save mitchell

donate a kidney, a dollar, or a prayer for hope & healing

One year later.

on July 31, 2013

Jessica, Mitchell’s donor angel, was nice enough to contribute a guest blog post in honor of the one-year anniversary coming up on August 7th {read the original blog post here from surgery week}.

It’s July 31, 2013 and I can’t believe that is has been almost one year since I donated my kidney to a stranger so that Mitchell could receive a new lease on life. Everything is still so fresh in my mind, from the physical screenings to the prep before heading into the OR. I know when I first told family and friends about my decision to be a living donor I was met with disbelief. Many people didn’t understand why I would want to give an organ away to someone who wasn’t family. There were plenty of questions that started with “what if..” or “what are you thinking?” It wasn’t easy to explain to people my motivation or my feelings about what I was doing. It wasn’t something that was easily put into words. It was something that I felt. I had done my research, I had discussed the risks with the doctors and I had made my mind up about what I was meant to do.

donate

I frequently get asked how my recipient is doing and how Mitchell is doing. Well as for my recipient, I haven’t heard much about her since my 6 month follow up. I don’t know if she knows my name or if she’s even interested in knowing who she got a kidney from. It doesn’t really matter to me as long as my kidney is happy in its new home and functioning well enough to give her an improved quality of life. Would it be nice to meet her? Of course. The logistics on when a recipient can contact their donor and how are somewhat lost on me. I didn’t get a great rundown on how that works exactly.

I’m sure most of you have been following the blog and the facebook page, so I’ll spare you the details of how Mitchell did after the surgery. For a while there he was looking great! I was really happy that his quality of life had improved and it seemed that this kidney was doing well in its new home. A few bumps in the road popped up, but I remained optimistic that these were just little hiccups on the road to success. But as we all know now, it wasn’t meant to be. I felt sadness and despair as I got phone call after phone call from Robin, Mitchell’s mom, with bad news.

My heart ached for Mitchell, he had already been through so much in his young life and it just wasn’t fair that this was happening to him (and his family) again! I was disappointed that this new kidney had not taken as we had all hoped and prayed for. The silver lining (in my mind at least): he had a few months after surgery to enjoy his new kidney and to do things he hadn’t been able to do for some time. I wish it had turned out differently for Mitchell and his family. I had hoped that the 3rd time would be a charm, but maybe there is some greater purpose behind all of it.

jessica surgery

As for me, I’m doing well. I really have no complaints a year later. I’ve seen no negative effects on my health as a result of the surgery and if you didn’t know me you’d have no idea I only have one kidney. I’ll have an annual physical to check my kidney function, but other than that no specials medications or precautions. The team at VCUHS was fantastic. My pain after surgery was minimal and a week later I was up walking around and meeting friends for lunch.

“Would you do it again?” Without hesitation, yes. Choosing to donate my kidney was one of the best decisions I have made so far in my life. I have a great appreciation for how blessed I am to be healthy and able to give to those who are not as fortunate. I know that many people that read this blog and keep up with Mitchell’s story think to themselves: “I would never do that!” or “I couldn’t do it.” Is living donation for everyone? No. Are there plenty of people out there capable of being a living donor and just think “no way!”, probably so. I know that most people aren’t willing to give up something so precious for a stranger, but I pose this question: ” Why not?”. I think if we approached life with a “why not?” attitude, we might just be a little better off. I’m glad I did what I did. It has made me a better person and I’m thankful that I was able to do it. There are plenty of people out there that think it was weird or crazy to do what I did.

Here’s what I have to say to that: “What have you done to better someone’s life?” Do I expect everyone to go sign up to be a living donor, of course not! But if I can reach out and positively influence the thinking of just one person then I know I have made a difference.

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If anyone has questions, please feel free to post them and I’ll answer them as best as I can! Thanks for reading and I wish you all the best!

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” ~Edward Everett Hale

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4 responses to “One year later.

  1. Robin Lyne says:

    We are so grateful for who you are and the sacrifice that you made.
    mike, Robin, Mitchell and the WHOLE LYNE FAMILY!

  2. FeliciaF. says:

    Jessica, I know your parents were probably scared crazy a little over a year ago but they are both so proud of you. My question is this….how would I convince my spouse to accept my decision to be a donor!?

  3. sylvia says:

    You are an amazing human being, God has a special place for you in heaven. My husband donated a kidney to our oldest son who is not biologically related however, he didn’t even stop to think twice, he insisted on being the first one tested. And he was a perfect match. It’s been four months now and both are doing well. Our son’s kidney desease was diagnosed when he was 12 yrs. old This November he is turning 40. I hope more people find that special something inside themselves and will want to hopefully save a life. The waiting list is long, thank you again for your precious gift.

    • savemitchell says:

      Felicia,

      I never had an issue with my spouse being supportive of my decision. Naturally he was nervous, but he never asked me not to do it or gave me a hard time about it. I’m not sure exactly what your situation is as far as that’s concerned, so the only advice I can give you is this: If you are sure this is something you want to do then you tell people you are doing it and that their opinion on the matter isn’t going to change it either way. I did this with my parents and when I told Elliot about what I wanted to do I told him too, that with or without his support I was going through with it. It’s tough to say, but if you have made that decision for yourself then it really isn’t up to anyone else, no matter what their opinion is. I hope this answered you question, let me know if you have any more!

      -Jessica

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