Married for 32 years and divorced. Father of three and grandfather of 4. Back in November of 2013, I was in TX visiting family. Toward the end of the trip I felt as though I was coming down with something. I decided that when I got back to FL that I would go to the clinic to get checked out.
When I got back to FL, I went to the nearest clinic. They took my vitals, x-rays and blood. The x-rays showed that I had an enlarged heart but the blood test had not come back yet. The Dr. decided to give me a breathing treatment medication and I was sent home. Later that night, the Dr. called and told me that the results of the blood test had come back and that I was to get in my vehicle and head to the emergency room, that my kidneys had failed. He told me to give the nurse my creatine number. When I got to the emergency room, I waited for a bit and then spoke to the nurse. I told her what the Dr. had told me to tell her and they immediately admitted me in the hospital. I was in the hospital for 12 days, released and immediately put on dialysis.
To this date, I have been on dialysis for 4 years and am listed on Tampa General's and The Mayo Clinics transplant list. They tell me that they are estimating that it could be another 6 months before I could possibly get a kidney but there are no guarantees. The best way for me to get a kidney sooner and preserve my life is for a living donor to come forward.
The process for the donor is not complicated. They go through a series of tests to determine their health. My blood type is 0 positive however, blood type matching is not necessary. Reason being, if the donor does not match and still wants to donate, they can donate to the Kidney Registry on my behalf and the registry will find a match for me from another living donor and the donated kidney will go to another recipient, saving two lives. Cost for the donor is negligible because my insurance will cover the cost of the testing as well as the cost of the operation and short hospital stay. Believe it or not we can live full and healthy lives with just one kidney.
Recovery for the donor is approx 2-3 weeks before they can resume normal activities. There are a number of resources online for more information but the best way to get started if you are interested in donating is to go to the Tampa Genera Hospital website at https://www.tgh.org/services/transplant/kidney-transplant/living-kidney-donor-program
). or the Mayo Clinic at https://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/kidney-transplant/home/orc-20203197
). No words can express my thankfulness for you to just read my story and thank you for even considering being a living donor.