#57. Qualms - September 2012

I was sick the other day with strong stomach cramps.  As I sat there in the bathroom holding my stomach, I had to think, “You think this is bad, you’re going to have your kidney taken out.  That’s going to hurt a lot more than this!” Another friend who had a hip replacement told me that two months later he is still not back to normal, still recovering.  Major surgery is major.

When I think about the actual operation, of course I have qualms.  I liken it to the feeling of walking out on a high diving board.  Quite intimidating for those among us who are non-divers, or who have not had many opportunities to fall under anaesthetic. 

But I am immensely cheered by people I know who have had this operation, my husband, for one.   I saw him getting better day by day. And he had the added challenge of battling cancer.  And a woman I met who had donated her kidney to her daughter.  She observed, “Yes, it hurt, but not for very long. And my daughter was getting better every day, it was totally worth it. And life has gone on for normal for me, I don’t even think about having one kidney.” 

I know it will hurt, and I know I will have to rest and not try to jump into activities too quickly.  But that’s a price I think that I can afford, considering the good that this surgery will bring about.

#56. Part of a chain - August 2012

My kidney donation is the first in a series of donations that are happening in a chain.  As I’ve tried to explain this to people, they have a hard time grasping it.  I did too, when I first heard about it.  But it’s a great idea.

When someone gets sick with kidney disease, often a loved one wants to give them their kidney.  But often the loved one is not compatible with the person they love.  So they enter a registry, as a pair. In that registry, they can get paired up with another pair…they donate to each other’s loved one.   (I give my kidney to your husband, you give your kidney to my husband).  But even that is statistically unlikely, because it’s hard to be compatible. 

When someone donates in an undesignated way, then the person who receives the donation, can let their loved one donate to someone else who they are compatible with. The chain becomes a straight line, rather than having to be a closed circle.  Statistically that means it’s easier to make the matches.

In my chain they are hoping that there will be eight people involved, four donors, four recipients.

The best and most informative article about a chain of donations that I’ve found is this article from the New York Times: