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My Recovery at Home

I was allowed home 2 days after the operation. The journey home was okay. Couldn’t really avoid all the bumps and potholes in the road so had to support my abdomen during the journey. It was good to be home. Own bed, own bathroom etc. Couldn’t keep my eyes open so had not been home for long before went up to bed. Now of course, my bed does not raise up like the hospital one. So with great effort I got onto the bed at a sort of an angle and then couldn’t move, lol. The pain in my abdomen was intense. Oh well – I just stayed there on the bed sort of laying across it – and went to sleep. Woke about 5am feeling refreshed and wanting the bathroom, but quite a battle to get out of bed. took around 10 minutes trying to work out the least painful way.

Decided that the next night I would sleep with lots of pillows behind me so my upper half is already raised, just like the hospital bed was. It would then be much easier getting in and out of bed as would not have to use my abdominal muscles as much.

In myself I felt very well. Still bloated which was uncomfortable rather than anything else so hopefully the extra 4 kilos would go soon. I got tired very very quickly. In fact I had only been up for around 3 hours and was walking back from the kitchen with a cup of tea and almost dropped it as I found my eyes closing as I walked. The tiredness just came out the blue!! I know I was told I would feel tired, but I was not sure if that meant bodily tired i.e. no energy, or tired in wanting to go to sleep. Now I know. I had to go back upstairs and get some sleep. I arranged the pillows so they were like a backrest. I have a memory foam mattress which is bliss. I could get into bed a lot easier now with little pain. I got a good hours sleep and woke refreshed. Around 3pm the same thing happened and I found my eyes just would not stay open, so got another hours sleep. I must say the first four or five days was like this. Suddenly feeling sleepy when I had only been up a few hours. I didn’t fight it as I knew my body needed the rest. I was also going up to bed around 7pm or 8pm in the evenings. I actually felt more comfortable laying propped up in bed than sitting in the chair downstairs, which squashed my abdomen up a bit and was uncomfortable. I had very good night sleep for the first week, most nights not waking at all until the morning. Pre operation I would wake about 3 or 4 times needing the bathroom. I also found that sleeping with my upper half propped up I could breathe a lot easier as well which I am sure aided a good night sleep. In fact I have continued to sleep propped up and find it much better than laying flat in bed. When I have saved the money I may just invest in a bed where I can raise the back up. I am surprised at the difference in quality of sleep I get this way.

The first week was obviously the hardest as I was not allowed to do much and I felt tired so quickly throughout the day and there was a bit of pain when I walked or used my lower abdomen. For some reason the first couple of days I forgot about the pain medication. Duh! After that I took it and made sure I took enough. Although I still had some pain, it was not troublesome. In fact I was quite pleased I had a little bit of pain as it reminded me to take things easy. I enjoyed being spoilt and looked after the first week!

Some people get no pain at all. I believe the only reason I got pain was because I am overweight and the pressure of a tummy “overhang” on the incision area coupled with gravity pulling down on it when I walked, just aggravated everything! If you picture walking with a bowl of jelly ….?? Yup I think you have the picture!  If I held in my abdomen muscles which then supported the incision area, then I had no pain at all when I walked. Of course remembering to take the pain medication would have helped!

Once 10 days had passed then I noticed a quicker improvement. I was not sleepy during the day any more, although I did physically get tired. It was quite some time before energy levels restored themselves. Incisions were healing nicely and everything was just great.

I also heard that the recipient was doing excellently well! That is the best news of all. Wonderful!

Recovery continued and things are great.  It has been a while since the evaluation finished in October 2009  and some time since kidney donation, so I hope I have remembered everything, I did make notes at the time but not always. Anyway I hope this blog gives a good insight into the process of becoming an Living  kidney donor and the actual donation process itself. I know if I had another spare kidney I would do it all again without hesitation.

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158 Responses to “Recovery at home after Kidney removal”

  • Diane:

    Hi Sam
    I am sorry to hear you have to have your kidney removed, must be a great worry to you and your family. How is your left kidney?

    I can certainly say that having my healthy kidney removed caused me no problems at all except for the obvious i.e some after op pain and discomfort and that was around the incision. Internally I would never know a kidney had been removed, no discomfort inside. Today I feel just the same as before and I would not have known I only had one kidney.

    I hope the operation goes well for you, and it is straightforward and the recovery afterward plain sailing re the op. I can honestly say I would go through it again if I had another spare kidney to give and I am a bit wimp normally!

    Take care, I do hope your left kidney is okay and everything works out for you.

    I would love it if you could post back after the op to let us know how it all went.

