Proof: (actual photo of my removed kidney there so I guess avert your eyes. It’s not gross or bloody because it was already drained of my blood, but it IS an organ.)

Edit: thank you all for the responses. :) Thank you to whichever kind mod threw my green bean pillow up there! I was super stoked to get one, and then I threw up on it. So now I have two, haha.

Edit 2: You aren’t a bad person if you don’t think you could ever do this. You’re a normal person. Volunteering to have organ removed that could potentially end with you dying is a wild, scary thing to do. No one would ever fault you for not doing it.

Edit 3: Omg I go to bed and wake up with rewards?! Thank you everyone for that and for all the kind words and personal stories. Keep telling them! Let’s get people to know that this process isn’t as scary or hard as you might think!

To answer a really common question, yes, I have boosted placement on donation lists if I ever need a kidney since I’ve given up one of mine. The people at UNOS manage “The List” and they know that if I ever get added, they will bump me way up.

Edit 4: I know this thread is dying down, and that’s alright. Just want it to be a resource for folk later on too. It’s been a little over a month since surgery and I tried a run today. I got about 0.5 miles before the discomfort where my kidney was was too great. Major bummer but I guess that’s how healing is.

Comments: 758 • Responses: 89  • Date: 

chefedumpster657 karma

You donated to a family member. Kudos! Could you imagine you would ever donate anonymously to a stranger? How important is the bond

Byssh3480 karma

I think if given the opportunity, I would. That’s just who I am though, and I would never judge someone for not feeling that same way. My aunt and I weren’t really especially close prior to this, so in a way, I kind of feel like I did? But of course it isn’t the same. I’m on the bone marrow registry though, haha. The bond matters but to me it even be easier to donate to a stranger.

enwash242 karma

As someone who recently discovered they need a bone marrow transplant, thank you for your consideration!

Byssh3173 karma

Absolutely! I actually signed up for it in college and never heard anything but I still am ready!

tireddesperation98 karma


Byssh392 karma

My address is definitely old. Thanks! My email is current at least.

IPGDVFT46 karma

I believe of those registered as blood marrow donors, only 6% will ever be asked to donate. I hate needles and nervous about the donation, but I still registered and donate platelets regularly.

Donors saved my friend’s life, and that’s enough to push me to push through my fears.

enwash27 karma

As someone needing a transplant, I had bone marrow extracted for a biopsy and was told the donating procedure is the same. I lay in a hospital bed in a room surrounded by three or four nurses/anesthesiologists, they started the general anesthesia (through an IV, but getting one in is painless) and I woke up an hour later a bit groggy and with slightly sore hips. I had liver failure back in October and have had several other procedures--biopsies and a PICC line put in, fortunately I didn't need a transplant--and by far the worst part is the anticipation. Everything else is easy!

P.S. thanks for signing up to be a donor! It's really awesome that there's people like you out there willing to help out those in need :)

Byssh312 karma

I hope you find your donor! My goal with this is to hopefully get more people signed up and unafraid of the process! You’re a strong person, and I’m believing for you!

Byssh34 karma

Good on you!

chhabracadabra235 karma

I registered in college too and got asked to donate stem cells for someone a few months ago. I’m deathly afraid of needles too so I took it as a challenge to go through this process. Got a sweet letter from the patient (don’t know who they are or where they live due to privacy laws but I don’t care about that) after I donated and that alone was worth it. 10/10 would do it again.

Byssh38 karma

That’s awesome! I wanna donate stem cells. Where did they take them from?

chhabracadabra238 karma

It was like a regular blood draw. They stuck a tube in my left arm to take the blood, then it went through a machine, and then they put it back in my right arm. The needles are big but once they’re in it doesn’t hurt. You just can’t move much during the process (you do have some mobility in one of your arms). It can take up to 8 hours for them to get enough stem cells, but in my case it was about 6 hours because I had a very high stem cell count. They also inject you with something for 4 days before the donation to increase the production of stem cells in your bone marrow. It does cause some side effects like tiredness and pain in the joints, but it goes away a day after donation. They also do blood draws and physical exams a few times before the donation to make sure you’re a perfect match. Overall the process took a few weeks but I only took a day off from work on the day of the donation. They covered all expenses including plane tickets, meals, and hotels (they flew me out to a different city for the donation) and they also allow someone to travel with you (their expenses are covered too).

I didn’t think much about it, but I realized the impact my donation made when the patient wrote me that letter. I was a better match for them than their own brother. :)

Byssh311 karma

Woah, they flew you to a different city?! That’s wild. Good for you helping someone out like that! I may look into registering once I’m totally healed!

