Name: Angela Easton
City/Town: Cincinnati, Ohio
Current Age: 39
Occupation: Material Coordinator for Supply Chain
Date of Donation: February 21, 2017
Hospital and Location: Christ Hospital Cincinnati, Ohio
Did you know your recipient?
We have never met.
What made you decide to donate?
I saw a Facebook post from a friend who was searching for a kidney for her brother. They had exhausted all possible options with family and friends and were searching for a stranger to be his match. Somehow I knew I could be that person. I at least wanted to get tested. It turns out I was his perfect match.
Was it a tough decision?
It was not a difficult decision for me. I am a second-generation foster parent and saying “yes” when others might say "no" is just part of how I see my place in this world. I look at my resources a little bit differently than others. It took me a while to convince my family and friends that I was doing the right thing though. Post-surgery, some of my biggest skeptics are now some of the fiercest advocates for living organ donation.
What were your biggest concerns about donating?
The data told me that long term I would be fine. Recovering at home with three young children was the biggest challenge I could see before surgery.
How did your family and friends react when you told them you were going to donate?
Almost without exception people were concerned that I would give my kidney to a stranger when I have three young children at home. I had to use all of the resources from the hospital and Internet to prove that, long term, the risks were very low. The data is out there. It doesn’t stop people from being concerned but once you come out of surgery and begin recovery, people’s minds are eased a bit.
How did your surgery go?
The surgery was textbook. Both kidneys were functioning within “normal levels’ in two different bodies within 24 hours.
What was your recovery like while you were in the hospital?
I was treated like a queen at the hospital. The staff was amazing and really helped me feel confident in what my body was feeling. I spent two nights in the hospital and was ready to come home as soon as they would let me out. I think I wore a path in the hallway doing laps!
What was your recovery like at home?
Recovery at home went well. I was out for short walks on the first full day and I quit all pain medication by the fifth day so I could get my driving privileges back. The neighbors were so helpful by bringing hot meals for my family and even keeping the kids occupied for a few hours at a time. We were blessed with support at home. I was very faithful to a nap schedule as well as personal enrichment while I was off. I took time to read books I had been looking forward to and to finish projects that involved sitting or computer work.
What was the most difficult part of recovery?Sitting still! I found it difficult to stick to the physical restrictions of recovery. I have a hard time "taking it easy." My body felt better every day and I had to be very intentional about limiting myself and my activity.
When did you return to work?
I took a total of 11 days off from work. At my two-week check-up, I asked for return-to-work paperwork and it was granted with only a lifting restriction. Two weeks is really early and maybe should not be the goal for everyone. I have an office, management job that requires little physical exertion and offers a flexible schedule.
How long was the process from making the first contact about donating until your surgery?
I think it was a few years between the match and the surgery. First, there were setbacks on my end while I convinced my family that I was a doing the right thing and then there were some delays from the recipient’s side too.
Is there anything about being a kidney donor that's surprised you?
I think they call what I experienced, “addition by subtraction.” I donated a kidney and what I received in return was a life infused with amazing people. I have been blessed to meet so many individuals who spend their lives making this world a better place to raise my children.
Would you do it again?