Katie’s Story

After 48 years of near perfect health, my mother’s kidneys suddenly and unexplainably failed in May of 2003. She went on dialysis the following month. In the fall of 2003, she began to be evaluated as a potential transplant recipient. By early spring of 2004, she was cleared to go and was placed on the waiting list. However, we continued to search for a living donor.

My father was first tested, although he was not a match. Then my mother’s brother and sister were tested. They were both matches, but pre-existing health problems ruled them out as donors. I was asking to be tested during this time, but the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) would not test me because of my age (being too young). As my 21st birthday approached, they agreed to test me. On April 16, 2004 (my dad’s 50th birthday), we were called with the wonderful news that I was a match. I celebrated my 21st birthday on May 3, and the transplant took place on June 7, 2004 with my surgery being laproscopic. My mom’s creatinine dropped to 0.6 the morning after the surgery (it was 6 when she went on dialysis), and she has been doing great in the four months since the surgery.

I am in my senior year of college, and I am so happy that I was able to donate to my mom. Although I felt the worse I’ve ever felt when I woke up after the surgery, the pain was short lived, with the worst of it only lasting about 24 hours. I was driving a car again in only 6 days. My scars are so small that most people don’t even believe me when I tell them I donated a kidney. The best part has been watching my mom. She went back to teaching fourth grade this fall. She is enjoying her new grandkids (my brother’s wife had twins the day after our transplant!!). And she is helping me plan my wedding which will take place in September 2005. Living kidney donation has been a positive experience for me and my mom. She gave me life, and I was able to help give her life.

Katie McKissick