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Kidney donation: the operation & first few postoperative days

I've already written a series of blog posts leading up to my recent kidney surgery - starting with "Kidney donation: why it's well worth considering" to the most recent "Kidney donation: preoperative preparation ... aspects of self-compassion".  Writing this now, I'm happily & successfully over the waterfall of the operation and into the phase of managing the bumping & scraping against a variety of post-operative boulders.

Kidney donation: more on postoperative management

I have written a series of blog posts about my recent experience of donating a kidney ... the last was "Kidney donation: the operation & first few postoperative days".  My hope is that these posts will be useful for other would-be kidney donors & their families ... and some of the posts (for example this one) may also be of help for people facing surgery more generally.  As Kortram & colleagues highlighted in their 2014 paper on "The need for a standardized informed consent procedure in live donor nephrectomy: a systematic review" - "Procedures vary greatly between centers, and transplant professionals vary in the information they disclose.

Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - aspects of self-compassion

I've woken early.  Lying here I feel an unfamiliar hollow pressure in my gut.  What is this?  Fear?  Anxiety? Tension?  "Tense apprehension" seems to fit.  I'm lying here in the early hours of the morning, a hollow tense apprehension in my belly.  And it isn't surprising.  Pretty normal in fact as I move closer & closer to major surgery.  Consciously.  By my own decision.  On this journey, travelling down the "kidney donation river", I can hear the roar of the approaching rapids.  Surgery soon.  It's a pretty standard, basic, healthy response to tense a bit as I move towards the crux, possibly the most intense section of this "donation river".  And I don't have to tighten the rest of my body around the belly apprehension.  I can let go, loosen in my arms, my face.  It's OK. Nothing to do right now.

Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - goals and journey

I'm due to donate a kidney soon, and I have been writing about what's involved - see "Kidney donation: why it's well worth considering", "Kidney donation: what are the risks?" and "Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - values are central".  Primarily these posts are for other donors, but aspects of what I write are also relevant for facing challenges more generally as well.

Kidney donation: preoperative preparation & facing challenges generally - values are central

I'm soon due to have an operation on my left kidney.  I'm donating it anonymously to someone else who needs it pretty desperately.  I have already written about this process - see "Kidney donation: why it's well worth consideringand "Kidney donation: what are the risks?".  Primarily these kidney-focused blog posts are to help other donors and their families & friends.  However, some aspects of the posts are likely to be of interest more generally.  For example, these ones on pre-operative preparation have some relevance to many situations where one is facing a potentially daunting challenge.

Kidney donation: what are the risks?

I recently wrote a blog post "Kidney donation: why it's well worth considering".  I commented that most blog posts on this website are primarily written for fellow health professionals & others interested in an evidence-based approach to stress, health & wellbeing.  However this sequence of posts about kidney donation are different in that they are written mainly for other potential kidney donors and their friends & families.  I hope a personal story about a fellow donor's experience will be helpful, especially as my background in medicine & psychology may colour these posts usefully.

Kidney donation: why it's well worth considering

Yesterday the transplant surgeon, Gabriel Oniscu, said he or one of his colleagues plan to take out my left kidney very soon.  It makes the scheduled operation a bit more 'real' in my mind, knowing which kidney is going be handed on to someone else (with a greater need for it than me). It's another step on the donation journey I've been travelling for some months now.  Most blog posts on this website are primarily written for fellow health professionals & others interested in evidence-based approaches to stress, health & wellbeing.  This post (and I hope later several others) are different in that they are written mainly for other potential kidney donors and their friends & families.  A personal story about a fellow donor's experience will, I hope, be helpful.

The building up specific strengths exercise: a personal & practical exploration

        "To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man"  Polonius in Shakespeare's "Hamlet"

I have been writing a series of blog posts about character strengths - most recently "Twelve practical suggestions for exploring our character strengths (12): building up specific strengths exercise".  In today's post I give a personal example of using this building exercise with the character strengths of kindness and hope.

More to follow ...

Personal ‘retreat’: eighth reflection – making life intentions & the last day here

I wrote yesterday of my three wishes for this ten day “retreat” in Hampshire … a “being/doing” shift, an exploration of awareness (& it seems also our sense of self), and a chance to get perspective on my life.  For the first week I focused especially on the first two of these hopes.  In this final three days of my stay, I’ve swung much more to looking at my life overall.  When I’m “sitting on the bank of the river” after spending such a quiet beautiful week here, it’s a lot easier to get perspective than when I’m caught up in the fast flow of my day to day life.

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