I did an AmA about getting my surgery date last month...now that we've done it, I'm back to answer any questions about getting thru the selection process, the surgery itself, the hospital stay, life after donation, or anything else that may come up! I donated to my wife's cousin on Tuesday, and got discharged on Thursday!

PROOF: Imgur a pic my surgical incision, and Imgur a pic of me laying in bed one day after surgery.

EDIT: I am going to get some rest now....I'll check back in the morning! EDIT #2: Got some rest...now I'm back! EDIT #3: Time to hit my favorite store...Trader Joe's! I will check back one more time this evening to catch any stragglers...thanks for all the well wishes and good questions! EDIT #4: OK, I think I answered all the stragglers! Thanks to everyone for your questions, I'm done! Alooooooha!

Comments: 625 • Responses: 67  • Date: 

SilverElement143 karma

Bravo to you sir! I am waiting for a kidney myself, and have been through 4 donors that did not work out. I am lucky to have many other people who want to be tested and hope one will work out. I wish you and the recipient the best of luck!

killaseal74 karma

mahalo, sir! I hope things work out for you, as quickly as possible!

Mvfresh8 karma

Are you from hawaii? if so which hospital was this done at?

killaseal17 karma

I live in Hawaii, but the transplant was done in Houston...at the Methodist Hospital. I was the only one to fly in from so far away...all other participants live in Texas!

the_annex100 karma

Coming up on a year since I donated my left kidney to my little brother, cheers to you man! Hope you're doing well, and that you're not a stomach-sleeper... that shit was unbearable as my abdomen healed.

(SIDE NOTE: I got to give my brother the kidney 4 days after his 21st birthday, so I got to forgo getting him a present. Bonus!)

killaseal30 karma

congrats to you and your brother as well, that's a wonderful thing you did! Yeah, I sleep on my back, so I'm all good!

Janjabu49 karma

Did they let you choose whether to donate your left or right kidney? Did you prefer your right one?

killaseal69 karma

No, my doctor told me it would be the left one, even though there were two arteries attached two it. I have heard that the degree of difficulty for removing the right one is higher, because it involves moving the liver, but I never asked my doctor, so I'm not sure.

Lady_S45 karma

What will the long term effects on your health be? How much pain/discomfort are you in right now?

It's a really awesome selfless thing you did btw!

killaseal78 karma

Long term effects, as they know now, are minimal. There are no eating or drinking restrictions, and alcohol can still be enjoyed, as long as you keep it at "social drinking" levels. They recommend no smoking and no contact sports; and yearly check-ups to make sure your remaining kidney is doing OK. As for pain, my abdomen is still sore, but the medication helps with that. I walk like an old man, but every day is better, so I'm actually surprised that I feel this good three days later!

Wizzle-Stick19 karma

the alcohol was going to be my question.
so did they say how much they consider social drinking? thats a subjective term really. daily, weekly, how much you can consume (bac).
i know this is a strange question, but ive had kidney stones and know what happens when to cause them and was wondering if there is an increased likelihood due to only having 1 kidney and such.

killaseal2 karma

They defined social drinking as follows: 2 drinks per day for men, or 1 drink per day for women. They define "drink" as 12 oz of regular beer, OR 5 oz. wine, OR 1.5 oz. hard liquor. Anything more than that, and they feel that you are putting your health at risk. And no, you can't save up Monday-Friday, so that you can pound the drinks on the weekend!

I have not heard that that there is an increased risk due to having one kidney. I think that the risk factor is the same, but I will ask my surgeon, just to be sure. the main thing I have been told is to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and to drink lots of fluids (which I was already doing.)

