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My name is Chris Kilpatrick and I live in Wesley Chapel, FL with my amazing girlfriend Cassie and our lil handful, Lucy. I am a Marine Corps veteran, a big Rays fan, and enjoy kayaking, hiking, and fishing. I have always lived a healthy and active lifestyle until two years ago when my whole life was turn upside down.
On October 31, 2019 I was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).
I am currently in end-stage renal failure and in urgent need of a transplant.
Typically the disease is inherited from a parent, however, my mutation is thought to be due to toxic exposure from my time in the military. I wish I could have gotten an X-Men type mutation, but I digress... There is no cure for PKD, the only option is a kidney transplant.
With PKD, cysts take over your kidneys, decreasing their function overtime. Normal kidneys weigh about 160 grams each, but mine are nearly 15 pounds each due to the amount of cysts. Additionally, kidney disease causes high blood pressure, back/side pain, hernias, inability to urinate, and inability to metabolize and regulate many nutrients.
Due to this disease, I currently undergo dialysis three times per week to replace my kidney function. Each session takes 4 hours and is incredibly exhausting and damaging to your body. While it keeps you alive, dialysis is meant to be a temporary life saving measure.
Words truly cannot express the impact this has had on me and my family. I humbly ask anyone reading this to please consider becoming a donor. Even if you yourself are unable to donate, please share my site with others.
During a living-donor kidney transplant, surgeons remove a kidney from a healthy living person. Surgeons then place the healthy kidney into the person who is in need of a kidney, otherwise known as a recipient. Afterward, both the living organ donor and the recipient can lead normal, active lives. The living-donor kidney transplant program allows friends, relatives or even an anonymous person to donate a kidney to help someone in need. Organ donors provide an important gift because it helps give another person a second chance at life.
Tampa General Hospital. TGH has a top rated transplant center. Along with the highly rated surgeons, they have an amazing support staff that will lead you through the donation process and coordinate everything that needs to be done.
Kidney transplantation is the most common type of living-donor transplant. Tampa General Hospital has one of the top rated transplant centers in the nation. They have performed over 1,000 living donor kidney transplants.
A donor kidney is removed using minimally invasive surgery, called laparoscopic surgery. During this type of surgery, the surgeon uses tiny incisions and a telescopic viewing device, instead of a large open incision.
The hospital stay is two to three days, recovery takes about four to six weeks. However, some donors may return to normal activities earlier depending on your line of work.
There is no cost to the donor for required medical tests and surgery. Additionally, donors may be financially eligible for a donor grant to help pay expenses incurred such as transportation, lodging, and lost wages. It is against federal law for a donor to be paid for his or her donation.
Physically, you should expect no long-term effects. Your body is able to function normally with one kidney. Psychologically, previous donors have communicated that donating was one of the most meaningful experiences of their lives, and they were glad to have had the opportunity to help another person. While there are risks associated with any surgery, the coordination staff will carefully review these with you. Tampa General Hospital is committed to long-term follow up of all living donors. Should you yourself ever require a transplant after donating you will automatically go to the top of the list.
Tampa General Hospital has a team dedicated to expertly screen people who are interested in donating a kidney. Donors are given detailed information so they can take the time to carefully consider what is involved. The donation experience is completely confidential and separate from the recipient’s experience. As a donor, you will have your own transplant coordinator. The recipient has a different coordinator. As a donor, you must be physically and psychologically healthy to assure you can safely donate. You must feel comfortable with your decision. If at any time you change your mind, the team will help you make a confidential withdrawal from the procedure.
A paired exchange option is available at Tampa General Hospital through the National Kidney Registry and the UNOS Kidney Paired Exchange Program. A paired exchange is an additional way to find a living donor. Sometimes a donor is not compatible with the person to whom he or she wants to donate. Through the paired exchange program, that donor could agree to donate to a different, matching recipient. In exchange, the donor's recipient receives a living donor kidney from someone in the same situation. Both recipients get a living donor kidney through paired exchanged donors. This kind of exchange can be discussed with a transplant coordinator.
Living donation provides the recipient with a much better chance at living a longer, healthier life.