It has now been 6 months since surgery. The first few weeks were a little painful. If I did too much walking, my whole side felt like it was cramped up; similar to the feeling of cramps you get when you run a distance. It was also awkward to find a comfortable position to sleep.
I took 6 weeks off after the donation to rest and heal up. I returned to work on July 31. I did not need to ease myself back in, I returned full-time. I did notice that I was a lot more tired after surgery. I became fatigued very easily, especially for the first few months.
On August 14, I had a follow up with my surgeon. He checked my incision and all looked well. I had to do a bunch of blood work and (yet another) 24 hr urine test a week before the appointment. Everything came back well. I had no protein in my urine, my GFR was 49 and my creatinine was 130. My surgeon explained to me that it was normal for my GFR (Glomular Filtration Rate) to be that low because my remaining solo kidney was still growing and adjusting to taking on the extra work load. He said that he “would like to see my GFR increase to 60 at 6 months post-donation”.
My incision healed up very well. The photo below shows an updated photo of it from November 16 (5 months post).
On December 14, I had my 6 month follow-up with my nephrologist. My pre-appointment blood and urine testing came back even better than I had expected! My GFR was up to 65 and my creatinine was down to 103. My GFR was even better than my surgeon had been hoping it would be. I also have normal blood pressure so far, which is a good thing because that is the most common complication for living kidney donors.
As you can see in the photo, my GFR fluctuated between 90 and 100 before surgery. It was 49 in August and up to 65 in December (6 months post-donation). I will see my nephrologist every December now to follow-up.
At 6 months now, I am still dealing with bits of fatigue. I also do have nerve damage in my abdomen, as I am numb all the way over to my belly button and down to my hip. I expected this though and its nothing too bothersome.
The biggest adjustment has been not being able to take NSAIDs (ibuprofen, naproxen) more-so because Tylenol doesn’t tend take the edge off of headaches or sore muscles in the same way. But OTC muscle relaxants with acetaminophen seem to do the trick for me.
Donors are also reccommended to stay away from high protein diets and protein shakes, as high protein is known to cause kidney stones and kidney stones damage kidneys. This didn’t bother me much, as I wasn’t into high protein diets or drinks.
Robert is doing very well. No signs of rejection or any complications so far. His numbers are great. He can play with our daughter now and function properly.
Oh yeah, and he can pee again! Haha!
It has been amazing to see him be able to live again. I don’t “feel” amazing or like a “hero” but I feel like I saved someone’s life and I feel that it has changed my outlook on everything.
If only I had more kidneys…I’d donate again in a heartbeat.