Finally the day came where I was going to meet my surgeon. I had to wait for half an hour before I was called in to see him; I was prepared to wait quite a bit longer, as I know how busy they are. They happened to put me in the same room I had been in when my husband and I were waiting to have a consult about Temsirolimus treatment for my husband’s kidney cancer. It was an interesting thing being in that room, remembering that. Sobering. It brought back a lot of that uncertainty and fear, just being there. A sober place to reflect and be thankful that I am just remembering those hard times, we aren’t in that place anymore.
The resident doctor came in first. He sat down, opening my chart, obviously scanning it quickly to figure out what I was there for. “You want to donate a kidney,” he observed, as he started reading. “To someone you don’t know!” he added with surprise in his voice. “If you don’t mind me asking,” he said, looking up, “why are you doing that?” I explained, and he said “Great. That’s great.”
He answered a lot of my questions. How long is the operation? Three hours. How long will I be in the hospital? Three to four days. How do they tie off or sew shut the blood vessels when they remove the kidney? Staples. Which kidney will they take? Usually the left one, because it has a longer blood vessel which can be used for the transplant. Where will my incision be? Right below the belly button, with a few tiny ones on the side to let in the camera and instruments. How long should I stay off work? Three to four weeks.
He had a few health questions, looked briefly at my abdomen, and then he was done. I asked if I could see my CT scan. “Sure, no problem!” He pulled it up on the computer and showed me my kidneys. That was interesting, I’ve never had such a clear view of my inner life before! I was surprised how big my liver was. I guess I don’t give much thought to my liver. Always thinking about kidneys lately I guess!
I asked him if he would be helping with the surgery, and he said, “Probably not,” explaining that there are a variety of residents at different levels, and one of the more senior residents would probably assist with that. My surgeon has a whole team of people working with him. The part with the resident took about 15 minutes.