Kidney Transplant Recipient

by Lois

I am a kidney transplant recipient, Many people believe that a transplant cures you. This, of course, is not the case. A transplant is a treatment. I am still technically a sufferer of a chronic illness. I have to take medication every day, or my body will reject my organ. I am incredibly lucky because the outcome of my transplant has been so good. Part of this is due to the fact that I had a living donor, my mother. Even though everything is going well, it still isn't perfect. I mentioned the medication I have to take daily. It adds up to 8 pills daily, not including the various supplements and vitamins I have to take. The medication is really harsh, and sometimes it makes my stomach hurt. However, I now the outcomes of not taking the medication are far worse. Being a transplant patient has completely changed my outlook on life and on many different issues. For example, I am a supporter of both animal research and cloning. I am also a strong advocate for anything that will increase the donor pool for those waiting for a transplant on the waiting list. One of the newest ideas is to create an Opt-Out program of organ donaton. In Opt-Out programs, everyone is an organ donor and is registered as such unless they choose to opt out. Spain has this type of system and they have the highest rate of donation and the least wait for transplants. Ideally, that is what our country needs. There are over 100,000 people currently on the list for a transplant; about 7,000 die each year, while about 2,000 are taken off the list due to illness possibly caused by waiting for their organ. I know this may seem irrelevant, but to me, this is my life. My kidney could fail at any time and I could be at the mercy of an anonymous organ donor. This is all part of my chronic illness. In a way, being a transplant patient is not unlike other chronic illnesses. It's something I have to deal with for the rest of my life, it has changed my life completely, and I am constantly advocating for a "cure."

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