    All the best and thanks for posting
    Di
    xx

  • Elizabeth:

    Hi was a bit scared about donating my kidney but have no worries after reading your account of how it affected you .Hopefully mine will be plain sailing .Iam donating my kidney to my husband in nine days so will post how things have gone after .
    Thanks for your very informative posting
    Liz xx

  • Diane:

    Hi Liz,
    Nine days time!! I have marked the date in my calendar and will be thinking of you both on that day. Please do post back when you can and let me know how it all goes for you both. I am excited for you and thrilled. Which hospital are you donating at, if you don’t mind me asking.

    Look forward to hearing from you

    Love Di
    xxx

  • Sue:

    Di, I have just been reading you blog as my husband is going to be donating a kidney to our son, and as I am reading this I get a call to say the op will be on 6th April, how strange, this blog has helped me to understand what will happen so I can support him and also my son…thank you again and well done for what you have done…

    Sue

  • Diane:

    Hi Sue,
    So glad you found the blog, I know it has helped quite a few people who are going through this. Can I ask at which hospital the donation is taking place at? Is it the left or right kidney your husband is giving to your son?

    All the very best to your husband and son on the 6th, and also to you as the “one in waiting!”.

    Di
    x

  • Debbie:

    Hi, I am on day 25 post donation, and don’t take any meds at all now, I feel the same as I did before but tired, still. I don’t sit still though, and I know I will get back to normal, I am even going to my dance class tonight but will take it easy. I was ready to go back to work after a week, but they wouldn’t let me! Back to work Monday. It’s the boredom for me! Hubby – my recipient, is looking and feeling great, so the satisfaction is amazing!

  • Debbie:

    Sue, my husband and I had the op at the Freeman in Newcastle on the 3rd of March, you weren’t there were you? We may have passed in the corridoors!

  • Diane:

    Hi Debbie,
    Glad you are feeling fine. yes tiredness can last a while, the body has been through major surgery and has to adapt and heal. Goodness I am glad you didnt go back to work after a week, lol, your body would still be very fragile inside. I have to say although boredom hit me, I took advantage of the “taking it easy” to catch up on reading lots of books and doing all the things I wanted to that before could not!!

    So glad you are doing great and that your hubby is feeling great, that is fantastic!!

    Di
    x

  • Bill Mills:

    just got home after left kidney removal and searching the net for other people in the same boat to compare notes. I feel totally whacked and although not in great pain am in some discomfort caused by wind. Hope it heals as quickly as it seems to for some of you on here. As far as those of you donating a kidney you have my deepest admiration and I’m sure that of the recipient, all power to you
    regards

    Bill

  • Diane:

    Hi Bill,
    Kidney removal does seem to affect people differently. I know people who felt full of energy after removal and others, like myself, that had to take daytime naps for the first week/10 days and took around 8 weeks before normal energy resumed. I had discomfort in my right shoulder for a few days as a result of the gas they pump into you but that soon went.

    Hope you have a speedy recover and just post if there is anything you wish to ask about.
    Best wishes
    Di
    xx

  • itang:

    Hi,
    just wanted to say how helpful this blog has been.I’m hoping to donate my kidney to my Dad and am still going through all the assessments. I am meeting the surgeon tomorrow for the first time, so hopefully this means we are coming to the end of all the testing(first test was done almost a year ago. Any way this blog gave me a good insight to the operation and recovery so thank you
    Itang xx

  • Diane:

    Hello Itang,
    I am so pleased this blog has helped. Gosh a year, what a long time, but sounds like you are nearly there, how exciting for you all.

    Please don’t hesitate to ask anything if you feel you want to know more about certain aspects.

    I wish you both well and thoughts with you both.

    Take care and I hope a date gets set soon!
    Di
    xx

  • Manda:

    Hi Di,

    I have read and re-read your blog many times, it has answered many questions, thank you.

    I donated my left kidney to my boyfriend last week. We are both doing well 🙂 and I am feeling fine in myself, although very tired! I am still very bloated, were you bloated for long after?

    And one more question, if I may, I find when I need to go to the toilet I need to go now, and can’t wait, I am assuming that the bladder has been a bit battered and is probably bruised, and this is why I can’t wait (it is getting better, slowly) did you find the same?

    Thanks for you help
    Manda xx

  • Diane:

    Hi Manda,
    Thank you for posting, and thank you so much for reading my blog. Am pleased it helped.

    Your boyfriend has a very special girlfriend, that’s for sure!!

    I was bloated for some time. I know the very day after the operation I had put on 4kg! I cannot remember exactly when all that bloatedness actually disappeared except I know at the beginning of the second week of recovery putting on a pair of jeans was uncomfortable, so went back to skirt. You do need to make sure you are drinking enough water – around 1.5 litres spread out during the day. We need that water to help flush the toxins through the kidneys. Or should I say kidney in the singular, lol.

