Satellite Healthcare is proud to join the CKD community in encouraging Americans to register as an organ donor and to honor those that have saved lives through the gift of donation.
In honor of National Donate Life Month, we’ve invited Lisa as a guest blogger to share her 2012 kidney transplant experience.
Lisa’s Kidney Transplant Story – | ‘You will come out stronger’
Having gone through the kidney transplant process in my early twenties was a very scary time. Prior to my kidney transplant in February 2012, I was on peritoneal dialysis for about a year and a half after finding out that my kidney function was only at 11%. The process before, during and after my kidney transplant was overwhelming and can still be at times, even nine years later.
Something I would share about kidney transplantation is that you will come out stronger than you ever knew you could be and know you are already strong, even if you don’t feel like it. The process is scary and overwhelming beyond words, you may feel at your worst and truly not sure what to do at times, but as you take it day by day (and some days may be a lot easier than others) you’ll slowly learn how strong you really are and how much stronger you are becoming. It is an unbelievable process physically, emotionally, and mentally and it takes an extraordinary person to be able to do it!
Finding out your body is going through something so drastic is life changing, so be sure to ask questions! Initially, the endless appointments are loaded with information about why your kidneys may be failing or why you may need a kidney transplant in addition to what the kidney transplant will be like. You want to make sure you understand first of all, about your kidney disease. Ask questions about it so you can understand your body and what it is going through a little bit more. In addition, ask questions about the entire kidney transplant process. I always felt silly asking certain questions, but trust me you’ll regret it if you don’t ask because you’ll never get the answer! Make note of things you are wondering about. You can write it down in a notebook and take it with you to all appointments or even on your phone so that you won’t forget!
It is okay to be scared! You don’t always have to feel like you know what it is going on or that you’re “okay.” You’ll be asked “how are you doing” or “how are you feeling” pretty often, especially before getting the transplant. I always answered “I’m good” or “I’m okay” when really, I was terrified and nervous. I had never had surgery before my kidney transplant. My first experiences with any type of surgery were a kidney biopsy and my catheter placement surgery - all related to my kidney disease. I was scared to go through a surgery that I would be put to sleep and have doctors operating on me for hours! Luckily, I had a great support system of friends and families that tried to help ease my mind the days leading up. It’s also okay to cry! I cried at my very first appointment with my nephrologist and I’m sure many other appointments. I was going through this with my older sister, who happened to be my living kidney donor. We were both scared and at times I felt I couldn't show it in front of her because she was already doing something so great for me, but remember you are going through something that is serious and life changing! It is okay to worry and okay to be scared, but also know that things will get better and start to feel easier.
I am VERY proud of what I’ve gone through and what I’ve learned about my health, my body and myself throughout this process. I’m proud to share my story because it is who I am - a proud kidney transplant recipient!
Photo: Lisa (right) with Linda, her sister and donor (left) on the 9th Anniversary of the kidney transplant surgery for their kidney that they named Douglas.