How do you ask for a kidney?

Have you ever wanted something so bad, you’d do anything for it? What I want is something that I can’t buy in a store. It’s not something I’m craving, like a hamburger or an ice cream. It’s a kidney - a key body organ.

My problem is that I can’t find the words to ask anyone for a kidney. I haven’t asked anyone because I’m fearful of rejection. Instead, I’ve sort of expected that someone would come forward and just offer one, but that hasn’t been the case. It’s been two years since I found out I needed a transplant, and so far, only my husband and I have really talked about it. Every day, I wake up, drink my coffee, go to work, and come home, wondering if there’s a message on the answering service from one of my sisters.

I don’t mean to, but I hold it personally, constantly thinking I screwed up and pissed everyone off over the years. There is so much mental anguish involved with getting a transplant, that at times I second guess myself and don’t see my life as having much value.

Part of my problem is that I don’t want to inconvenience potential donors. I have healthy siblings, all of whom have kids and full-time jobs, but I don’t want them to feel like they have to donate a kidney. It’s time-consuming, invasive and a financial burden to anybody who chooses to endure it. I can’t ask my husband to donate one either because we need to have some sort of income while I’m recuperating from the surgery.

It was about twenty years ago since I found out I was Type 1 Diabetic and that I suffer from thyroid disease, and two since I found out I need a kidney transplant.

“Your creatinine levels are too low,” a specialist told me. “Once it reaches about 10, you’re going to have to go on dialysis and you should be able to get a kidney in about three years.”

That three years has run out and I’m still on the transplant list anxiously awaiting. The waiting game is destroying me.

Post it on face book. Saying you need a kidney. See what happens… you might be suprised. People generally will give others what they need…if they just ask. If it is within their power to do so, they usually will. But as far as I know, no one can read minds. I hope things work out for you my dear. But please dont stay silent. Let people know what you need… you just might get it!!!
xoxoxoxoxoxox hugs and prayers to you!

What an awesome idea… but is it legal to ask the general public for a kidney? It’s not like borrowing a sweater and what happens if money is offered or requested? I would think there might be some ‘rules’ in place to keep people from hunting down and buying used body parts on the internet. But to ‘advertise’ here might be a great way to let everyone you know know you need a kidney.

I know the feeling too well. I had one kidney when I was born and still have. Back in the early 90’s when I went through a pancres transplant they found my kidney shutting down. It had (at that time) came to a point that transplant was my option b/f it totally went out. My husband stepped forward and offered one of his. We turned out to be a poerfect match. After all the months of turmiol my kidney (with the help of the drs) started working on it’s own (I was VERY lucky that it did so). I didn’t say anything to him about it he was in the Drs office with me when I was told that. I thank him greatfully for even thinking that he could take the time off from work and rasing 2 kids (2 & 3) at the time) to do that for me. Money would have been a great factor in there if we had had to do that but bless him for offering his kidney to me. I have no brother’s or sister’s and my mom & dad both had their own health problems at the time (both gone now) that made their donating to me impossiable. I really felt like there was no where to turn. Here’s wishing the best for you.

Oh and one more thing…You can also go on the kidney transplant list (it’s a VERY long list) and get the organ that way but you need to ask those sisters you have first. Just explain it to then and that you’ve waited as long as you can b/f asking them. Some ppl mght not like the idea of giving up something that is important to their daily fuction and you must try and understand where their at when they say no. You might be surprised if you ask them though.

I’m sorry you’re going through this and I know how hard it is to ask for help. But it’s true that people can’t read your mind. Ask those closest to you for help, accept that you might get rejected, but just keep moving forward. Don’t give up. Best of luck.

Hurtful your sisters haven’t offered. You have to ask to receive, so please get your courage up. The waiting is horrible. Torture. My nephew has cystic fibrosis & is on the lung transplant list. Every day I hope to hear there’s a lung for him.

Keeping you in my thoughts.

If you do not know how to say it then write it down…Write everyone a personal letter about what you go through daily, about the mental strain, about the hopes and fears you have…Ask! and let them know it is no pressure…

Bottom line is you have to ask…what if they are waiting for you to ask or just dont know to offer, some people are just that clueless…lol

I like Rye’s answer. It’s likely much easier for you to put thoughts on paper, and it doesn’t put them on the spot to answer right away, since the decision requires a lot of thought. Do your sisters even know that you need a transplant yet?