2876patter41 karma

After reading all of this I have no questions but wanted to tell you that you are awesome. You gave some one else the chance at a better life, you are amazing!

killaseal14 karma


Nepharyte40 karma

I donated 4 years ago. You will never be so happy to fart in your life.

killaseal39 karma

that is !00% correct! it felt soooooooo good!

thy_swank35 karma

Did you donate it to someone specifc?

killaseal96 karma

Yes, to my wife's cousin. He's been on dialysis for about two years. And actually, we had to participate in the Swap Program, so my physical kidney went to someone else, and he received his actual kidney from the other donor that was part of the chain.

oddcollins29 karma

Just wanted to say good work man I donated my left kidney to my mother 3 weeks ago and I'm still in the recovery process just take it day by day.

killaseal10 karma

good on you man! Thanks, and I hope you and your mom have a great recovery!

iamaredditer21 karma

Good Job bro! That cousin better get you one hell of a b-day and christmas present each yr.

killaseal65 karma

funny you should say that! I've already received a computer from said cousin...and he keeps bringing it up to my wife, as if the computer somehow makes us even. I told my wife, does he even know how much kidneys go for on the black market? Because it's gonna take a hell of a lot more computers for us to be even! I'm kidding, of course...seeing him off dialysis and healthy again is enough of a present!

theguywithacomputer19 karma

What was it like to wake up missing an organ?

killaseal41 karma

Honestly, it was a bit surreal... I don't even remember going under, and next thing I know, they're telling me I'm in recovery. I was pretty groggy in the recovery room, but they let my wife see me, and that was very comforting. I e think that I was more concerned about the recipient than myself; his life is the one that will change for the better, so knowing that I helped him made me feel pretty cool, and I always had peace of mind about this whole process.

girlonthemoon19 karma

I've been interested in donating for some time.. But are a little scared of the process. What was it like for you, before and after the operation? How were you prepared?

killaseal23 karma

Once I knew I was approved, I focused on staying healthy by eating right, and exercising. I felt that the healthier I came in, the faster I would be able to bounce back. I also cut out alcohol and tobacco exactly one month prior to the surgery date. That was a little hard, because I like my cigars, and I like my cocktails...but I kept reminding myself of the greater good that was ahead, and that helped me stay focused. Now that I've had the operation, I'm focused on taking care of myself, and not taking unnecessary risks. I will give up cigars, because there is no benefit to them; I will keep alcohol at "social drinking" levels. I will be a while before I can get back into Crossfit, so I'll have to live with walking for while...but don't worry, I WILL be back!

girlonthemoon8 karma

Thanks :) Perhaps I should had worded it a bit better.. But I was more wondering about what the doctors were recommending you and what where the "approval"- tests like? Did it hurt?

killaseal15 karma

Oh, OK! Well, first I had to get a complete history and physical with my doctor, and have it sent to the transplant center. Then, there are 3 days of testing at the transplant center. You will have blood drawn (about 20 vials), x-rays, CT imaging, blood pressure, BMI, EKG...lots of tests. None of them hurt, although if you have an aversion to needles, you may not like having all the bloodwork done, or the nuclear scan (the scan involves a radiaocative element being injected into you, and they leave a large IV in your arm between measurements, so as I said, if you don't like needles...) But no pain during the testing, it's all relatively painless...the pain comes after surgery, because you've been cut open, and your bowels stop working for a while (the anesthesia, plus side effects of pain meds)...but i'm on day three (day zero was surgery day), and I feel pretty good! The other donor involved in the swap was a 31 year old woman, and she also looked good on day two, and she said that she felt good as well!

pacosjoint17 karma

Karma well deserved, Good Guy Killaseal!

killaseal11 karma

thank you, sir!

mcracks17 karma

How often do you have to pee?

killaseal22 karma

Right now, it's consistent with someone who drinks tons of water. I am supposed to drink tons of water to help flush the remaining kidney and help it adjust to the new workload. So I don't think it's different than anyone else who was tanking water (and soup, and tea, etc.)

ToastyForce16 karma

Something tells me it wasn't the...right one.

killaseal18 karma


(sorry, I can't do the little artwork where he puts on the glasses....but I see what you did there!!!)

Soahc1712 karma

Do you like guacamole?

killaseal13 karma

hell yeah! Love it the simple way...guoc, lime, salt....done!