    I did also find that with no excersise I also bloated. So I would make sure each day I had some if only walking around the house or with company up the road and back, I felt a lot better for doing that.

    Urinating I can’t say I noticed anything. I tend to go to the loo a lot anyway and most times I don’t have much notice, but that is just me. I don’t remember it being any worse after the op. Main thing is that you are urinating. The colour should be pale yellow to only just tinged with colour. That shows you are hydrated. If urine is dark yellow (generally first thing in morning can be like that as no fluid during night) then you need more fluids. Not being given much notice to pee could be due to what has happened, I really don’t know. All I can advise is keep an eye on the situation, as long as no pain when you urinate or blood in the urine then maybe see how you go and if not much better mention it at your 6 week check up (or whenever it is arranged for you). You can always give them a ring at any time if you are concerned. As they say better safe than sorry though if that was me I would see what the next week was like and if it got worse then maybe just give a call. I don’t know if the catheter can do that? At this stage I personally would not be too worried. I had problems with the other output area, lol!! That took over a month to decide to behave.

    Can’t really offer much more re that but pse do let me know how you get on, hopefully will improve in next few days. But don’t delay phoning someone if you stay worried as you don’t want an infection to appear and I really don’t know why you need to go in a hurry I am only making guesses.

    Are you both home now? Hope both your recoveries go to plan. Should be a great Christmas ahead of you both ….

    Di
    x

  • Manda:

    Thank you Di,

    With regard to the bloating, you have put my mind at rest. Patience has never been my strong point.

    Yes I am making sure I am drinking lots, and it is a good colour at the moment. I tried some trousers on today …… no way!! so am back in track suit bottoms for now. I have been walking down the road, if nothing else the fresh air makes me feel better.

    My boyfriend is not home yet, his calcium levels are a bit high, but apart from that everything is working well and he is feeling much better (well maybe a bit bored now), hopefully he will be home this weekend, I am off to see him shortly and will let him know we have “spoken”.

    Thank you again, I will post over the wekend to let you know how we both are.

    Manda xx

  • livingdonor:

    Hi Manda (and Di)
    I donated last month and I understand how you are feeling. I would get some urgent signals from my bladder at night, struggle to get out of bed and shuffle to the toilet and then find out it was a false alarm! The good news is that this subsided after my bloating went. Whilst you are still bloated I can only assume that the gas is pressing down on your bladder giving you brain and body slightly funny signals..
    Best wishes for a good recovery for you and your boyfriend

  • Manda:

    Hi Livingdoner and Di,

    Thank you for your comments, they have put my mind at rest and I am finding each day is getting better as the bloating goes. I can now “hold on” if I have to.

    All is going OK here, Gary came home last weekend, we still need lots of regular trips to the hospital to ensure his levels are ok, but at the moment things are good 🙂 I am doing well, still tired, but I suppose that is to be expected.

    Today is 2 weeks since the operations, and I think we are doing really well. We are both relaxing lots, with a daily 15 min walk to aid the healing process.

    Thank you aagin, best withes
    Manda xx

  • Alisha:

    Hi ya,
    My name is Alisha, I am 24 years old and just got home after donating my kidney to my 18 year old cousin. Have to say feel much more at peace after reading everyone’s comments and stories. I am also bloated tired and my tummy and ribs still ‘pop’ with the gas they pumped during the surgery. Takes me a good while to get comfortable before I lie down, with a hundred pillows to support my back, neck, knees etc.
    In the end it was totally worth it seeing my cousin’s levels come down to normal in a matter of a week! He also just got home and it’s great to see the color and life back in him. I would just like to say that don’t let anyone ever tell you that you are too young, too delicate looking etc to be a doner. The body and mind are amazing things able to take on any task no matter how daunting it may seem!

    Love and peace
    X

  • Diane:

    Hi Alisha
    Well done you and how wonderful to be able to watch your cousin “come back to life” with your kidney.

    Yes the first few days of recovery I think we can all relate to.

    The youngest altruistic donor in the UK is 25 years old and the oldest 82 years old. Upper age tends to be what I am asked about most. But of course the other end is also important. It all boils down to the health of the donor regardless of age or how they appear. I gather from what you said you had a few objections along the way.

    Donating today is so totally different to say 10 years ago. The surgery is so much kinder to the body and also we are not sick being got better but very healthy people able to cope well with recovery.

    I am so glad you are both doing well and that your cousin is now home. That is great news. Thank you for telling us about the both of you and how you have been feeling in the early days. It certainly helps knowing loads of other people go through the same recovery stages!!

