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I donated a kidney to someone I did not know. All I knew was that there were thousands of people out there in need a new kidney as their health was really suffering. I had two kidneys – one of them was a spare. Why wait until I am dead, in the hope my organs would still be viable. I wanted to make sure at least one person benefited now.

It is not just the recipient who benefits from a kidney transplant. It is their whole family! What must it be like to be the spouse, parent, child, best friend etc of someone who you know, just watching them day after day ….. praying they get the life saving phone call to say there is a kidney available.

What must it be like for the person knowing they cannot have as much water as needed when thirsty – because their kidneys cannot process it. Even foods with liquid have to be monitored – fruit, vegetables etc. I am no expert on what is required to keep alive when on dialysis. I just know, having spoken to some people who are – it reduced me to tears. I said to one person “I don’t think I could live the life you live, year after year, with such limitations on what you can eat/drink. Spending three days a week travelling/hooked up to dialysis, week after week, year after year.  The fact you cannot stray too far away in case that life saving phone call comes”. I felt humbled, and ashamed, when he said “you have no choice – you either want to live or you don’t”!

People ask – why should I donate when the family are not! Very simply, just because they have family, does not mean the family are a match. It is more than just being a compatible blood group. Also a lot of people needing a new kidney is because they have a hereditary illness that causes the kidneys to fail. So family members also can have this. Many reasons why someone, other than family, needs to be the donor.

A question I am sometimes asked is why does someone need a kidney when they have dialysis to replace the kidney?

I have to say I was so guilty of that assumption pre donation!! You see pictures in the media of people on dialysis, and to be honest, so often the person looks very healthy as though dialysis is the perfect solution.  I still feel so guilty when I realise how wrong I was. Dialysis is a life support machine. No more, no less. It helps keep people alive until they can get a new kidney. It does NOT replace a kidney, far from it.

So if the thought ever crosses your mind about donating a kidney to someone – anyone – JUST DO IT! It will also be the most rewarding experience you could have.

Read the links on the left of this page under “Become a Donor” to find out what it is like and what the process is. Any questions, just comment on this post or send me a message via the Contact Page – link at top of this page.

I take a personal interest in anyone who wishes to donate and will stay in contact with them, and support them throughout the whole process.

My only regret about donating, is that I have no spare kidneys left to donate. If I had, I would – in a heart beat. I just pray when my time comes to meet my Maker – that my remaining organs are viable and can go to helping other people.

Please sign the organ donor register.

Please consider donating a kidney to someone during your lifetime. Don’t think your age will be against you – people in their 80’s have donated.

To all reading this who are waiting for an organ transplant, or know someone who is – stay strong! Your time will come.

 

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Are you considering donating a kidney either to someone you know or to a stranger?

If so you need to read these pages. You can ask your hospital all the questions you want. But unless the person you are speaking to has actually donated a kidney themselves – they will not know the answers to some of the questions.

Here on Living Kidney Donation website,  you will read a full account of what it is like being a kidney donor.

From the very first appointment “kidney donor evaluation begins” right through every stage of the evaluation, including the operation itself and recovery in the hospital and then recovery at home.

Please also read any comments made on posts as they contain valuable input from other donors or potential  donors.

There are many other links on the site …. all with useful information.

If you want to ask any questions please either post in the comments section below, or if you prefer to keep any questions private, then please contact me via the contact link at the top of the page.

Donating my kidney was the best thing I have ever done. Knowing there is someone out there whose life has totally changed and they are now able to live a full life with their family – is wonderful 🙂

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Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and I so hope 2014 will be a great year for many of you.

Thank you so much for your support of this website. It makes my day when I receive a comment or someone contacts me through the website wanting more information or support through their donation experience.  I love also hearing from recipients, or family members of donors or recipients. Thank you all so much.

I also want to pass my thanks on to all those involved in the kidney donation process. Not just the front line i.e. doctors, co-ordinators, nurses etc  but all those that help to keep the hospitals running smoothly who perhaps we never even get to see.  I have always said, donating a kidney is a great team effort. Without the medical people, caterers, cleaners, administration  and everyone who works at the hospitals – we would not be able to donate.  I cannot list everyone who is involved as to be honest I know there will be some I will leave out – because I don’t even know they exist as their work is behind the scenes.! Great thanks to them and everyone.  you are all so truly appreciated.

People wonder whether Miracles exist – if 200 years ago someone said “one day we will be able to take out an organ from a living person and put it inside another living person – and they will both continue to live” – I am sure they would have been shouted out of town as a mad person. Yet here we are today with this great Miracle happening.  What will the next 50 years bring …..  I find it exciting just thinking about it as I am sure there are huge medical breakthrough that will happen during that time.