I really hope this works for you. A few weeks ago, a similar thing happened in my family, no diabetes involved though. My cousin who is about 39 needed a transplant, but as often does in my family, word spread quickly. He has two siblings, a 42 year old sister and a 45 year old brother, and both parents are alive, one is 70 and the other is close. All five were tested to see who would be the best match. The sister, because of the test results and her age, was best, and she jumped at the opportunity to help. She also lives the farthest away, has the biggest family (three kids, 6-13, and a husband whose been out of work for nearly two years), but nonetheless jumped at it. Anyway, after a few delays because of illness, the transplant happened early this month, and the recovery for both has been slow but certainly beneficial. Very tough on the parents, seeing two of their three kids on the operating table at the same time, but it certainly rallied the family together.

Here’s hoping you have the same type of experience. The first steps are letting everyone know that you need the transplant, then having possible donors tested to even rule-in (or rule-out) their eligibility. I hope you find a donor one way or another, and that it all works out for you.

Thanks for all your comments - I really appreciate your feedback.

My family is much the same as yours Scott. Word spreads in seconds, so I have all sorts of cousins, aunts, and uncles who know about it. Everyone knows, they just don’t want to talk about it. That’s the problem - neither do I. I’ve tried to talk about the whole situation with a few people, but It’s an awkward conversation nobody wants to have.

First, you get a few people who are ill who tell you first that they can’t do it, then you get the ones who feel uncomfortable about even talking about it, and then you get people who feel sorry for you and claim they are going to get tested. You hear every excuse in the book. Of course everyone also tells me about the horror stories that their friends or relatives endured during their transplants as well. Then I hear about how the kidneys can be destroyed with alcohol, because a lot of people don’t know the difference between the kidneys and the liver. The stereotypes come out and people think I need of a kidney because I’ve abused myself over the years. I’ve had a couple of people test to see if they could donate, but they weren’t a match. Every time there is another rejection, it puts a tremendous amount of strain on me because my blood sugar levels skyrocket. Because I’m not all that close with my sisters, I don’t know if I should put myself through any more rejection.

I think the biggest problem is that people live in fear. The biggest question people have is what is going to happen to me? and understandably so. Anything could happen - which is another thing I worry about.

When I was a kid, someone asked me if I’d ever donate a body part. I always vowed I would if I could, but all the people who said yes along with me don’t want to step up to the plate now. I’m still on the transplant list through the hospital, but I find it interesting how people say they would donate but when it comes down to actually doing it, they change their minds, even if it is a relative in need. The whole thing is so complex. I think the biggest disappointment is that I’m going through enough mental strains and physical pains and I wish people could talk about it with me.

Just a word of caution - if this happens to anyone in your family…talk about it as a family and be honest with the recipient in need, as it’s a painful process and one I wouldn’t wish upon anybody. At least tell the family member that you love them and that you are there to support them, because if you don’t, you may totally alienate them without intending to do so. Although I don’t yet have a donor, I’m not going to give up. I’m a strong woman who still has a life to live.

P. donates Kidney to B. - February 21, 2011

Unselfish Gift rewards the giver!!!

P. might be a little impulsive. But her impulsiveness isn’t the kind that makes her book vacations or buy things. It makes her do things that most people would consider outside their comfort zone.

“We belong to BC Hydro Power Pioneers,” says P referring to her husband, R. “It’s for retired BC Hydro Employees (and spouses). “We heard via the grapevine - that B (Also a BC Hydro Power Pioneer) needed a kidney”

Shortly afterward she ran into B’s wife, A, downtown. “I stepped out of the car and there was B’s wife on the street. I said “I heard B needs a kidney.” She said “Yes he does” and I said “What blood type is he?” She said , “O”, and I said, “I am too”.

P got a blood test and found out it was completely compatible and she told B she would be happy to donate a kidney.

The next step after that was to fill out a questionnaire and to go to ST. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver for a complete check up. At this point, P’s generosity already started to pay back when the doctors found something no ordinary medical would find.

“It’s the best medical anyone could have. They found one of my parathyroid glands was stealing calcium from my bones.” Every specialist said “You are so lucky. They wouldn’t have found out until you had a broken a major bone or until all the teeth fell out of your mouth.”

She says some of her symptoms included tiredness, aching muscles and thinning hair. They took that parathyroid gland out and P says within 15 minutes the calcium levels changed.

