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Some Regrets

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  • Some Regrets

    I am not going to lie, I have regrets about donating a kidney to my sister. She was a horrible alcoholic and had liver failure that almost took her life. It killed her kidneys and she had to go on dialysis and have excess fluid drained off her abdomen every month or so. It was a miracle her liver recovered, and her illness cause my parents such grief, as you can imagine. She was put on a transplant list for both a liver and kidney. My mother asked me to go through the process of being evaluated as a donor because the doctors told them that having a living donor for the kidney increased her chances of getting a liver. So obviously I agreed.

    We were a perfect match... the only way we could have been more perfect was if we were identical twins. I was approved as her donor and that was that. Until over a year passed and my mother called me to tell me that we could proceed with the donation because my sister's liver had recovered enough.... WHATT?! But then, of course I felt obligated. I mean, this could give my sister back quality of life! I was required to redo a lot of the health tests and was told I was healthy enough, and was further assured my one kidney would take up the slack for the one they were going to remove. Fast forward 4 years... and the one kidney has not. I do not " totally" regret this decision but there were things they didn't tell me....like that my blood pressure would go up, I have to limit salt and protein, nor was I in any was prepared for the post-operative pain and recovery. I have conflicting feelings about being a hero... or the sacrificial lamb (I know that is dramatic). Anyway, for those considering donation, not every donation has a great outcome!

  • #2
    I have a sister but I doubt if I could make that sacrifice knowing how she did not take care of herself. Bless you! You are an angel!

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    • #3
      I am just amazed that your sister would even be considered for a transplant if she needed a liver too. I always thought you had to be pretty healthy otherwise in order to get a transplant. I am a recovering alcoholic too (sober for 25 years), so I realize what your family went through. I am now in stage 4 of ckd and I'm sure it's because of my drinking that my kidney's are so bad. Whether you sometimes regret the fact that you donated your kidney or not, you are still an angel for doing so! You deserve any praise you get. cpi3per1

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      • #4
        I gave my brother a kidney back in 1989. I wish I knew the whole truth at the time, I may have acted differently. You can live with one kidney, but what they don't tell you is you become a ticking time bomb. A person with one kidney will get high blood pressure. This is true whether it's by choice or losing one due to health problems. Once your blood pressure goes up, it strains the existing kidney i.e. kidney disease. The donator becomes a kidney patient. Oh, it takes time, but you will become a kidney patient. If you're thinking of donating a kidney, first check out the diet you will have to live on with kidney disease or dialysis. If that looks attractive to you, go ahead, because it's the diet you will be on. Think about spending four hours three times a week at a dialysis center. Get yourself good insurance now while you can, because you will need it later on. If they try to tell you that you can go back to a normal life, it's a lie. If I could give advice it would be, get as much information as you can, and then, KEEP YOUR KIDNEY, If you're looking or waiting for a kidney, think of what you are going to do to that donator, think of what you're going through as a kidney patient right now and ask, DO YOU WANT TO PUT SOMEONE ELSE THROUGH THAT? I hope not. The human being needs two kidneys to live a healthy life, God gave us two kidneys on purpose, we need both of them. I'm sorry for those who need a kidney, like me, but wait for someone to die to get one, or stay on dialysis. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, don't put anyone through that, especially those you love.

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        • #5
          StevenAbby, finally an honest person! Thank you.

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          • #6
            Hi,
            Not everyone's story is the same. You have to be an advocate for yourself. Don't rely on the doctor's information only. Transplant recipient of 2 years.
            Thank you for sharing your story.

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            • #7
              Living donor kidney transplantation is a wet dream come true for the health care industry. Two major surgeries, a lifetime of testing and evaluation for the recipient, a lifetime of outrageously expensive medications for the recipient, a strong likelihood of repeat transplantation for the recipient and the potential of kidney disease/kidney failure for the donor. This is why I reject living donor kidney transplantation and will only consider cadaver donor kidney transplantation. The cadaver donor doesn't have to worry about the health effects of the donation, nor go through major surgery and recovery. The recipient still faces major surgery, a lifetime of testing and evaluation and costly medication in exchange for the freedom from dialysis for however long the cadaver kidney functions.

              I've been an HHD patient exclusively since July 2012. I've been listed with two different transplant programs for 5 and 7 years respectively. I have no other comorbidities except kidney failure. Prescription medications are limited to Calcium Acetate binders and atorvastatin for cholesterol. When I listed in 2011 and 2012, I was told the wait for a cadaver kidney would be 3 to 5 years. UNOS changed the allocation process in September 2014, and being over 60 and on dialysis pushed my wait time to 5 to 8 years.

              Far too many individuals on dialysis or facing dialysis can't endure/survive 3X weekly in-center treatments for more than a few years and are left with live donor transplantation as their only option. Home hemodialysis' up to 6X weekly treatments, conducted on your schedule can provide a level of health and vitality that in-center treatments rarely can. That health is what is needed to wait past the 5 years needed to obtain a cadaver kidney and enjoy a guilt free life as a kidney transplant recipient.

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              • #8
                Both of my sons said that they would donate a kidney for me but I am not going to put them through that, I will refuse their kidney and go the cadaver route. I believe that one needs two kidneys to get through this life otherwise we wouldn't have two-right? I can't believe God would give us two kidneys so we could donate one, that doesn't make sense. He gave us two for a reason and His reason is good enough for me to my way of thinking.

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