Donating my kidney was one of the best decisions of my life. I have been told by many that I’m so brave for doing this and that I am so selfless, but honestly I do not see it that way. I did what I needed to do and what I saw was right. I am not a hero and I am not a saint, I simply gave my father what he deserved because he has given me so much and more. This process has been long and stressful to say the least. But the support that my mother, my father, and myself have received is overwhelming and truly humbling.
This decision was not hard for me at all. It took a lot, and I mean a lot, of convincing to my father that I am doing this for him and he cannot stop me. But besides my father and I, my mother is one of the strongest people I know. This process has been so stressful for her because two of the most important people in her life went through a major surgery. I am so proud and thankful that she has supported us and took us to doctors appointments and has been there every single step of the way. This was such a huge and draining process, and I’m glad that all the tests are done and my dad is finally back to his normal self.
My father’s diagnosis and going through his whole process leading up to the surgery wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy to watch him get worse, watch him get sick, and watch my strong father have to turn down work or family outings. It also wasn’t easy to tell my friends that my dad was in kidney failure, explaining how he wasn’t getting better. He was getting worse and there was nothing I could do about it. Of course friends and family were sad about it. But the thing is, they didn’t have to live with seeing their dad like that every day.
Seeing my dad go to dialysis every other day, torturing himself, so he could be strong another day was hard. Dialysis is a machine that works as your kidneys. Since my dad’s kidneys weren’t working properly, he had to be stuck with two huge needles every other day. They took all his blood and filtered it; it was about a 3-4 hour process. If he didn’t go to dialysis, he wouldn’t be able to breathe right and he would swell up and essentially go into kidney failure all at once. You normally don’t have to witness your parents getting hospitalized and sick until they are in their 70s or later. Seeing my dad go through this and how it drained the life out of him was heartbreaking.
When I decided I was going to donate, a ton of emotions ran through my mind. I’m going to be completely transparent and honest.. I was scared, extremely scared to go through this major surgery. The doctors were telling me all these scary things. I felt like they wanted to scare me out of doing the surgery. They told me that I would have a high risk pregnancy if I decided I wanted kids. If I ever got in a car accident that affected my right side, I could go into kidney failure. They said that since I donated at such a young age of 20, I have a higher chance of going into renal kidney failure and I would have to go on the list. I also have to keep a regular schedule of seeing the doctor more than the normal everyday person to make sure my single kidney is working properly and not going into overdrive.
When they told me these things, I was taken aback.. I had doubts. But then I realized that my dad needed a kidney and that I was going to be fine. People donated kidneys all the time and they do this type of surgery a lot. Everything was going to be for the better. I just had to stick to my guns and power through.
After the surgery, the recovery was hard. That week in the hospital and the whole month after really was rough. I don’t remember much from my week that I was in the hospital (due to the heavy pain meds). But I do remember that the drugs were really strong and making me super sleepy, so sleepy that I couldn’t keep my eyes open even when I wanted to stay awake. I couldn’t walk for the first 2 days. When I began to learn to walk again, it wasn’t easy. Everything hurt. My tummy hurt every step and I was tired just taking 10 steps. Honestly I was tired getting out of the hospital bed. Every day I got better and every day I walked a little further. Soon I was able to walk a full lap around the hospital floor. After a week I was able to walk on my own. I still needed help and balance sometimes and I definitely wasn’t 100%, but I was good enough to go home to recover. When we got home, I had the full month to recover. Every day got better, but it definitely wasn’t easy.
Today I am back to normal. I have the same life I was living when I had two kidneys. Nothing has changed physically for me. But mentally I am stronger and I am grateful that both my dad and myself are happy and healthy. If I could do it all over again I would. No questions asked.
Everyone’s surgery journey is different. Everyone feels differently and everyone heals differently. My journey was different from my dad’s and other people who have gone through this surgery. I am just telling my story, how I handled it, and what my point of view was.
Seeing my dad get better and no longer in pain was worth the whole process. Donating a kidney was life changing and I’m so blessed to have my friends and family by my side.
To read part 1 of my story, click here!