For those first timers to this website – thank you for visiting. To find out what it is like being a kidney donor, please check out the links top left of this page under the heading “become a donor”.  I do so hope I can inspire someone to consider donating a kidney, whether it is to a family member or friend who is in need of a kidney – or whether you feel you just want to help anyone – no matter who.  I have never regretted once my donation and only wish I had more spare kidneys as would so willingly donate again.   What greater gift could anyone give or receive.

So … everyone have a really wonderful Christmas and after years and years of trying to find the proof that Santa exists – he was spotted the other night …….. I will leave you all on this wonderful picture to bring smiles and chuckles from many .

Proof at long last

Proof that Santa really does exist

Proof that Santa really does exist

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Christmas time is just about upon us. The time of year when “giving” not only gives pleasure but we receive pleasure also when we give.

Have you considered giving the best present ever to someone – a kidney? Okay you won’t be able to do it in time for Christmas but you can start the giving process this Christmas/New Year by seriously considering giving one of your kidneys to a stranger – or even family or friend that you know needs one.

Look at the links on the top left of this page under “Become a Donor”. Read through them as it gives my pesonal account of my own donation. Step by step; test by test I say it as it was. It covers the operation and my recovery in hospital after and my recovery at home.  Read some of the links going across the top of the page for other information.

When I donated my kidney I didn’t think too much about how would I feel about the actual giving of the kidney. I knew I would feel happy I had been able to help someone but it went far deeper than that. I was quite surprised to feel a wonderful deep sense of contentment in my life knowing I had made such a huge difference to someone (and their family).   If I had another spare kidney I would not hesitate to give it to someone else.

I can’t think of a much greater gift to give someone than a second chance at life. You are also giving them back to their family as the family also suffers when a loved one is so ill.

Being on dialysis is not a picnic.  It does not replace the kidney. Dialysis is a form of Life Support. That is all.

With dialysis comes many problems. Not everyone takes to it BUT they have to as that is all that is available if they want to stay alive. That is – unless they get a kidney transplant!

So – we are a nation of givers. It is human nature to help people where we can. Read this website including comments people have given about their own donations or those waiting for a kidney. Look deep inside you – could you help save someone by giving them one of your kidneys.  Believe me, we do not need two. If we did then live kidney donation would not be allowed.  I don’t even know I only have one kidney. My life has not changed at all. Well actually it has. It has changed because donating my kidney has made me more aware of the vulnerabilities of our own bodies and it has made me take extra better care of  myself. I don’t have to take any medications though because of only having one kidney. Nothing in my life has changed except I watch what I eat a bit more. That is out of choice, not necessity.

Please consider giving the best gift of all.

God Bless
With Love to you all

Di
xxxx

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Evaluation process to be a Living Kidney Donor – finding a recipient – laparascopic surgery to remove kidney – my recovery

Even though the process was not without its frustrations and last minute blips – I would not hesitate to donate a kidney all over again if I could.
For anyone considering donating a kidney, whether to a relative or friend or to a stranger, the majority of this blog would apply. I have been as honest as I can and not just put a glossy cover on it all.  The events are as they happened and my feelings and thoughts at the time. I hope this blog will enlighten some people as to the process of donating a kidney. It has been a great learning experience for myself as well. Spending so much time with people who have kidney problems and speaking to patients on dialysis or just having had a transplant, and speaking with their families ….. it has opened my eyes even more to the fact more organ donors are needed.  There was nothing in my evaluation or the operation or recovery process that put me off having donated.

Through this journey I have met people on dialysis and they are not living a life, they are surviving a life. Dialysis is life support. Without it they will die – with it they are alive but the quality of life for them and their families is not the sort of life anyone should have to live. They do for years.  Once I knew it was possible to give someone and their family back their life it was just something that, God willing,  I was determined to do.

I also want to thank everyone working at the transplant unit. Everyone was great and made this whole experience good. There was always a smile and more than that, everyone had time for me. I was never made to feel rushed. When it came time for the operation itself I was made to feel very relaxed and the after care was brilliant.

Please scroll down to read my account of being a kidney donor. The first posts are at the bottom of the blog, the latest just below this posting.

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I was challenged recently to try to explain what drives me to donating to a stranger and what is in it for me. If I were paid a large sum of money, then that could be understood as to the motives behind this. But with no apparent benefit – then why do it? Very good question and not always easy to answer.

