“I’ll give you a kidney!”
I’ve heard this comment lots. Sometimes it is said off the cuff, most of the time its said with all serious and all in good heart. I nod, smile and say thanks but no thanks. Live donation is not for me, and I will do my best to explain why.
When I went on dialysis the first time round I felt this way, my Mum, Dad and Brother said straight from the off that they would get tested and be willing to donate. I said no. Every clinic appointment the consultant would ask me to reconsider letting my parents get tested (I said definately not my brother as he was about to get married and have a family of his own.) Eventually, around 6 months later, I agreed to an initial blood test (albeit to shut everyone up!). My Mum and Dad were a match for me, my Dad was ruled out as he suffers from high blood pressure and asthma. My Mum continued with tests for another year, all the while I was on dialysis and active on the National Transplant Waiting List.
My final appointment arrived, Mum had passed all the tests including psychological ones with flying colours and I was fit enough for the operation, we were contemplating dates for it to take place. Then my consultant gave me the news that my Mum was CMV positive and I was CMV negative. CMV is a virus you are left with if you have suffered from the Flu, or a bad cold. It doesn’t harm you or have any detrimental effects. However when someone who hasn’t got the CMV virus present receives a transplant from someone who has then it can be dangerous. It can be perfectly well managed with drugs but my consultant painted a very bleak picture of CMV and what damage it can do, quoting the figure of 8 in 400 transplant patients a year die from it. I heard the word death, instantly panicked and called the transplant off. When I was activated on the list I requested a CMV negative transplant so had already made this informed decision myself. In all honesty I was glad that the operation wasn’t going to go ahead. Living donation is not for me.
So, why? These are my reasons, my opinions, you may think they are stupid but it’s only my view.
I would never ask someone to go through a major operation for me. An operation that they don’t need. Pain they don’t need to suffer.
What if something happened to them during the operation? (I would never forgive myself)
What if the operation wasn’t a success and the kidney rejected? (I would feel guilty for them, they would have done it for nothing.)
What if their remaining kidney failed and they needed dialysis and or transplant in the future.
A, has said “I have spare parts!” but (and I’m not saying this will happen as we are solid) what if he gave me a kidney and we broke up?
What if another member of the family needed a kidney? Particularly one of the kiddies or if one day I’m lucky enough to have children they needed a kidney – the options are narrowed if someone gives me one first.
I would forever be indebted to whoever gave me a kidney, how do you ever return that favour, how would I ever say thank you.
I can survive perfectly well on dialysis.
Don’t get me wrong I am so thankful that people have offered, whether it is an off the cuff remark or a serious offer. I am grateful that people think that much of me to offer.
I understand that the risks are minimal, people wouldn’t offer if they didn’t want to and many of my friends have received living donations and they have been successful. Many people will not understand this blog, I agree living donation is a fantastic thing if that is the road you want to go down. But it’s not for me. I hope that for those of you who have asked and even insisted that this is what I should do that this goes someway to explain why I don’t want to. Afterall it’s my body, my health and my choice.
Updated: If you want to know anymore or have any questions, drop me a comment.