I thought I would post a little bit about MY transplant experience. Let me just say that if a major organ is going to fail in your body, you are fortunate if it's the kidney. You can live for an extended period of time without functioning kidneys thanks to technology and today's dialysis. I have heard horror stories about life on dialysis, and hopefully it's a temporary soluton for most people until they can receive a kidney from a living donor or a cadaver. I was extremely fortunate in that as soon as we learned I would need a transplant, my mother went ahead and did all the necessary testing to see if she would be a good candidate for donation. This was over a year before I actually had the transplant. Then it was just a wait and see time. We'd watch my labwork get worse and worse until the doctors said that we needed to schedule the transplant in December of 2002. They said that my kidneys were functioning at about 15%. They actually couldn't believe I was able to work a 40 a week job with my lab work being what it was. It was such a gradual decline that I didn't even notice how sick I had become. And I was so fortunate that I never had to go on dialysis, and that I was able to have a living/related donor. Many people in my situation have to wait years for a transplant. Just to have a chance at a normal life- to be able to actually go to the bathroom and eat and drink normal foods! When I actually had my transplant, they said the color returned to my face almost immediately. Something you may not know about kidney transplants is that they do not remove the existing "dead" kidneys. They just add the new kidney to your abdomen! Scott was funny when I had the transplant- he thought it was like changing a lightbulb- take one out and screw the new one in! Here's a diagram of how a kidney transplant works:
So after you've had the transplant, the waste and toxins are filtered through the dead kidneys and then filter through the new/donor kidney and THEN they go to the bladder. It's a very interesting process.
I've had my mother's kidney since February 13, 2003, more than 5 years. That's a BIG milestone. And my labwork has been perfect since day one- no rejection episodes at all. I thank God every day for "healing" me through this new kidney and for giving me an "almost" normal life. One day I want to give back and do some fundraising or public awareness for the National Kidney Foundation or the Georgia Transplant Foundation. I also want to play in the Transplant Olympics... I know they could use my volleyball skills. :)