Adventures of a Kidney Donor

October 2, 2011

Questions for the Kidney Donor

Filed under: Medical,Psychology — by anne315 @ 9:59 pm
Tags: ,

I thought I would share with you some of the questions I get asked a lot and how I answer them.

Q:  Do you have any regrets about donating?

A:  None at all. I want to be totally honest in this blog and not just be a cheerleader for donating. Almost every donor who responds to this question has no regrets, and I feel the same.

Q:  Do you miss your kidney?

A:  Not at all. The remaining one is doing the job. I haven’t noticed any changes in urination etc. I don’t feel “lopsided.”

Q:  Were you afraid?

A:  Yes, before the surgery I was nervous about the procedure. This is normal. My advice would be to read as much as you can about the process and this will make you feel more comfortable with the donation.

Q:  Is it normal to have doubts about donating?

A:  Yes. It varies with each person.  Some doubt is to be expected, but if you find yourself overwhelmed by doubts, you may want to ask yourself if donating is the right thing for you. Your transplant team will ask you at your appointments if you still want to donate. Answer them honestly.

Q:  Were you in a lot of pain after the donation?

A:  There was some pain of course but it was controlled by medication. When I got home I noticed pain in movement, like when getting in and out of bed and up out of chairs.  I also never knew how much I dropped things until now. It hurt to pick things up.

Q:  What special diet are you on?

A: None whatsoever. A heart healthy diet is recommended (just as it is for everyone) and people with one kidney should avoid high protein diets like Atkins but that’s about it. I need to do better in that area. After my appetite returned I craved comfort food and indulged myself too much–but that doesn’t really have anything to do with the kidney donation!

Q:  Can you drink alcohol?

A: Yes! I have never been a big drinker but I like wine and cocktails now and then. Heavy drinking isn’t recommended for donors, but then it isn’t recommended for anyone.

Q:  Are you restricted from any activities?

A: Things like running, weight lifting crunches and other abdominal exercises aren’t allowed for the first six weeks after surgery. I am cleared now for these activities but I am still nervous about abdominal exercises and twisting. I still feel some tightness in my main incision area. I think I will try lifting light weights this week, my arms feel like jello.

Q:  What was the worst thing about donating?

A:  Being patient in recovery. Even though I knew it would take x weeks for this and x weeks for that, I didn’t expect to be so bowled over. It was weird not to be able to do things for myself. Of course this is only a short amount of time in the scheme of things.

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation


  1. Regret, I think, is a poor barometer of whether living kidney donation is ethical, or if the transplant industry is acting responsibly toward living donors or prospective living donors.

    Let’s be honest: most people are emotionally related to their recipient. By asking a living donor if s/he ‘regrets’ donation, the question becomes: Do you regret trying to help someone you care about?

    Given those circumstances, how could anyone possibly answer in the affirmative?

    Comment by livingdonor101 (@LivingDonor101) — November 20, 2011 @ 2:50 pm |Reply

  2. I don’t know who my recipient was, still no regrets. I have come across very few expressions of regret from anonymous donors in the hundreds of testimonials I have read. I was very well taken care of by the medical professionals at University of Michigan, including doctors,nurses, psychologists and social workers. Any organ donation DOES need to be carefully monitored by health professionals. I was asked at EVERY appointment if I wanted to continue and it was made clear that there was nothing wrong with backing out. Your site seems very anti-donation, did you have a bad experience? If so, I am sorry.

    Comment by anne315 — November 20, 2011 @ 3:38 pm |Reply

  3. I was a kidney donor to my sister Jane 10 days ago. She is doing very well and is looking really good. I was out if the hospital after 4 days and my sister was out after 5 days. I would anything to get my sister ack to health. There was no question about. She didn’t need to ask me, when she told me, I straightway told her if I’m a match to u then u can have one if my kidney. Yeah, the recovery was painful but the surgeons and nurses took good care of us. I’m glad I did it and would do it again if I could. Well done to u!!! xx

    Comment by Joy Romero — September 1, 2012 @ 1:20 pm |Reply

    • Well done to you as well! I wish the best to you and your sister.

      Comment by anne315 — September 1, 2012 @ 5:18 pm |Reply

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