Khazalex372 karma

What are the long term effects of only having one kidney?

Why did you donate? Was it for someone close to you or did you just decide to donate a kidney, if so what made you decide do to that?

Byssh3671 karma

There really aren’t very many long term effects. I basically just have to watch my sodium intake and dehydration. I am not allowed NSAIDs because they make the vessels of the kidneys clamp and can cause damage. I also am supposed to drink like 3 liters of water at a minimum. My remaining kidney will hypertrophy to compensate for being the only one, which is think is neat.

My aunt has polycystic kidney disease and she was basically in renal failure. My donation prevented her from staying on dialysis for very long and gives her ten years longer of good living.

MyHorseIsAmazinger195 karma

How is she doing? Are her numbers going up?

My cousin received his new kidney (from his neighbor of all people!) a few months ago and while his body is accepting it his numbers are still off from expected. He's still able to be off dialysis though so that's a plus!

Byssh3306 karma

I’m sorry to hear it isn’t going as well as hoped for! Her numbers improved immediately. Within a few days she was at 100% renal function, and her creatinine was at the lowest it’s been in years.

MyHorseIsAmazinger86 karma

That is excellent! Glad your kidney is kicking it

Byssh3210 karma

Hell yeah! It woke up right away too. Guess my beans are just too mean.

gunner_jensen107 karma

Get a load of this fella: he's got the meanest beans in town!

But the kindest heart 😊

Byssh399 karma

Funny story. My aunt gave me a jelly bean dispenser for Christmas, haha.

executive31314 karma

Hey man not to be an ass but I think you mean the transplant is at 100%, she will never be at 100% renal function again. The best you can get with one kidney is about 50% renal function. Which is awesome and totally able to live normally. I'm at 30% renal function and live pretty normally. What's her creatinine at about 2 to 3?

Byssh317 karma

You’re good! I may have misunderstood her. It’s actually right at a 2, or it was last time I talked to her.

butters09153 karma

Possible long-term risks of kidney donation may include high blood pressure (hypertension); reduced kidney function, which may be measured by large amounts of protein in the urine; hernia; organ impairment or failure that may lead to the need for dialysis or transplantation; or even death.

Some long terms risks or possible risks from the informed decision section of the UNOS website

Byssh361 karma

Correct, and I was told all this by my team about six times before donating, haha. As long as I maintain my healthy lifestyle, I can mitigate a lot of those risks. I think I’m past the hernia window, thankfully. I go back at six months, one year, and two years for post-op testing to check on my remaining kidney’s functions too, so should anything happen, I’ll catch it early.

butters09113 karma

Glad to hear you know what to watch out for and have a plan to catch anything that could happen early!

Have you had to change your diet or the amount of fluids you drink after the donation? Did they mention anything about alcohol consumption? Curious because the dehydrating effects of drinking.

Byssh330 karma

I haven’t really had to change my diet, per se, but more be careful about my sodium levels and keep my water intake above 3 liters a day. If I work out, sweat a lot, etc. then I need to drink even more to compensate. Weirdly, if I don’t hit that water level, I can really feel it as opposed to before when I would go all day without water. Now I usually always have some with me or nearby. As for the Drink, as long as I stay hydrated in between drinks and don’t let myself get too drunk or hungover, I’m okay!

chilly50241 karma

That’s such a gift you gave her! I donated to a friend almost two years ago. Same thing, polycystic kidney disease. Definitely drink your water! I was never much of a water drinker before, but now I get my 3 liters a day!

Byssh359 karma

You know what’s helped me keep up with my water? My Sodastream. Goofy ass invention, but I love fizzy water and having my own unlimited supply is awesome.

eatyourslop11 karma

Did you know the SodaStream was invented over 100 years ago, mainly marketed to rich English people?

Byssh341 karma

As a middle class white man, this makes a ton of sense. I am hooked. They got me. Big Carbonation got me.

spacewarriorgirl20 karma

My godfather lived an extra 10 years, long enough to know his Granddaughter, because of his kidney transplant. We are very grateful to the family who's (deceased) loved one's kidney kept him alive after many years on dialysis. Thank you.

I did the testing for live donor and unfortunately I didn't qualify. I am, however, on the bone marrow registry and am a regular blood donor!

Byssh37 karma

What a great story! And a great family! Good for you!

peacenchemicals17 karma

Damn, you’re gonna have a buff kidney. That is dope.

Byssh325 karma


Ihavenocluelad15 karma

Question: What happens if your kidney goes bad now? Do you get priority because you already donated one of yours?

