Lynda- Living Donor
The story of my kidney donation actually began in 1991. My younger brother Jim had kidney failure due to type one diabetes, which was diagnosed when he was seventeen.
In his 40’s, he required dialysis but his health was failing so rapidly that he qualified for the transplant list. Not only was his kidney failing, but his heart and other organs were being damaged from diabetes. The living donor program was presented to him and I qualified as the most likely candidate in our family. I’m the fifth child and he is the sixth. Tests revealed we had the same blood type and all six antigens matched, the same as twins.
This decision required much faith and consideration. I felt God revealed to me to look at the pluses and minuses. The advantages were that I was 53 years of age, in good health, and our two daughters were grown and educated. I was employed by the United States Department of Agriculture and had adequate sick leave accumulated. My husband and daughters supported me but agreed it was my decision.
We went to the Vanderbilt Center in September of 1991. The surgery went well with the transplanted kidney working immediately. I was a patient for about five days while he stayed longer. My recovery was uneventful and I returned to work and my lifestyle.
For several years, I went to Vanderbilt for an annual check-up and always received a good report. My current kidney function is closely monitored by my family doctor and all is well as I celebrate my 82nd birthday this month. I proudly maintain myself with my daughters near if needed. I am so blessed and feel my faith in God has sustained me all my life. Sure, great strides have been made in transplantation since ours occurred. I have no regrets about what I did and urge families to consider being a living donor. Remember, as one wise, respected friend’s aid, “Not everyone gets a chance to give so much”.
My brother did not live many years after the transplant, however. His kidney function was fine to the end. Juvenile diabetes had affected his other organs and his body was not strong enough.