Why do people decide to sail around the world or climb the highest mountains in the most atrocious of conditions? They are hailed as Explorers and record breakers and daring and brave! Who have they benefited by doing those things? Don’t get me wrong, they are courageous and brave and have pushed the boundaries of what the body can endure to the limit and beyond and I have great admiration for them. Why then when we decide to help someone lead a better life, we are often viewed as … crazy!

Why do we do anything though? Emotions drive us either to do something or not do something. Emotions that just seem to spring from nowhere.

Sometimes the drive inside us is so strong we just can’t ignore it. I had such  a desire inside me to offer one of my kidneys to someone who needed one. That desire just grew over time. I knew it was something I really wanted to do. Having said that, I did not go into this blindly. Even though my heart kept telling me this was something I wanted to do, reality also told me to investigate this, really look into it and then decide whether heart or head wins! I found nothing to dissuade me from doing this … so my heart won.

What do I get out of donating? I do agree that whenever we give, we do also receive, whether it is a great sense of satisfaction or disappointment should something go wrong.
Read the rest of this entry »

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30th June

Met with the psychologist today, a very nice lady, felt immediately comfortable chatting with her.  She needed to know that I fully understood the risks involved and that I was not under any pressure to go through with this. Also that I was aware of the mixed emotions that I may go through.

She asked why I wanted to donate to a stranger.  Various personal experiences over the years I know have contributed towards the way I feel about other people.   We had a long chat about certain aspects of my life that I believe have influenced me over the years and made me the person I am today. Certainly my faith in God has played a large part over the years.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Kidney donation – altruistic

February 3rd

My first appointment at the hospital to meet the surgeon and have some initial tests done. It was during the heavy snows we had but luckily once I had got a few miles out from home, the snow thinned and travelling wasn’t a problem.

There had been some mix up with the appointments and I was in the book for 30 minutes after the time in the appointments letter. The hospital was also  running 1.5 hours late and I had arrived 30 minutes early!! No matter, it gave me time to read up on literature there and just watch and listen as to what was going on in the reception area. I was struck by the assortment of people there that had kidney problems … young, old, mothers, fathers, youngsters … it was a reminder than anyone, any age can be seriously ill and need help. I had time sitting there to think about the struggles some people have  to try and lead a normal life. It made me realise I have been very lucky in life as regards my health. Whatever I have had wrong with me has easily been treated. Not so for thousands of people. I am so glad I made this decision to donate.  Sometimes being kept waiting for an appointment has its advantages as in this case – it opened my eyes even wider.

I saw the surgeon first, very nice guy. Very friendly, smiley face and good sense of humour. I immediately felt relaxed in his company.

He made sure I knew exactly what it was I was offering to do and explained that a Doctor would be assigned to me to look after my interests.  I would go through a very thorough medical assessment.  I would also have a psychologist and psychiatric report made. The whole team needs to know that I fully understand what I will be doing. That I understand the procedure and what could go wrong etc etc.  Once I pass the medical tests and the psychiatric report, the details are then sent for approval. If I am approved as a suitable kidney donor, then I will be put on the database and once a suitable recipient is found, arrangements will be made for the transplant.  The evaluation process can be between 3 and 6 months, but they anticipate that once accepted it will be a very short time before they locate a suitable match.  

They would remove my kidney in this hospital and then safely transport it to whichever hospital the recipient is in.

The surgeon asked me about my medical history and my families. We have all been clear of major illnesses that might affect the donation.   The only down side was that I am overweight. I thought that might get mentioned!  lol ! I was weighed and although my BMI (Body Mass Index) was just within the acceptable limit, the surgeon did advise I try to lose some weight.  My current weight would not hold up the operation, but if I could lose some then that would assist the  surgery and also my recovery afterwards.

I then saw one of the transplant nurses. She asked more questions re medical history etc and then organised some  tests:

Blood pressure
Blood taken for tests (about 8 tubes used)
Heart Trace
Chest X-ray.

  It was also explained to me that during the very strict and thorough evaluation process, at any stage they could find out I am not suitable as a donor, so I also have to prepare myself for the disappointment of not being able to help someone.

My biggest worry at the moment is losing weight. I have an under active thyroid which piled the weight on a few years ago and losing it  is extremely hard – I never used to have a problem with being able to control my weight, but now it is a real battle.  

Please Pray that I pass the evaluation process with flying colours.

My next appointment is April 17th when I see the doctor … regarding what exactly not too sure, will have to wait and see.

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