Byssh319 karma

Yes I do! It’s one of the perks to donating.

mariefurie98 karma

Been waiting for one of these! I’ve been really eager to be a living organ donor and am considering making steps towards it this year. Did you donate to a stranger or someone you know? How long did it take it take to happen from consulting your doctor to the procedure? Did you do anything to prepare/ are you generally very healthy and fit? Any advice for someone going into this procedure? Thanks :)

Byssh378 karma

That’s amazing! I hope you decide that’s best for you and your family!

I donated to my aunt, who suffers from polycystic kidney disease. But stranger/anonymous donations are welcomed by transplant teams!!

I did my initial blood test back in August, and then my aunt and I did a same-day blood matching panel in September. I had three days of testing in October including a lot of blood labs, talking with advocates and surgeons, and a 24 hour urine analysis. Which was funny because I pee A LOT.

In terms of being prepared, I was mostly instructed to stay healthy and hydrated! I’m not super ripped but I do run (did run) pretty often so I am in a healthy weight range, have good blood pressure, etc.

My biggest advice is to talk with your family/spouse upfront. This is stressful for people in different ways. I wasn’t afraid of anything, but my wife had many moments where she was very nervous or just straight scared I might die, a legitimate concern, even though the rates of donor death are less than 1%. So be transparent, talk with everyone often, and ask every question you can to every professional you encounter!

mariefurie12 karma

Awesome. Thanks so much for your insight! How long has it been since the procedure and how has the recovery been?

Byssh328 karma

Sure! Surgery was December 18th. My recovery has been super easy! The hardest part is just not lifting heavy stuff and having to rest. I’m a very active person, haha. The two worst parts were the catheter and the air bubbles that get trapped as a result of having my surgery laparoscopically.

mariefurie14 karma

Doesn’t sound too bad. Thank you again! Feel encouraged to make steps towards this happening :) Mine would be an anonymous donation so my only apprehension now is that one day I might have a loved one who needs an organ. It’s an interesting ethical dilemma because I believe all life is equally as important. Someone else loves a stranger as much as I love my family, you know?

Byssh326 karma

At the end of the day, you saved a life. Yeah, someone you love might need an organ too, but honestly, I believe in some kind of cosmic balance or karma or divine intervention or God or Something. If you do good, good is done unto you.

And if I inspired at least one person to take the steps you did, then HELL YEAH MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

adeiner76 karma

Were you worried about giving up one kidney and then finding out you need a kidney transplant later?

Byssh3186 karma

Oh yeah, a bit. But UNOS, the oversight organization and people who manage “The List” of donors actually put living donors at the top of the list of they ever need an organ!

adeiner65 karma

Oh no way! That’s actually really nice and tbh you deserve it. I’m a registered donor and did the bone marrow thing but that’s about it so far.

Byssh326 karma

Dude, tell me about that process!

SimilarYellow29 karma

My brother actually donated bone marrow a few years ago, so here goes if you're interested:

He registered in 2015, the second he turned 18. I'm not sure what prompted this because as a family, we had never come into contact with needing any kind of medical donation (not even blood). But anyway, he did it.

About six months later, he gets a call that he's a tentative match and that if he'll consider it, they'll send him a test kit. He had to take that kit to his primary care provider. They basically just needed more blood samples to build a full DNA profile.

A few weeks later they call him and tell him that he's a match. He's told that at this point, the potential recipient knows nothing about him being a match so if he wants to back out he can. My brother agrees to being a donor, but he's still cautioned again that if he agrees and they go to kill the patient's immune system, the patient will likely die if my brother decides to back out after all. You can - at any point - withdraw consent to donate your bone marrow. I thought that was insane, you're asked so often if you want to donate or not. If you agree and they mess with the patient, I think you should be bound to do it (unless somehting medical prevents you obviously).

Anyway, about a month after that his doctor gets a package with medication that needs to be administered. My brother gets two weeks off (paid obviously, we're in Germany). One week before the donation and one week after. You get one week before because the medication sends your bone marrow into overdrive and causes flu like symptoms in some people. My brother was completely fine though!

He had to get to the hospital for donation the evening before and they did a lot of tests to ensure that he was healthy and that everything was going to plan. The next day, he's hooked up to a machine. His blood ran through that machine and it extracted bone marrow basically. In the evening, the doctors checked if they had enough bone marrow. If they hadn't had enough, my brother would have had to come back the next day but that wasn't necessary.

Basically he goes home and that's that. His employer could have reclaimed the money they paid for his time off from the organization that manages bone marrow donation I think, but they chose not to because it's good press.

Last we heard the recipient was doing reasonably well after the donation. He had some skin issues if I remember correctly. He decided he didn't want to be in contact with my brother so we don't know how he's going now.

