Pick Me! (Kidney Donor)

Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Mo…

Pick me! Pick me!

Well, it wasn’t quite that easy or that random, but I’ve been chosen! I’m special! I’m a match!

On our journey into our son’s kidney disease and his journey on to get a transplant, we recently got the exciting news. Since he was born and we knew that a transplant was a likely part of his future, I always said, “He’ll get one of mine.” So confident, huh?

After all, we had the same blood type. And I’m his mom. Who better, right?

It ends up there’s a lot more to it than that. Blood type is only one of the things they look into. The rest of it is very much in that hazy “I have some idea of what you are saying to me” zone. The general gist of it is, they try to match up six different antibody types, the more you match, the less chance of rejection and the fewer anti-rejection meds the recipient needs to be on.

Sixteen test tubes of blood later and the results came in. My lab work looked great. I matched on four out the six. Not perfect, but in the top 25% of possible donors for him.

Next came the chest x-ray, the EKG, and a CT of the kidneys to make sure I had two normal shaped and functioning kidneys. I also sat through a social worker’s interview to verify that I was emotionally stable enough to handle this whole affair.

Among the questions: Was I being coerced or paid in any way? What was my motivation for donating?

Answers: No. No. and Isn’t it obvious? That’s my son we’re talking about! I’d give him both kidneys and live happily on dialysis if it would give him a normal life.

No. They don’t want both kidneys.

Whew. (Whereas my statement was true, about the living on dialysis bit, I am so thankful I don’t need to do that.) Would they mind a tummy tuck while they’re in there? Nah, didn’t think so. (Seems no one needs me to donate that extra I’ve stored.) Didn’t hurt to ask. 😉

Next? Doctor interview. Lots of health history questions, making sure I didn’t fib on my health questionnaire. Making sure I understand the risks of surgery and life on one kidney afterward.

They used to believe the donor had no increased risk of kidney disease. Research shows differently. It is all very logical. If you only have one kidney and something happens to it, there’s no back-up anymore. So, I’ll have to watch my diet, take care to stay healthy, etc. to minimize that risk. Avoid diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney damaging meds. Only makes sense.

Still want to donate?

You bet!


Oh, yeah! But excited at the same time.

I’ve never had more than wisdom teeth pulled, so I have little experience with surgery, but hey, I’ve walked plenty of moms around the ward after their C-sections. I can handle it. I figure my recovery will be like that, or maybe like recovering from a hysterectomy. Nah, that’s not the part I’m nervous and excited about—well, maybe a tad nervous. Who likes pain?

I’m nervous because my son’s health is currently more fragile than my own. Because his surgery will be more complicated than mine. Because I don’t know how the meds will affect his life, meds that he will need for the rest of his life.

But I’m excited. I am excited to see how a transplant changes things for my son. He’s never lived with a fully functioning kidney, and according to the tests, mine are both in top-notch shape. In my imagination, he’ll feel so much better he’ll be leaping over buildings and flying through the sky. Ok, so maybe not. I’ve been watching too many super hero movies.

I’ll be content to see him feel good, to have the energy to jog, hike, make it through the day without feeling totally exhausted. Be able to eat normal food along with the rest of the family. Have the energy to roll on the floor and tickle and laugh and play with his own child. To rise and do those things he dreams of doing.

Surgery is scheduled for the end of February, 2019. I want to thank you for the prayers you have sent on our behalf, and covet those to continue. The journey has just begun.

2018 was a year of challenges for our family, dealing with illnesses and the loss of loved ones. There has also been joy: family that loves and supports each other, amazing friends, hope for health, publishing my first novel, and a long prayed for grand baby now on its way. Yay!

We enter 2019 full of hope and trust. In the same way that I long for only good to fill the life of my children, so our Heavenly Father longs to give us good gifts. Whatever the outcome, it will be a gift designed by Him, and it will be good.

Wishing you the best year ever!


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