Adventures of a Kidney Donor

September 1, 2011

Living with One Kidney

Filed under: Kidney Donation,Medical — by anne315 @ 7:57 pm
Tags: , ,

I wish this was me but I am not this thin! Anyway, this gives you an idea of what laparoscopic scars looks like over time. It’s amazing how small the incisions are. When I look at my largest one I am amazed they got a kidney through it! Kidneys are pretty small.

Recovery is going more slowly than I anticipated. I get winded when I walk just a mile, get a sharp stitch in my left side off and on, and it’s hard to sleep because I am not comfortable in one position very long. I guess from all that I read I thought I would be further along but I am not following my own advice of not comparing myself to others.

A lot of people have asked me what my restrictions are since I only have one kidney. They assume that I can’t drink alcohol, have to have a special diet etc. Not so.  Long term studies have shown that kidney donors live as long or even longer than the rest of the population.  Yet there are things to monitor. So here is a summary of life with one kidney, taken from these sites:

The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse 

National Kidney Foundation 

Living Donors Online

Physical effects: When one kidney is removed, the single normal kidney will increase in size to compensate for the loss of the donated kidney.

Possible effects of a solitary kidney: 

  • High blood pressure. Many people who lose or donate a kidney are found to have slightly higher blood pressure after several years.
  • Proteinuria. Excessive protein in the urine… People are often found to have higher-than-normal levels of protein in their urine after they have lived with one kidney for several years.
  • Reduced GFR. The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) shows how efficiently your kidneys are removing wastes from your bloodstream. People have a reduced GFR if they have only one kidney.
  • You can have these conditions and still feel fine. As long as they are under control, they will probably not affect your health or longevity. Schedule regular checkups with your doctor to monitor these conditions.

Follow-up: Every year get a urinalysis and have your blood pressure checked. Kidney function should be checked (creatinine levels and GFR etc.)

Diet: A heart healthy diet is recommended, basically the same recommendations for everyone. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and high fiber foods. Limit salt and fat intake. Avoid fad high protein diets since too much protein stresses the kidney.

Medications Avoid NSAIDs such as Aleve, Motrin, Advil and aspirin. These pain relievers are hard on the kidneys. Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) only.

Activity: Some professionals suggest that people with one kidney should avoid contact sports. Anyone with a single kidney who decides to participate in these sports should be extra careful and wear protective padding. Then again, one study indicated that motor vehicle collisions and bike riding accidents were more likely than sports injuries to seriously damage the kidneys.

Pregnancy:  Pregnancy is possible but is usually not recommended for at least six months after the surgery.

Occupational Restrictions: Some branches of military service, police and fire departments will not accept individuals with only one kidney.

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation

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182 Comments »

  1. Hi there, how wonderful of you to donate a kidney. My brother donated one about 6 months ago. I find it interesting how different hospitals, studies can vary. He was told to be careful with alcohol. That alcohol per se was fine but it is a blood thinner and with only one kidney the vessels leading to it can become thin and inhibit the flow through them, so drinking is fine but not to get drunk too often, lol. Contact sports. If you are a rugby player you will know that a boot in the kidney area is pretty common. but when you have two kidneys the damage isnt noticed as both kidney do the job. But if you were to be kicked in the only kidney, it could cause some comlications. So one should wear protective belt if playing a contact sport.

    Recovery varies considerably with each individual. I have heard people say that they find sleeping much better if they can raise the back of the bed as in the hospital i.e. sleep slightly raised. Using lots of pillow with a pillow then vertical along them to support the back gives the same result and aids breathing and also sleep for some reason. Have to remember that even though keyhole surgery, it was a major operation you had and the body has to heal. All sorts of things go on that we don’t see and for the healing to take place our body slows down so we feel tired. It is always best to give into tiredness after operation or it will delay the healing process.

    I wish you all the very best, and God Bless for what you have done.
    Maureen

    Comment by Maureen — September 3, 2011 @ 9:59 am |Reply

  2. i donated a kidney 11 months ago. my recovery was very slow but this was due to complications, but now 11 months on i don’t feel any different to how i did before or changed any of my lifestyle. as for drinking, i was told i can drink as long as its not a ‘heavy’ night every weekend but a glass of wine with a meal is fine. my keyhole scars are a pinky colour but are fading and my main one is fading too although i still have some numbness in it but they said this is quiet common and nothing to worry about.

    if anyone wants to donate id say do it but make sure you have support around you as you will need it!! if anyone wants to know anymore, then feel free to message me. xx

    Comment by Gemma Lloyd ╪ — September 4, 2011 @ 12:52 pm |Reply

    • Congrats on your donation and thanks for posting!

      Comment by anne315 — September 5, 2011 @ 11:56 am |Reply

  3. I just donated a kidney 3 weeks ago. I was part of an amazing chain so that my dad could get a kidney. He had been on dialysis after his kidneys failed do to PKD (Polysystic Kidney Disease). I, too, have found it more difficult to sleep, especially on my side (which was my typical postition before surgery). I sleep with many pillows and find that sleeping propped up is the most comfortable for me. I am off pain medications, including extra strength Tylenol, but I do feel a pain in my left side every so often.

    I had never had surgery prior to this (not even so much as a tooth pulled) so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, other than what my doctors and nurses explained. I have been shocked at how tired I get just by doing nominal tasks like walking and running errands. I just started driving short distances two days ago. I was told that it could take up to 3-4 months before I feel like myself again.

    This week I am going to attempt to go back to work half days and see how it goes. I am a high school counselor so its more emotional/mental stress than physical. My doctor told me he would release me but if I felt like it was too much/too soon to let him know and not to be afraid to take more time off work (since I’m blessed to have that luxury). I asked when I could start exercising and he told me I could walk but not to over do it-to listen to my body.

    My dad is also doing well! He said his energy level is about the same as the days that he was NOT on dailysis. He was going to dialysis three times a day but now does not have to anymore since the transplant. We are all praying that it works and that his body doesn’t reject his new kidney.

    I would encourage anyone who was able and willing to donate a kidney-the “good” definitely outweighs the “bad”.

    Overall, I feel very blessed that God chose me to be an active participant in this amazing experience! I am glad to have been able to give a better quality of life to the same man who gave me my life-my DAD!

    Comment by Jenn — September 5, 2011 @ 12:46 am |Reply

    • Those chains are amazing. I was going to be in a chain but it was taking so long that the coordinator and I decided to just go for a one on on donation. Congrats on your donation, you have done a great thing. You are right, the good outweighs the bad by far.

      Comment by Anne — September 5, 2011 @ 11:59 am |Reply

    • I am considering the same for my dad, this story was inspiring… my only concern is that I would be able to lead a normal life… like social life, occasional drinks with friends an what not… and all indications so far are that I would be able to…

      Comment by Rainz — March 31, 2013 @ 7:26 pm |Reply

    • I am going through the final tests (actually just meeting with the surgeons, social workers, and psychologist) before donating a kidney. My best friend from hight school has PKD and they want her to try to have a live donor kidney before she starts dialysis.
      I have had many surgeries before, including having ovaries removed, which I understand is very similar to donating a kidney.
      My only concern is I have a 3 year old that likes to be picked up. I know I cannot lift much (and definitely not 35 pounds) for up to 6 weeks. Any advice?

      Comment by Laura Carrion — September 3, 2013 @ 9:29 pm |Reply

      • Congrats on your donation! Consult with a doctor, but you really have to watch lifting to avoid a hernia which will set you back further. Is it possible to have someone with you at all times during the six weeks? Perhaps have that person could lift your child up to you as you are sitting so he/she still gets lap time and affection. You will want a pillow in your lap too as this will be painful at first.

        Comment by anne315 — September 3, 2013 @ 9:45 pm

      • You will need help with your child. Lifting is a no no.
        That is sweet of you to donate. I did really well quickly after my surgery and I could lift after 6 weeks. I didn’t take any chances. Good luck with everything

        Comment by Mary — September 3, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

      • my husband was dignosed with kidney failure last year. and i decided right than and there that if i could give him a kidney to better his life i would. well, they said it was more of a chance i wouldnt be a match due to me not being blood. but, we found out one year into it after all the testing that i was and we have set the date for october 11 2013. i am so happy to be able to give him back just a tiny amount of joy and love that he has shown me the 11 years we been married!!

        Comment by Cynthia Towson — September 12, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

      • Congrats on your future donation!

        Comment by anne315 — September 12, 2013 @ 6:53 pm

      • Hi there. It is a wonderful feeling I gave my husband a kidney this year We were different blood types but it worked beautifully. Almost 9 months with no rejection
        What a wonderful thing you are doing. If their life is good then so is ours. I always tell people that it was for me too. A little selfish I guess but we had no life before the transplant. It is great now. Have fun.

        Comment by mary — September 12, 2013 @ 7:41 pm

      • Hello Everyone, I donated my left kidney 1wk ago. I still feel very uncomfortable, emotionally and physical. I have never had a surgery, not even when I gave birth to my two kids. Hopefully, it will get better soon, because I can’t sleep at night, I can’t stay in any comfortable position for more than 10 min. I’m very emotional and feel that my body lost something that really needed. As for my kids, one is 6yrs n the other is almost 4yrs old. I explained to them, that mommy will donate a kidney n not to worry, mommy will b fine, but needs rest of a mth. I went into details to them as to what a kidney was, how did it look, where they were located etc.

        Comment by Leftkidney Donor — September 9, 2015 @ 11:18 am

      • Thank you for your donation! It’s normal to be emotional, give yourself some time. It’s difficult when you have responsibilities to your children too. As for sleeping, I had a long body pillow and it really helped me. I could position it various ways to make me more comfortable sleeping. Don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor if your depression and discomfort continue.

