#45. The Surgeon - March 2012

It was good seeing the surgeon again, I hadn’t seen him for almost four years, since the night he came to talk to me in the waiting room after removing my husband’s kidney.  Even though we went through such a difficult period with the cancer, seeing the doctor was always a reassuring experience, and I have always felt good about him.

He remembered me, and inquired about my husband’s health, which is great, which makes everyone happy!  He talked to me about my kidney donation, “Why do you want to do this?”  I told him about wanting to help someone, and how the experience of almost losing a loved one makes me feel for the people who are waiting for transplants.  And that I hope I could save a life.  He was very definite in his response, “You definitely are saving a life.  I am so proud of you for making this decision!” 

I told him that when I tell people about donating, they are so scared for me doing this, but that for me, donation just isn’t that scary a process.  This is not an illness, I am healthy, I’ll donate, and I’ll recover.  He nodded…I know he understands. He’s had enough scared-to- pieces people in his office facing cancer diagnoses.  This is very different. 

He talked a bit about the surgery, looked at my CT scan, my abdomen, asked a few questions. “Do you know,” he said, “studies have shown that people who donate kidneys live five years longer than average. Life insurance companies did the studies, they wanted to see if there were risks, whether people should pay more for premiums.  But they found that kidney donors live longer than other people!”  

I laughed at that surprising statistic, “They should lower our insurance rates then!” and we both laughed because we know that would never happen!

I had to sign some papers, and then we were finished.  “It’s a great thing you are doing. We will take such good care of you.”  We both left smiling!

I’m writing all about the way people affirm this donation I’m doing not to try to get you the reader to feel a certain way about me, or because I want people to hear all the nice things people say about me.  I’m including this in case you are thinking about donating a kidney yourself.  Hearing an honest account of how people reacted to me, may prepare you or encourage you to do the same.