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Wed, Feb 27 11:30am · Kidney transplant: Thinking of becoming a donor in Transplants

It may be crazy but it was one of the best decisions I ever made.
I donated a little over a year ago. I didn't know the woman I donated to until the night before surgery, she lives in WI, I am in OR but we are "family" now. I have never once regretted donating.
She did not know I was a potential donor until after my full physical evaluation when I contacted her for the 1st time. Mayo (and probably everywhere else) will not give the recipient any information about you, including that you are considering donation. You can start the process and change your mind at any time. If you don't match, you can still donate and be part of a chain donation, where your "person" is guaranteed a kidney from someone else because you donated in their name.
I started with an online form, a nurse called to talk with me about donation and was sent a blood work kit to complete and send back. From filling out the initial form to going back to work after surgery took about 4 months. Some of the down time was because of my schedule, some was because of hers. Scheduling and health issues are different for everyone, so timing is also different.
I had a days worth of routine appointments (gyno, flu shot etc) here, went to Mayo for a 2 very full days of evaluations, had a few more tests the day before surgery, was in the hospital overnight after surgery, spent 10 days in Rochester (didn't want to fly right away) and 2 more weeks at home recovering. It was about a month out of my life and it saved someone else's. I'd do it again but need the other kidney right now.
There are risks with any surgery and they did ask if I was planning on having (more) children, I'm not so I don't know how much difference that makes.
Just considering donation and talking to people helps spread the word about live organ donation so you've already done something positive.

Tue, Jan 22 8:40pm · Kidney transplant - The Journey from the Donor's Side in Transplants

I'll be thinking positive thoughts for you!
It's good news either way. You will either be able to donate or you will have caught an important part of future medical needs.
I hope you are able to donate but with so much up to date, first hand information you could also be so helpful in encouraging someone else to think about donation.
I hope it works out for you!

Sun, Jan 13 5:22pm · Kidney transplant - The Journey from the Donor's Side in Transplants

@hopefulgirl the testing process is pretty amazing, isn't it?
It took me until almost the end of the evaluation to realize that all of those tests were to make sure I was safe to proceed. I had thought most of it was for the recipients information.
There were a few family members worried about my donating so I sent them my schedule of tests to show how thorough it was.
The stress test was rough for me but now that you've gotten the 18 & 24 hour tests done, everything else is easy!
I'll be thinking great thoughts for you.

Wed, Jan 9 11:18am · Kidney transplant - The Journey from the Donor's Side in Transplants

@jodeej thank you!
My surgery was almost a year ago but(fortunately) new people are responding, inquiring or donating so that post is getting bumped to the top

Sun, Jan 6 5:28pm · Kidney transplant - The Journey from the Donor's Side in Transplants

@hopefulgirl I completely understand what you mean!
I'm not too social and don't really like attention but want to post online, put up signs and tell everyone I walk past that they may be walking around with the perfect kidney for someone! I haven't quite figured out how to do it with the focus on the message rather than myself.
I think posting it is important to get the word out. Maybe talk about the process, how to sign up, what's involved?

Sun, Jan 6 11:01am · Kidney transplant - The Journey from the Donor's Side in Transplants

@hopefulgirl I wish you the best on your journey!
@rosemarya gave some helpful links on the process and we (and Mayo) can help fill in the blanks.
My answer to your timing question is maybe. My evaluation was Dec 12 & 13. I received the green light from the donor board a week later and donated Jan 12. It could have gone faster but for my family I needed to wait until after Jan 3. I had a recipient but don't know how much that factored in to timing.
If your evaluation is like mine, you will have a doctor at the beginning and end of your looooong days of appointments. He or 1 of the social worker nurses will be able to help you with timing.
If you started reading at the very beginning of this post, you'll see I'm very wordy and pretty much live blogged my way through this. I received so much helpful information and encouragement that I greatly appreciated coming from "real people". The staff at Mayo was wonderful every step of the way but it helped so much to hear from the non medical side.

Wed, Jan 2 10:40am · Kidney transplant - The Journey from the Donor's Side in Transplants

@jodeej. Its definitely something bigger than me. I made it 52 years only vaguely thinking about organ donation besides checking the box on my driver's license form.

Wed, Jan 2 10:12am · Kidney transplant - The Journey from the Donor's Side in Transplants

@marvinjsturing I found the person I donated to on Twitter. I'm not proficient at it, don't have a lot of followers and wasn't even following the person who posted seeking a kidney for her Mom. We don't live near each other, I thought I may have been too old & fat to donate, I don't have much money in savings and I'm self employed so I don't get paid if I don't work. We aren't the same race so I didn't know if that made a difference in matching for donation. It was a perfect set up for me to just retweet so the "real" donor may see it and be on my way.
Here is what helped make it easier for me- She said in her post what blood type they were looking for. She provided a link to the Mayo breeze site so I could just click on it to find out more information and to do the initial evaluation. She said that insurance would cover all of my medical bills & some of the travel costs and that there are organizations to help cover my missing wages.She said that her whole family would do every thing they could to make sure I was comfortable throughout the whole process.
It gave me just enough information to feel safe in inquiring without feeling over loaded with information. We DM'ed a bit after I filled out the questionnaire & I learned more about her Mom and why she needed a kidney. The nurse/social worker from Mayo called and told me what my part would be and it went from there.
Social media was easy for both sides of donation because it was far reaching and nobody was put on the spot. There was immediate information available and I didn't have to worry about not having the best social skills. Family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances and strangers all passed the information along and somehow it got to me at that exact right time where I thought, I can do that.
Good luck in your journey and remember there that are so many of us that can help. Even if we are only passing information on to one other person, that may end up to be the donor.