        Comment by anne315 — September 9, 2015 @ 12:21 pm

      • Hi, congrats on your donation. Very brave thing to do. Don’t inderestimate the recovery time, you need to give yourself time to heal. Everyone is different. There is a Facebook page for Kidney Donors with complications, but before goibg there just pace yourself. I donated 18 months ago and it took me 6 months to lose the fatigue. I also had pain along the cut they made to remove the kidney and I still have numbness down my left thigh. Nothing will be the the same as it was but things should improve with time. Linda

        Comment by Linda — September 10, 2015 @ 4:58 am

  4. I thought that was a picture of you! You are doing so great…after doing such a great thing!

    Comment by kris — September 5, 2011 @ 9:55 pm |Reply

  5. these coments have been so helpful. my brother has kidney and is going to have to have his left kidney removed i was really worried about how he would make it with only one your comments were so helpful thank you and god bless each one of you.s smith

    Comment by shirley smith — September 27, 2011 @ 10:55 pm |Reply

  6. HI all decided to input my few cents into this. I am 34 and lost my kidney to cancer. I am still in recovery stages and that’s why I came to this forum. I have been hearing somewhat different accounts about life with one kidney and wanted to know more and especially about physical part of life. I love outdoors and snowboarding and life with out it would seem particularly hard. I have a 3 year old and caring her around is something I love doing and I know she enjoys greatly too. So as you can imagine I am worried that I might have to put hold on these activities since some things I heard limit me physically.
    As for recovery I would like to say: it takes so much longer then anticipated. I have family friend who had hart surgery, he was out day 3, back home. I on other hand barely walked on day 4, also I do get tired fairly easy and walking has its discomforts in the left side of my body (I lost left kidney). Of course I am trying to gradually increase my distances, but I have a feeling it will be at least a month or two before I will be able to run. Of course I am shore different people have different physical capabilities, and maybe someone else may be able to do same with in much shorter time frame.
    As for drinking, my doctor saying I can have a drink with out problem, I never was big on drinking before the surgery so I don’t think I will be kin on drinking after =) but its nice to know that I can enjoy occasional drink.
    Well good luck all, and if someone has more info on what can I do and where are the limits physically, please do share.

    Comment by vlad k — October 9, 2011 @ 2:12 am |Reply

    • It gets better but as you say, it seems to take a long time. Each week (I am starting week 8) I feel improvement. A donor told me that in three months it feels like nothing has happened. Talk to your doctors about physical activity. Opinions on this have changed over the years and it seems like donors can do a lot more than previously recommended. Useful forums are here: http://www.livingdonorsonline.org/experiences/experiences.htm

      This site http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/solitarykidney/ says:

      Avoiding Injury:Some doctors may advise patients with a solitary kidney to avoid contact sports like boxing, football, and hockey. One study indicated that motor vehicle collisions and bike riding accidents were more likely than sports injuries to seriously damage the kidneys. In recent years, athletes with a single working kidney have participated in sports competition at the highest levels. Having a solitary kidney should not automatically disqualify you from sports participation. Children should be encouraged to engage in some form of physical activity, even if contact sports are ruled out. Protective gear such as padded vests worn under a uniform can make limited contact sports like basketball or soccer safe. Doctors, parents, and patients should consider the risks of any activity and decide whether the benefits outweigh those risks

      This site http://www.kidney.org/transplantation/livingDonors/infoQA.cfm?id=7 says:

      The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians and the Medical Society of Sports Medicine have suggested that people with one kidney avoid sports that involve higher risks of heavy contact or collision. This includes, but is not limited to, boxing, field hockey, football, ice hockey, Lacrosse, martial arts, rodeo, soccer and wrestling. This may also include extreme activities such as skydiving. Anyone with a single kidney who decides to participate in these sports should be extra careful and wear protective padding. He or she should understand that the consequences of losing a single kidney are very serious.

      Some opinion points out there is a difference between a recipient and a donor in contact sports. A transplanted kidney in the front is closer to the skin surface and is more vulnerable than a donor’s remaining kidney that still has its “natural padding.” Again, consult a medical professional. Blogs and forums are a start, but don’t replace sound medical advice.

      Comment by anne315 — October 9, 2011 @ 10:17 am |Reply

    • Hello! I am 39 yrs old and had my left kidney removed in 2004 because of a 6 millimeter canerous tumor. I have had really no restrictions besides avoiding too much salt and no ibprophen, aleve. I try to exercise and make good food choices.i do have drinks with friends, sometimes i feel it takes some time to recover if i over indulge? But i do drink alot of water. My recovery took about 8 wks and then i was still quite tired for a few months after but started physical therapy to get some strength back. 3 months after surgery we went on a 7 day trip to a dude ranch. Rode horse in the mountains everyday. Was tired but loved every minute! I get checked yearly, and now i’m 9 yrs out and cancer free!
      I just am happy to have a dr i like and trust! Best of luck to everyone!

      Comment by patricia — January 31, 2013 @ 8:40 pm |Reply

  7. Hi! I had my kidney removed in 1994 due to it not working properly from birth! I was advised not to be as active anymore and no contact sports! A year later I went back to everything I loved… Basketball and track! So as long as I stay hydrated I have been ok! I am now 29 with 2 boys that I continue to run around with! You all are strong! And I admire you guys for donating!

    Comment by Rose — January 13, 2012 @ 11:54 pm |Reply

    • Hi rose. My 14 yr old son had a nephrectomy recently due to a large mass on his left kidney. I can’t help but be worried, I don’t know how he feels now, and how he can cope up in the future… I just want to clarify, were you 11 years old when you had your kidney removed?

      Comment by Blessed mama — September 29, 2014 @ 5:29 am |Reply

  8. Heyyyy, my name is Nikki and I recently contacted someone who had posted at my gym about her need for a kidney. I saw that her blood type matched mine, so I called…. I’m not even started in the whole process yet, not even sure if I’ll be a definite match or anything, but I would like to know what i’m in for just in case!! I’m really hoping this works out and I can do this for this girl, but until I know for sure, I definitely want to get as much information as I can on what to expect, etc… Just for the sake of being well informed! Any advice, personal experience stories, etc would be greatly appreciated…. Thank you!! =)

    Comment by Nikki — February 19, 2012 @ 12:31 am |Reply

  9. I am hoping I can donate a kidney to my husband and am going thru testing now, but I love to play hockey and do not want to give it up…what I am wondering is if any one who has given up a kidney and currently now participates in strenuous sports ( I feel hockey is really very strenuous) if they can perform at their same level as they did when they had both kidneys..I am really very into my hockey and am hoping that I can still play with plenty of strength and be competitive…I am 50 year old woman and I play in a women’s league and fortunately it is a no check league so that helps minimize chance of injury to my
    remaining kidney…what I am more curious about is will I be able to compete and perform as I had done with two kidneys given a recuperation of several months?

    Comment by Karen — April 11, 2012 @ 7:43 pm |Reply

    • I would talk to a nephrologist and your transplant team about this issue. Best of luck!

      Comment by anne315 — April 11, 2012 @ 8:42 pm |Reply

    • Hello,

      I hope that you will be able to donate a kidney to your husband! But to respond to your concern you will most definitely be able to play hockey later as you do now! Your main focus is not to hurt the other kidney, this is why contact sports aren’t recommeneded. After my surgery I fel as if I was an even better athlete because I felt I had something to prove to myself! Just stay hydrated and make sure you do not over work your kidney with too much salt. But you will be fine! Good luck!

      Comment by Rose — April 12, 2012 @ 10:46 am |Reply

  10. Hello,

    I Donated my Kidney 1 year ago on 1/28/11. This has been one of the best experiences of my life. I donated my right Kidney to my sons best friends mom whom I didn’t know very well at the time. When I found out she had kidney failure due to her being born with only one kidney, I told her I would give her one since I had two. Soon after we did all the tests and we were a complete match. I think it was meant to me. We are diffrent nationalities and were a match! it was exciting and scary. After we did it we walked a mile the next day in the hospital (VERY SLOWLYYYY) It was painful! Four weeks after I surgery I went for a four mile run and I must of pulled domething because I started being in a bit of pain. I could only stand for 5 minutes at a time. I should of waited a bit longer to run. Other than that, everything was great… No more pain I work out like I use to and drink in moderation. My kids were very inspired by the gift of life that I gave and my oldest daughter says that when she is older she wants to do the same. My Now New sister is doing great and has traveled to Hawaii, Japan and is going to Vegas this May. We now know each other very well 🙂
    I would encourage anyone to consider being a donor. There are so many people that need the gift of life!

    Comment by Angelica Duran - Policarpio — April 17, 2012 @ 8:06 pm |Reply

  11. I’m happy to be here please i want advices on kidney transplant i’m a footballer.

    Comment by I will soon donate to my uncle but i'm afraid of the consequences that will follow after the transplant please i want ur advices God bless u as u contribute. — April 25, 2012 @ 8:40 pm |Reply

    • Be sure to talk to health professionals about your concerns.

      Comment by anne315 — April 25, 2012 @ 10:48 pm |Reply

  12. Hello:
    I had cancer when I was 5 years old and had my left kidney removed.
    I am now almost 60 years old and have had no problems. I have two children I gave birth to with natural childbithing. I have a really big
    scar, but in 1957 things were much different than nowadays. Anyway
    I hope this gives some hope to any wondering about living with one
    kidney. : )

    Comment by Cindy Bessler — May 16, 2012 @ 2:30 pm |Reply

    • Hi,
      I had a surgerry before 2 years my left kidney removed (tumor) I have also hyper tension taking medicine . i am 39 yers old . i am more worried about my future life. can you e xplain me about ur problums after the sugerry.(abbasali78630@yahoo.com)
      Thank you

      Comment by Abbasali Ali — September 24, 2012 @ 3:20 am |Reply

      • Please talk to a medical professional as soon as possible. If you just have a general physician, consider going to a nephrologist. Sometimes specialists are better in understanding the unique situations of donors.

        Comment by anne315 — September 24, 2012 @ 9:58 am

    • how wonderful it is to read this. I had Wilms tumor at age 2 and had my left kidney removed also. i am now 24. I was beginning to worry about not being able to conceive or having a depleted life span so i have been doing research and came across this site. i know everyone is different but your post is just what i needed to read. thank you!

      Comment by Amy Nieves — October 13, 2012 @ 6:59 pm |Reply

  13. Thank you so much for this, I’ve had one kidney since I was born and was wondering what restrictions there were, so thanks for clearing that up for me. 🙂

    Comment by Russell Penn — May 19, 2012 @ 4:18 am |Reply

  14. Thank you for being a living donor. You have made a amazing difference in the life of many people. I am in kidney failure and looking for a living donor myself. God Bless You.

    Paul
    https://www.facebook.com/Kidney4Paul

    Comment by Paul Billy — June 21, 2012 @ 11:21 pm |Reply

    • Hope you get a kidney soon! Is paired donation a possibility?

      Comment by anne315 — June 22, 2012 @ 9:20 am |Reply

  15. I am 48 years old and donated a kidney almost 13 years ago. I live a very active life style and recently started taking karate. I can go for long stretches of time without even thinking about it. Sometimes, though I get a weird stitch in my side and tenderness, uncomfortable but not really painful, kind of a full feeling. Other than that no complaints or problems physically. I do keep in mind to stay hydrated and am careful to guard my non-kidney side from injury. Overall, I don’t think it’s affected my life much, but I can’t say it hasn’t changed the way I live at all. I guess if I had to make a living doing physical labor I would not have wanted to do it. It is a major surgery and should be taken very seriously. God Bless all of you.