This was probably more than you wanted to know but there you go, lol.

Byssh320 karma

That’s actually a lot of what I wanted to know, and I feel obliged to state: Fuck America’s healthcare system. Way to go Germany.

What a cool story though. How rad of your brother!

adeiner22 karma

I just meant I registered to be one, they haven’t called me yet. I sent in some spit and now I wait!

Byssh347 karma

Oh, I see! Well, let’s hope one day you get to give up some BONE MEAT.

gene10000110 karma

They really need to advertise this point better. With the minimal life impact of only having one kidney, it almost makes logical sense to donate a kidney. By donating you basically insure yourself against kidney failure because you're practically guaranteed to receive a donated kidney should you need it. Kidney failure tends to hit both kidneys equally so having only one kidney doesn't really increase your risk. The biggest drawback at the moment seems to be the dangers of the surgery itself, which is are low but not insignificant

Byssh33 karma

This. The one perk is the hedging of bets in your favor. And the surgery really isn’t bad, especially as long as you can stay laparoscopic and keep the muscle damage to a minimum.

BanditPrime6 karma

Out of curiosity did they not see you as a risk for polysisitc because you’re not directly related? I’d like to donate to my father and everything checked out but got told I can’t donate until I’m 30, which could very well be after his time. So some insist on that might be helpful.

Byssh39 karma

They asked me a number of times if anyone had ever developed the disease in my blood line, and to my knowledge and to my parents and grandparents knowledge, no one had. My cousins wanted to donate, but they are full blood relatives of hers and made them wait until 30 as well. To be fair, I’m 27 so I’m nearly there? You may ask another transplant team for their opinion.

BanditPrime3 karma

Interesting. Well it’s reassuring in an odd way to know that they have that standard elsewhere as well. I’m a little younger than you and both the teams in our areas didn’t seem to budge on the rule. Hopefully we can find someone else or it’s just a none issue and I’ll donate at 30!

Byssh33 karma

Fingers crossed for your family! And if nothing else, you’ve got your 30th already planned!

austinco267 karma

I have a friend(he was a groomsman at my wedding) who recently had both of his kidneys fail unexpectedly. We aren’t close like we used to be but I love this guy.

I am O- which I believe makes me very likely a candidate to donate. He is 34 I am 33.

I am considering it but I’m a bit scared. I’m married with two kids. What if they need a kidney one day(wife and kids are O+ so they should have less trouble than most should they need one)? What if I get a staff infection and die because of it? I’m totally aware I could die on the plain I’m about to board or in the rental I’m gonna drive when I get to Denver or my own car when I get home or for no good reason in my sleep. But I’m just having a weird feeling about it.

I feel like I should, I feel like I shouldn’t. I, I, I don’t know.

Byssh390 karma

You’re in a rough spot being O, but I would say don’t even get tested if you aren’t willing to commit because imagine how much harder it would be to say no if you know you could help him.

Now let’s assume you are a match. I completely get the feeling you have. You are a wholly healthy person willingly taking a serious hit. It’s hard to comprehend. At the end of the day, dialysis will save his life. It won’t be easy and it will take years from him, but you’re right. You could get staph and die. Your family could need a kidney. These are real considerations. For me and my values, I knew that if I had the chance to save my aunt’s life, then that was the right thing to do and I had to trust fate or God or the Force that my actions of doing something good would not be punished. It could’ve been, but it wasn’t. And the rate for actual complications for donors is pretty low, tbh.

I can’t tell you what to do. I can tell you that if you are a match and go through with it, the process isn’t hard and the recovery isn’t all too painful and you’ll have saved your friend’s life and if you don’t do it, he can still find a donor and no one will think less of you.

Tica9243 karma

I’ve thought about being a donor, but I have a lot of joint issues already (even though I’m in my 20s). I’m worried about the prospect of not being able to take ibuprofen for inflammation - did your doctors talk to you about effective alternatives?

Byssh344 karma

You actually hit me with a question I never even thought of asking. So I text my pharmacist (my sister) and while I basically can’t take anything like ibuprofen or naproxen, I can take steroid based anti-inflammatories. She told me they really wouldn’t want me doing that either. So that may be something you really have to consider before taking the plunge. That being said, even if you don’t donate, raising awareness for how simple the process can be is a huge help!

turk4lyfe19 karma

Interesting, I always wanted to donate a kidney but I don't think I could live without ibuprofen for pain the rest of my life.

Byssh317 karma

I can take Tylenol and other non-NSAID drugs for pain!

