Nicole's Story




Name: Nicole R. Mack
City/Town: Cincinnati, Ohio
Current Age: 47
Occupation: Childcare Provider
Date of Donation:   Feb 23, 2016
Hospital and Location: Christ Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio


Did you know your recipient? 
Yes! I donated to my Mother.

What made you decide to donate? 
The love I have for her and the desire to see her live longer and without dialysis.

Was it a tough decision? 
No! I was in from the very beginning. I was the only family member tested. I felt I was born to do so.

What were your biggest concerns about donating? 
Pain and would I be okay with only one kidney myself.

How did your family and friends react when you told them you were going to donate? 
I was only really concerned about my husband and two adult children. They all had questions however, they were very supportive in leaving the decision to me.

How did your surgery go? 
I can remember waking up in recovery and asking my husband when the surgery would begin, and he said, "Baby it's over!" I couldn't believe it! Surgery was on Tuesday and I was home on Thursday. 

What was your recovery like while you were in the hospital? 
Recovery was great in the hospital! I made EXCELLENT progress. I remember them saying they should use me as a model for recovery.

What was your recovery like at home? 
My first two weeks at home were painful, as I expected. On the third week I took a turn and spent the next two weeks in EXCRUCIATING pain. Mid-fourth week I felt like a champ! It was bad enough for the recipient (Mommy) to visit me!

What was the most difficult part of recovery? 
The pain.

When did you return to work?
I was not working at the time.

How long was the process from making the first contact about donating until your surgery?Roughly seven months

Is there anything about being a kidney donor that's surprised you? 
This may sound crazy but…I always knew I'd donate, I just thought I'd be doing it as a deceased donor. So being a “live” donor was surprisingly interesting. Also, I never knew that the recipient kept their bad kidneys and they just added the good one. In addition, I never thought about the process being harder on the donor than the recipient. You're making the recipient well immediately but for the donor…you've taken a well person and introduced trauma! It was a lot!

Would you do it again?