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.
Two Years and always active in improving the Living Donor experience
I can't believe its been two years since I donated a kidney. These two years have been fantastic for so many reasons.
As a golfer, there is a saying that you meet then nicest people on the golf course (unless you've had to witness some of my shots). Well you meet the nicest people in the kidney world. It is amazing how many friends I have made along this journey. In two years I've had the pleasure of mentoring twenty three people through the process and I hope it continues to be many more.
One thing I would like to clarify is that the word altruistic donor really referred to in the medical community as a non-designated donor. My opinion is that anyone who donates a kidney to someone they know or someone they don't know has given a gift that is beyond compare. I continue to keep very active in researching stories and news for not only donors but also from the recipients side.
Now that I have two years under my belt, I can see where there are some major issues that need to be addressed for living donors.
UNOS mandates that all transplant hospitals must provide a two year follow up program to living donors. There is no question in my mind that this time period should be extended on an annual basis for the lifetime of all donors. Why? Because people who donate should have the same follow up care that a recipient has and more importantly I would think that the transplant centers would want to follow donors for gathering data and making it possible for future donors to have have as much information as possible to make their decision on donating. Secondly, once the two years have passed it then becomes the responsibility financially to continue monitoring their own creatine leves and kidney well being. This issue does not translate that I have any regrets...I would do it again. But because of my passion amd belief living donors are the only way to decrease those recipients on the national waiting list, I believe there should be more responsibility in monitoring the donor.
One of my biggest concerns is that if this is not implemented that there will be many living donors that do not continue to check their creatine levels because they either don't have the financial means or insurance, or that they just don't continue to monitor their own well being.
Because you have to go through rigid medical testing prior to being cleared as a donor is very important to both you and the recipient. I was thrilled to kniow that I was healthy enough to be a donor. But don't allow a false sense of security in that.
We age...our bodies change in the circle of life and follow ups are crucial to your well being.
Next week is my two year follow up visit. Trust me I have a list of questions to ask when I am there since this will be my last check up. Remember that you have given the gift of life... now its time to be responsible to yourself for you own well-being!