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Stephanie’s Story

"If I had another kidney to spare, I would donate in a heartbeat.  It was life changing for my husband, and for me as a person."

Stephanie’s Story

My husband, Howard, was diagnosed with Stage 4 kidney failure in 2018. His kidneys had deteriorated over a 20-year period due to high blood pressure.

We were fortunate enough to be able to proceed with the kidney donation pre-emptively, before he needed to go on dialysis. I wasn’t the best possible match, but was advised I was good enough and that living donation is the “gold standard” for kidney donations, so it was worth moving forward. 

Deciding to donate was absolutely a no brainer. I would do it again in a heartbeat if I had a spare kidney! I feel it was not only life changing for my husband, but for me as a person.  I was fortunate enough to meet two other donors who had donated to their partners and their support was invaluable. If you are thinking of donating, I would say try and find someone who has done it before making up your mind. It will really made a world of difference. 

The experience of testing and assessment took a few months. Nothing unpleasant, blood tests and scans of my kidneys and bladder to make sure I was in tip top health to proceed. We were allocated our own respective donor- and recipient-nurses who answered every question we had. We always felt 100% supported by the renal team, they could not have been kinder.  I tried to get as fit as possible before my surgery as we were told this does aid recovery time afterwards. 

I almost skipped into the operating theatre the morning of surgery. We had waited over a year to get everything in place. The anaesthetist came to see me to sign a form before the operation and asked me to choose a couple of songs. I chose upbeat songs:  Staying Alive by The Bee Gees and Simply The Best by Tina Turner. I hadn’t expected music, it was fun! 

The surgery went very smoothly and took a couple of hours before I woke up in recovery and chatted to the surgeon. She told me that they had started Howard’s transplant, he was in the operating theatre right next door to me. 

I was in hospital for 2-3 days after my operation, during which I went to see Howard who was on a different ward. He was in good shape! It was quite uncomfortable afterwards, but Mother Nature does her thing and I was soon back on my feet. Our wonderful supportive daughter, Gemma, brought me home. 

My recovery was quick with no complications. I was able to resume walking in the park fairly quickly and was back in the gym soon after. Howard felt fine as well and came out of hospital a few days later. It took him a little while to adjust to the necessary drugs, but I’m delighted to say he is fit and well. 

After the donation, I went back for a three-month check-up and now have annual blood tests. The hospital said to look upon it as a free health MOT! 

We now travel and enjoy life to the full. I would urge anyone who can to consider donation, whether to family member or directed. 

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