Nancy, second from left, sits across from me last summer, when we celebrated our one-year anniversary since the kidney transplant. She is pictured next to her daughter, Sarah, and husband, Mark. I am sitting next to her brother, Jim Walsh, my significant other.
I can’t believe it has been two years since I donated my kidney to Nancy Noble. Time has flown by and there have been many changes in my life, from relocating to a new state to a new job and professional successes.
I don’t think about having only one kidney very much because as soon as I healed from the surgery, my body was back to normal. The only lasting physical reminder is a scar at the incision site.
But in the last month, I’ve had occasion to remember and reflect. The former police chief in the city where I now live, Redding, California, is in need of a kidney and his story is a reminder that there are tens of thousands of people in need. As of January, the number of people waiting for kidney transplants stood at 100,791. And there is a five-year wait for those on the transplant list.
Bob’s family has created a Facebook page to help find a donor, “Robert P. Blankenship, let’s save his life.” When I first saw it, I was compelled to share my story and offer support. The Record Searchlight, the newspaper I work for, also published a story about his plight, “Despite his pride, former police chief is ready to ask for help.”
And good news. His family recently wrote on Facebook:
“Another week has flown by. Heard from UC Davis and Sutter, CPMC late last week. Several people have completed the pre-screening process for UC Davis and Sutter. We are so excited about the prospect of maybe finding a live kidney donor match or pairing. We thank God every day for our friends and family who have been incredibly supportive and encouraging. Waiting and being patient is not always easy. Keep the prayers and good wishes coming we truly appreciate them all. More news as we hear from one of both of the hospitals regarding transplant.”
I sure hope Bob gets the positive outcome Nancy has had. I’ve asked her to update this blog, so hopefully she will soon. She’s doing great, though, and recently joked that I couldn’t have my kidney back because it was happy in its new home.
As part of hitting the two-year anniversary since donating, Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, where our operations took place, requires that my regular doctor run a few tests to ensure my remaining kidney is operating properly and has picked up the slack. My doctor has given me the thumbs up and sent the results to Michigan, so I am just waiting on the transplant center to give final confirmation. But no worries here.
Nancy and I plan to celebrate our milestone in August, when I return for a visit. I am looking forward to a spa day and simply seeing her live her life. That, after all, is the greatest gift. I am so grateful I could help and my — um, her — kidney is doing what it was destined to do — save a life.
Here Nancy Noble, my kidney recipient, sits with her mother, Maureen Hirsch, at a gathering in her home last summer.