Tica922 karma

This is really helpful! And it’s great you have family that can help you figure out this kind of stuff. Thanks :)

Byssh33 karma

Sure thing! I’m glad I could help out!

bopeus42 karma

I don’t have a question for you but I want to say that what you did is incredibly kind. I have renal failure myself and am on the list waiting for a kidney.

I thought I was lucky because I had 3 potential living donors (2 coworkers and my brother) around September last year, but as the year came to an end they all fell silent. I think the coworkers backed out cause they don’t talk to me anymore, and my brother backed out right around Christmas. My own brother backing out was particularly crushing. I cried so much, and all I could think was that if someone so close to me didn’t think I was worth saving, then how could a stranger? If the tables were turned, I’d donate in a heartbeat. But despite his decision, I still love him because he’s my one and only brother. And it’s his choice.

Anyway, the world needs more people like you. I wish I could give you a gold.

Byssh325 karma

Damn my guy, I’m so sorry. I know there were times I considered backing out, but the thought of making my aunt feel the way you do just... I couldn’t. I’m sorry. The fact you still love him shows you’re a good person and I’m believing for you find that donor.

Also, pretty sure gold is a reddit scam. Go buy yourself something cool with whatever gold costs. Your life ain’t easy with renal disease and you deserve any little victory you get. Bless you, brother. If I had another bean to donate, I’d send it your way.

bopeus12 karma

Thanks man, I appreciate the kind words! Everything will be good, I have no doubt about that. Just takes a little patience, that’s all. Take care my friend.

Byssh36 karma

You too. :)

kyles121927 karma

How long was the recovery time? Did you have to worry about compensation while you were off work?

Byssh361 karma

Full recovery time is 6 weeks in terms of being able to go back to lifting full weight and such. I felt like myself again in about a week and a half, but sometimes laying on my stomach is uncomfortable because the muscles around the incision are sort of tight still.

Thankfully, no. I’m a public school teacher, and I banked time last year (accidentally) and I saved every day I could last semester. We purposefully planned surgery around my break, so I only needed to take a week off. Otherwise, this would have been a HUGE factor. My aunt successfully fundraised a big chunk of money to help with travel and everything too, which helped both of us.

the_village_bicycle24 karma

Simple question. I don’t have health insurance.

Does is cost money to donate? And stay in the hospital and everything. Idk it might be a stupid question too.

Byssh346 karma

What Kitten said. I did not pay a thing out of pocket. I am responsible for my follow up care with my own primary care physician. Funny enough, the anesthesia doctors don’t always get that memo, so I actually got billed for that ($5400... wow). After I called them, they handled it though.

Edit: Clarity. My follow ups ordered by the transplant team with them are covered by recipient insurance.

MyHorseIsAmazinger21 karma

Anaesthesia billers are literally the worst

Byssh310 karma

SO I SEE, lmao

ent_mi16 karma

That's so funny. I donated my kidney to my aunt 7 months ago and also got a bill for the anesthesia! :) Must be a universal "mistake". Also, welcome to the club!

Byssh316 karma

Woohoo! Misbilled Club and One Bean Club! Go team!

Hose_Bee21 karma

What was the pre op like? Did u have to be on any diets/ restrictions?

Byssh325 karma

Pre-op was pretty standard. No eating or drinking from midnight to the surgery time, which was only 7:00AM for me so not bad.

Isabeau20819 karma

Seriously, I would totally consider being a donor, but perhaps selfishly, I am saving my other kidney for my children/siblings. My blood type is A-, not the rarest by an means but I worry that someone close to me may need my kidney at some point. I would most assuredly donate to a friend, or again someone close, but I do worry about those closest to me the most. Am I an awful person?

Byssh314 karma

Of course not! That’s a totally normal thing! Honestly, the idea of registering as an anonymous organ donor never even crossed my mind until I started the process for my aunt. This event, while pretty smooth, definitely rocked my life in weird ways, strained relationships with people, strengthened it with others. No one would ever blame you for saving your organs. Also, they’re yours! What I did was, logically speaking, mighty unnecessary. But that’s what makes humans humans, right? I did an unnecessary thing for another human and now she gets to live her life. Whether you do or don’t, it ultimately doesn’t matter as long as you’re happy with your choice. It’s your body. :)

Jschee116 karma

Does your aunt need to be on anti rejection medicine?

Byssh331 karma

Sadly, yes. Forever. Which is really shitty but also the price she has to pay to not die which is a better choice most would say.

Jschee18 karma

I agree. I was just curious that with such a close match (within the family) if the need for the medicine would be reduced. I guess not. Thanks for taking the time to answer.

Byssh321 karma

We’re actually only 1/4 blood. She’s my mom’s half sister, which is why I was able to donate at all as her disease (polycystic kidneys) is genetic. Her son also has it. But since my aunt and mom have different dads, and it was on my aunt’s dad’s side, I didn’t get those genes.

