What kidney donation is like

Day 7 Recovery Walk with Amy, Peter and Goldie

I'm only a week post-surgery, so I'm still very much in recovery.  That said, I feel like I'm over the worst of the pain already.

The procedure itself was short - only two hours.  I received a four-inch incision that goes vertically right next to my belly button.  I also have 3 smaller one-inch holes, for laparoscopy, on the left side of my belly. 

For me, the worst things to deal with in recovery are the ancillary things.  Having a four-inch incision, plus three smaller holes (for laparoscopy) in my gut are the most obvious place of pain.  But the nagging ancillary issues that come from having a catheter, being intubated, dealing with drug side-effects (like constipation and nausea) and aches/pains from positioning on the surgical table are the things that frustrate the most. 

It doesn't feel any different as of now to have one kidney instead of two.  I was really fatigued for the first several days, but that could be due to a variety of things. I don't feel lopsided or like something is missing.

Going into this I was in great shape - maybe the best shape I've been in 10 years - thanks to a new spin class obsession I developed. This is proving to be one of the best tools for recovery. I did not have that advantage going into my brain surgery, because I just felt so horrible all the time and couldn't work out. This has been a real validation that staying physically fit is a major factor in recovery. I'm going to keep walking every day, extending my walk by two blocks each trip, in order to maintain some fitness.

Emotionally/ mentally/ spiritually - I'd say "peace" is what comes to mind first to describe where I'm at. The brief time off forced me to slow down at work, which has proven to be necessary. It helped me remember what it was like to unplug - something that not many of us are doing in our new working realities. Unplugging doesn't mean you stop thinking about work, it means you have space to think more strategically and longer-term than you normally can. I was happy to have this space for a few days.

This gave me fresh eyes for my family. I can see the way Amy executes. She has an incredible work ethic and servant's heart. She really wants to balance fun and productivity with our kids. Her leadership skills are off the charts. Doing life alongside her is a great privelege. I can see the sweet stage of life we are in with our kids at 3, 5 and 8 years old. They are developing unique relationships between the three of them, and with us. We also have a team mentality with each one of us growing into our roles. Their innocence and eagerness are beautiful things to experience, and I want to soak up every second I can with them.

Finally, I'm thrilled to report that my dad is progressing very nicely. His recovery process is more delicate as his body has to accept the new kidney. All signs are positive right now, and we pray this continues!

I am so thankful for the encouraging words of so many people. This was a truly amazing experience and I am glad some have found it inspiring. While I've still got my short platform to speak, here are a few quick thoughts convicting me lately:

  • As things get darker and more confusing in the outside world, the clarity that the words and actions of Jesus bring - through study of the Bible - acts as a spiritual vaccine.
  • The future is unknown, but if you follow a God who has a future prepared for you then your freedom to love, to sacrifice, to take risk and to experience true flourishing will give you a deep sense of joy and peace.
  • You will never regret a gift. You will never regret a valiant act or an act of kindness in service to another.
  • Faith is not optimism, positive thinking or a "feeling." Faith is a conviction that God has a concrete vision for my future. Faith leaves very little room for fear.


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