    All the best
    Di
    xx

  • Laura:

    Your blog is great…Thank You. I am nearing the end of my assessment to donate to my husband of 26 years. My final test is scheduled for a week from tomorrow (the CT Scan). Hopefully our transplant will then take place the first or second week of February. The information i have read on your has been very helpful in what to expect.

    Thank You Again!!

  • Diane:

    Hi Laura,
    How lovely to wake up to reading your comments. It is positive comments like yours that spur me on to keeping this blog going, knowing that it is still helping people.

    The very best to you both. How wonderful it will be to “have him back” and you can both get on with life and enjoy all things together.

    Thank you so much for posting. 2012 will be a year to remember for you both.

    All the best
    Di
    xx

  • Mr G in South Africa:

    Hi All,

    I have had my left kidney removed, after they discovered a calculi, that caused damage in the functioning of the kidney. I had less than 1.6% function. The stone was massive, and apparently been there for a long time. I had no pain in my side and this was totally out the blue.

    My story actually started with a cough that kept me up at night and eventually my wife had enough and said i should get to the cause of the cough as i have been using nornal flu meds from doctors, and this never helped. I went to an old school friend, that started a doctors practice close to where we live, and he did all kinds of tests. Eventually he did a routine urine test and also an ecg. The ecg picked up some electrical patterns that was not normal. After being reffered to a cardiologist, the specialist told my wife and I, that i had dilated cardiomyopathy (heart failure) and that i needed to be hospitilised immediately.

    In hospital i mentioned to the specialist about the results of the urine test and they did a kidney scan. This showed that the kidney was also not functioning!! So now i had heart failure and a kidney had to be removed. They told me that i could not have the kidney removed untill the heart could withstand the aenasthetic…..and it could take a year to be strong enough. In the doctors rooms, i asked the cardiologist, what the prognosis was if left alone, and he said 30% of people that have the heart disease only lasts about 5 years!!!

    Well i spent some time int he hospital, resting and undergoing all sorts of tests and procedures. Eventually after almost five mnths of heart meds, they said that my EF rate is much better it increased from less than 20% to almost 45% where normal is 55% to 75%.

    This resulted in my kidney being removed on valentines day….almost five hours in theatre. I had some severe abdominal swelling due to the gas, it looked like i had a soccer ball in my tummy!! The first week i battled to go to the loo, but this was also as a result of the meds. The pain meds has a side effect that prevents the body from making soft stools. So after some suppositories, i finally did the business and the tummy started subsiding.

    I was also very weak, and slept a lot. After 6 weeks i started work, but am still feeling tired in the afternoon. I have some pain still at the wound site, and then also some at the side just below the ribs.

    I also have some pain under the belly button area. I think that is from the scarring….but will check again with the doc….

    Thanks for your informative blog…

    I was never sick before, and am only 35. Two kids and wife. Do not drink excessively (About three or four beers a week) and do not touch hard liquer.

    If you would like to know more just ask!

    Reg,
    Etienne

  • Diane:

    Hello Etienne,
    Wow what a tough time you went through. Brought tears to my eyes reading it. Such a worrying time for you and your family, especially when out the blue like that.

    Just goes to show, that no matter how “minor” one thinks a symptom may be one must always get it checked out. Who would thnk that a cough would have led to that.

    The abdominal swelling you had due to the gas being pumped into you is quite normal. Often though most has dispersed leaving a “pocket” up in the shoulder which can cause some discomfort for a few days.

    I think many people can sympathise with you when it comes to the bowel movement!!! I advise everyone that when laxatives are offered, take them!!!! lol ….

    Tiredness seems to affect people differently. I was like you and very very tired, getting sleeps during the day. I think I was back to normal as far as tiredness at 2 months. It is 2 years since I donated and I still have some pain in the main incision (bikini line) if I press there which I do when drying after a shower, so I think it can be some time before all discomfort/pain disappears.

    You are still in early days after your operation but sounds like you are doing okay. Yes every little niggle etc must be reported to the doctor at your check up.

    So, Etienne, tell me … your other kidney is working fine? Nothing wrong with that one?

    For such a large stone in your left kidney how amazing you had no pain. In a way a shame you did not or it could have been caught earlier perhaps.

    So how is your heart? Do you need any operations or should you be okay on medicine?

    Just think, because of a cough it was then found you had heart and kidney problems. We so dislike bothering a doctor over what we class as “minor” – yet it is those minor niggles that we really do need to get sorted.

    What a story … thank you so much for sharing with us. Would love to know how you get on with your check ups etc. Please post back and keep us informed.
    Thanks
    Di
    xx

  • Cathy:

    I’m two weeks post surgery having a diseased kidney removed. Feeling pretty frisky but still tire easily. Went to the office a couple of days, only worked about 4 hours each day but I sit behind a desk.

