Howdy! My name is Tarsha McFarlin, I am 28 years old born, raised, and still living in Baltimore, Maryland. On July 27, 2018, I decided to be a LIVING KIDNEY DONOR for my Uncle Greg!
I didn’t put much thought into it, I Googled the pros of someone receiving a living kidney over a deceased kidney and that pretty much fueled my decision. If someone receives a living kidney their recovery period is shortened and they have a lower chance of rejection. The kidney also lasts longer and the kidney starts working like RIGHT AWAY. When someone receives a deceased kidney it’s like it has to wake back up, there is also a waiting list to receive the kidney which is a long time up to TEN YEARS. I could not have my Uncle going through that at all. PERIOD.
I confirmed I could still run marathons after kidney donation by way of my great friend Google. Because others have been vocal about their journey of being a living donor and bouncing back to being a marathoner it helped put my mind at ease. I found real people and their real stories: Steve Russolillo and Tracey Hulick.
Before considering donation my activity level was about average. I had literally just finished my first 25k trail race July 22nd, 2018 and was about to start training for my 11th full marathon, Baltimore Running Festival October 20, 2018.
I found out I was a direct tissue match August 15, 2018, and after a slew of extensive labs for myself, and after a few health scares for my Uncle, we were given a surgery date of December 21, 2018!
The first four days after surgery were tough physically and emotionally for me. I was super blessed to have my girlfriend by my side the entire time. I got discharged the next morning but my Uncle Greg had to stay in for four more days and then he had to be readmitted a week after that. I felt so sad and depressed, like “Oh no, he’s not getting any better.” Then one week later from surgery on New Year’s Eve I tried to run just to feel better – and I could and that made me so happy! I ran 4 miles on December 31, 2018, on my Uncle’s treadmill.
After that, I ran 4 miles again for two more consecutive days. I had a doctor’s appointment with the surgeon to check my incision and was advised to stop before I get a hernia so I stopped for 3 weeks.
I didn’t really experience any hurdles that I would think was a result of the donation. Getting back into running wasn’t hard at all after recovering. My energy was a little low in the beginning but that’s to be expected after pigging out and not running for a bit.
It wasn’t long though before I was back to running through Druid Hill Park, my most favorite route. I was truly thrilled to get back to running and to train for my upcoming marathon Pro Football Hall of Fame Marathon in Canton, Ohio which was April 28, 2019.
I don’t feel any different post-surgery just PROUD. The only precautions I genuinely take is I try to drink more water, less tequila, and get more rest.
I’m excited for more folk to know that giving life doesn’t stop theirs! That you can still be active and do the things you love like running marathons! I am currently working on drinking more of my water, drinking way less coffee, and educating folk on being a living organ donor. Also, my Uncle is doing MARVELOUS! And if I had more kidneys I would do this again for someone!
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO DONATE TO KIDNEY DONOR ATHLETES TO HELP US CONTINUE OUR MISSION TO RAISE AWARENESS AND SHOW THRIVING EXAMPLES OF LIVING DONORS, PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING!
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