GaySunshine2 karma

Does anybody dislike guacamole?

killaseal3 karma

Unfortunately, yes, some people dislike it. We are to have pity for those people, and pray for them. Pray that they will one day understand the great glory of the guac....

dontgetaddicted11 karma

2 questions from me. My step dad is starting dialysis next month. I've thought hard about seeing if we can get into the swap program because we arent biologically related I know an antigen match is unlikely.

1) who covers the cost of the tests/surgery/meds/checkups? 2) is there any help for the donor in the future should there only remaining kidney begin to deteriorate? Like a higher spot in the waiting list?

killaseal10 karma

For the Swap Program, I don't remember it being a question of "getting into it." As soon as we found out that I wasn't a good match, it was offered as an option. I do think that as a potential recipient, you have to wait until you have a potential donor to enter the swap program, but I'm not sure about that, so you should double check to be sure.

1) the donor's insurance is supposed to cover all of the costs, EXCEPT for: the very first physical and history that you do with your doctor; medication prescribed to you after your surgery (your insurance may not cover it, so you can opt to pay cash; I did, and it cost me about $50); travel/lodging expenses associated with traveling to/from the donation center (you can apply for a grant from the NLDAC, if this is an issue); and I was charged for an EKG that they did. I don't know why, but it was only $50, so rather than dispute the charges, I just paid the bill.

2) My understanding is that if a donor experiences kidney problems in the future and needs a transplant, there is a formula that UNOS uses that gives them "points", and sort of "bumps" them up a the list, or gives them a higher priority. There is a rumor going around that says that if you donate, you move to the top of the list if you need a kidney, but I'm pretty sure that that is not true. I will ask my surgeon, just to be sure.

Xenderwind10 karma

Are you sure you picked the right one? Your other kidney might feel left out.

killaseal27 karma

Naw...righty is tightie!

Leftie was always a little loosey...so he had to go!

kbennett145809 karma

I've jokingly considered donating my left kidney because its the one with the stones in it ;)

How painful was the recovery?

killaseal11 karma

On a scale of one to ten, i would say it gets to 6-7 sometimes. But the pain medication makes it much more bearable. Morphine in the first two days, and vicodin after that...and also, knowing that you did so much good, I think that also helps ease the pain!

RorschachsMask6 karma

I'd just like to input here that you are a goddamn wonderful man.

killaseal3 karma


HumansAE7 karma

What does it feel like to have a piece of you missing?

killaseal12 karma

right now, my insides feel...like they are still adjusting. I don't feel like the space where my kidney was is different, but since I still have some gas and bowel issues, it still feels a little different in that area.

StrawberryWhovian6 karma

I heard that the recovery process of the donor is harder than that of the recipient. Do you think this is true? And could you explain the 'swap program' in a little more detail? Where did your kidney go exactly? To your cousin or someone else?

Also, as someone who's best friend was on dialysis for 3 years before receiving a kidney, I thank you for being so selfless and going through with the process.

killaseal18 karma

Yes, I think it's generally true. The recipient is sick, and the kidney usually starts working right away. Their skin gets better, they are urinating (meaning the kidney is clearing toxins from the blood), they are off dialysis...it can appear to be a miraculous conversion, it happens so fast. The donor, on the other hand, was usually perfectly healthy, and then was cut open and had a major organ removed. Their incision hurts, their remaining kidney has to adjust to doing the work that two kidneys did, their bowels nee to wake up from the effects of anesthesia, they're walking like an old man...you get the picture. In our case, my cousin had a little trouble adjusting, so his hospital stay has been extended slightly, while I feel pretty good (all things considered), but as I said, I think it's generally true.