“It was really life saving for me. It was a blessing in disguise. My doctor said they never would have found it”. P laughs as she recalls her first thoughts when she woke up.

“The first thing I said was “ When can I do the Kidney transplant?” The nurse said, “I don’t know, I’ll go and check.”

The date was set for Monday, January 17. P says there were lots of papers to fill out and people to talk to, all to ensure she was okay with this decision. Through all of it, P says all her expenses to Vancouver were paid by the

Kidney Foundation and everything was done to make sure she was comfortable with her decision.

“There was no pressure. You can back out at any time. If you need an excuse at any time the doctor will give you a medical reason so you won’t have to feel embarrassed.” But I said, “If I’m going to back out, I’ll tell B myself.”

P’s kidney s were working at a healthy 50/50 rate and B’s were at 10 percent.

Then came the day of the surgery. P laughs as she says the hardest part of the whole procedure was getting up at 6:30 in the morning and not eating. She was in surgery promptly at 7:50 am and at 11:20 am she was out.

“My first question was, ‘How’s B doing?’ B was still in surgery because it is a longer operation to put the kidney in than to take it out. A few hours later he was done, and both had come through with flying colours. They were such a close match that B just needed small doses of anti-rejection drugs. The next day P went down the hallway to visit him.

The two of us were giddy. We were giggling, we were a couple of nut cases that morning. He said to his daughter, “I can go swimming with you again.”

P was out of hospital on Wednesday, other than not lifting anything heavy for six weeks, she resumed her normal activities. Giving a kidney, she explains, isn’t scary or a big deal.

“People are afraid of stepping forward; it’s a ‘live’ donation, I want to take the fear away. There’s nothing to it. It starts out with a simple phone call and a blood test.”

She says the other kidney soon realizes it needs to do extra work and it accommodates. It’s a great gift to give another person and if this technology had been around half a century ago it would have helped her family.

“Fifty years ago I had an uncle die at the age of 35 of kidney disease. He left five kids under the age of seven. It was my mother’s half brother and I remember my mother being very upset.”

Perhaps that’s what helped P make up her mind so quickly to be a donor. But P won’t take a lot of credit for what she did. It’s just who she is.

Someone said to me, “You gave him life.” I said “ I didn’t give him life; I gave him the chance to live it."

Article by Leah Blain of Salmon Arm

(Picture of P and B a couple of days after the surgery).
This is the story I like to share here . I know both personally ; we belong to the same retirees group. My suggestion is to connect with Service Clubs , such as Lions, Rotary …someone maybe as inspired as Mrs. P.


A letter in the local paper from the perspective of a DONOR below …apologies for the big blank spot .
Hope this helps you !

Janice, I like Rye’s response. If you cannot seem to find a way to put your request into spoken words, then write them down in an open letter. You’re a writer, so I’m sure you can craft something very appropriate and fitting. The bottom line though is that if you do not ask, your chances of getting what you need are reduced drastically. You will just have to wait in the queue until a kidney becomes available. If you do not find a way to ask, then you are bringing additional angst, stress, and fretting onto yourself.

This is a time to put pride aside. Second guessing being rejected or inconveniencing others is not the way to go. You have an urgent need, so ask. The worst anyone can do is either say no or not volunteer. That is the right that each person has, and their decisions should be respected. Who know? Someone may surprise you and step forward. If not, you can move forward with other donor options.

I also agree with those who feel that you should ask your family members first. Other than your hubby, no one individual and no group of people are going to love you more and feel more compelled to let you have one of their kidneys. Charity begins at home, so you need to ask your husband if he would be a donor FIRST. He needs to be ruled out as not a match FIRST. If he is a match, then maybe some of your family members would be willing to support you and your husband while you two recover from surgery. That is easier for them to do than donating a kidney, and it seems like a reasonable request. This is a time when you and your family needs to huddle around each other. It’s also an opportunity for you all to draw closer as a family. I believe that you will receive more empathy and support from those outside your family if you exhaust your options from within your family first.

Also, kids say all kinds of things, so promises made by friends when they were minors should not be taken seriously. Besides, people change and so do their attitudes. It is easy to promise something when the future seems so far off and remote, but it’s quite another thing when reality is near and present. Do your best to keep a positive outlook, and work your options. You can get through this. I hope you find a kidney donor soon. Best of luck.