    Comment by Lowal — September 29, 2012 @ 7:12 pm |Reply

  16. I am 20 years old and my kidney literally eroded to the size of a peanut when i was ~ 6 y/o. The doctors failed to pick up on an infection and hence my kidney was lost. As mentioned above, my opposing kidney grew bigger to compensate. Having one kidney has worked in my advantage throughout my life. I have a certain respect for life, understanding that it is somewhat delicate. I participate in intense weight lifting most days of the week, as well as football. I use a composite plastic guard that is moulded to the shape of my body when playing sport, and it has saved me on numerous occasions. As far as drinking alcohol, having one kidney has never stopped me….although I find it very important to stay well hydrated at all times. My blood work shows I am in good health. Thank you to everyone out there helping people in need. You will not be disadvantaged by having one kidney, you will have an appreciation of life that some others may fail to see. Great to see people coming together with positive stories =]

    Comment by JC — October 8, 2012 @ 8:55 am |Reply

  17. I had a kidney removed on May 24th this year, I forget I have one kidney. I am doing everything I was doing before. I thank God everyday for how well I have been doing. I had surgery for sarcoma at the same time. My daughter gave birth to my first grandson on June 29th, , which made me forget about myself and been doing fine since. Don’t worry, life will return to normai in no time.

    Comment by LINDA PERRY — October 21, 2012 @ 11:42 pm |Reply

  18. I had my right kidney removed when i was 10years old im now 26, married and have a beautiful soon, since then i have had the odd water infection but nothing serious. 3 wks go tho I started with another water infection and non of the antibiotics so far seem to have worked doctors have said its on the boarderline and its my good kidney has got worse since 2010. Can anyone help with answers or anyone had the same thing?What does boarder line mean? Should I be worried?

    Comment by Jo — October 30, 2012 @ 3:27 pm |Reply

    • Make sure you keep consulting doctors and have kidney panels done on a regular basis. You may want to see a nephrologist–they understand the test results more than a general practitioner.

      Comment by anne315 — October 30, 2012 @ 9:54 pm |Reply

      • Thank you i am awaiting an ultrascan this week so hopefully will find out more then xx

        Comment by Jo — October 31, 2012 @ 8:18 am

  19. hi my name is diana and my husbends step-mother needs a new kidney and i am kinda worried but i do love her and want her to live a good live she has been battleing type1 diabeties for a long time and sadly i dont think i am a match but i told her if i was that i would give her one of mine reading all of this has helped me understand more and i hope god sees us through this matching process so she can live longer. i wish i had more so i could give to all of the other people that need one because i am a big beliver on (if you can then do it) if anyone has advice on recovery for a big person please let me know because i have 4 month old and still have the fat hangeing over and i also had to have a c-section so somebody please let me know what i can do to have a good healeing process

    Comment by Diana — November 6, 2012 @ 10:30 am |Reply

    • Hi Diana, personally I would have found it hard with a baby, and my son was 11 when all the tests were done….I’m not sure in England if they’ll let you donate with a baby that young…. Also with diabetes I may be wrong but don’t they need a pancreas transplant too? That’ll be a dead donation.. You know more than me so sorry if I’m wrong. I was in pain for 6 months afterwards, though went back to work after 5 weeks….( I’m a night carer).. I’d say its a lovely idea but personally I would now, having done it.. Wonder how I ever would have coped with a little one without a LOT of help and support? Don’t hesitate to contact me if you like and best wishes for mum in law and you xxx

      Comment by Donna Appleby — November 8, 2012 @ 4:47 am |Reply

  20. Hi I took part in a paired donation 3 years ago, I gave to a man In Leeds, his female partner gave to my then fuance( now husband). After 6 days I was sick of sitting at home( out of hospital after 3 days) and took my dog on the South Downs! I felt vulnerable but great to get out! Three years on I find if I work too many nights my site aches, but I use a heat pad and listen to my body and chill out. I have found my migraines are occasionally worse… I’ve always suffered but I try and drink loads… LOADS!!! Of water and that often avoids them. I would give again in a heartbeat…. Sure it was painful but I couldn’t stand morphine which didn’t help my case…. Giving birth was painful too but with the best result, same as giving the kidney… Seeing hubby well, drinking endless cups of tea, working and just ” better” is a priceless feeling… Go for it! It’s the best gift I ever gave and I just wish I had more so I could do it again if need be in the future! Xx keep well

    Comment by Donna Appleby — November 8, 2012 @ 4:39 am |Reply

  21. Ps I was never a good drinker, but I do occasionally have a couple of vodkas or six… Prob every 6 months… Does take me longer to recover but I drink loads of water and I am forty now so that could be my age!

    Comment by Donna Appleby — November 8, 2012 @ 4:41 am |Reply

  22. I am scheduled to donate a kidney to my sister in law on January 4th. I am so very nervous, but after reading all these post. I am feeling a bit more honored than nervous!!!! Any helpful tips are greatly appreciated.

    Comment by Esmie — December 5, 2012 @ 2:32 pm |Reply

    • It’s natural to be nervous but that’s OK. Just read all you can and don’t be afraid to ask your medical team questions.

      Comment by anne315 — December 5, 2012 @ 5:12 pm |Reply

    • That’s awesome news! Good luck to you both 🙂

      Comment by Share Melvin — December 16, 2012 @ 11:42 pm |Reply

  23. Howdy all. A friend of mine (not a close friend, but we worked together for a few years and she is a neighbor too) has a husband in need of a kidney and before I researched I said I would give mine. Figured I don’t need two and he needs ONE…. so… why not. I researched and found some suggestion that donars are forgotten soon after the follow up time and that it’s not unusual for donars to fork out 1K + in the process. I also heard that life and health insurance will not consider you if you don’t have current insurance lined up. I’m about to branch off into my own business and will need insurance. My follow up time frame is 2 years so I am less concerned about that piece than I am about having to pay along the way (and impact my family… we don’t have extra $ to put towards this) and about getting insurance coverage later. Has anyone here had issues with insurance or with having to pay out of pocket for donar related expenses?

    Comment by Karen Blehm — December 10, 2012 @ 10:09 pm |Reply

    • The recipients insurance covers the surgery of the donor unless your like me where they find a pre existing condition on your half. Like for example, I am a donor for my dad and in the testing process they have found that I have an under active thyroid issue, which requires more trips to the doctor. Those trips are coming out of my insurance not my dads. But if you have a clean bill of health and everything is great then you should have no worries. You will be monitored very closely for the first year under the recipients insurance coverage, anything that is related to your donation will be covered by the recipients insurance. You should have a transplant coordinator help you with any questions you might have. If you feel that the insurance is something that is going to hold you back from being a donor but you feel that you can’t back out let your coordinator know, issues happen all the time where people change their minds and all the doctor will say is that you are not medically able to be a donor. I hope this helps and good luck 🙂

      Comment by Share Melvin — December 16, 2012 @ 11:41 pm |Reply

  24. Hi all I’m new to this page. I’ve been undergoing testing to be a donor for my dad he’s been taking treatments for three years now. We found thru my testing that I have a hypothyroid so im taking Synthroid to get my blood levels straight before donation. My question is I have really bad headaches and Tylenol extra strength doesn’t work for me and I was told that ibuprofen is a no no with only one kidney. Are there any other types of pain medications I can ask for?

    Comment by Share Melvin — December 16, 2012 @ 10:34 pm |Reply

    • Definitely talk to your coordinator and other medical professionals about what to take for pain.

      Comment by anne315 — December 17, 2012 @ 9:19 am |Reply

  25. Hello all. Thank you for all of your comments. I am 35 years old, a mother of a 2 year old and a 7 year old and my husband is a type 1 diabetic who has develped CKD and is in need of a transplant. I was just tested and I am a match! I honestly feel blessed that I have been chosen to be a match for him. I am a little nervous about taking care of my family after surgery and I’ve been doing a lot of research to find out what the “after surgery” life will be like. I do have family help but not sure how long that will last. Any advice on how to handle everything after surgery?

    Comment by Angela — December 18, 2012 @ 8:47 pm |Reply

    • In case you didn’t see these: https://anne315.wordpress.com/2011/08/26/advice-from-a-kidney-donor/ http://www.kidney.org/transplantation/livingDonors/infoQA.cfm?id=7 You will both be doing well pretty quickly but you will need relatives around for awhile because you can’t lift the children after surgery. You can’t drive for awhile. Ask your medical professionals about these restrictions and others.

      Comment by anne315 — December 18, 2012 @ 8:59 pm |Reply

    • First off thats awesome news! 🙂 From what I have been told your husband will recover faster than us donors will. You will need family and friend caregivers and your coordinator will be super strict on finding out who your caregivers will be and possibly want to meet them. You wont be allowed to drive for about three weeks and recovery can be up to eight weeks but ive heard walking a little each day will help. A donors maximum weight limit for lifting is a gallon of milk and no standing for long periods of time. If you have and office job you will probably be able to get back to work sooner, I’m a waitress so I’ll be off of the floor for a while. I’m going throught the same process with my dad to become a donor. The recovery and caregiver part seem to be hardest part of this process. It’s great that your a match! Best wishes for you and your husband Angela with a speedy recovery.

      Comment by Share melvin — December 18, 2012 @ 9:00 pm |Reply

  26. I donated my kidney almost 9 months ago to my 17 year old son who had stage 5 chronic kidney failure due to type 2 mpgn that he was diagnosed with when he was 7. The evaluation and testing process was so involved and lengthy and the only concearn that any of the doctors had was that I was a smoker. That in itself did not disqualify me from being his donor, and everything else came back fine and blood and tissue type was a match. I decided to quit smoking for my own health since it is more taxing on your body to only have 1 kidney and you can be more succeptable to high blood pressure. My last cigarette was the night before the transplant 3/20/12
    !! I havent had any issues with quitting smoking and donating has been a great motivation for me to quit, I want to be as healthy as I can be so I can be around as long as possible with my son. My main concearn is that since the surgery 9 months ago I have gained 45 pounds. Have any other donors had an issue with weight gain at an unhealthy rate like this? My transplant surgeon was very displeased at my 6 month post surgery check up and expressed great concearn for the weight gain. I have started watching my calorie intake and eating healthier and cant seem to make any progress towards losing the weight. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Comment by April Taylor — January 9, 2013 @ 6:10 am |Reply

  27. Hi, I donated my kidney to my brother on 10th Dec 2012. Its been 1 month and I am feeling great, I dont feel any different. I feel blessed that I was the one to help my brother and he is doing just great. When I asked him how he feels now, he said, every morning when he gets up,he feels so happy that he could be normal, dont have to do peritonial dialysis and he can pee like any other person. Since the transplant I am so happy to hear that he has gained about 3 kgs (was 50kg- underweight) and he feels hungry always. My recovery was very fast. Within a day, I stated to walk out of the ICU and within 3 days I was out of the hospital. My bro stayed about 3 extra day after I left, that’s all!! Aanyone thinking of donating, do it. Believe me, its a very rewarding experience seeing your loved ones leading a normal life.