That being said, I think they’d put you on anti-rejections regardless of who the organ comes from.

ArachnaMinax12 karma

I am registered as a living donor, but I do worry about time off work. How long was your recovery?

Byssh313 karma

If you work a desk job, I think two weeks off is probably about right. I’m 27, and a middle school teacher. I’m technically still recovering, but I felt ready to return to work after about two weeks. I still limit myself to moving or lifting anything too heavy, however.

Jimmybelltown11 karma

So if i enjoy adult beverages frequently...would it be bad for me to donate one? Drinking career over?

Byssh319 karma

No way! I also love an adult beverage. You obviously can’t drink around the surgery date because you’ll be on strong pain meds, but once you stop taking the meds you’re good to go! The only thing is that you HAVE to watch your dehydration levels. Like, getting a hangover post donation could severely damage your remaining kidney.

buddyto5 karma

so, you just can drink 2-3 beer at most? or whats the "top-level" recommendated? a glass of whisky is too much?

Byssh312 karma

I was recommended to really avoid getting drunk if possible, at least piss drunk. I try to have a glass of water between all drinks, take my time, etc. So long as I moderate and rehydrate consistently, I’m good!

simsk8er10 karma

What a courageous thing to do. Heartwarming!

I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for organ donation, had a kidney liver transplant August of last year. I obviously had a deceased donor due to the liver, but I’m forever grateful and I love to see the education being put out on being a live donor.

Dialysis is horrible, I spent 2 years, 12 hours a week. I’m sure your aunt feels very blessed.

Hope you both have continued good health!

I’ve never posted in here, sorry, I had to ask a question.

Will you please continue to share your story?

Byssh36 karma

Your story is why I am happy to do what I did. :) I’m so glad you’re off of dialysis. She was only on for like two months? But still pretty horrible.

And I will share this story forever, followed by “wanna see it?”

baggiebismuth9 karma

Did your testicles experience any pain following kidney donation?

" Ipsilateral testicular pain developed in 14 patients (21%). ... CONCLUSIONS: Ipsilateral testicular pain can occur after laparoscopic renal surgery. The incidence is approximately 50% after donor nephrectomy but pain can also occur after radical nephrectomy. Preservation of the gonadal vein may be protective. "

This seems to be something that is just not spoken about in given literature or by my specific transplant team.

Byssh38 karma

That’s funny. I just told someone else here this story. My testicles DID swell, by a good deal, but they did not hurt at all. I think the catheter distracted me more if they ever did, haha. How interesting that there’s been a study on it. No one told me it could happen until the actual minutes before I went back to donate.

baggiebismuth9 karma

Didn't they have you hooked up to a morphine pump, I was out most of the 3 ish days of recovery?

My pain started after leaving the hospital, then it was an MRI and a urologist appointment to make sure everything was fine, it went away after about 3 months.

FYI: Would still help my brother out in a heartbeat again if I could, not trying to discourage anyone from donating.

Byssh34 karma

Bro, you got morphine?! I barely got Tramadol! I think I maybe got one opioid the whole time I was there. I was in and out of sleep the first two days, but I was good to go pretty much from the time they removed the catheter on day 2 onward! Once I got up and walked around, I was feeling great. I didn’t really have much pain once I left the hospital and got to actually sleep.

Daisymagdalena8 karma

is it weird knowing what YOUR kidney looks like?

Byssh333 karma

OMG YES. It was my one condition to donating. I told two surgeons, three PAs, my nephrologist, my anesthesiologist, anyone who’d listen that I wanted a photo of my kidney. How often do you get to see YOUR organ?!

manwithabazooka7 karma

What is the main difference between a living donor and a dead donor?

Byssh312 karma

Beyond the obvious being that I’m alive, deceased donors can donate things like heart, lungs, eyes, etc.

Living donors can only give kidneys, liver lobes, bone marrow, and uh... that might be it. I’m not sure.

thefloweyfanclub5 karma

Do you think it would be possible to donate without going on any painkillers? My family has a history of addiction and I wouldn't even want to risk it.

Byssh36 karma

For me, I’d say yes, but my pain tolerance is high. Also, they only gave me tramadol, which is basically big Tylenol and about as addictive as Tylenol too I think. They really REALLY want to make sure you’re in some next level pain before even considering opiates. I only got one dose the whole time I was there.

lmstr5 karma

If my sister needed a kidney and I was a perfect match...I'd have to really think about I a terrible person?

