April 2, 2024


As Easter passes, I reflect upon the concept of rebirth, as fantastic as it may seem, but today of all days it seems possible.

Is organ transplantation rebirth, a do-over, or is it simply the continuation of many years of battling chronic kidney disease with a degree of improvement?

The moment of the transplant, when the kidney starts working inside the body of the recipient, is nothing less than a miracle, only comparable to birth in medical terms. Based on my experience with three transplants, that euphoria continues for a time period after the procedure where gratitude and happiness are dominant while fear for the future is suppressed.

The recipient and the donor recover together in many cases, as it was in two of mine (father and sister) and create a bond stronger than they had before. That bond of course also includes complex feelings of fear for the donor’s future health, and fear of messing up the gifted kidney.

Over time, the new kidney settles in, and much of what the recipient could not do before is possible. In my case, I was able to work full time, travel, do sports, eat and drink freely and be happy since I was not so tired or in pain anymore.

However, over the long term, due to the lack of new and better immune suppressants to preserve the organ safely, the side effects and the complications become more serious and impact life in a major way. Headaches, tremors, hypertension, diabetes, gastrointestinal issues, infections, cancers, mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, as well as the decline of kidney function lead back to the situation prior to the transplant.

I have no illusions of living forever and even less of living without pain or suffering. It is part of life’s cycle to start healthy and new, and end old and broken.

All I am seeking is a little longer to enjoy the freedom and happiness. I savor the time before I have to go back to that broken state from where I was saved – not just once but twice.

Thank you Pappa and Lisa. And thank you to the family who decided to donate their daughter’s pancreas to me.