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My Organ Donation Journey - Chapter 6

Will I miss my kidney?

In my first life, before I got into healthcare marketing, I worked in the mental health field. So it isn’t surprising that I found the psychological assessment to be the most interesting part of the donor screening.

I don’t want to tamper with the evaluation process for other prospective donors, so I won’t divulge details. (What happens in the psych department stays in the psych department.)

But there is one small thing that I would like to share. Dr. Stephan Weinland, the psychologist who conducted the study, told me that some people get depressed after donating an organ, feeling a sense of loss. And he asked me if I thought I would miss my kidney.

I am embarrassed to admit that my response was what you might expect from an obnoxious fifth grader.  I laughed. Out loud. I didn’t mean any disrespect. After all, undergoing any surgery is no joking matter. But it tickled me to think about missing my sweet dear kidney.

Afterwards, I gave Dr. Weinland’s question the serious consideration it deserved. How would I really feel about losing part of my body? Would I notice the empty space that my kidney used to occupy?  Would I be sad? Would I regret my decision? Would I no longer feel whole?

I took a long, solo run and tried to get into a post-surgery mindset. Here is what I realized…

I have never really had a relationship with my kidney. I hadn’t named it. I hadn’t talked to it. For that matter, I hadn’t given it a moment’s thought. That is, until now. 

Today, I see my kidney in a whole new light. On one hand, my left kidney—which is the one I’ll be donating—is completely unnecessary. My body will function just fine without it. Her sister kidney will happily carrying the load. I only have one heart and that is sufficient. So why not just one kidney?

On the other hand, my left kidney as the most precious organ in my body. But only if I give it away.

Will I miss my kidney? Not for a second.  

But by being a living donor, there is something else I will not miss. This incredible opportunity to change another human being’s life in a profound way.  Somehow though I suspect it is my life that will be changed the most. Stay tuned and let’s see what happens together.

If you’d like to consider being a living donor, my kidney and I would be happy to talk to you. Email us at sdubuque@ndp.agency.

 

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