    Comment by Ramesh — January 11, 2013 @ 10:19 pm |Reply

    • Hi Ramesh. Thank you for posting that great story on your recovery. I am donating to my sister in law. Our original date of January 4 was rescheduled only a few days before surgery and I am back to feeling nervous. The new date is March 1st. I tend to worry about my recovery and your post really helps. What state did you have your procedure done?

      Comment by Esmie — January 14, 2013 @ 3:31 pm |Reply

      • Hello Esmie, I live in Canada and the rest of my family is from Malaysia. The hospitals there are great and I am sure ours in north America are better. I am sure your surgury will be laparoscopy where you will have 2 stab holes of one inchs and a small cut to remove the kidney of about 3 inches. As I said, within a day you will be able to walk and within 3 to 4 days you will be out of the hospital. I bet you, apart from the discomfort of fresh wound, you would not feel any differnce. Your createnine level might go up, but this is only temporary. Once your single kidney grows a little bigger, the createnine level will come down with a little less meat, lots of veg and excercise. Esmie, what you are doing is nobel and you should be proud of youself giving a new life to your sis in law. After the surgery, within 2 days you will see the positive changes in your sis in law, and that alone will make you fill with joy, you are able to positively change another person’s life!! Its normal to feel a littel nervous, afterall we are human. But your action of donating a part of you to save another, is indeed divine. I wish you all the best and I hope you will make the right decision. Good luck.

        Comment by Ramesh — January 14, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

      • Thanks Ramesh. I don’t ever consider changing my mind. I think the fear of the unknown. The Texas Transplant has been wonderful, so I trust they will take good care of us. So happy to hear you are doing well.

        Pam,
        Congrats to you and your Mom!!! So happy for you.

        Comment by Esmie — January 16, 2013 @ 5:23 pm

  28. I donated a kidney to my mom Dec. 28, 2012. I will be returning to work on Tues Jan. 22.. It was certainly a little more painful than I expected but after the first 5 days I felt more alive. My mom came to visit me the day of surgery. She felt that good. They said my kidney started working on the operating room table. She has had ups and downs mainly because of the medications she has to take. It is still difficult for me to sleep mainly because when I move it pulls. I still get tired very easy and after a few hours the incision will start hurting but it has only been 3 weeks. The only other problem is some back pain on the side where my kidney was removed. I would do it again in a heartbeat. 🙂
    Pam

    Comment by Pam Lamb — January 15, 2013 @ 9:43 pm |Reply

  29. Hi all. I just donated a kidney to my husband of 42 years. It all took place Jan.9. 2013. 11 days ago. I am also having trouble with sleep. I normally sleep on my side and part of my stomach so that is a bummer for me now. I am still on extra strength Tylenol and the odd time take a Tylenol with codeine. The thing that bothers me the most is the way I feel at the beginning of the day. It takes me until noon or later to feel decent enough to go to the hospital. I know it is early but the feeling of weakness is driving my crazy.
    I am so happy that I could do this for my husband even though we were different blood types. He is doing well so far with no rejection which makes me happy. It is good to read these things because it is so easy to get down after an surgery. Thanks

    Comment by Mary — January 20, 2013 @ 1:14 pm |Reply

    • You are being way too hard on yourself. You need to take it easy. 11 days after surgery there were days I only moved from bed to the couch. For you to go to the hospital honestly is probably too much. REST!!! I had a lot of trouble with sleep for a few weeks after surgery. Good luck to you both.

      Comment by CCC — January 27, 2013 @ 12:23 pm |Reply

      • This is five weeks after surgery and I am doing really well. My Husband has no rejection yet so we are happy about that. We still have a journey but I just know everything will work out for us. Thanks for your comment. I did continue to go and visit my husband but I think it actually made me stronger the next day.

        Comment by Mary hall — February 12, 2013 @ 10:39 pm

  30. Hello. I donated my kidney in 2009 and my recovery took much longer than expected. I read lots of blogs that said they felt fine after a month or two. It all depends on how active you are. It took me a full 9 months to be able to do all of things I wanted to do. Exercise, hiking, cross country skiing. I think being in shape helps you recover faster, but the more active you are the longer it takes to be back to 100%. I am a teacher and went back to work after 4 weeks but it is was tiring. I also had never had surgery so was shocked at how I felt after. I think everyone wants people to donate so they don’t always tell the whole truth. Oddly enough after I donated my kidney to my Aunt. My mom got kidney cancer 4 months later and had to have it removed. She said she felt great after 3 months. But she was 71 and not active. I think the more active you are the longer the perceived recovery as you put more demand on your body. Don’t get me wrong I felt great after 2 months but no way was I 100%. I still couldn’t do sit ups or my reg exercise routine until 9 months. Being an active person it was tough. By the way My aunt who I donated too is doing awesome and I would totally do it again. Just be realistic about the recovery if you are an active person.

    Comment by CCC — January 27, 2013 @ 12:18 pm |Reply

    • So refreshing. So honest. I know of two kidney donors and one had to retrain (she could not return to her active job) and the other took over a year to get back to his normal. Donating for a loved one must be a marvellous thing to do but returning to 100% if you are active may be harder than you are told.

      Comment by LCC — September 18, 2013 @ 6:08 pm |Reply

  31. I have a GFR question for all of you kidney donors. Three years after surgery my GFR is 57. My Creatinine is 1.15 and my BUN is 13. I am curious as to your numbers. I can’t find anything on the internet that says what
    “normal” is for one kidney. I am 47. I would love it if you could post your numbers so we can all see what the ranges are. I know it is different for different ages and all that but I am curious to what we are all at. No one seems to be willing to say what we should be at. The Drs. just say you are OK. Thanks,!!

    Comment by CCC — January 27, 2013 @ 12:28 pm |Reply

  32. My scars look just like those!!! I’m 6 months out and doing great…so is the man I donated to. He calls me “sister”. We are forever bound.

    Comment by Amy Rye — January 27, 2013 @ 5:28 pm |Reply

  33. Hello,
    I have been doing online research about becoming a living donor and came across this blog. I am in contact with parkland hospital in Dallas to give the gift of life to someone I dont know ,that I am match to on the top of the list. Reading your blog has really helped me get ready for this.

    Comment by Danielle — February 12, 2013 @ 5:47 pm |Reply

    • Thanks so much, exactly why I wrote this blog. Wonderful of you to donate!

      Comment by anne315 — February 12, 2013 @ 9:58 pm |Reply

    • if you haven’t already, do a google search about affect on adrenal gland when the left kidney is donated.

      Comment by mk — February 12, 2013 @ 11:09 pm |Reply

  34. In July 2009, my partner was diagnosed with CKD (Chronic kidney Disease). We were devastated. The doctor told him he had three options: Dialysis, transplant or doing nothing and die. In December that year under the Christmas tree, there was a small gift addressed to him. When he opened it, there was a note from me offering him one of my kidneys. I had decided to give him a kidney for Christmas. Of course there had to be many tests, but after several tests, including a test to see if we were a match – we were. In June the following year (2010), almost a year after his diagnosis, doctors at Christiana Care Hospital in Delaware, did a successful transplant. We have both been keeping good health since then and this year, as we celebrate our third anniversary, I will give him my hand (in marriage), the same place I gave him my kidney – at the Christiana Care Hospital. Giving “life” gives one an awesome feeling and I encourage anyone reading this to become a donor – whether it’s a living donor or your signature willing your organs should you die at a young age.
    Roxanne.

    Comment by Roxanne Gibbs — February 20, 2013 @ 2:43 pm |Reply

    • What a wonderful story! Congratulations to both of you! Send some pictures if you wish and I will post them on this blog.

      Comment by anne315 — February 20, 2013 @ 5:26 pm |Reply

  35. Hi again. I am now 6 weeks after my surgery. I donated to my husband of 42 years. We were different blood types and because of that he had to go through 5 months of desensitizing. He is getting stronger everyday and has had no rejection. I am feeling totally normal now. I am not tired and I feel like I haven’t gone through any surgery. I am so glad I did this and have no regrets. My creatinine was 65 when I left the hospital and will have it tested in a few weeks. It is a great thing to do and really we only need one kidney
    Mary H.

    Comment by Mary hall — February 20, 2013 @ 5:50 pm |Reply

  36. Feb 9th I donated a kidney to my dad, nurses told me I wouldn’t leave the hospital for atleast 4-5 days. I’m happy to say that Monday the day of the surgery I was up and walking that evening, that Wednesday I was able to sleep in the comfort of my own home. By weeks end I had (with help) changed my brakes on the car and oil changes. Now almost 2 weeks after I do get tired out of the blue but can almost do the normal activities that I once did. I will be returning to work this monday although I have thought about going earlier but why, vacation is great. Sleeping is a discomfort but I notice everyday gets better. I too sleep on my side and found that a pillow between the legs and around the belly is actually comfortable. Slight pains when I sneeze but holding my belly before helps A LOT! I am not on any pain meds and have been off for about 2 days. Bathroom trips are frequent but I assume this will start to go back to norm soon enough. I’m grateful that I was able to give my dad his life back, hes on the up an up.

    Leon

    Comment by pcby04 — February 24, 2013 @ 1:40 am |Reply

    • Congrats on your wonderful gift of life! Glad to hear that you are doing so well.

      Comment by anne315 — February 24, 2013 @ 2:28 pm |Reply

  37. hello,
    i had removed my right kidney two years ago due to its small size ,i want to ask can i go for gym & lift weight

    Comment by sameer — March 3, 2013 @ 10:13 am |Reply

    • Check with a physician to be sure, probably depends on the heaviness of the weights, how you lift etc

      Comment by anne315 — March 3, 2013 @ 11:09 am |Reply

  38. This is now almost 8 weeks since I donated my kidney to my husband. I feel totally well now. No pain, no nothing. I am not tired and everything seems to be fine. This is the best thing I have done in my life. My husband is doing great with no rejection

    Comment by Mary Hall — March 3, 2013 @ 1:04 pm |Reply

    • Congratulations! Glad to hear everything is going well for the two of you.

