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Contributor Spotlight: Emotional Challenges of Caregiving

Some people support living donors and transplant recipients not only on a practical basis but emotionally. Two of The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation‘s contributors are authorities on the subject. One is a licensed professional counselor, Kathleen Fitzgerald, whose clients often include families contending with the emotional fallout of kidney failure, transplant, or any … Continue reading Contributor Spotlight: Emotional Challenges of Caregiving

National Foundation for Transplants, Trees, and Me

When I launched this website in early 2019, my goal was simple: to raise awareness of living donation by sharing my story of donating to my son, along with timely posts and practical resources to help donors and would-be donors–and anyone interested in supporting people with chronic kidney disease. I threw in a dose of … Continue reading National Foundation for Transplants, Trees, and Me

How’s Your State Doing on Donor Protection Measures?

In my last post I promised information about living donation-related protections and benefits, by state. As I mentioned, while awaiting passage of a federal Living Donor Protection Act, more than half of states now have their own version (28 at last count). In fact, like the one we’re supporting in North Carolina, some actually are … Continue reading How’s Your State Doing on Donor Protection Measures?

NC’s Living Donor Protection Act Back to Square 1

Everyone seemed to think the bill was oh-so-close to passing this session. And, personally, I was honored–and very excited–to be one of three local advocates invited to the National Kidney Foundation’s planned legislative breakfast with a few supportive state representatives. NKF wanted us to share our personal views of why the state needs to protect … Continue reading NC’s Living Donor Protection Act Back to Square 1

Contributor Spotlight: All in the Family

I explained in our first Spotlight on Contributors why we devoted a whole section of our book, The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation, to family dynamics. The chapters by the following two contributors–Monica Sheppard and Daniel Ranch–illustrate how different families handle medical crises differently, yet with some surprising similarities, regardless of their background. Monica … Continue reading Contributor Spotlight: All in the Family

Contributor Spotlight: Doing All They Can to Help Donors Donate

Some of the most dedicated, ardent advocates of living donation I know are neither living donors nor transplant recipients themselves. That’s surely the case for these two contributors–Tammy Wright and Jenine Lewis–to our book, The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation. For Tammy, who has helped donor and recipient pairs as a transplant coordinator for … Continue reading Contributor Spotlight: Doing All They Can to Help Donors Donate

Because of Organ Donation

As a living kidney donor, I launched this website primarily to share information about living donation. Because it was my son, Paul, who got my transplanted kidney, I also often write about chronic kidney disease and transplant recipients. And, because I fervently believe in organ, eye, and tissue donation generally, I sometimes write, too, about … Continue reading Because of Organ Donation

Black History Month and the Present 

Originally posted on SlowItDownCKD :
I’ll bet you thought I’d forgotten all about Black History Month. Not at all, dear readers, not at all. It’s just that since this is a yearly occurrence and I’ve been blogging about kidney disease for 14 years, it becomes harder and harder to uncover Black nephrologists I haven’t written about…

Spotlight on Our Contributors

In the coming weeks, periodically I’ll be introducing a few of the wonderful contributors to our book, The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation. They candidly and often movingly shared their experiences and their insights with our readers. I already knew from personal experience and Facebook support groups that relationships both before and well after … Continue reading Spotlight on Our Contributors

A Right to Refuse?

A letter writer in The New York Times Ethicist column this week raises an interesting question: “Must I Donate a Kidney to My Awful Brother?” (Spoiler alert: I’m not going to tell you how the Ethicist answers.) If you believe that blood is thicker than water in every case, then maybe the answer seems crystal … Continue reading A Right to Refuse?

CrowdSource for Life Itself

Most living donors, like me, didn’t know the first thing about donating before it touched their family, their friends, or learned of a stranger’s need and felt compelled to help. The ultimate purpose of this website, my book, and my advocacy, obviously, is to raise awareness of living kidney donation by sharing basic information and … Continue reading CrowdSource for Life Itself

New Year’s Resolutions for Donors and Would-Be Donors

Whether you’re being evaluated as a living donor already, or just thinking about it, here are a few suggestions that will benefit you and your kidneys–wherever they happen to be. 1- Take good care of yourself (and your kidneys). –Exercise regularly. –Get plenty of rest. –Stay hydrated. –Eat a healthy diet. 2-For your safety and … Continue reading New Year’s Resolutions for Donors and Would-Be Donors

Why Not Just Wait for a Deceased Donor? Here’s Why

According to polls, about 90% of Americans say they favor organ donation, but only about 60% are registered donors. Just curious: what percentage of people in the United States would you guess die in such a way that traditional organ donation is possible? A third? A fifth? Not even close. The answer is “less than … Continue reading Why Not Just Wait for a Deceased Donor? Here’s Why

