One Year Kidney-versary

Today is a very special day. May 25, 2022 is exactly one year since I underwent my donor nephrectomy surgery. That is fancy for donating a kidney.

Those of you who follow my blog saw many posts in the first few months after the surgery, but things have been quiet for a while now. And that is as it should be. The doctors and other medical personnel at the Cleveland Clinic told me that within a few months I would feel like I did before the surgery; there were times–especially during the first two weeks–when I did not believe them. Thank God, I am feeling great and so is the recipient. My donation has not limited my physical activity in any way. I have 5 scars, but they are “war wounds” that I wear with pride.

I am excited that our “daisy chain” of donors and recipients will be getting together this Friday evening for a Shabbat dinner at our home. Looking forward to getting caught up with this eclectic mix of people who share nothing in common except for a 4 oz organ. We will toast to good health and to the amazing advances in medical technology that made these life-saving procedures possible.

A few thoughts on this anniversary.

  1. Most people think they have to be dead to donate organs. This is not 100% true. Kidneys and partial livers can be donated, and they are in most cases preferable to cadaver organs. If you are in good health, consider donating and saving a life.
  2. It has been great to talk with people who saw what I did and have expressed interested in donating. Next month, one of those people will be donating to a total stranger. I cannot tell you how thrilled I was to hear this.
  3. Not everyone can donate an organ. There are many ways to save a life, though. Blood and platelet donations are also life-saving. Learn CPR and how to operate and AED (Automated External Defibrilator). Get involved in policy decisions that help promote laws that save lives. Take good care of your own health and well-being.

I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to make a difference. Donating a kidney was definitely one of the hardest things I have ever done (makes a half marathon look like a piece of cake!), but also one of the best things I have ever done. One year later, I am feeling blessed!