      Comment by Tammy — April 15, 2013 @ 11:14 am |Reply

  39. My kidney has been removed about about 13years ago I just want to know if my increase in weight gain might have anything to do with me having one kidney….

    Comment by nicole sakoor — March 4, 2013 @ 10:41 am |Reply

  40. I donated kidney to my brother July 1982. When someone you love becomes ill you wish you could help and donating a kidney is the way to save a life. I am now 64 and doing well. My brother developed diabetes at nine years old, lost eyesight at 22, kidney failure at 28. At 48 he passed away of heart failure. He had 20 years of wonderful life experienes and I was privileded to be his sister and his donor. Having my son donating to my brother are my greatest accomplishments. Thought a note from someone who was a long ago donor would be helpful to people getting ready to donate.

    Comment by wheets — March 9, 2013 @ 11:02 pm |Reply

  41. In Feb. of 2012 I donated a kdney so my daughter could get a kidney. She was on dialysis for 3 years after she lost her kidneys due to hus/ttp.
    My recovery went quite well. We went to Mayo Rochester because the local hospital said I was to old to donate. I was in my 60’s. My kidney function was excellent and my kiidney went to a lady close to my age. I now have a new “sister” and her son is a great guy that I have enjoyed adding to my family.
    My daughter is doing well and gets more time with her little girl.
    I would do this surgery again if I had another to spare!

    Comment by Phyllis — March 21, 2013 @ 12:58 pm |Reply

    • So nice of you. It really does give you a great feeling and it is so nice to see a loved one off of dialysis

      Comment by Mary — March 21, 2013 @ 7:12 pm |Reply

  42. hii my friend…pls help me..i donated my kidney to my father on 11th march…yesterday my stiches are removed..and my age is only 24..nd i smoke heavily..and can i still smoke 2 or 3 cigaratte in a day if i have only one kidney pls reply me friend..because i really want to smoke…

    Comment by rayan — March 25, 2013 @ 2:41 am |Reply

    • Talk to a doctor to help you quit smoking entirely. Smoking is the one of the worst things you can do when you only have one kidney–or even if you have two kidneys.

      Comment by anne315 — March 25, 2013 @ 10:56 am |Reply

    • hello Rayan: It was great of you to donate your kidney to your father. Congratulations. But your question about smoking is one you should discuss with your doctor. My advice is that you cut back on your smoking as much as possible with a goal of cutting it out all together. Smoking is not good, even if you have two kidneys. Good luck.

      Comment by Roxanne — March 25, 2013 @ 10:58 am |Reply

    • Rayan just quit. You will develop so many other illnesses if you don’t. That is the first thing they asked my husband when he found out he had kidney disease. It is one of many things that happens to smokers. I donated to my husband and we both have to really take care of ourselves with only one kidney. Take care and I hope you can quit easily. Mary

      Comment by Mary — March 25, 2013 @ 1:13 pm |Reply

  43. hi there..i donated my kidney to my dad 20 yrs ago i was not married then i was 19 only bt bt failed after 24 hrs..it was my dad’s second transplant. he died 16 yrs ago due to 3rd transplant in madras. now i m married n had 16 yrs son. i hv a question i sometime drink wine at party only is it ok? how much water shoud i drink in a day? thank u.

    Comment by uma bhattarai — March 29, 2013 @ 8:56 pm |Reply

    • Ask your doctor but occasional alcohol use should be all right. Drinking water is always a good thing to do.

      Comment by anne315 — April 1, 2013 @ 10:04 am |Reply

  44. hi i want to donate my kidney to my friend i am now 28 year old i have one baby. i want to know that can i survive my life with one kidney

    Comment by babulal — April 6, 2013 @ 5:16 am |Reply

    • Lots of people live with one kidney due to donation or illness and live full lives, but it is best to consult a medical professional if you have questions.

      Comment by anne315 — April 6, 2013 @ 11:00 am |Reply

  45. Thank you so much for putting this online! And thank you to all the donors who commented and put their experience and knowledge here too! I’m currently looking into becoming a altruistic donor and I’m trying to get all the information I can and everything here has been incredibly helpful!!!

    I’ll be going in for preliminary testing soon and I’ve been working on a list of points that I want to address and everyone’s input here is just what I’ve been looking for! It’s wonderful to have donors to look up to! Thanks again!

    Comment by Nicole Fitzsimmons — April 10, 2013 @ 12:58 am |Reply

    • I just donated my left kidney to a friend of mine who was on dialysis three times a week for 3 hours at a time on March 26, 2013. I was up an walking an hour after I came out of surgery and I feel great. I had my two week follow up and the doctors say I am healing above the curve. I have not had to take any pain medication since I left the hospital. I went back to work part time for the last two weeks and Monday I can go back to work full time on Monday. I agree with everyone here that I do get tired just doing everyday tasks. But I have a great support system and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to improve his quality of life. My friend has been having some difficulties, but nothing to do with the kidney, that is functioning at 95% right now and the doctors say it will only increase. I keep praying that his body will straighten out and adjust to the changes.

      Comment by Tammy — April 11, 2013 @ 3:49 pm |Reply

      • Hi Tammy. You are a special person to do this for your friend.
        I also donated to my husband. I did very well but because he was so sick before the transplant it took him quite a while to get strong again. Dialysis was so hard on him. It is three months for us right now and he is doing really well and I feel like nothing ever happened to me. Hang in there. You will feel great soon and hopefully he will do great too. It all takes baby steps.
        Mary

        Comment by Mary — April 11, 2013 @ 4:44 pm

  46. Hi Mary, Thanks for the nice comment. And what a way to show your husband you love him. You are a very special person. I just wish more people would jump on board and decide to donate. The process is long but not as painful and scary as people make it seem. And if it is the cost, the recipients insurance usually takes care of all the cost. And if you get in touch with the National Living Donor Assistance Center they can assist you with travel, food, and lodging if you qualify….It is a WONDERFUL cause, giving someone the chance at a better quality of life.

    Comment by Tammy — April 12, 2013 @ 2:21 pm |Reply

    • Hi Tammy. We are lucky because we live in Canada. We never have to worry about costs. We just show our card and that is it. I must say that the cost of gas and parking downtown Toronto did add up though. That is also covered by the donor programs. I haven’t sent my bills in yet but when I go for my appointment this week I will probably start sending some stuff in. We live about an hour and a half from the transplant hospital. If my husband goes for appointments his gas and parking are not paid for.Just the donor.
      I am so happy that you have the support you need.
      Thanks for sharing life with you friend. We need more people like you
      Mary

      Comment by Mary — April 12, 2013 @ 2:49 pm |Reply

      • hi im romel im only 19 year old can i donate my kidney. ?

        Comment by romel — June 7, 2013 @ 10:39 am

      • If you are talking about living donation, it will vary by hospital and possibly your state/province etc. for the legal age of consent for live donation. Some hospitals won’t take anyone under the age of 21 while others may have age 18 as the age of consent. I would discuss this issue with a medical professional and your family, espcially if you are still ilving with your parents.

        If you are talking about a donor registry for donation after death, the age of 18 is often the legal age of consent, but minors can usually register with parental consent.

        Comment by anne315 — June 7, 2013 @ 11:14 am

      • thank!you think if i have one kidney left…..can i ride bike ?like downhill biking?

        Comment by romel(06) — June 9, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

      • Check with a medical professional.Some suggest that people with one kidney should avoid contact sports. Anyone with a single kidney who decides to participate in these sports should be extra careful and wear protective padding.

        Comment by anne315 — June 9, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

  47. I’ve gone through all the steps/evaluations for kidney donation to the husband of my friend (and they are neighbors… but we don’t see each other much due to his illness and our work schedules). Got the green light for donation. Picked the date (in June). And waiting and hoping past healing issues I had with a previous surgery won’t happen this time too. I am 51 and my youngest child is 6. I have the summer to heal up but then need to get right back to work. My husband is supportive of my decision and would have given his kidney except he is a different blood type. The rest of my family (including adult children) are either upset that I am doing this or uninterested. My mother was an RN and does not want me doing this donation. So I am trying to balance the disinterest on the part of some family members and the negativity on the part of others while mentally preparing for the DD. I do have one concern regarding my glucose level. I intensely monitor my sugar intake and avoid it as much as possible. Yet my glucose level was upper edge of normal…. which I consider to be a concern. It was 99 on the last check. There was diabetes on my mother’s side of the family (her father and brother). No one else in our large family has diabetes. Do you think this is a big enough concern to not donate? Also, my liver level was up a bit…. most likely because I tend to drink a couple glasses of wine at night with dinner, which I know I just need to reduce. The docs all said my levels were not an issue of concern. But I can’t help but wonder about the glucose issue…. especially given the fact I am so anti sugar ( I do eat pasta at times…. don’t drink soda or any other type of drink…. other than the wine and regular coffee/no sugar and water). Any words of wisdom or encouragement could help ease my mind… I certainly won’t be hearing those words from most of my family. Thanks!

    Comment by Karen — April 14, 2013 @ 10:18 pm |Reply

    • The psychology of donation is quite complex at times. I wrote an earlier blog on this: https://anne315.wordpress.com/2011/08/07/dont-worry-family-and-friends/ I had some people who weren’t thrilled with my donating–people are concerned about the dangers of surgery and complications. I shared articles with them about the success rates and long-term good health of donors. The main thing is, how do YOU feel about it? If you have serious doubts I wouldn’t donate. You have to do what is right for you. I would talk to your primary doctor or even a specialist about your glucose concerns. You have to keep your own health in mind.

      Comment by anne315 — April 15, 2013 @ 10:47 am |Reply

      • I am fine with donating. A tad concerned about the glucose level that was higher than I expected it to be considering my lifestyle/diet. But if the docs say it’s not a real concern, then I guess it isn’t. I know I will continue to live as healthy as I possibly can. I guess I didn’t have the negative comments from close friends and family. I guess I expected …. support and positive comments or a WOW…. that’s great! Or something like that. I don’t NEED that from anyone. I’m just surprised that I am getting so much of the other stuff instead. I would want someone to donate to my family members if I could not. I have the ability to donate… to help someone live a better live…. to maybe help make it possible for him to be here longer for his wife and kids and not be so sick. In 10 years I probably would never be accepted for this due to age. I have the green light to help someone… and by extension also help his family, including my friend and her son who is our babysitter. I’m not the type to just not help. So I expect to be donating on that date.

