Tuesday, February 24, 2009

FAT Tuesday Kidney Party

Donating A Kidney

Dea and I immediately before going into surgery. We were calm and carefree because neither of us actually thought the surgery was going to really happen that day (previous day the cross match numbers weren't good enough). Then they came to get us... just before surgery the B-Cell reading was 293, just below the limit of 300! Doc said "Let's Go!"

For Mardi Gras this year I donated a kidney to my good friend Dea. She and her husband Ben are both amazing people. I'm really glad that I had the opportunity to help Dea. A transplant is a funny thing to ask someone to do for you, and Dea is definitely the type of person who would rather fix problems on her own and not have to ask for help. So, being in a position where she needed to ask for help was a difficult position for her to be in. All that said, I'm glad that I was able to help, and it's just been a positive thing in all ways. Really no negatives (except the post surgery constipation and bloating). I think we both had some discomfort immediately after the surgery, but it really only lasted for a few days to a week.

Dea has some good transplant blog posts on her blog too. She does a lot of cool stuff and is working towards her PhD in Atmospheric Sciences. My roomate Ed has a couple really nice (and famous) posts about Dea on his blog: Mad Props to Dea and Dialysis Doesn't Stop Dea. She is very inspirational to everyone who knows her.

Dea and Ben (and Pella) at the Castner Glacier a year ago.

Ben is a super great guy who would have given his kidney in a second if he were a match with Dea. It's really nice to see Dea and Ben together. They have a great relationship and really support eachother in everything. Ben has done a great job caring for Dea around the transplant and is always there for her. Ben is also a good photographer, check out his work at his website.

We had great family support during the transplant.

Overall the experience has been oddly festive. With so many friends and family members sort of "cheering" us on and wishing us the best. I have really enjoyed all the attention and the festive atmostphere this has created. It really has been a "Kidney Party" and it is fitting that the transplant took place on Fat Tuesday! Instead of music, beads, boobs, and booze, we had hospital gowns, IV drips, incisions, and pee.

A day after surgery, Dea and I go for a walk together

Yep. Dea is peeing for the first time in a few years. And peeing a LOT. The "Big hairy man kidney", as Ben calls it, is working very well. I guess it is a BIG kidney according to the docs... I have to say I'm not surprised.

I did shave an arrow in my chest to help the docs find the kidney - this was good for some laughs. Hee hee. Lots of friends were supporting Dea and I throughout this endeavour (thanks everyone!).

I have to say that probably the coolest part of the transplant is to see Dea's improvements. She underwent a tough surgery and is on strong dosages of drugs, so the recovery from the transplant is more difficult and will take a lot longer for her than for me. But, I have enjoyed hearing all of the small improvements that she experiences a little at a time. It's a really good feeling to have donated a kidney.

Dea, Ben, and I a week after the transplant hanging out