Can You Live With Only One Kidney – How Transplant Donors and Recipients Live Quality Lives With Just One Working Kidney
Like most people with the ability to produce urine, my very first stop in the morning after a night of sleep is to relieve myself in the bathroom. I cherish this fact and ability to do this because for nearly five years I didn’t get to do that at all.
This is because for those five years I was a dialysis patient who didn’t have the ability to pee and a lot of my time was spent either participating in or recovering from in-center hemodialysis. But now that I have received an organ transplant from a cadaveric donor I now know the answer to the question “can you live life with only one kidney”.
In this article, I’d like to talk about some of the things that people with one kidney may experience as they go through life as normal as possible.
The Arithmetic of Transplant – When it comes to being a person who can live life with only one working kidney there is one thing that is usually overlooked when thinking about the actual math involved. You see, in actuality and in most cases, the only person that is truly left with only one kidney after the renal transplantation is complete is the kidney donor themselves, while the recipient usually comes out of the equation with 3 kidneys.
When a transplant is performed, surgeons have found it less invasive and a lot safer to just leave the dead non-working kidneys inside of the receiving patient’s body. This is something I’ve had to remind people who I’ve shared my story with about.
And even the person who truly only has one kidney because they donated the other one, statistics show that they only lose about 20-25% of renal function when they decide to help extend the life of someone else. This has been found to be more than enough for a healthy person to live the rest of their life with.
A Transplanted Organ Will Be In Hostile Territory – Living a quality life with one working kidney is really all about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and taking your prescribed doses of anti-rejection medications every day. This is because when a person finally gets their transplant, their white blood cells within their body will do everything they can to try to destroy that foreign organ.
Much like your white blood cells work to eliminate common colds and the like, their job is to protect you from harm and as far as they are concerned, your new kidney becomes their new enemy. This is why for the rest of that kidney’s life; you’ll have to take meds to protect it.
What You’ll Gain – As a person living with one kidney myself, the most important thing that I have gained is my freedom. Freedom from having to be on dialysis, freedom from having to plan my trips around treatment, and freedom from having that part of my schedule set.
In Conclusion – This article was but a mere glimpse into what life with one kidney is like but I think I have covered the broad strokes of the experience. Aspiring to live a fulfilled life is the key to happiness whether you have one working kidney or no working kidneys. Adversity should serve as not only a lesson to us, but as a story that can be used to inspire others to continue on their path. I really hope this article was helpful and I’d like to thank you for reading it.
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