        Comment by Karen — April 15, 2013 @ 7:33 pm

    • Karen, What a great person you are to be giving the gift of life to another, it is a remarkable thing you are doing and the world needs more people in it like you. I did not tell my parents or siblings until a week before my surgery so I did not get the negative feedback. I knew what I was doing was the right thing to do, and I would want someone to do it for me if the roles were reversed.
      When it comes to your glucose level, if the doctors had any issue with the level they would not let you donate, the process would have been stopped when it was discovered. One of my transplants teams main goals was to make sure that by donating it would not have an adverse effect on my well being. They want to make sure both parties involved have a “normal” life after the procedure.

      Comment by Tammy — April 15, 2013 @ 11:10 am |Reply

    • Hi Karen
      I was sad after I read your letter. It would be so much nicer if you had the support from your family.
      Karen I don’t know if you knew this but you don’t have to be a match. I donated to my husband 3 months ago. His is 0- and I am A+. He is doing excellent with no signs of rejection. If your friends wife is healthy or one of his family members and they don’t have the same blood type they also can donate to him. His blood would have to be desensitized first though which would take 4 treatments one month apart. He would also have plasma exchanges which take a couple weeks.
      If you have any feelings of doubt you shouldn’t go through with it. The doctors told me that if I changed my mind they would just tell the recipient which was my husband that I wasn’t able to give. They will not tell that person why. I do hear hesitation in your letter that is why I am telling you this.
      I also have to tell you that it was the best thing I have ever done in my life.
      I healed quickly and I feel great. There is nothing more rewarding than donating life to someone.
      I hope everything turns out well for you and your friend. Mary

      Comment by Mary — April 15, 2013 @ 4:47 pm |Reply

  48. Helo, I’m 25years old girl and is madly in Love with a 28years old guy who lost his kidney at a very early age of 13, we both love each other a lot but are very concern about our future, Is getting married safe. can we live normal and happy married life, is anything regarding age depends on kidney number.
    Please suggest

    Comment by Apoorva — May 2, 2013 @ 2:45 pm |Reply

    • Talk to a doctor about your specific concerns but most people with a single kidney live perfectly normal lives. The best to you!

      Comment by anne315 — May 2, 2013 @ 9:51 pm |Reply

  49. I recently underwent an altruistic donation a couple of weeks ago. I’m almost at week 2 of my recovery and I must say that the overall experience has been joyful and completely worthwhile. Reading this has been very helpful and reassuring as well. Surrounding oneself with positive support goes a long way in this journey. At first I didn’t understand what few negative responses I got from family and friends meant, but after a successful surgery for the recipient and I, I now understand that they had my best interest at heart.
    I am looking forward to reading more stories and experiences on here.

    Comment by Caleb Gaines — May 6, 2013 @ 10:03 pm |Reply

  50. Hello Everyone, I’m a 25years old girl and I’m in Love with a
    28years old boy having one kidney. Like us he does not have control on
    urine and stool passage. There is a continuous leakage normally he is
    alright but sometimes while sneezing or shouting urine passes out nd
    sometimes while sleeping too. On some treatments it was being told that it
    is due to weak walls of bladder which cannot hold a sufficient amount of
    urine and results in leakage. Due to this his kidney was removed at an
    early age of 12 or 13 We are madly in Love with each other and want to
    marry but we are afraid. I want to know is any kind of treatment is
    possible in such case so that other kidney remain unaffected. At present he
    does not have any infection in other kidney but sometimes he realises acute
    pain in the right side of the body. I’ve heard about Natural products for
    keeping kidneys in good health and saw Kidney Dr. Kindly suggest what kind
    of treatments and precautions can we take to be in good condition of health, Recently he was suggested few tests, according to which there’s a kinda swelling in his Right kidney.
    Is this a serious condition, kindly give suggestions
    so that we may marry each other and live happily. please help

    Comment by Apoorva Sharma — May 9, 2013 @ 2:17 am |Reply

    • You need to talk to a doctor, probably a nephrologist. Best of luck!

      Comment by anne315 — May 9, 2013 @ 11:03 am |Reply

  51. Hello,
    My name is Michele and I was reading through this site and some comments. I am seriously debating donating a kidney to a man whom I don’t even know, to save his life. I realize that recovery rate is different for everyone. But how long until you feel you were able to get out of bed? I don’t want to take too much time off at work. And I have a 4 year old. But I want to do something selfless. And also did you find that after wards in the recover period or after recovery did you lose weight or gain it? Thank you so much

    Comment by MissMichele — May 19, 2013 @ 7:38 pm |Reply

    • Recovery times vary from person to person. Most people have laparoscopic removal which is easier, but you may have to approve “open” (traditional kidney removal) just in case the surgeon can’t remove the kidney via laparoscopic method. “Open” is rare but you may need to plan on it just in case. This gives you a good idea. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/patientinstructions/000295.htm You won’t be able to lift your child for several weeks. Most donors don’t gain weight.

      Comment by anne315 — May 19, 2013 @ 7:49 pm |Reply

      • Michele the surgery is not too bad. I was going up to the hospital to visit my husband within a week. I got home in 4 days. I was a bit frustrated because I thought I should feel better faster but it came. I am 62 and donated to my husband. I sometimes think that if I would have been younger it might have been easier. It has been four months and I honestly don’t feel any different. Everyone is doing great.

        Comment by Mary — May 19, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

  52. I am donating to a friend’s husband Wednesday June 12 … got the full green light from docs. I figured if it was meant to be, all would fall into place. And it has. Hoping he recovers quickly and gets back to a better quality of life. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

    Comment by Karen — June 7, 2013 @ 4:18 pm |Reply

    • What a wonderful thing you are doing! My best to you both.

      Comment by anne315 — June 7, 2013 @ 9:18 pm |Reply

    • This will be one of the best things you’ll do in your life. Good luck to all

      Comment by Mary hall — June 7, 2013 @ 9:26 pm |Reply

  53. Hey guys I am 17 I only have one kidney u had my left kidney taken out at 12 I found out because I constantly had bladder infections and very sick all the time I also had very high blood pressure but after I got my kidney removed I now am completley fine(: thank you for all the donors u all are amazing

    Comment by Erin — June 14, 2013 @ 6:17 am |Reply

    • Glad you are doing well! Kidney donors are heroes but so are people who battle kidney disease.

      Comment by anne315 — June 14, 2013 @ 11:10 am |Reply

  54. My mother is 81 years old, and her kidney were failing, we applied to UCDMC but they denied us. We then got in touch with UCSF and the numerous tests and incisions were all worth it, My mother has energy again and she is finally eating. I would do it again in a heartbeat

    Comment by Julie — June 27, 2013 @ 12:46 am |Reply

  55. Hats off to all heroes who donated their kidney for the well being of others. People with one kidney avoid sports that involve higher risks of heavy contact or collision. This includes, but is not limited to, boxing, field hockey, football, ice hockey, Lacrosse, martial arts, rodeo, soccer and wrestling. This may also include extreme activities such as skydiving. Anyone with a single kidney who decides to participate in these sports should be extra careful and wear protective padding. He or she should understand that the consequences of losing a single kidney are very serious.

    Comment by fortisurology — June 27, 2013 @ 8:41 am |Reply

  56. My brother suggested I might like this web site. He was
    once entirely right. This post truly made my day. You can not consider just how a lot
    time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

    Comment by webpage — July 3, 2013 @ 10:40 am |Reply

  57. I have so much admiration for those of you that have donated a kidney. How amazing, to be able to give a part of yourself, to help another person live!

    I lost a kidney to infection so am not able to donate but I regularly find myself here reading these comments and feeling heartened by the generosity of others.

    Comment by Jennie — July 6, 2013 @ 10:49 pm |Reply

  58. At 51, I donated kidney just over 3 weeks ago to spouse of an ex coworker … they also live in our neighborhood. Things went well for me with exception of a reaction to steri strips which I am allergic to (as was noted on my allergy band). Sort of a chemical burn reaction. That was my only issue that I needed to get beyond directly related to donation. Still under weight lifting restriction. Nothing over 10 lbs. No biggie. I have to remind myself though all the time because I feel so normal, and my 6 year old is very good about reminding me. I do have pain in right side (the side they took due to lay out of my internals… left was more complicated). But the pain is minimal. Recipient is doing well regarding acceptance of kidney. I’m very glad. He has a few other issues now he can focus on getting beyond. But I feel honored that I could help him out and… by extension… help his family. I’m glad all the pieces fell into place. I talk about the donation frequently and did prior to donating…. not because I want back pats or kudos… but because I want others to be aware so that more people needing donation might have a better chance of finding a donor sooner than later. I hope that if anyone in my family is ever in need that someone with ability to help will make that choice TO help. I am sure most people would make that choice.

    Comment by Karen — July 7, 2013 @ 10:31 pm |Reply

  59. Hi,
    I came across your blog a couple of weeks ago and am grateful for your insight! I will donate on behalf of my mom as part of a three pair transplant on August 29.
    I would like to share this picture of the donor scars on my blog. Do you mind and/or know the source? I just joined your site, so you can contact me via email.
    I look forward to learning more from you!
    Thanks,
    Christie

    Comment by Christie — July 11, 2013 @ 1:04 pm |Reply

  60. When i got the call saying i could donate..i was so excited. i wanted to see if someone would share their experience with me. trust me, i have read all that was out there..but cannot seem to find anything on the experience of the donor..would be grateful for the nudge in right way..thanks

    Comment by Cynthia — August 1, 2013 @ 3:23 pm |Reply

  61. I had kidney problems when i was 4 years old and got one of my kidney removed now i’m 19 years old and i am well fit and living life normally like everyone else..

    Comment by Prince K — August 10, 2013 @ 2:29 am |Reply

  62. My sister in law is scheduled to receive a kidney from a living donor next month. Our family would like to give the donor a nice gift although we know that we can never fully repay her for her gift. Do you have any suggestions or ideas for such a gift/gifts? Anything that would have made life a little easier or less stressful after surgery?

    Comment by Kylynn Krotzer — August 18, 2013 @ 11:56 am |Reply

    • How nice of you! I am sure she would like anything. Books or DVDs to read/watch while recovering? I got those and a great bag filled with little treats, toiletries etc. Also bringing a meal over or having one delivered is a great idea.

