My Living Kidney Donation Experience

My name is Samantha Perouty and I am a 26 year old wife and mother from Baltimore, MD.  My non-blood related uncle had strep throat as a child and that virus stayed in his body and attacked his kidneys.  He had a kidney transplant in 1993 from his brother, who used to be my step-father.  In 2010 my uncle was placed on dialysis and needed another kidney transplant.  Some people were tested and said they were not a blood match.  After losing other relatives through the years I knew if my uncle died and I never got tested I would always wonder what if.  I didn’t smoke or drink, I knew I was healthy, I didn’t really have any health problems that ran in my family, and I wasn’t having any more children, so I figured I was a good candidate.  I started the testing process February 15, 2010 and I was a blood match and tissue match, but we were a 0/6 HLA Antigen match, which I was told didn’t really matter because of the sophisticated anti-rejection medications that exist now.  Once all the test results kept coming back okay I knew the surgery was meant to be and I wasn’t worried or nervous about it at all.  I got the call on July 1, 2010 that I was approved to be a living kidney donor.  The surgery was scheduled for August 2, 2010 at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD.  My surgery was laparoscopic, but my uncle’s wasn’t.  I had Dr. Segev and my uncle had Dr. Montgomery.  My surgeon said my kidney looked great and everything went just like the textbook said it should.  I had three punctures on my stomach in a triangle shape and one three or four inch incision on my pubic area.  I didn’t need the Morphine or Oxycodone, but I did have bad gas pains.  Until then I never experienced gas pains so bad that they shot up into my chest and shoulders and felt like I was having a heart attack.  I was able to get up and walk the same day as the surgery.  My intestines and bowels didn’t wake up and work until two days later because of the anesthesia.  I did take Gas-X and had two suppositories.  I stayed in the Marburg Pavilion and it was very nice.  It was much more like a five star hotel than a hospital.  They gave me a fleece jacket that said “to save one life is as if you saved the world” and green ribbon pins.  I walked to see my uncle at Nelson 7 the day after surgery.  I went home three days after the surgery and I looked and felt almost normal.  I felt pain when I moved a certain way or laughed, but it wasn’t bad.  I went back to work the day after my follow-up appointment, which was ten days after surgery.  At my follow-up appointment my creatinine level was 1.00, which my doctor said was perfect, and my incisions looked fine.  I drove two weeks after surgery without any problems.  I don’t feel any different with one kidney and it hasn’t restricted me from doing any of my normal activities.  I wish I had more kidneys because I would donate again in an instant.  I felt like it wasn’t a big deal, but I know it meant a lot for my uncle.  It was a little inconvenient with all the testing and a little uncomfortable with the gas pains, but it will hopefully give my uncle fifteen or more healthy years.  Thank you for reading this article and considering becoming an organ and tissue donor.  Contact me if you have any questions or concerns and I will be happy to help in any way I can.

Samantha Perouty