As for the Swap Program, it's a program where they match donors and recipients up through UNOS. Blood type needs to match, AND antigens need to match...antigens are where most people fall short. Identical twins? 6 out of 6 antigens, every time. Of course, not everyone has an identical twin. Siblings? 4-6 out of 6, good enough to proceed. Anyone else? it's a crapshoot. I met a mother who wanted to donate to her son, but didn't match up well enough, so they entered the swap program. Basically its this: Ann wants to donate to Bob, but they don't match up well. Charles wants to donate to Ed, but they don't match up well either. But if Ann donates to Ed, and Charles to Bob, they match up much better. That is what the Swap Program helps to make happen.

I should note two things: sometimes, the chain can be larger that just two pairs of people. We were part of 6-person chain, and one pair of people had to withdraw. We found out 5 days before the surgery, but we were able to preserve the remaining chain. Also, not everyone is willing to be swap participant. My kidney was scheduled to go to one of the people who had to drop out, and I found out that his wife did not want to donate unless her kidney was going to directly to him (it couldn't, because they were not a good match.) That's why his sister-in-law was involved in the swap instead. So....yeah.

MuddIsland5 karma

Would you rather have sold it? Do you agree with the laws making selling organs illegal?

killaseal12 karma

......... ......... ......... still thinking....... ..........

No, I would not rather have sold it. If organ sales were legal, I would not sell mine. I would still give it to a family member in need.

That being said, I don't agree with laws making organ selling illegal. I think it could be a regulated industry, and that people deserve to be allowed to be compensated for giving up an organ...maybe have a cap or something....

buckus694 karma

Since everyone seem willing to give up one kidney for something, what was it you got for it? :)

killaseal5 karma

My cousin built a really cool emulator system that fits inside an original 8-bit Nintendo case. the emulator is hella cool...we fitted it with SNES controllers, and it has lots of games...but it's not a payment or anything like that (that would be illegal)...he just did it out of love, and because he's a computer whiz!

killaseal0 karma

My cousin built a really cool emulator system that fits inside an original 8-bit Nintendo case. the emulator is hella cool...we fitted it with SNES controllers, and it has lots of games...but it's not a payment or anything like that (that would be illegal)...he just did it out of love, and because he's a computer whiz!

jimmythegeek13 karma

Do you find yourself drifting to the right?

Seriously, I salute! My dad had renal failure. He continued with dialysis until an infection took him out. A big fraction of dialysis patients just decide it's not worth it. So you gave your wife's cousin a major blessing. Kudos!

killaseal2 karma

thanks! Sorry to hear about your Dad.

Sifu-tz3 karma

You a bad motherfucker. I'm ridiculously impressed!

killaseal1 karma

thank you, sir!

Oktober3 karma

I'd love to donate my left kidney

(spoiler: it's the shitty one that keeps getting stones)

killaseal2 karma

I think they would probably still take it, although a history of kidney stones might disqualify you from donating...

AllFunnyNamesGone3 karma

Did you wake up in an ice bath?

killaseal3 karma

No...but I did wake up with a cup of ice chips next to me!

PangeaDestructor3 karma

Do you miss it?

killaseal2 karma

no, I don't....

ruthlesssymphony313 karma

How did you do it? Did you just wake up one morning and decide to donate???? Is it just like donating blood where you can just get tested and decide to get rid of a kidney?? I congratulate you, I want to do something grand like that :)

killaseal6 karma

For me, it was as simple as knowing that my relative was sick. It didn't matter that we weren't related by blood (he is my wife's cousin); just that he was sick. As soon as we found out, I told him, "if you need a kidney, let me know; I'll donate one to you." I feel like I would have done this for most of the people in my family...there are a few exceptions, though...

You can do an "altruistic donation", where you walk into a transplant center and tell them you want to donate to the next available person. People do that, and if you want to, they will give you some extra psychological testing, to make sure you understand all the risks, and make sure that you aren't crazy. But it can be done. Not exactly as easy as giving blood, because there is a lot more testing involved, but if you want to do it, it can be done.

CamCato3 karma

Can I have your right kidney?

killaseal15 karma

Sorry, but that's gonna have to be a negative, ghost rider.