    I know pain meds can cause constipation, so I remembered an old remedy from my child bearing days long ago…………prune juice. It gently softened the stools and worked within a couple of hours. Helped relieve the bloating and made me feel so much better.

    Thanks for the blog, it helps to know while every experience is different, there is a lot of common ground.

  • Diane:

    Hi Cathy,
    So pleased you are feeling a lot better. You made me laugh when you mentioned prune juice. As a child there was always prune juice available in the food cupboard and three times a week my mother would give us tinned prunes and juice for breakfast to “keep us regular” as she would put it.

    General Anaesthetic is well known for caused constipation as it stops part of the bowels from working properly. Can’t say prunes were on the breakfast menu in hospital, but maybe they should have been!

    Thanks for posting and hope your recovery continues.
    Di
    x

  • Mr G in South Africa:

    Hello Di,

    The heart is ok for now. I had another appointment at the cardiologist today. My bp was very high, so he has increased the meds. it was 160 over 125. I have had some lower back pain so i will be going to the urologist soon again. I have no problems with bowel movement or passing water. The big concern is that i have to stay away from too much protein…..and being a south african, that is easier saying than do-ing!

  • Diane:

    Hi Etienne,
    So glad heart okay. That annoying BP … have to keep an eye on that for sure.

    Lol – staying away from too much protein, yes can imagine could be hard!

    Hope all goes well when you see the urologist. Thanks for posting back as to how things are. Always great to keep in touch.

    All the best
    Di
    x

  • Diane Hughes:

    Hi Diane
    I am now one week post-op. I was intending to do a non-directed altruistic donation but an acquaintance of mine needed a kidney so I donated to her. She is apparently now doing really well. I had more pain once I had left hospital than I anticipated but I would still do it all again… I cannot recommend being a living donor enough…. you can make a dramatic difference to someone’s life, perhaps even save a life, …. it is a little inconvenient and involves some discomfort but is very very rewarding.
    I hope that everyone considers doing this…. how fortunate that we are born with spare parts that can be life-saving!
    All the best
    Diane H
    x

  • Diane:

    Hi Diane,
    How fantastic!!! How so fortunate you were a match for your friend, that is great news and so glad she is doing well. Pain is a strange thing, it really can vary person to person a lot. As a donor I think our lives get changed for the better permanently afterwards. We become more aware of our own vulnerabilities as well as others and knowing we have made such a difference to someone – literally given them a nother chance at a good life – and as you say for little inconvenience etc.

    It is a miracle that not only can we live without some organs or parts of organs but we are blessed with surgeons and scientists and people who have made this possible for us to do.

    Hope your recovery (and your friends) speeds along. Let me know how things go. And thanks for posting. I get so emotional when I hear of someone donating and knowing someone[recipient] is now given back to their family.

    All the very best
    Di
    xx

  • Karen:

    Hello Di, I’ve been thinking about altruistic donation for some time but never got further than that. Having read your web this evening I feel much more certain that I will do it. There are two things which I am hesitant about – I am very overweight (5’4″ tall and weigh 16 stone), and secondly am concerned about the amount of time I will need to take off work. I’m not a workaholic but as a PA at the local Council am concerned about anything which could place me at risk of being selected for redundancy.
    Any thoughts?
    K

  • Diane:

    Hi Karen,
    Okay … weight. Yes they could ask you to lose weight. I was borderline obese and was recomended I lose weight. I believe it is the operation itself/anaesthetic that concerns them most.

    As for your job….. recovery various so much from one person to another. If I had a desk job I could have been back at work at 2 weeks as long as I did not have to lift anything heavy. That is with keyhole surgery. Now it is not until they actually open you up that they know keyhole is fine. For a very small percentage they have to do open surgery in which case recovery is longer. All I can suggest is if you do decide to go ahead with donating, you save up holiday and take the recovery time off as holiday but also ask for the councils support on this with time off work for recovery. If your duties are light duties i.e. nothing heavy then even with open surgery you could be back at work quite quickly, assuming no complications. You need to put YOUR life first. I have not heard of anyone being made redundant through taking time off for donation. But maybe when you speak with the council you can get “vibes” as to how they feel about what you are wanting to do. Especially if you go to them asking for their support in this. If they understand how important it is to help someone in this way I am sure they will be very understanding. If you wish to contact me privately at all to discuss any aspect of donation and how it will affect you then please use the contact page – link top right of page and I can then get back to you via email.

