Tag Archives: National Kidney Registry

Memorial Day Weekend – Living donor

This Memorial weekend I went to Pittsburgh PA to visit my brother Tim and his family.  Last year I had done the same with Emily’s upcoming birthday and her dance recital its a good weekend to visit. So much has changed since last year Tim is no longer on dialysis since he received his new kidney on August 30 of last year!  Aside from the improvement in Tim’s health his personality is coming through. I can remember last year’s visit– he was quiet and would often just sit their with little to say feeling exhausted and sick. Tim would never complain, but you could see it in his body language, he was spending three days a week in dialysis and had been ill for a long time. To me, Tim had seemed depressed and perhaps hopeless however I do remember seeing the joy and pride in Tim’s face as he watched his daughter in last year’s recital.

Tim and Emily before the dance recital!

Tim and Emily before the dance recital!

During this time, I was determined to help my brother and I was going through the tests to become an organ donor. It turned out I was not a match and was entered into the NKR (National Kidney Registry).  Within 24 hours of being added into the database they found a match and their were eight of us in the paired exchange.  

What a difference a year can make! Tim is alert, determined and always has something to say. His health has improved tremendously although he still has a ways to go, it takes time to get used to the medications and rebuild strength after such a long illness.

Many people are waiting to hear good news and my wish for you is to always do your best including; eating healthy, exercise and don’t ever give up! Share your story and ask for help we are all in this together.

Today is Memorial day and I dedicate this post to my brother Tim who served in the US ARMY along with the many men and women who served in the United States Armed Forces. Thank you!

Grateful for change.

Wendy

depression can be part of it… living kidney donor

Its been four and 1/2 months since I donated my kidney. I had to force myself to write this post and be honest.  You see my original thoughts were to write about my personal experience in kidney donation in hopes that it would support someone who was looking to make a decision or simply going through the process.

When I was going through the pretesting for donating my kidney back in August 2012, I was told that 30% of donors go through depression.  My biggest concern at that time was that I could not exercise for six weeks; exercise has always helped me manage my emotions.

However, I was elated after the surgery– I was stronger, wiser and more aware. I had gone through the surgery and was ready to take on the world. After my surgery I visited my oldest son  in LA and then flew to Japan to visit my youngest son. I focused on healing physically and mentally.  I came back to my home in New York after six weeks of traveling and healing and found myself exhausted, happy and relieved. Over the course of the next few weeks, I would work at staying in a place of appreciation and sweeping any questionable emotions under the rug.

For the past two months I didn’t want to consider that it might be depression. However, I was having trouble completing tasks,  not feeling as motivated to start my day and with less energy.  I continued to exercise and eat healthy but still felt the struggle. On New Year’s day I realized this was more than just an off day,  I wasn’t writing, reading, and looking to do things that I enjoyed so much. I have always embraced the new year and realized it was time to do something about it.

Here I am on the sixth day of January and ready to make some changes in my life; to trust my instincts, to get help where I need it and to move out of this state and get back to life.   My son Juliun who is in the vitamin business strongly recommended I take SAM-e along with Vitamin B– it seems to be helping me stay focused and get things done.

We all have our bumps in the road. I am grateful I was able to donate my kidney and look forward to 2013.

Also, I must note. January 7th would have been my son Kyle’s 29th birthday. I found this photo today while cleaning out an old desk. I don’t remember seeing this photo before. I look at it and see myself so young at 24 and how beautiful my first son was!

Eternally grateful.  Wendy

Day 9 – Healing, kidney donor

Today marks the ninth day since I donated my kidney through the National Kidney Registry so that my brother

Family dinner Tim, Emily, my Mom and Julie

Tim could receive a kidney. Tim’s surgery is this coming Thursday and I am so excited. I know that sounds strange, however I expect it to be successful and for Tim to no longer be on a dialysis machine every other day of his life. I am looking forward to my brother having a healthier life. 

For me, I actually feel pretty good. I have some pain in my stomach from the surgery and I get tired rather quickly. But that’s about it, everything is manageable. My only challenge is that I cannot pick up over 5lbs of anything for the next four weeks. This becomes more difficult as my health and energy improve.

I am still at the family house for another week and I have had plenty of company. My Mom has been with me since the surgery and has been an angel, she’s been so patient and kind.  I have a new appreciation for her! 

My brother Trevor and his wife Jeanne were visiting yesterday and we shared a large pasta dinner along with my brother Tim, his wife Julie and daughter Emily. Today my friend Mary Beth stopped in, we had a cup of tea and talked about our life.

I have seen a great deal of Tim, Julie and Emily this past week. It’s been really nice connecting and getting to know my niece better. She is so delightful and full of energy.  My brother Tim is amazing, so strong and has been through so much.

I am so grateful for my health, family and friends.

wendy

Making the decision – Kidney donor

I am not sure how everyone else makes decisions or processes an upcoming event such as Living Kidney Donor surgery.  For me its very similar to how I make life decisions.

  • I first consider is this the right decision for me?
  • Is this something I want to do?
  • Am I able to do this?

I rarely consider the consequences such as; how will it feel, will this affect my business, my finances, etc. For me its always about the bigger picture and this is about potentially saving someone’s life. Once the surgery is completed Tim will no longer have to go through the painful process of dialysis three times a weeks at four plus hours a procedure, his health will improve and he can begin to live an ordinary life without having to plan around these events every other day.

I do however do my homework by understanding the details around the surgery,  the recovery time, the amount of time it will take for the committee to approve me medically fit and how this will affect me physically in the future.  UPMC (University of Pittsburgh’s Medical Center) did a great job of sending  materials on what to expect in all matters of the surgery.  In order to be added to National Kidney Data Base  it’s extremely involved.  Some of the tests include; A complete physical, heart – stress tests, running in place, echo. Mammogram, Pap Smear, one full day in the hospital meeting the Dr’s, learning more about the program, reviewing health records, psychological evaluation, CT Scans, X Rays, Glands, Throat, Blood tests, Urine Tests, etc. (more information on requirements).  At times I found it difficult to be patient with the process since one blood test could lead to more questions and therefore more tests and more tests.  However, I understood the necessity for the tests were in my best interest.   It took approximately three months before I was added to the National Kidney Registry.

Once I was added, I received a call in 24 hours that a match for my Brother had been found! That was pretty amazing.