May 9, 2017 I donated a kidney to to my older brother Bobby.
Three years ago my brother Bobby was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. After many procedures and chemotherapy, his cancer was finally in remission, although his kidneys were destroyed from the treatment. After one year on dialysis my sister-in-law sent out a text to our family. Any available kidney donors contact this man at Stony Brook Hospital Transplant Unit. Without hesitation I sent an email right away. I knew in that instant I would be a match! Looking back I would give my kidney all over again.
The Stony Brook Hospital Transplant Team in New York were extremely supportive and professional. They answered all my questions and helped ease what little hesitations I had. This process for me was a no-brainer. I knew I wanted to donate. I have a good job I took off from work for six weeks and because of the family medical leave act I was able to use my sick time and get paid during that time. My brother Bobby's family was my main support system. His wife and three adult children helped with anything that was needed during our recovery after donation.
I spent the first week after donation at my brother's house and his wife took care of me the second week after donation I went home to my house. I own two big huskies and I was worried about having someone walk them for me. My brother's son Matt took on the job without hesitation. He came to my house every morning around 9 and we walked the dogs together. I was not holding the leashes. The walking helped me to heal quicker.
I am a go-getter so once I set my mind to something that's it lets go! The process to be a took a while and I was ready to donate by April but some more tests needed to be done and by May 9th I was ready. I didn't do anything to prepare I was just ready mentally and physically was cleared to donate.
I realized that there are many different people in the world and everyone reacted differently. Which was OK. Some people cried, hugged me and said I was a saint. Other people didn't know how to respond and quietly changed the topic. I learned to love the people that understood and were able to process and understand. My only support was my brother Bobby's Family. My 5 other siblings were not available mentally to assist at all. Which is sad but I have accepted them for that. I have grown extremely close to my brother Bobby's family through this process and it continues to grow.
This was an easy process for me. People have told me I am extremely brave. I didn't see it like that. I saw it as this needs to be done let's do it. The first two days in the hospital after surgery was rough but I lived through it and my body healed. I am 5 months out after surgery and am back at Crossfit!
If I had another kidney to donate I would that's how happy I am that I did it! No regrets!
Being a living donor has affected my life In a good way. It has made me appreciate the wonderful people I have in my life more than ever. My brother Bobby and his family!
Location: Moriches, New York