      Comment by anne315 — August 18, 2013 @ 8:33 pm |Reply

  63. Hey there! Awesome that u donated a kidney I donated mine almost 10 yrs. ago when I was just 20 yrs. old to my dad!:) ❤

    Comment by Becky M — September 10, 2013 @ 1:46 am |Reply

  64. I donated early June this year to the husband of a friend. Only issue was my allergy to medical adhesive tapes – steri strips…. which were still used. Lots of blistering and such which caused longer healing time and scars which will probably never go away. Wish they hadn’t used steri strips. But I have scars from another surgery where I realized just how allergic I was to the strips. Scars don’t bother me. The increased healing time was a bother. But worth helping someone live a better life. But beyond that…. just had to remind myself not to pick up anything beyond weight limit, including my 6 year old…. he was very good about reminding me of the limitation. My small terrier dog weighed too much for me to lift as well. I felt great and still do. Having that restriction was tough just because I felt so normal. I didn’t have to worry about work issues as I am a teacher and planned the surgery for the start of summer vaca. Usually I work in the summer but opted not to this year in order to do the surgery. Recipient is doing well and I’m glad I was able to help. I’d do it again if I had another “extra” kidney to donate. I am in my 50s and I’ve talked to some people who think age would limit them. But if you are healthy through all the steps of the process then there shouldn’t be a problem in donation. Don’t let that expectation that you are “too old” to donate. Age is just a number. Health is the biggest factor (in my opinion). And support of family (such as my husband and son). 🙂

    Comment by Karen — September 10, 2013 @ 10:25 pm |Reply

  65. Hi,
    3 months ago I had my left Kidney removed as it was only functioning at 14%.
    I am still getting pain on the left side. However my consultant has told me it is possible to still get pain for up to 18 months after surgery. I think that this pain is alot easier to deal with that having water infections and excrutiating pain almost every day. I hope within another 12 months I will be fully receovered. It is no different living with just 1 kidney, but like said i suppose you have to be careful with certain things you do. I also found that drinking alcohol caused my only kidney to be in pain, not sure what this is down to. So, I made the desicion of not to drink at all. I am only 21 years old. Me & my boyfriend are planning to walk the Yorkshire 3 Peaks in a years time to raise money for Kidney Research UK.

    Congratulations to everyone who has donated their kidneys and good luck to those who are ill due to kidney problems x

    Comment by Laura — September 16, 2013 @ 11:13 am |Reply

    • Congrats on your donation and your upcoming walk!

      Comment by anne315 — September 16, 2013 @ 4:01 pm |Reply

  66. Hi, Anna its great that you have a blog on this. I donated my kidney on the 15/10/13 to my younger brother. I do not talk about it often, because I usually worry or get embarrassed about the feedback I get. But reading your blog and the comments has made me realise its important to share the story to encourage others to do so as well. Donating my kidney, gave me a new life, not just my brother. As all kidney donors are, I was very healthy but took my health and body for granted,I hardly engaged in anything strenuous or physical. Now, I dance, walk everyday, run, bike and enjoy and use my body for different activities. I do not take my body or being healthy for granted anymore. I am shy about my scar and I think being self-conscious about your scar is something we should be comfortable talking about, even if it sounds vain,lol. But, I see it as a battle scar and knowing my brother can eat whatever he wants now, have a fairly normal life and not have to do dialysis every week or live with the constant fear of death, makes it worth it.

    Comment by ohomsremi — September 20, 2013 @ 4:11 am |Reply

    • Congrats on your donation! I love what you said: “Donating my kidney, gave me a new life, not just my brother.” Show your scar proudly! It’s not my scar that bothers me, just that I am too tubby to show my midriff…

      Comment by anne315 — September 20, 2013 @ 9:54 am |Reply

  67. Congrats on helping ur dad. I also gave my dad a kidney back in Aug of 1996 . Unfortunately three and a half years later he ended up with an infection in a heart valve but didnt find out where it was until it was too late and he passed away sept 9, 1999.

    Comment by Jessie — September 23, 2013 @ 4:41 pm |Reply

  68. For the person who said she was concerned about not being able to pick up her 3 year old baby, I donated when my baby was just 10 months old believe it I’m sure he understood what was going on because he would just coje up to me and lay his little head on my lap. God is wonderful everything worked and it’s ben 4 great years and everyone is doijg fine!

    Comment by Daidy — October 5, 2013 @ 11:56 pm |Reply

  69. I gave my son a kidney14 years ago. I discovered i had high blood pressure 5 years ago so i started back runnining lifting weights and taking blood pressure pills. My blood pressure has lowered and i feel great. I am now 57 years old.

    Comment by leamon brown — October 11, 2013 @ 5:17 pm |Reply

  70. January 24,2014 will be 9 years that I had my kidney removed.. And I feel super. I always had in my head that people with one kidney lived for only a few years. But after reading about this I feel so much better.. I haven’t gotten sick and I live a normal life. I really want to have another kid but scared that it might not be safe for me or the baby.. Anybody knows if it is?? Please help me

    Comment by Delia Totten — January 15, 2014 @ 12:25 am |Reply

    • Glad that you are doing so well! Pregnancy is usually OK for donors once time has passed but ALWAYS consult a physician. http://www.kidney.org/transplantation/livingdonors/infoQA.cfm?id=7#7g

      Comment by anne315 — January 15, 2014 @ 9:24 am |Reply

    • Hello, if any one out there is concerned about having kids after donating , don’t be scared I was able to conceive and give birth to my beautiful little girl she is now 9 months. My husband was reluctant due to to donating but I knew his in his heart he wanted one more. So I went to my kidney Dr. And asked every question I could and his reply was you are healthly as any one else and your numbers look good- so if u are concerned about any health issues ask your dr. I hope this helps and fyi I’m no spring chicken lol.

      Comment by Daisy — January 16, 2014 @ 11:29 pm |Reply

  71. I gave my son a kidney 15 years ago andhe Iis doing great. I am 58 years old and I run 44 miles weekly and lift weights at least 3 times a week.

    Comment by leamon brown — January 18, 2014 @ 7:17 am |Reply

  72. Hello every one, iam 23 and i work in night shifts, i just want to know can i continue working in night shift after donating a kidney? And does it effect the sexual life ?

    Comment by mirza raza — January 22, 2014 @ 10:13 am |Reply

    • Both should be OK, but consult a physician for your specific questions.

      Comment by anne315 — January 22, 2014 @ 10:44 am |Reply

  73. Hi everybody, am 51 yrs, got laparoscopic radical nephrectomy done for my right kidney, last month, due to renal mass growth in mid polar region. Histopathology reports were clear renal cell carcinoma. I am fit and fine now. imp advise to all: No smoking and if drinking, only moderate. Avoid physical injury to ur solitary kidney. Take care and regards, Rajinder

    Comment by Rajinder — February 15, 2014 @ 3:48 pm |Reply

  74. Hi Guys,
    I am soo glad I found this site. I finally have some real insight on Kidney Donation. I wish I would have found this before I donated my Kidney two weeks ago, Feb 5th, 2014 to my uncle who was on dialysis. So far, I’m doing pretty well. Technology is amazing! I’m already back at work. I am a bit tired but I’m trying to remain active. This whole process has given me a different perspective on life. I changed my eating habits, lost weight and all my levels improved by the end of the process (6 month process). I am glad I went through with this process, if anything it helped me improve my health, and made me appreciate life a little more.

    Comment by Nakia B — February 19, 2014 @ 4:51 pm |Reply

    • Congrats on your donation! Wow back to work already!

      Comment by anne315 — February 19, 2014 @ 7:20 pm |Reply

  75. I have got so much out of this string of comments/stories and suggestions. I am going to be a live donor in 3 weeks, my husband is heading towards renal failure and is not doing so well. I have been quite scared and worried but after reading all of your amazing stories I am feeling proud and a lot stronger.. I can now focus on the positives of having my lovely man around me for many more years. Thank you all… X

    Comment by Linda — March 2, 2014 @ 2:24 am |Reply

    • So glad it helped! So nice that you are donating for your husband.

      Comment by anne315 — March 2, 2014 @ 10:41 am |Reply

  76. Hi , am Reuben, I had my right kidney removed in June 2013 due to infection from kidney stones.Now I have only the left kidney .Recently found out that I am having kidney stone in the solitary left kidney.I underwent PCNL surgery and all the stones have been removed from my left kidney.Now, I am doing fine with no problems.I am leading a normal life. I love riding bikes, drink ocassionally and planning to quit smoking.

    Comment by Reuben — March 13, 2014 @ 7:18 am |Reply

    • So glad the kidney stones were removed from your remaining kidney and all is well! Do quit smoking, always a bad thing but esp bad with only one kidney.

      Comment by anne315 — March 13, 2014 @ 8:08 am |Reply

  77. In JUne 2010, I donated one of my kidneys to my husband. He was not my husband at the time, but we subsequently got married. The transplant was done at Christiana Care Hospital In Delaware. It was an exhilarating experience. The team there was superb. My husband and I are still doing very well. It’s an experience you won’t ever forget, nor will your husband. Good Luck and best wishes on your upcoming surgery.
    Life is such a wonderful gift to give. Roxanne.

    Comment by Roxanne Brancker — March 13, 2014 @ 5:42 pm |Reply

    • Great story!

      Comment by anne315 — March 13, 2014 @ 9:43 pm |Reply

    • This is awesome, I am donating a kidney 20 March (a week away) to my husband it’s comments like yours that makes me feel less frightened about donating a kidney.. Thank you !

      Comment by Linda — March 14, 2014 @ 5:03 am |Reply

  78. Keeping the comments flowing. I am a live donor, gave my right kidney to mom nearly 2 years ago. Best thing I have ever done. She is so much better now! She has her life back, and her energy, no signs of rejection, and I am feeling pretty much the same as before the transplant. This whole experience has taught me that many of us can make a relatively small sacrifice and give someone else a real second chance. I am now more cautious about the foods I eat, the medications I ingest, and whether I opt for a second beer on a hot day. However, whatever small changes I make to my habits are offset by hearing mom’s accounts of everything she did today, or watching her do something she loves and missed, or eat something she couldn’t before, or take care of dad. I wasn’t thinking of it this way before I donated, but I gave myself and our family the gift of quality time with mom.

    Regarding my own recovery, post-surgery, I was a slow healer. My incision wept for about 8 weeks. I felt exhausted for about 8-9 weeks, and unpredictably after donating (fine sometimes, and then suddenly I would feel completely exhausted, and would need to nap), and there was a lot of pain during the first week or so. However, after about week 8 or 9, I woke up one morning not at all tired, and life resumed a slower version of its normal pace. We had an excellent transplant team, and people were always available to answer my questions. By about the fourth month, although I still had lifting restrictions, my life was pretty much back to normal. I have several scars, and must say that my surgeon was wise not to pursue plastic surgery. Oh, well. He is an excellent transplant surgeon. Small sacrifice in the scheme of things.

