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The gift of life

In May 2018, I decided to get tested to donate my kidney. I knew someone in need of a new kidney and had never considered living organ donation until this time of my life. After doing some thorough research and realizing that I can live a perfectly normal life with just one kidney, I didn't think twice. Something inside of me told me it was meant to be. I was not related to this person and her hopes of me being a match were really slim. I would say she didn't believe it would work out. Well, as I went through the tests, I met every single criterion and checked every box. We were both a bit in shock. I was even told my kidneys were on the larger side for a woman my size, which confirmed I was made for this as I had super kidneys! ;) The process of getting tested was a bit lengthy and required me to travel to CT since that's where the recipient was located. They had to see me in-person to perform final tests. They also required that I meet with a Social Worker to make sure I was doing this for the right reasons. Once I cleared those tests, we scheduled the surgery for 2 weeks later, on December 18th, 2018. It felt surreal that we finally had a date on the books! The surgery prep was a bit brutal for me, I had to be on a liquid diet for 2 days before the surgery, so by day 3, I felt like crap! I couldn't wait to be put under to not feel so crappy anymore. I had to be admitted 1 hour earlier than the recipient. This was my very first surgery, so I was nervous of course. I was not familiar with hospitals or being hooked up to machines, so my heart rate was increasing as I knew the surgery time was approaching. The entire staff was incredibly kind and supportive. They realized that to donate an organ you have to be healthy and are not used to hospitals! The first team that came to me was the team that did a nerve block on my abdomen, that was very intimidating and couldn't have gone better. They, of course, gave me a little something to make me feel "good". After that, they rolled me to the operating room where I was put under very quickly after. They then brought in the recipient and performed the organ transfer. The kidney started working immediately! We were both in recovery at the same time, where I felt quite out of it and also high on life. I couldn't believe what had just happened. A team of brilliant medical professionals had carefully extracted one of my vital organs and transferred it into someone else who is getting another chance at life. Almost a year later, I am 7 months pregnant with a very healthy baby boy who has two working kidneys. I think this baby is a gift for having given the gift life last December <3 I currently have 3 working kidneys in my body! ;)

Chanelle Longueve

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