Health impact and telling the family…

This whole donation process really induces some soul-searching!  I think my soul is now searched and quite tired of self-introspection.  As I indicated yesterday, one of the biggest considerations when donating is health.  Current health – thus ability to donate and then long-term health – post transplant and beyond.  The reality is that people with one kidney live just as long as people with 2.  Post-transplant the remaining kidney begins to compensate for the missing one – and the donor eventually achieves 75-80% function.  However, should the donor choose not to take care of her/himself, then diabetes and hypertension become real concerns.  Funny thing though – neither hypertension nor diabetes are caused by one kidney – they are caused by poor health behaviors.  People with one kidney live just as long as folks with 2 because they are generally more healthy than the general population prior to surgery and have fairly significant incentives (life) to remain healthy.  Now there are some things I should probably avoid to protect the kidney: tackle football, ice hockey, rock climbing and being shot in the abdomen.  My life in a gang will have to wait….  One of the most fascinating aspects of all of this that I’ve learned though, is about the psychological aspects.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had any wine tonight and don’t feel like typing about depression.  😦

Now then – what I would like to blog a bit more about are the incredible people I’m meeting through this process.  Sure it took 3 phlebotomists 5 sticks to get 8 tubes of blood from me today – but one of them has a sister-in-law that is a kidney recipient.  She had a similar post-pregnancy experience as Lisa, but was unable to find a living donor – she waited 5  years on dialysis before a cadeavor kidney became available.  She got the smaller of the kidneys – she’s alive and well 7 years post-transplant and they celebrate the kidney’s birthday every year.  Because the kidney didn’t get going right away they named it Flo….  Love it!    I’m hearing stories like this quite a bit now and it just makes me more determined to see this through. 

Also a special thank you to my friend Nancy in Cleveland.  She forwarded the following link to me: http://www.cleveland.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2010/10/cleveland_clinic_program_puts.html

To summarize – the Cleveland Clinic identified a need for donor post-transplant services and have set up a program.  Lisa forwarded the link to UC-Denver and they indicated they are starting one this month too!  Very pleased with all this!

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