June 28th, 2017 I donated a kidney to my dad.
My dad was on dialysis and he was miserable. He wasn’t sleeping or working and he was loosing faith in life. My mom tried to donate her kidney to him but it turned out her kidneys don’t function as well either. So I decided my dad needs a second chance at life. He went through a war when he was a young adult and he always provided support to my sister and I! He made sure we were safe all of our lives and now it was my turn to make sure he’s safe!
Saint Louis university hospital has a great kidney transplant program and I sat in on two living donor classes. My husband helped me and so did my sister. Everyone was so supportive. I also read a lot of news articles and got involved with the American Kidney Fund.
Luckily my job offered incentives for being a organ donor. I work for BJC Healthcare and they give you 30 days paid leave for organ donation, and then I was able to take 2 weeks of FMLA. It did not have any financial burden on me. I was still able to be with my dogs at home and it was a simple process. The only thing that kind of sucked was 3 weeks of no driving, which was hard to adjust to.
The initial process was a long one. I had to do many tests and many days of lab work. I did a couple of X-rays, a nuclear medicine filtration test, a 24 hour urine collection and a lot of labs. I have always been healthy in general so I did not have to change many things about my diet. I prepared by staying active still and watching extra closely what I ate and drank. I also spent a lot of time with my family talking to them and just being around them.
In general I had a great support system. We are a close knit family and many people came out to say they would donate a kidney if need be. There were a couple of people who were skeptical of the kidney transplant process because they were not educated. They thought that I would have to be on medication for the rest of my life, or that this may affect my reproductive system which I had to tell them it doesn’t.
As scary as surgery and this process is, it is so worth it. Being able to see the recipient living his life and doing better is the best feeling in the world. Share your spare!
Kidney donation is such a positive experience that it brought my father and me closer together. I am now still very healthy, and I live my life just as I did before. I am able to do everything I did before! And now my husband and I make sure we take my father to new experiences so that we can do this all together!
My mom was also a match but couldn’t donate, since her kidneys don’t work as well as they should. My father had some complications after surgery and had to stay in the hospital for a week but I was out 2 days later. I was able to stop my pain medications 4 days after surgery because the pain was manageable.
Location: St. Louis Missouri