    It really is a great thing to do for someone, to give them a second chance at a good life, but you do need to be 100% happy with your decision. Remember, there is no rush to do this, whether it is this year, next or the one after. The time needs to be right for you. I had to wait over a year before the time was right for me to put my name forward …

    Take care
    All the best
    Di
    x

  • Karen:

    Hello Di, thanks for your response. I’ve been thinking about this for long enough and after emailing you last night I woke this morning with my mind made up – I AM going to do it! First things first though, having read your blog I decided to give my kidney a name and am now embarking on Project Sidney (the kidney). Project Sidney starts with getting fit and losing weight and although I have been nagging myself for years to cut down on the cakes and chocolate I have never actually had the oomph to get on and take it seriously. Now I have an excellent reason and am full of determination to succeed. I know this will be a long slog as I need to lose about 5 stone so will not be at stage 2 of Project Sidney until at least the New Year. Thank you for your encouragement, if it’s ok with you I will get in touch every time I lose half a stone and hopefully this will result in regular contact on my part!
    Kind regards
    K

  • Diane:

    Hi Karen,
    Great to hear back from you and WOW … yes a good reason to lose weight and I know you will do it. There is no time limit so hopefully no pressure, just do it lb by lb.

    Please do keep in contact and let me know how you get on with the weight loss. Pity the weather isnt a bit better as the sun then encourages us to walk more!!! Watch your carbs and sugars … healthy/good fats are fine as long as not in excess. Keep a diary and if you can write down what you eat each day. ONLY weigh your self in mornings, never during the day or evening, as naturally we are heavier then than in mornings. Drink plenty of water as that helps flush the food toxins through our body. And above all never feel guilty if you have a day of binging on the foods you are trying to cut out – there is always tomorrow ….

    I have successfuly lost 4 stone since Christmas with more to go after Christmas, having a break for now. So I know what losing weight is like. Contact me anytime …. and will respons as soon as I can …

    Yeah … sidneys on a diet!!! lol …

    Speak soon
    Di
    x

  • living donor:

    Hi Karen & Di
    great motivation to get healthy and loose weight karen!. Since my kidney (also named Sidney) went to his new home 9 months ago I have done more that ever in terms of exercise. Of course I had to have time off to recover from the op but following that I felt so thankful for my good health after the donation that I look forward to going to the gym. I always exercised (because i felt i “should”)before the donation, but going through the process made me so grateful for the fact that I am healthy and able bodied that I just “wanted” to take my chance to get out there and play sport/do exercise. I east lots of different things (Im vegan so by default my diet is pretty healthy, but I enjoy the odd bit of junk food or pint of beer) but the main difference is I think about all the people who would love to exercise but can’t because they are on the transplant list/having dialysis etc, and that motivates me greatly to get out there and stop making excuses!
    Best of luck, the donation can be a brilliant change in your own life as well as (of course) the recipient’s! – let us know how your progress is going.

  • Diane:

    Hi there,
    That is perfectly true! I have to say I am more appreciative of my good health since donating and do all I can to make sure I stay tha way!!
    All the best
    Di
    x

  • Diane:

    I had my kidney removed 2weeks ago due to a small cancer on my left side. I came out of hospital with no advice not knowing what to expect, ie wind-belching, constipation. That is all fine now scar healing well. I still need to rest as i get tired but i think i should start doing some 10min walks a day. Surely that won’t be over doing it.

  • Diane:

    Hi Diane,
    What a shame you did not know what to expect. It does help greatly if you do. Glad the scar is healing well. Keep an eye on it. Mine started to go a bit red around the edges and started to itch. Went to the nurse at local GP surgery and she said was getting a bit infected. So I had to bathe it with salt water each day. Soon got better. it was one of the internal stitches trying to make its way out through the scar, lol!!

    At 2 weeks you should be walking around by now. You need to keep on the move a bit if you can, it will help healing and also other bodily functions which can slow down. I think day 10 I walked slowly up to our local shops (about a 2 minute walk away) bought a couple of light things (choccy bars to treat myself!!) and came home. I was tired when I got home but not unduly so. I gradully built it up over the days. Even walking around the house or in the garden where you know you can sit down when you want. Just listen to your body as to what it tells you.Walking is great, wont harm you at all, just need to make sure you can get to sit down when yu feel tired.
    Keep in touch and let us know how your recovery progresses.
    Best wishes
    Di
    x

  • Heidi:

    Hi, I am 6 1/2 weeks post donation to my husband. I was just wondering if after you started lifting and moving more would your pain flair up? I am supposed to go back to work in 1 1/2 weeks.Since I have to lift heavy patients (I am an xray tech) they added 2 weeks past the 6 weeks. I am still pretty tired after I do alot. It is nice that your hospital does a 6 week check up, mine does not until right after surgery and than at 6 months. I get alot of pain under my large incision, sometimes it is out of the blue sharp pain, other times its a dull ache, I also can not lie on my right side because it feels like something is pulling. I guess I should call my nurse at the hospital but if this is normal I don’t want be annoying.
    Thanks for any help.
    Heidi

