Name: Christy Vogel
City/Town: Wilder, Kentucky
Age at Donation: 38
Occupation: Clinical Service Liaison Registered Nurse
Date of Donation: January 16, 2018
Hospital and Location: The Christ Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio
Did you know your recipient?
Yes! He’s my husband of 13 years.
What made you decide to donate?
We have two children who were ages 4 and 10 at that time. They needed their dad in their lives, and of course, I wanted to keep my husband around!
Was it a tough decision?
It was not a tough decision at all! The original donor was eliminated during the final testing stages because of some unknown minor health issues, so I said I would be tested as his donor. Working at our transplant hospital for 13 years helped make my decision easy. I knew medically, I would be in good hands and we have a great family support system to help us through!
What were your biggest concerns about donating?
My biggest concern was about both parents going under anesthesia at the same time and the what ifs—what would happen emotionally and physically to our kids if one or both of us didn't make it through the surgery.
How did your family and friends react when you told them you were going to donate?
I really don’t remember. I just knew I had made up my mind and there was no turning back. Most were happy we were a match, more than we ever knew. My husband/recipient was probably the most resistant to my donation because of the concerns of our children. We worked through it and has made for the better!
How did your surgery go?
I was asleep so as far as I know, everything went very well. Surgery length of time for my family was as expected.
What was your recovery like while you were in the hospital?
I am a very physically active person who workouts regularly, so I have a hard time staying in one place for any amount of time. I was up and moving the night of the surgery and was walking several laps in the hallways the following day.
What was your recovery like at home?
Recovery at home was good. Again, I like to be up and moving, so resting was difficult for me.
What was the most difficult part of recovery?
Resting! I felt great until about the third week after donation and it all hit me that I needed more rest. After that week I had to focus more on resting (and not so much on my husband’s recovery).
When did you return to work?
I returned to work six weeks after my donation and returned to working out about a month later.
How long was the process from making the first contact about donating until your surgery?
I believe my testing started in October 2017 and our transplant date was Jan 16, 2018. We could have had the surgeries sooner, but I had just started a new job in October 2017 and needed to align surgery with my work short-term disability benefits.
Is there anything about being a kidney donor that surprised you?
No, I was very prepared and highly educated before donation. My donor coordinator Tricia and the Christ Hospital donor work-up team are the best!
Would you do it again?
Definitely, if I had another spare to share!