Mark’s Story

My name is Mark and I live in NYC. I donated my kidney to an acquaintance on December 6th of 2012. It has been just under 9 months and I feel like I did before the surgery and have been feeling that way for a long time…

My “acquaintance” was actually a neighbor of mine I found out had started dialysis. When he told me about it, I asked if there was anything I could do to get tested “just to see”. I had heard of living donation but really had no clue about anything. He was obviously shocked, and unsure of my abrupt decision. So I spoke to my wife about it (we have three small boys 9,6,3) and while she was not exactly excited, she did support me through the process. Roughly 6 weeks later, the procedure happened. And as much of a life changing event it is for the recipient, it’s basically 3-6 weeks of annoyances for the donor. After that it’s all back to normal. And that’s a good thing. The only real discomfort after 2 weeks was the tingling sensation at the small incisions (nerves regenerating or something). The larger c-section cut was pain free quickly. I was even able to do a Spartan Race just 4 months later.

To be honest with you, I wish people stopped making such a big deal about it, and the whole process. Its a relatively simple procedure, with few side effects, and all of them are worth saving another person’s life. When the psychiatrist asked me why i was donating, I responded, “had I seen a man fall on the subway tracks, I would like to think that I would do everything in my power to try and save him… this man has fallen, and while the subway car is moving slowly, sitting back and watching him deteriorate until death full knowing that I could do something about it, is just not an option.”

I am no saint, nor claim to be one, nor have lived my life before or after the surgery as one. But I believe in doing the right thing. Maybe some of you disagree, and that’s cool too. Just do what’s right for you. And ask every question manageable!

I know this may seem odd, but at Columbia Presbyterian where I did my surgery, the guy who prepped me, even drew an “X” on my body to ensure they got the right kidney. Nice touch after all of the horror stories you hear. Of course accidents can happen, but it’s gotta be more dangerous bungee jumping then having the surgery.