About Me

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Chicago, Illinois, United States
Make Life Happen! Welcome to all of you who visit. If you are looking into becoming a Living Donor and would like a detailed idea of my journey..scroll down and begin with the older posts first. I welcome any questions or topics that you would like to know more about.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What a Great One Year Anniversary

June 8, 2011 was my one year check up after donating at Northwestern Hospital here in Chicago. I feel great, but you are always happy for the opportunity to have follow up care. My creatinine level with one kidney is 1.0 which is perfect. Whew... great to hear those words! I can't stress enough how important it is for living donors to make sure that they know what their creatinine level is. If for some reason you do not have follow up visits at the hospital that you donated then please be sure to consult with your primary physician and discuss how often this test should be performed. Fortunately Northwestern does have a very pro-active check up program for living donors. That is not always the case. I've heard from several donors that once they have donated, it's good-bye and thats the end of it. This is definitely something that should change with all transplant hospitals. Don't just tell us what we did was wonderful...then kiss us goodbye. Thank us by letting us know that our well being is equally important as the receipients.

June has been just the most incredible kideny month! Prior to my annual check up, on June 3, 2011, I was on my way to Washington D.C., to Georgetown University. I had been selected a couple of months ago to participate in a living donor study, which I was thrilled to be part of. The icing on the cake? Angela Stimpson, who was the first person I mentored through the living donor process was chosen as well to participate. Ok...there is no way I am not going to meet this incredible lady. I wrote Georgetown and told them that I would love to participate and that I knew Angela had been chosen as well. I asked them if there was any way possible that the two of us could be scheduled the same weekend so we could meet each other.
Thanks to Dr. Marsh and her incredible team, they made it happen.

June 3rd I landed at 12:45pm D.C. time. Angela's plane arrived at 1:15pm so I told her I would meet her in the baggage area. I was nervous...excited...nervous...wait did I say nervous? To finally meet this voice that I had become so close to over the last 10 months. To see her walking down the concourse...was incredible with her big smile. We just hugged..and it was hard to let go. What an honor and she is now mentoring to so many others.

The study was based on living donors and I do not want to compromise the study details in any way. It involved a great deal of computer tasks, written tasks, word tasks and an MRI as well as an in depth interview of my journey as an altruistic donor. I was nerous about the MRI so I told the team if there was a tumor the size of a grapefruit in there...I wanted to know. The testing lasted for more than seven hours. When I got back to the hotel I just looked at Angela and said, "you see these sweat pants I'm wearing? Thats what I am wearing tonight." Between all the testing of the day and anticipation of the weekend, I was exhausted! But I do have a beautiful photo of my brain just to prove to people I have one! I've decided to carry it in my wallet to whip out for the perfect moment.

The weather was beautiful so we walked to Martins Pub and had a postively wonderful meal. I think we both would enjoy nothing more than to just take part in studies on a full time basis. It meant so much to sit and chat with someone who appreciates your journey and you can share the moments and laugh with. This is the beauty as well as importance of mentoring others. My journey has lead me to a very special kidney sister. Once again I have to thank Harvey Mysel of the Living Kidney Donors Network who put Angela and I in contact with each other.

lkdn.org Living Kidney Donors Network
oksolo.blogspot.com Angela Stimpson's blog
kidneymama.com hosted by Nancy Murrell

1 comment:

angela stimpson said...

Oh, this is beautiful, Cara... I love you!