Byssh35 karma

No, of course you aren’t. This is stressful, and could kill you. Not everyone is as pig-headed as me and just rushes into shit. Most people should really have to think about it!

JackCoolStove5 karma

One time I had to pee so bad my kidneys hurt.

How does this effect holding you pee? Or is there just something super wrong with me.

Byssh311 karma

Uhh... I’m not sure what’s up with what you had. Maybe it was your bladder? Couldn’t say either way. I do feel the need to pee way more urgently now, like it doesn’t gradually come on. Now it’s like “GOTTA PEE NOW.” Someone told me that might be side effect of having a catheter. Either way, kidneys do nothing in regards to holding in your pee, that’s all urethras and sphincters I think.

bz0hdp4 karma

I donated a couple months ahead of you and don't feel anything like this so I hope it eases up for ya!

Byssh35 karma

That’s good to hear! Do you ever feel like... a weird stitch where the kidney used to be? It’s probably still me healing, since it’s been barely a month.

JackCoolStove2 karma

I googled. Yeah I dunno. Google says holding pee can cause kidney damage... But nothing says why?

Didn't really think about that until you responded.

Byssh32 karma

Presumably it could cause kidney damage because your kidneys would know to stop making pee if your bladder was full but it would still have pee to make? Bodies are weird man.

EL49004 karma

It’s great to hear you were able to be a match for your aunt! Would you have still donated if you weren’t compatible? (Where you both go on a different list to match to someone who you are compatible with - I can’t remember what the specific name of the list is)

Edit: paired exchange program!

Byssh37 karma

Yes! I was more than willing to hop on the paired exchange program! I talked about it with my transplant coordinator before ever finding out if I was a match.

soon2Bintoxicated4 karma


Byssh39 karma

Yeah you can only living donate the one kidney... obviously. I’m not sure about other organs like your liver, to be honest.

HobbyPlodder7 karma

Yeah a living liver donor can only do it once, even though the remaining liver regenerates to 100% of the original size.

I wonder if one disqualifies you from the other

Byssh33 karma

That’s a great question. I’m gonna figure it out.

Ciaralauren934 karma

Are you single?


I considered being a donor, maybe I'll sign up now.

Byssh34 karma

Haha, thank you, but very happily married. Go sign up though! The process is easy and pretty rewarding.

Enframed4 karma

Were there any complications related to the surgery or any complications post-op?

Byssh36 karma

For me, no. Worst thing that happened to me was the catheter and the gas bubbles that get trapped because they inflate the abdomen to make it easier to work in. The gas bubbles just... are really uncomfortable and kind of hurt, but they go away.

I know complications can arise, but they usually are related to any surgery: bleeding, hernia, breathing problems as a result of anesthesia, etc.

Wanna hear the weirdest side effect though? It’s mildly NSFW.

Enframed3 karma

You've piqued my interest about the side effect. What is it?

Byssh313 karma

Finally. The untold and hilarious side effect. Mild NSFW warning.

Right before I went into surgery, like I was already back in the pre-op room, my surgeon told me that when men are in utero, and developing, there is a connection between our kidneys and our testicles. (I’m sorry I don’t know the particulars, I am not a doctor.) She told me that sometimes when men donate, the testicle on the side of the donated kidney can swell up because of the increased blood flow.

My nuts were huge. Like absolutely massive. Easily went to like 2.5x size they usually are. If I had to compare them to something, maybe a small clementine. The swelling went away after a few days and my wife and I laughed super hard. It didn’t hurt, it was just really a weird feeling.

v65frd42 karma

Yes! What is it?!

Byssh33 karma

Look at my response to Enframed!

v65frd43 karma

Ah! The comment was collapsed so I missed it!! You had a mega ball— that’s awesome!!!

Byssh32 karma

My wife’s eyes went wide when she saw! It was hilarious.

Dryden6664 karma

If I donate a kidney and afterwards my remaining one fails do I get the other one back or am I now fucked? If its B, then sorry to say, but insist taking the chance.

But good for you, well done and all that

Byssh37 karma

The people who manage the infamous “List” put donors in need of transplants at the top of list! You don’t get your original organ back, because that seems... idk, probably dangerous. I doubt it would be as good as a new donor organ would be. There aren’t a lot of objective perks to donation, but preferred placement on the list is definitely one of them.

Stanislav14 karma

Have your health insurance costs increased? Life insurance? Did insurance cover your expenses? Was there a deductible?

Byssh33 karma

My health insurance and life insurance are both managed by the state since I’m a teacher, so I haven’t seen any spikes in either yet, but reenrollment is in August so we’ll see. I don’t foresee it riding, however. My insurance was never billed for anything as the recipient was billed for all my expenses, but once she met her deductible, she had 100% coverage.

