Taking good care of ourselves and helping others who suffer from disease is important not only for ourselves but for others who may be impacted by disease. In the context of Chronic Kidney Disease and kidney transplantation even young children can learn much and be shaped by the experience they share with adult members of the family. Consider the following story.
My Big Surprise
By Trevor Toma
“I have been surprised many times in my life, but the absolute greatest surprise was in March 2012 when my mother told me she was going to give away her kidney. When my mother came home from work, she looked way happier than usual. So I asked her, “Why are you so happy?” Then she told me the story of how uncle Gregg’s kidneys were running at 11% efficiency and how he was on the National Kidney Foundation Donor’s list. She told me that it would be a long time for him to get a kidney and maybe he wouldn’t even get one. He would die without a kidney transplant. Then she told me, “I have decided to give uncle Gregg one of my kidneys. Don’t worry because I can live just fine with only one. I am going to have surgery in San Francisco when it is time.” Then she asked me if I had any questions or suspicions about the transplant but I wasn’t worried at all. She decided to give her kidney away because it made her sad to think that he would die and his kids wouldn’t have a father and his wife wouldn’t have a husband. He was shocked, excited, and grateful because he didn’t even know that his wife and my mom were talking about it. He was surprised because he didn’t think that a friend would risk their life to give him a kidney. He was grateful because he knew that this kidney would give him a new life.
During the tests, my mom took x-rays, blood tests, urine tests, and an IV. Sometimes she was gone for hours then came back with some news – sometimes good, sometimes bad. But my mother knew it was all worth it. Then one day she had to go to San Francisco for 3 days with her co-worker’s family to get more tests. She had a very good time. When she got back, she gave me a baseball cap and showed me pictures of the house she stayed at. After, she told me that there would be only a few more tests to take and then they would have to wait for a kidney match to swap.
Well, now it’s only a matter of time before my mother and uncle Gregg are ready to swap. Now I see how much love and effort was put into this transplant. I hope to save lives like her one-day. Even now — this very minute — I see how much she cares for uncle Gregg and his family.”
The decision to donate a kidney so that another person may live is one that is made with much planning, testing, and care. Those who donate one of their kidneys profoundly affect lives besides the life of the recipient.
National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii
1314 South King St., #304, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96814