment, so I can see how you could get 2 different answers.
My evaluation took 2.5 full days at Mayo and I was lucky to have an answer from the donor board about a week later that I was eligible to donate. My recipient knew nothing of any of it from Mayo until I scheduled a surgery date. I found out later that they did call her in for additional testing but she was so used to a million appointments that it didn't occur to her it was for imminent surgery.
From the 1st phone call Mayo was very firm that they were my team and their job was to make sure I would be safe & understood every step I'd be taking and that the recipient had her own team to do the same for her. I talked to her for the 1st time after the donor board accepted me & met her the day before surgery.
I wish you the best, it sounds like you have great people in your life.

Fri, Aug 30 12:19pm · Any double donors out there: liver and kidney? in Transplants

I'm no help here, just interested in the answers.
I donated a kidney & have thought about liver donation but didn't know if I would be flagged as a crazy person for considering it.
Do you know the recipient? I've heard that some places don't like to transplant if not but not sure why.
I've also heard that liver donation is more painful and a longer downtime for the donor. Your experience must have been good if you are looking at donating again. That's great!

Thu, Aug 22 12:02pm · What ways you can help when you can’t be a living donor? in Transplants

I am a living donor but if I wasn't able to donate a big thing I could do to help is to talk about it with others.
Depending on how far along I got in the process (talking to family, initial screening, bloodwork, evaluation etc) I would have more information about donating than the average person.
I had no idea that I didn't have to "match". I thought I was too old & fat. I thought I couldn't afford it. I thought I lived too far away. I was worried about needing the kidney someday. All of those were wrong.
I have a hard time, especially in person, telling people I'm a donor. It feels like I'm looking for accolades but I love to get the information out there about how easy Mayo & the recipient made things for me.