Sonja’s Story

I work in an outpatient physical therapy office as a physical therapist. Three years ago, one of my coworker’s husband devolped a kidney disease ( IGA) that quicky attacked his kidneys and he needed a transplant. At that time his brother was able to donate to him. That kidney lasted three years and then the doctors discovered that the kidney disease was back and affecting his transplanted kidney. He was put on the waiting list.

I was talking to my coworker and she was telling us how sick her husband was and how quickly his kidney was failing. She also informed us he could have to wait 3-5 years for a kidney and would be on dialysis soon. They had no other family members who could donate. So I offered to be tested. The first thing I had to do was call the transplant coordinator at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Then we arranged to have several vials of blood drawn and sent to the Mayo clinic. About 1.5 weeks later I found out that our blood types were compatible. I was then scheduled for two days of testing. I had to go to Rochester for this. It basically was a 2 day physical to make sure I was healthy enough to donate. I also had to sit through a couple of education sessions which were very beneficial in explaining what to expect during the surgery and recovery process. After the two days of testing I found out that I could donate. I decided that I would. By the end of that week we found out that the surgery was scheduled the following Friday ( May 7th 2004). I had a weekend to get everything in order at my house as I live alone and clear my schedule at work.

The surgery took place Friday May 7th at 8 am. I had the hand assisted laparoscopic surgery. I have a 4 inch bikini line incision and a couple of portal holes in my left side. It went so smoothly. I was up in my room by noon. The kidney started working right away in my recipient. During his surgery they found his kidney to be functioning at 10%!! I had great care at Rochester Methodist. My surgeon was top notch along with the nurses. I was out of the hospital by Monday morning. I had to stay in Rochester for 3-4 days after just to make sure everything was working right and than I was allowed to go home. I was off work for 3 weeks with a 10 pound lifting restriction. In my 3rd week of recovery I was allowed to start exercising again which I did carefully. By June 1 I was back to work full time. I have felt great all along with no complications to speak of.

My recipient is doing well. It’s still early in his recovery to know for sure but the doctors are hopeful that the kidney disease won’t return. The kidney is working well. I would say to anybody considering living donation to do it. It was a great experience for me. I would do it again if I could. It’s great knowing that I helped someone feel better.

If anyone has questions feel free to contact me at