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Donor Stories

Not Even A Decision

My youngest son, David was only one-year-old when it was discovered that he had kidney disease. Dealing with kidney disease and living with an urethrostomy since he was 4 years old David and our family adjusted to these health problems as a way of life.

Hints about a kidney transplant had been dropped on us, but it was certainly pushed to the back of our minds. We had hoped that he wouldn’t be faced with it until much later in life, certainly not at the age of 30.

The year before the transplant was spent with many tests and decisions for David. David lives in Charlotte, N.C. and so dealing with everything on his own added so much emotional worry for us as his parents because we were not with him daily. Making the decision to be a donor was not a decision at all. It just seemed to flow along with all the other decisions parents make while raising children. Our biggest concern was that we would be too old to donate. The doctor reassured us that this wasn’t the case and so we were tested. Thankfully, I was a match so the procedures could continue.

The challenge David put forth to the doctors was “how to rewire his plumbing” to best receive his transplant. He had not used his bladder for 27 years and it was a concern not to have any reflux with his transplant.

After all the testing was completed and that I was compatible, the decision was made to remove his diseased kidneys and to reattach his bladder. This was completed prior to the transplant and then he was on dialysis for six weeks to recover before the transplant on April 2, 1997.

Along with family, friends, and church, many things played into our lives enabling us to handle everything. My husband, Chris, had been downsized the previous year, which gave us the freedom to travel back and forth to Charlotte as often as needed. Without a schedule at home I was able to move in with David for the entire 3 month duration. You can bet, getting his mother out of his 1 bedroom apartment aided in his speedy recovery after the transplant had been completed.

My mind has played many games with me as to what we could have done to delay or even avoid the transplant – was I nonchalant about his diet, did we move too many times and compromised his medical care, and on and on. “Oh, a mother’s mind!” But I have accepted the hand we have been dealt and come to the conclusion that if it had not occurred at this time, but at a later date we could have been too old to donate. So we are thankful for the way things have turned out.

I have never met a mother who wouldn’t have done the same thing for her son, nor do I want to. It was a gift, but it was easy for me to give because I love my son.

With many thanks to the medical community and prayers to all that have been touched by organ donation, Chris and I want to thank the staff of Lifeline of Ohio for all the hard work that they are doing in making organ donation a community affair.

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