Jonas’ Story

I had been aware of my sister Cim’s kidney problems and that things had been getting steadily worse over the years. I knew that in the end she would have to have a kidney transplant to survive in the long term. She asked me if I could consider donating a kidney to her, and I said yes.

Jonas and Cim

People probably respond in different ways to that question, but for me it was, “Of course!” But you can never predict how you will respond, I think, until you actually get the question.

There are all kinds of tests that you have to go through as a donor before the transplant can go ahead. I came over from my home town in Sweden to England to do the tests, and it was quite an emotional experience for me to go through. Just because you are willing to donate your kidney, it doesn’t mean you are suitable to be a donor. The hospitals have to make sure that you are fit enough and also make sure that there is a tissue match, among other things. Then I needed to make sure that my family and work was taken care of, because I needed to be away in London. for some weeks.

Then after all the tests were passed, it was a question of counting down to the day with preparations for the transplant. It took about four months to go through all that. At the time, it felt like a very long wait, but when it came closer to the transplant, I realized that I needed those four months to prepare myself. To clarify what I mean, in the hour before surgery, my pulse was just 60 beats a minute – so I knew I was prepared.

I went through the “old” way of operation – major surgery with a large incision. It was quite a challenge for me, both physically and psychologically. It took some time to recover, but everything went according to the plan, and after about two and a half months, I went back to work again. In all it took about a year to fully recover physically. Since then I haven’t felt any pain or discomfort from the transplant and I live a completely normal life. Nowadays, keyhole surgery is more likely and I’m told recovery is much quicker. Whatever happens, you still have to plan.

As I said earlier, I was in no doubt about donating my kidney. Looking back, I don’t regret anything, in fact, the opposite, and I feel proud of what I’ve done. I’ve most likely saved my sisters life, but there’s more to it than that. To see my sister get the color back in her face, which she hadn’t have for many years, and to see her health has transformed, it’s something I could ever imagine.

If for any reason the transplant had failed, it would have been worthwhile anyway; I would have known that I had done everything I could possibly do to help my sister.

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