  • Diane:

    Hello Heidi,
    At 6.5 weeks yes I had some pain still in the incision area but only when I rubbed hard (say drying after a shower). If you feel pain when lifting then that is telling you somehing maybe not quite healed properly yet? I still get some pain when pressing on that area and this is 2 years later, but I dont get any pain under normal conditions i.e. lifting, bending, every day stuff. At 6 weeks I was still tired and did ask about that and was told quite normal. the body can only do so much without help i.e. it is still trying to heal and body energy will go to that, so when we try to do other things we will feel tired. I certainly would suggest calling the nurse at the hospital I really would. Tell them you do not feel ready for work ‘cos of the pain and can someone see you just to put your mind at rest.

    I know what you mean about being annoying ….. but believe me, pain means someting, pain is telling you something is not quite right. you are not the medical expert and so you need an expert to tell you that the pain does not mean something is wrong. It could be a nerve is being pressed on or ???

    Please let me know what they say …
    Di
    x

  • Cathy:

    5 months post op, feeling almost back to normal. Still tire quickly with strenuous exercise but usually rest well that night. Still have some tenderness in the incision area and to the left of my navel. Not pain but tenderness if I press on it. 6 week check was fine, 3 month check was fine, go back in December then at 6 month intervals.

    This surgery took more out of me than expected but I’m felling quite well now.

  • Diane:

    Hi Cathy,
    Glad you are doing well. I am two years on and have only just stopped getting some tenderness in the main incision when pressing a little bit hard on it (say rubbing hard after shower). So seems that area can take a while for the nerve endings to calm down. How long do you get the 6 monthly check ups for? Is this in the UK or? I get annual check ups now for life but of course if I think there is a problem can get seen to.

    tiredness seems to affect people differently. I was tired for a while, others I know had no tiredness at all once the first few days were over with. I suppose we feel tired so long after because our body is still healing inside and so cannot cope with our daily activities as well as healing. Just my angle on things.
    Di
    x

  • Heidi:

    Diane,

    I went to the Dr. and they said that everything seemed fine, no hernia’s etc. They said everyone heals differently. They gave me two more weeks off work and than my first week back is half days. I have been feeling better, still tired after doing too much but I am able to do more so that is good. At my hospital in the U.S. we only have a 6 month check up and than I think one year and than its up to us to get checked out with our own Dr. Strange how different things are handled in different hospitals, cities and countries.
    Thanks for your advice from earlier, sorry it took so long to update you.
    Thanks again
    Heidi

  • Diane:

    Hi Heidi,
    Thanks for getting back to me. Glad everything seems okay. Yes it is strange how we all heal differently. I can easily understand some take longer than others, but the effects of healing and how we appear to heal also seems to differ. Yes I agree with you how differently things are handled. When you get checked out at your own Dr after the first year, do you have to personally pay for that?
    Di

  • Diane:

    I think to encourage more donors and help those that have laready donated, in other countried from UK, there should be annual checks for free (well someone other than donor pays) and anything that arises from the donation. It should also be guaranteed they can get health insurance that covers it perhaps as I have heard from people in the USA who have been refused cover for anything kidney related whether due to donation or not. Seems a bit unfair.
    Di

  • I’m having a hard time balancing rest with walking/being active. I’m too extreme on both ends. (And apparently everything in life–my family jokes that giving an organ is not the sole option when it comes to helping your fellow lol)
    I’m only a coupla days after surgery and I feel myself talking and straining myself a lot and then hiding out in bed for a bajillion hours after. Oysh. I need some guidance here.

    Side note, I felt a bit anti-climactic leaving the hospital and the process that has overtaken my life recently. My friend comforted me, reminding me that I’ll celebrate the anniversary each year, I remarked wryly that America would be commemorating too, but for different reasons…September 11 is my big day.

  • Diane:

    Hi Chava,
    It can be very emotional afterwards. Some people even go through a similar phase as in post natal depression. But for a lot of people from spending months going through the evaluations and excitement of what is about to happen, to then … it is all over! you can celebrate each day the good you have done. I found thinking about my recipient often helped greatly. That is what it was all about – all about that person and their family. that gave me great comfort.
    Di
    x

  • legion:

    hi all,

    i stumbled across this site after having my kidney removed last week, this was due to one of my right kidney not functioning correctly therefore causing me intense pain when drinking.

