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Living Donation Discussion and News => Living Donation Forum => Topic started by: Mikaela on May 29, 2018, 08:34:55 AM

Title: I donate a kidney to my husband
Post by: Mikaela on May 29, 2018, 08:34:55 AM
Hi all! I am from Spain, 38 years old and on 22 march I donated my left kidney to my husband. He is doing well, the kidney is working well. The problem is with me...i am with depresion now...don't know why...Doctors confirm that I am ok, there is no problem with the operation, but I keep thinking that my remaining kidney will fail and I will go to dialisis soon...I think about that and crying all day long.
My back also hurts a lot, but they say that is muscular. For me is my kidney that hurts me...I don't know how to do seems that it will never end and I will never be the one i was before donation.
Someone felt like this?? What is happening to me??

Title: Re: I donate a kidney to my husband
Post by: sherri on May 29, 2018, 06:43:34 PM

I am so sorry you are going through such a difficult time. It is not unusual for donors to have these feelings. Did you discuss your concerns prior to the donation? Did you find you had a connection with the team that did the psych or social work evaluation? If so, connect with them again and see if they can help. I saw a social worker before the transplant (outside the transplant center) to help me come to terms with my donation ( i donated to a sibling). I felt like i needed a safe place to talk about my anxiety, family expectations and fears. It might be helpful for you to find a good therapist to talk with. I also see a nephrologist every year for my blood work so I can help alleviate my fears about developing kidney disease, which runs in my family. I made a good donor because i was so well matched to my brother but that also causes me some anxiety knowing that we do share a lot of the same genetic material. Finding a doctor who will give you the time and address your concerns may take some time but it is worth it.

i also feel like i am not the same prior to donating. I have essentially given my kidney reserve away; kind of like driving on your spare (you are ok until you get a flat tire and then what?). But i try to remember that so many donors have gone before us and are doing just fine. I try to concentrate on the ones who have done well, i have not had too many medical issues. It has been a little over 10 years. I am very anxious about developing high blood pressure or diabetes so i am trying to lose some weight, i stay away from any NSAID medications which is challenging as I age. Cognitive behavior therapy may help you get some good tools to use to help with the depression, talk about your fears, and make a plan on how to be proactive and keep you healthy.

You gave your husband a wonderful gift. Now you need to take care of yourself a little. keep us posted on how things are going.

All the best,


Title: Re: I donate a kidney to my husband
Post by: Fr Pat on May 29, 2018, 07:27:09 PM
Dear Mikaela,
      I donated a kidney 16 years ago, to a stranger, and I am doing fine now at age 72 (I even run half-marathons now and then.) Please be aware that depression after kidney donation (even when the donation is a complete success) happens to MANY donors. You are NOT alone. I myself did not suffer this, but over the years I have read of many such experiences. Better transplant hospitals warn donors ahead of time about his danger. They can be many reasons. The operation itself, of course, is traumatic, and the body's hormone levels can be disturbed by the loss of the kidney and also possibly the effects on the blood supply to the adrenal gland above the removed kidney. Also you have the after-effects of anesthesia and pain medications. And there is the "let down" after such a long period of anticipation and preparation. Some doctors compare it to the depression that some mothers suffer after giving birth, even though all went well and they very much wanted to have a baby. So don't be afraid to seek help from a counselor or psychologist or doctor. It is NOT your fault. It appears to be a sickness like other sicknesses. Very painful, but can be helped.
     You might want to also post your message at the FaceBook page of Living Donors on Line, as now many more donors post there rather than here. There have been MANY donors there who have shared their experience of after-donation depression.
                           best wishes and prayers,
                                  Fr. Pat
Title: Re: I donate a kidney to my husband
Post by: Mikaela on May 30, 2018, 03:09:17 AM
Good morning and thank you for your answers! Feels good to know one is not alone. I am going with a psicologist now, but it doesn't help too much.
The transplant team is not very close to the donnors....Is strange, before the operation it was all perfect but now it seems that the donnor doesn't exist....I had no idea that this will happen...I thought they will be there for me, help me if I don't feel OK....but not.
So, I feel so alone that is making me going crazy. I only think that my remaining kidney will fail and feel that my life is over.
I should go back to work next week  and I feel that I can not do it...
This is so bad....I never could imagine this would happen!  And also, there is my husband that see me like this and thinks that is for him...that giving him a kidney made me this....Is so, so can't even imagine.  I don't know why I can not be like other donors? Living happy snd think that I just saved a life....Why??
Title: Re: I donate a kidney to my husband
Post by: Fr Pat on May 30, 2018, 04:46:55 AM
Dear Mikaela,
      I am glad that you are getting professional help. It is very bad that the transplant hospital is not helping you with this. Depression is a known possible side-effect of living organ donation.
      All I can do is to encourage you to have patience. In the cases of post-donation depression that I have read about it improves gradually. It must be very difficult for you now, but there is very good hope for improvement.
                  Fr. Pat