Adventures of a Kidney Donor

March 27, 2010

Paired Kidney Donation

This is not about ME. Not even about Jackie. It’s about inspiring people to understand more about kidney disease, to donate to the National Kidney Foundation, or to even donate a kidney! Here is our story.

THE BEGINNING

So this story begins in 1974.  Jackie and I had last names that started with the same letter so due to the alphabetical seating chart we sat next to each other in Mr. R’s Social studies class in 7th grade. We have been friends ever since. Jackie is the only person I see from junior high or even high school for that matter. At the age of 13 we made a pact. When we got married and had kids we would be each other’s maid of honor and godmother to the first baby for one another.

Years passed and Jackie married a very nice man named Doug and they have a wonderful son named Justin.  As predicted in our junior high days, I was maid of honor at her wedding and I am Justin’s godmother.  Jackie would have done the same for me but alas, I never married or had any children.

THAT DAMN KIDNEY DISEASE

Kidney disease doesn’t define who Jackie is.  It just happens to be something she has to deal with.  And not just with herself.  Unhappily it has touched her extended family several times over.  It took the life of her mother and uncle and yet another uncle has it.  Her mother lived with her the last few years of her life and Jackie took care of her while dealing with her own illness.  Jackie doesn’t complain or feel sorry for herself, she gets on with life and is the “rock” of her family.

Jackie has been on dialysis too long.  It has been difficult for her physically and mentally. So simply put, she needs a kidney. Since Jackie is more like family than just a friend, it’s natural that I would give her a kidney.  She didn’t ask me, I offered.

PSYCHOLOGY OF DONEE AND DONOR

Let me say it is MUCH more difficult to be in the position of needing a kidney than to offer one. If the situation was reversed, I know Jackie would do the same for me. What Jackie goes through with dialysis, the complications of the graft and the effects of kidney disease is a lot worse. I think Jackie has some “donee” guilt that I wish she didn’t.  Hopefully that will evaporate in time.

I am not taking this lightly, I know it is serious surgery, but I have read a lot about it. (There is an advantage to being a librarian with access to all of those health articles!) It is very safe to be a kidney donor.  Darn, I won’t be able to serve in the military or play football afterward though. I really have no fear or hesitation.

MY MOTIVATION

I am doing this for Jackie of course.  Also for her husband Doug and her son Justin. Doug is a wonderful guy who accompanies Jackie to every dialysis session.  He took care of his mother-in-law even to the point of carrying her to the car when she was very weak.  Justin is a wonderful young man who is in college now. We look forward to holding his children in our arms just as we held him as a baby.

But who am I doing this for the most? ME. I want Jackie around until we are little old ladies. I have a strong vision of us both as old ladies still going out to lunch and gossiping. It is going to happen.

Jackie is a better writer so be sure to visit her blog on this!

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation

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