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I am My Husband’s Living Donor

“Within a few months, I should be exactly as I am today, so, I mean – you couldn’t ask for a better outcome, being able to give someone the gift of life”

Leslie Birkley

Transcript

My husband, David, has PKD. He recently had a bilateral nephrectomy and I am his donor.

The conversation about being a donor happened many years ago. It was one of our first meetings with his nephrologist after they had drawn some labs and knowing that he would need a transplant in his life and what’s the process for finding a donor. I found out I was O positive blood type. And she asked if I was in generally good health. I said, “yes,” and she said, “well, then you’re a donor.” 

I researched what it was like for people who had donated.  I joined a support group of living kidney donors and I read their experiences to understand any challenges that they experienced or any long-term testing, what were – did it affect your life expectancy.  Did it affect your quality of life?  And what I read was, no, you live a completely normal life expectancy and your other kidney grows and compensates for the one that left.  And within a few months, I should be exactly as I am today, so, I mean – you couldn’t ask for a better outcome, being able to give someone the gift of life and you’re still completely fine.

The advice I would give someone who’s chosen to be a living donor is to do your research, there’s plenty of information out on the internet with nephrologists, with a transplant team.  You would be assigned a coordinator that’s specific to you and can answer a multitude of questions that you’ll have about this process.  There’s also support groups on the internet that you can join and understand people that have – that are about to go through the process and people that have lived through it many, many years ago and the difference is in what has happened with the transplant say that someone donated 20 years ago versus today.  And understand that although it’s a little bit scary, you’re giving the gift of life.

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