Being a runner has always been a large part of my identity. It began for me in high school as a cross-country athlete. From then until now, at age 55, being a runner has been my go-to therapy, my social circle, my vacation destinations, and my ever-enduring bond with my runner husband. As a life long runner, I imagine there were many times when I took my good health for granted! A genetic gift! A source of pride! But, other than my collection of medals and t-shirts from years of training and racing, I found myself asking if there was a deeper purpose for prioritizing my health all these years.
The answer to that question came in the form of a Facebook post – a man, a husband, a father of four who was in need of a kidney. For a reason that still escapes me, I did not just scroll on by. Something about his story stopped my Facebook surfing. He had my blood type, O negative, and he had young children. I shared with my husband how moved I was by his story and we agreed I should call to be tested.
Fast forward one year and here I am, scheduled for surgery on April 25 through the Paired Kidney Exchange. By donating my kidney to an unknown recipient in Texas my new friend Dan will be receiving a healthy, perfect match kidney from that recipient’s donor. Although we are the same blood type, Dan and I did not have compatible antibodies, so back in July 2018, we were placed on the PKE list. There have been some ups and downs, as we had been matched before and had that surgery fall through when one of the recipients in the chain was unable to go through with the surgery.
I feel that a large part of my confidence going into this journey has been the numerous posts that I have read on Kidney Donor Athletes. I look forward to sharing my journey with everyone else that reads these stories of giving the gift of life while maintaining their athletic lifestyles!
April 15th was the pre-op appointment for myself and my recipient through the paired kidney program. Another 18 vials of blood (no biggie, that’s less than the pint you give if you are a blood donor) and conferences with my surgical nurse, my post-op nurse practitioner and the social worker. Definitely glad I arrived with the list of questions I had accumulated as well as my sister, who has experienced abdominal surgery and knew some of the ins and outs, pun intended!! The medical staff is was excellent in answering all my questions and by the end of my appointment, my confidence in my decision had been even more secured.
By the time you read this, I may be on my way to the hospital or my surgery may be complete! I look forward to updating everyone on my experience!