    Its been a week today and i am feeling alot better, my side still is slightly painful due to the bruising of keyhole surgery however i think the three insertion holes are healing well ( i haven’t looked at them but having them check out tomorrow and dressing removed)

    i am however worried that my left working kidney don’t have any problems in the future. If someone could give me some good advice as to what i can and can’t do and if drinking alcohol is okay as i’m a 24 yr old male and of course i do like to go out with my mates.
    I had it done in bristol at the spire hospital and they were great and the surgeon was a really nice guy and gave me some tips such as; drink 1.5 ltrs of water extra per day and avoid drinking spirits he said he was happy for me to drink larger, cider and wine but i should have a pint of water between each pint of alcohol. It was the second day when he told me this after the op and i was still sleepy and in slight pain (nothing major) but i just want some extra advice, clarification and tips as i cant remember everything he said. Doh!

    I wish everyone the best on here and i hope i get some responses!

    Ps, i think its amazing that you all have donated a kidney to someone which needs one that’s very brave and inspiring!

    Best wishes.

    Legion.

  • Diane:

    Hi Legion,
    Sorry you had to have a kidney removed but glad the healing seems to be progressing well. You certainly should drink sufficient water each day and 1.5 lts should be easy to drink once you get used to it. I mean a glass of water when you wake then before meals etc and you soon drink that amount. During hotter weather you should drink more. One way to tell if you are hydrated enough is the colour of your urine. First think in the morning our urine tends to be darkish yellow that is because we have been without fluids during the night. During the day when we are drinking sufficient amounts our urine will be very pale yellow almost transparent.

    You should be careful of taking NSAIDs i.e. ibuprofen, asprin etc. That is what I was told. I think the occasional one would be okay but no long term usage. All alcohol should be drunk in moderation anyway. With only one kidney have to be careful of anything that would thin the blood and therefore potentially restrict the flow. Alcohol dehydrates (amongst other effects) which is why I believe it was suggested you drink water between alcohol.

    If you play contact sports i.e. rugby etc then you need to wear a protective belt just so as to avoid any damage during the sport to remaining kidney.

    Basicaly just try to live a healthy life.

    You should get a check up soon with the hospital. Make a note of all the questions you want answered, whch includes what you can or cannot now do and get them to write down the answer, that way you wont forget,which is easy to do with so much information coming our way.

    Not knowing why your kidney went wrong leading to its removal it is hard to really say what you should / should not do as I dont know your medical history so you do really need to speak to someone on the surgical team about this.

    Hope your recovery goes well.
    All the best
    Di
    x

  • scott:

    Hey Legion,
    Hope you are feeling better and better each day – you’ll see from the comments on this site that we all recover at different times so even when the sorenes goes you might still feel tired and fatigued because of the op. Anyway, it seems your doc was being very conservative! maybe it is because you were a young guy they didnt want you taking any uneceesary risks! I am a guy in my 30s and when I had my op 1 year ago they didnt have any specific advice. I was told to drink water when i was in hospital. I think I have felt a bit more thirst than I used to but I am still not great at drinking lots of water. They made no comments on alcohol. If anything I have drunk more since the surgery , not less! Im still within the recommended limits though.
    I suppose the only things I am mindful of are the NSAIDs (as Di said – isolated incidents is fine but not regular use).
    I do weight training and though I take a small amount of a basic organic protein supplement, I dont take creatine (renal dietitian said no!) or any of the other supplements. I used to box but I think if I ever rejoined the boxing club I would make sure I was wearing padding for sparring.
    I can still feel the wound site if I do lots of sit ups (it was 3 months before I was allowed back in the gym – DON’T be tempted to lift weights – wether it be in the gym or house renovations or gardening or whatever before then. However, cardiovascular exercise is fine as soon as you feel up to it).
    After all that I had a check up after 9 months and my GFR is at 73 – so my remeining kidney is obviously compensating and the nephrologist was v happy.
    Hope this helps – best of luck for a speedy recovery.

  • Rebecca:

    Hello Legion
    Good luck with your recovery. I am partly echoing what other people say – avoid aspirin and ibuprogen as a rule. For taking pretty much anything, check with your doctor – and be wary of what some doctors try to give you as well – when I had to go to A&E, the doctor there tried to give me ibuprofen, even though I had told her I had just had a kidney removed. Don’t expect levels of awareness to be high.
    As for alcohol, I have never been told to avoid it, but I advise being extra careful with your health now. Make sure you don’t drink more than recommended limits – probably not easy at your age, but honestly worth it.
    Stay hydrated.
    Following kidney removal, donors get an annual check-up, so make sure you get one too, to check your blood and urine.
    Recovery times and health issues following nephrectomy vary hugely. It has been almost two years for me, and I am still extremely tired all the time – I have never regained my energy levels, which is frustrating.
    Good luck.

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