GenuinelyGinger3 karma

LL Cool J? Is that you?

killaseal5 karma

No...but I used to live nears Farmers Blvd....woot woot!

soyerbean3 karma

Did you do it for the karma?

killaseal4 karma

Nope...I did it because my relative was sick, and would die without a kidney.

added_chaos2 karma

Do you like rhubarb?

killaseal1 karma

I've never had it, but I'd be willing to try it...I think I would like it! I eat pretty much anything, except liver...

onedurrtyman2 karma

Would that be your left or their left? :)

killaseal2 karma

my left! : )

Six_of_Spades2 karma

Does righty feel lonely now?

killaseal6 karma

I think so...a Kidneys favorite song is "Just the two of us" by Bill Withers....so I know he'll be missing Lefty...but he'll have to adjust!

Bangted2 karma

After seeing your picture I gotta say: You look like one happy motherfucker!

I don't really have a question for you but I'd like to thank you!

I haven't really helped someone that much, but I donate blood every 3 months and enlisted on the bone marrow doner list.

killaseal2 karma

Don't sell yourself short! Donated blood helps many people, and being on the blood marrow list is a great thing...thank you for doing both!

-Nitrous-2 karma

Can you feel that you are lighter?

I think that would have a weird vibe to it, emptyness....

killaseal2 karma

Nope...when I was weighed at the hospital after surgery, I was about 3 pounds lighter, but I chalk that up no food before surgery/liquid diet after.

RomanUmpire1 karma

I don't have any question for you good sir but I applaud you for doing what you did, fair play to you and get well soon!

killaseal2 karma


xSlappy-1 karma

Thinking of donating a kidney. Will you pee twice as much?

killaseal3 karma

I don't think so...I think you pee just like a normal person, assuming your kidney function stays normal.

ryan6665552 karma

Op, I was born missing a kidney and had to have an expensive surgery to correct it (tubes were going to where the missing kidney was, working kidney had no tubes) I am now 22, and have never had any complications. I hope I can find a donor if my one good kidney ever fucks up... Thank you for helping someone in need. Also, you pee normal.

killaseal0 karma

thanks for sharing!

cucumberholster1 karma

do you pee every 5 minutes or is that urban myth

killaseal2 karma

Urban myth! I feel that I have been peeing regularly, based on the amount of water I have been drinking...

Chiphai0 karma

How are you still alive? I thought you died in a fire a couple weeks ago.

On a serious note, what can you not do anymore that you used to be able to do before surgery?

killaseal2 karma

Contact sports. I used to do some informal BJJ sparring, and I have to give that up. Honestly, I feel that the risk is low compared to other contact sports, but I figure...why take the risk?

Seamus_OReilly-3 karma

To your wife's cousin? No offense, but I think you're crazy. He's not even a blood relation to you. What if you get divorced? What if, years from now, one of your children needs a kidney?

In short, I'd ask for it back.

killaseal3 karma

I know everyone feels differently about this, so I'll just tell you how I felt when I made my decision. For me, FAMILY is defined by everyone on my side, AND my wife's side. Also, we have always had great relationship with my wife's cousin, his siblings, and his parents (my wife's aunt and uncle.) I have learned over the years that relationship matters even more than the word "family". I have two half brothers that I know I would not donate to...why? Because there is no relationship there. I would not donate to my biological mother, to be completely honest, because although we are on good terms now, the relationship was severely damaged during childhood. So to me, the term "blood relation" is not as important as how the "relationship" is between us. I hope that made some sense!

And if one of my children needs a kidney in the future, my hope is that one of my relatives (or friends) that we have a good "relationship" with steps up!

TheMegaWhopper-5 karma

Would you rather fight a horse sized duck, or 100 duck sized horses?

killaseal0 karma

I'm going with one horse sized duck. I've been to the lake around my house to feed ducks, and I've gotten nervous when 10-15 of them get excited when you're throwing bread crumbs, and they start coming at you...so I think 100 of them, and horses at that, would be a bit much. I'd rather focus on the one, even if he's as big as a horse.