Kevin Kenney’s Donation to His Wife’s Friend
In the summer of 2006 my wife came to me to ask what I thought of her donating a kidney to her best friend Mirna. After discussing it I encouraged her to get tested, and decided I should get tested to. Mirna had been waiting for a transplant for over 3 years. We had known her for about 2 years. I turned out to be blood compatible and a good surgical candidate. The screening process was where everything became very real. I am 32 years old, and up to this point I had never spent the night in the hospital. The screening experience made me realize how lucky I am to be healthy. I had to repeat my 24 hour urine test because it was over collected. This gave me the perfect opportunity to opt out, but this only made me more determined move forward. After being cleared as a donor, the date was set for January 24th 2007.
My surgeon was absolutely great. (Dr. Kenneth Washburn in San Antonio, TX) He was all business, but didn’t act like he was playing god either. When they wheeled me into the operating room, I could see he had his game face on and that made me feel good. The drugs they gave me didn’t hurt either. 🙂
Once I accepted that it was God’s plan for me to donate, the process was much easier. Any time I got nervous, I told myself “God will take care of you, no matter what.”
It has been about 8 weeks since the surgery and my recovery has gone exactly as planned. I missed about 2 weeks of work. After 6 weeks I felt like I could do pretty much anything I was doing before the surgery. For me the pain is real, but tolerable. The drugs help with the pain, but cause other side effects. The morphine made me sick, so they gave me another drug for my nausea. When the nausea drug wore off, I stopped using the morphine and was switched to oral medication. The oral pain meds in the hospital did not make me sick, although I believe they contributed to other problems (trouble having a BM). Once I started getting up and walking that helped a lot. It really is the best thing you can do after the surgery. 3 days after the operation I came home. The ride home was very bumpy and caused a lot of pain for me. I am not sure if it is proper to make this suggestion, but I did not take any pain meds for about 6 hours before I left the hospital. In hindsight, I wish I would have taken some an hour or so prior to leaving. I recommend taking a pillow to apply light pressure on the incision for the ride home. I took pain meds for one day at home (to help recover from the ride) and the next day I felt like I had drank a bottle of whiskey! After that I stopped taking the pain medication, I really did not need them anymore anyway. After a few days my body started to return to normal.
I have zero regrets about doing this, in fact I feel absolutely great about it. I do not miss my kidney at all, and I do not feel like anything is missing. Mirna is doing well with her new kidney. She initially had a bout with acute rejection, but she went back to the hospital and the doctors worked it out. She went back to her job 7 weeks post op, and is doing really well.
Here is a link to a website where I posted some pictures and also made a short write up right after the surgery.
My advice for anyone in their recovery would be to follow the doctor’s instructions, take it easy, and use common sense. If it hurts when you do something, stop and rest up before you try to do more. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.