QuickStiQz4 karma

Is anything different from when you had 2 kidneys? I’m not donating/ receiving any organs anytime soon I’m just curious.

Byssh34 karma

So far, none that I’ve noticed. I still produce as much urine as before. I get tired faster, but I think that’s surgery recovery, not kidney stuff. There are some long term side effects I have to watch for, namely kidney failure (duh) and my blood pressure, but otherwise things seem pretty normal.

GenericGenomic4 karma

Do you have to pee less after donation?

Byssh33 karma

No, and in fact, my aunt has to pee all the time now. These beans don’t quit.

miss_cha0s4 karma

Did you make any money from it ?

Byssh320 karma

No! And in fact, it’s illegal to make money selling human organs in order to donate to another person. UNOS heavily regulates and tracks donors and recipients.

Benjem8011 karma

However, there are financial funds to help kidney donors cover travel, lost wages, etc through the National Kidney Foundation and other nonprofits.

Byssh32 karma

This is cool! I didn’t really know much of that because a lot of my needs were already met, but the financial burden really was one of the things we were most afraid of.

Nancebythelake3 karma

I have been thinking about donating for a friend. However I had cancer 10 years ago, do you know how I can determine my eligibility?

Byssh33 karma

Well, I am not a medical professional so don’t take this as gospel. I think it would depend on what kind of cancer and your treatments. Look up transplant centers in your area and just call them! They want donors if you’re eligible they will definitely tell you! The worst they can say is no, right?

RandomHouseInsurance3 karma

How is your quality of life post procedure? I've heard of people developing sensitivity to beverages and tap water

Byssh34 karma

That’s funny. So far I feel just like I did before. I do monitor my soda intake just because I don’t want kidney stones, but I’m not sensitive to anything yet that I’ve noticed.


Do you know how long your aunt was on the list before getting the transplant? Also how the process went for her(transplant and waitlist/testing)?

Byssh36 karma

So she went on the list I believe around April last year. Her best friend immediately signed up to be her donor and she was a match, but she had a number of health issues preventing her. At first it was weight, so she worked her ass off to lose some, only to find out she was rotten with kidney stones and she was ruled out. After she was ruled out in the end of August, I told my mom I’d be willing to see if I was a match. I was indeed, and from there to December was testing, planning, and arranging. In the interim, she had to start dialysis. At first, she tried the less horrible peritoneal form, but she had too many complications with it and had to be on full dialysis for about a month before surgery. Her post-OP has been super smooth sailing though!

69Bandit3 karma

what do human kidneys taste like?

Byssh38 karma

You know, I was asleep when they took mine out and didn’t get a lick. :/

Pim_Jickens18113 karma

You willing to part with the other kidney? I might need one soon


Byssh32 karma

I’ve got two of the green kidney shaped pillows. You can use one of those?

R0binSage3 karma

Since you are now down to 1, are you worried about something happening to that one?

Byssh37 karma

Oh sure, but I mean if it does, it was always going to. I’m at the top of the list if I need a new one thanks to being a donor, and as long as I take care of myself, I’ll just pray for the best! Something could always happen to me, but if I let fear stop me doing what I consider the right thing, then I can’t rightly feel like a good person, you know?

appledoughnuts2 karma

If you aren’t related to the donor by blood is the process longer? My boyfriend I’ve found out has a kidney disorder, and if it ever came to it I’d be willing to give some of my kidney to him, how long is surgery/recovery?

Byssh36 karma

The testing process is the same regardless of relation. You’re more likely to match if you’re related, but that’s not a necessity.

You can’t give him some of your kidney. It’s gotta be the whole thing.

Surgery itself for donors is about 4 hours with a bit of time in the hospital, about 3-5 days. After that, you’re required to stay near the hospital for about two weeks before you’re cleared to go home. If you live in the same city as your transplant hospital, you can go home once you’re released from the hospital, but “home” for me was 6.5 hours away from the hospital. After leaving the hospital, you’ve got about two weeks of just rest and then four weeks of “taking it easy” with working out, lifting anything over ten pounds, etc.

appledoughnuts2 karma

That’s good to know :) I don’t know much about it all so this is good! You seem like a great person for donating!

Byssh33 karma

Thanks! There’s a ton of info out there, and feel free to dm me anytime in the future if you have more questions!

CorriByrne-10 karma

So how much does it pay? I give one of mine also for the money.

Byssh35 karma

Unless you go illegal, it does not pay. You are legally not allowed to sell living human organs in the United States.

CorriByrne-8 karma

Ok- that was not my question. How much does it pay?

Byssh33 karma