    I have spoken with two people who went through the living donor screening process– one donated and the other almost did, but couldn’t in the end. I am listed as a resource for people who want to speak with someone who has gone through a kidney donation at the transplant center where mom received her kidney. I’ve also met several other people who each gave a kidney to someone they knew. I think it is a very personal decision, and I cannot judge others for deciding not to donate, but I am actually grateful that I did it. It changed the way that I think about life, family, and altruism. I can honestly say that I believe giving a kidney to mom has made me a better person. It has certainly brought us closer. But most importantly, it has made me reconsider the value of health, quality of life, and what is really important, in ways that no other situation I have ever faced has.

    Comment by Kelly — June 1, 2014 @ 10:28 pm |Reply

    • I gave my son my left kidney 15 years ago. I am also glad i did it. I save his life. Thanks for the wondef letter you wrote about your experience. Leamoon brown from dunn nc

      Comment by leamon brown — June 3, 2014 @ 8:57 am |Reply

    • I donated nearly a year ago to a friend’s husband (the 12th of this month). I am 52. I have had some health changes and I just toss it up to getting older… as those issues are most likely due to that fact. (hot flashes just recently started for me… head aches …. neck problems were diagnosed over this past year that are considered work-stress related…. etc.) The one thing that I do feel more frequently now than I did before the donation is the tiredness. I have to remind myself that I donated a kidney…. it’s too easy to forget. I don’t know that my tiredness stems from that or from the other things impacting my life. But I do know that I NEED to give myself permission to BE tired and to DO something about it. Too often I brush it aside when I probably should take a nap. Granted, taking a nap doesn’t always fit for me because I am also Mom to an active 7 year old and my life pretty much has to form around what he has going on. But still…. I need to give myself the okay to go to bed earlier…. to take a nap when I need to IF I am able to… And I’d encourage others to do the same. 🙂 I encourage live donation because it does help the recipient so much. Really can be life changing for many people, not just the one who gets the kidney… but his or her family as well.

      Comment by Karen — June 3, 2014 @ 10:59 pm |Reply

  79. Hi,
    I have recently (last 2 months) donated a kidney to my Husband, It was never a thought that I should not do it, and I would do it again tomorrow to see the difference it has made in my husbands life. I did not have the best of experiences due to my pain not being managed properly by the hospital.
    From my experience (Australia) we need to be managing the donor experience so much better. Assisting the donor, emotionally and physically. My experience is not unique and others have told me how they felt dismissed as soon as they had been discharged from the hospital. Almost as if “well we have the kidney, so thanks and step aside”.
    I think more people would donate as a live kidney donor here if the experience was better managed.
    For those of you that are considering becoming a donor make sure you have support during your recovery both emotionally and physically. Talk to people about the operation, go in armed with as much information as you can, look after your health and give yourself time to recover. At 54, it has taken a little longer for my recovery. I have 4 Laparoscopic wounds and a 6 inch cut on my bikini line where they captured the kidney. Do not underestimate the lethargy, everyone is different, some people have no problems others have many.
    It is an amazing thing to do and something the recipient will never forget or take for granted. For the donors out there, God bless every single one of you for your selfless gift of life.
    Linda J

    Comment by Linda — June 3, 2014 @ 5:02 am |Reply

    • Four years ago I donated a kidney to my husband (he was not my husband then) and my experience was very positive. Our surgery was done at Christiana Care Hospital in Delaware and they have an excellent support team for the donor. I had both emotional and physical support needed and great follow up. I can’t help singing the praises of the Kidney team at Christiana Care.
      I am sorry that in Australia the donor support system is not the same. Emotional and Physical support are key elements to the timely recovery of the Donor.

      Comment by Roxanne Brancker — July 30, 2014 @ 5:34 pm |Reply

  80. I donated my kidney 4 Feb2014,for my brother. It was a 3 way national exchange. Mine(TX)went to N Carolina; NC donated to Minnesota, and my brother(TX) received his from Minnesota. It was a extremely coordinated event.25plus member teams per donor/recipient.
    The donors all were on the table at 7am&recepients at 430pm or so. I fall into the “slow to heal” category. The plan was for me to be released 3days after surgery; but was kept 6days-only cuz I already had a reserved hotel suite waiting . My Bro was ready the 2nd day to leave. Out of work 2months without any kind of income.(not whining; just the fact);so I called all debtor’s about the donation& that I would need to play catch up. My pain dealt with nerve pain in my groin region.so I needed to wear a support till last week. My lower stomach area is still swollen(?),distended? I normally wear 30waist but currently wear32waist.trying to wear 31waist but can’t button nor zip up zipper all the way.
    I am slowly getting back to full work status(an electrician)but told to be careful till July so I wont get a hernia. I have absolutely no regrets! My brother who lives with me is mentally disabled, from birth.My brother has gained almost 12lbs since his surgery and he is healthy again.He started dialysis 27Dec2010.I took him and stayed with him during treatment. 3days a week for almost 3yrs.We were informed on 27Dec2013 that we were chosen !
    I told my Brother that we started this journey together and that we were going to finish it together!!

    Comment by Danny — June 15, 2014 @ 7:01 pm |Reply

  81. hi

    i had donated my kidney to my uncle 2 months ago. Yes the surgery was quite different of what i had expected since previously i had a ceasearian baby. All looks fine but my blood pressure has gone up and i feel very tired just walking for a short distance. Hope i get blessed like others to overcome this minor complications soon.

    Comment by neelam prasad — July 29, 2014 @ 9:43 pm |Reply

    • It took me a while too. I was able to do all the normal work and home stuff but just seemed zapped from it… and assumed it was because I am just getting older (LOL)… but it was most likely just my recovery time. 2 months of recovery… you’ll still need some time to fully feel back to normal (as I do now… at a year from when I donated). It will happen. 🙂

      Comment by Karen — July 30, 2014 @ 6:16 pm |Reply

  82. It took me quite a while to get my energy back. Over 6 months. It will get better

    Comment by Mary Hall — July 30, 2014 @ 2:45 pm |Reply

  83. I have questions about Donor weight gain. I am a healthy 48 yr. old women who just completed all test to donate to a famy member. My question is weight gain and water retention. Does anybody reading this have experience with menapause and donation? This is the one thing nobody is mentioning.
    Do donors gain weight?

    Comment by Nancy — October 5, 2014 @ 8:17 am |Reply

    • Hi Nancy,I am 55 and donated to my husband in March this year. I am suffering with Menopause, hot flushes, etc. the main things I noticed was I got more headaches, definite weight gain that is very hard to shift, more emotional (but I cry at Disney movies, so I would not worry too much). The hot flushes are a bit more intense, fluid retention is more of an issue now. But I am coping, it’s not so bad.. First 6 months has been up and down but I think I am turning a corner- sux to be female sometimes x

      Comment by Linda — October 5, 2014 @ 9:10 pm |Reply

      • Hi Nancy. It’s an individual thing. I donated a kidney to my husband in June 2010. I was 56 at the time. It did not bring on menopause, at least not yet; I have not gained any great amount of weight. I fluctuate between 160llbs -164. I was 160llbs. when I did the surgery. Truth is, I hardly remember I only have one kidney, my lifestyle has not really changed – I eat heartily; drink socially and exercise regularly. So far, thank God, there has been no adverse effect. Hope all goes well with you. Roxanne.

        Comment by Roxanne Brancker — October 6, 2014 @ 2:40 pm

    • Hi Nancy. I donated at age 51 (1.5 years ago). Since then I have had some arthritis issues and identified with herniated discs in neck (not accident related). I do NOT believe these things were caused by my kidney donation. I think it’s just age catching up to me. Arthritis runs in my family. No one else in family has ever donated a kidney. I have gained some weight… about 15 lbs. Part of this may be from diet change (from stricter Paleo to just a focus on healthy eating WITH pasta and bread included). Part may be from the medicine I take for the herniated discs. I do not think my weight gain or current health issues have anything to do with my donation of a kidney. I think it is completely age, diet, meds related. I am not in menopause fully yet but leaning that way… which may, in itself, cause some weight gain, in addition to all the other fun stuff of menopause (emotions running high and such). Ultimately, I don’t think ANY of the health related things I have going on today at age 52 have anything to do with my kidney donation. If I had another kidney to give, I would do so. And even if weight gain were a side affect of giving a kidney… saving a life is more important to me than gaining a few pounds (though I know weight gain in some can lead to a host of other life issues that may not make donation worth it). I hope that you find your way as you stay true to yourself and loving towards others.

      Comment by Karen — October 6, 2014 @ 10:33 pm |Reply

      • Hi everyone, I’ve been keeping up with this board since I donated back in April 2013. I just wanted to chime in a little in case any men have been keeping up as well.
        Weight gain hit me also after donating and I basically attributed it to being sedentary for a few weeks and then not being able to hit the trails and exercising like I used to. Speaking honestly, it took me about 6 months to get back into my routine (rainy weather here in the south didn’t help either).
        And one more tidbit that I discovered about myself post donation – I’m a lot more sensitive to emotions than I used to be! That being said, I typically avoid ‘feel good’ movies 😀
        I do want to say that I truly value all the comments and stories that this board has to offer and I will continue to stay tuned in.

        Comment by Caleb — October 7, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

      • It’s wonderful to see all of the stories from donors! You are all heroes. I recently lost a colleague who was on the waiting list for a liver. So sad, and people shouldn’t have to die for lack of organs.

        Comment by anne315 — October 7, 2014 @ 12:43 pm

      • Caleb, did you ever have the spaced out feelings or dizzy. I am 6 months post transplant and still suffering the lethargy, fuzzy head and generally not all there. Have not managed to get back to full time work at the moment..is this the norm? Currently having tests on Cortisol levels, the Drs are not sure what the problem is.

        Comment by Linda — October 8, 2014 @ 1:53 am

      • I had that feeling for about 4 months I think. After reading a blog that another gentleman had (forgive me for not remembering the link) he mentioned going through the same sort of stuff. I would find myself fishing on the side of a pond and the next minute I’d be taking a nap in the grass. From what I’ve gathered from my doctors, staff and other stories, what I was going through was pretty normal. After starting back to work I would be wide open for half the day and the other half back on the couch. This lasted for about two weeks until my body realized that it was time to get back into a normal routine. All I can say is take your time and listen to what your body is telling you. Each one of us is unique and the time it takes us to fully recover is different. If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask!

        Comment by Caleb — October 8, 2014 @ 7:28 am


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