Relax, Living Donors: Your Kidney Function Is Probably Just Fine

Anyone who’s been reading this blog for awhile knows that I periodically post in frustration about the subject of donors being needlessly upset when their kidney function appears slightly lower than “normal.” It’s usually because their provider has wrongly concluded that the donor thus has stage 2 or 3 chronic kidney disease. That’s not merely … Continue reading Relax, Living Donors: Your Kidney Function Is Probably Just Fine

Save $$ and Spread the Word

I’m always appreciative when people spread the word about this website and related issues that are important to me: organ donation, living kidney donation, chronic kidney disease, and, most recently, our book, The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation. There are lots of ways you can do that. #1. Whether you buy the book on … Continue reading Save $$ and Spread the Word

#3, Thanks to You!

Two years ago this month I happily reported that “Could You Be a Kidney Donor?” was #10 on the Top 30 Kidney Donor Blogs website. My blog has stayed in the top 10 ever since and has even inched up the chart. Well, now I’m thrilled to see that it has made it all the … Continue reading #3, Thanks to You!

Hear Ye, Hear Ye! It’s Finally Here, Yay!

It’s official–no more countdown. No need to watch for, to be patient, to pre-order. The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation, by Carol Offen and Elizabeth Crais– seven years in the making–is officially published as of today, the 23rd of September, in the year two thousand and twenty-one. In honor of this special day, we … Continue reading Hear Ye, Hear Ye! It’s Finally Here, Yay!

Selena Gomez: Are You Vaccinated?

I trust that you are because you’ve spoken out against COVID vaccine misinformation. In the winter, I wrote about the importance of everyone getting vaccinated, particularly transplant recipients like Stevie Wonder, Selena Gomez–and my son. In the spring, we learned that organ recipients, who must take immunosuppressants to keep their body from rejecting the gifted … Continue reading Selena Gomez: Are You Vaccinated?

Who Are We (Living Donors)?

Several months ago, I wrote here about co-writing a Patients’ Foreword for a medical textbook, Living Kidney Donation: Best Practices in Evaluation, Care and Follow-up. The following excerpt from the foreword, addressing transplant professionals, describes us living donors simply and honestly: Who are we? We’re loved ones: mothers and fathers, wives and husbands and partners, … Continue reading Who Are We (Living Donors)?

A Third Shot Could Be the Charm

We suspected—and, of course, feared–that my kidney recipient son’s two COVID vaccine doses hadn’t worked, as is the case for most immuno-compromised individuals. Then he had an anti-spike test, which specifically shows whether a person has developed antibodies in response to a COVID vaccine. His results were negative: he had no antibodies. So we’ve been … Continue reading A Third Shot Could Be the Charm

“Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation”: Take a Peek Inside

As we get so much closer to publication, we’re eager to share another peek at the book. Here’s an excerpt: the opening for chapter 1! AN OHIO COUPLE transform their van into a cruising billboard, a woman in Pennsylvania posts her blood type on Facebook, a man offers thousands of dollars online . . . … Continue reading “Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation”: Take a Peek Inside

We Need the LDPA: Best-Case Scenario Is Hardly Good Enough

The Living Donor Protection Act (LDPA) of 2021 was first introduced in Congress back in 2014 and has been making its way through successive congressional sessions ever since. The act would protect healthy living donors like me from discrimination by insurers (including rejections and higher premiums) and would protect the job of an employee who … Continue reading We Need the LDPA: Best-Case Scenario Is Hardly Good Enough

Have You Heard This One?

As someone who’s always tried to find the humor in serious situations, I can attest that even kidney donation can include some laugh-out-loud moments. I know I’m not alone, as I wrote last year in a blog post on hilarious questions and comments that fellow living donors on Facebook have heard. Example: “OMG, they didn’t … Continue reading Have You Heard This One?

“The Call”!

Big news: My friend and co-author, Betsy Crais, just got “the call” she’s been waiting for ever since her first (live-donor) transplanted kidney failed more than a year ago–after 15+ years. She is now the proud and very grateful recipient of a healthy kidney and a liver from a deceased donor. She is recuperating well. … Continue reading “The Call”!

No, No, Living Donors–Don’t Think You Have Kidney Disease!

Every few months, I hear about living kidney donors who are worried about their recent diagnosis of “stage 3 kidney disease.” Sounds scary. The first time I heard that, several years ago, I was upset at the news, which seemed to be very common. Until I read further and learned that these donors were apparently … Continue reading No, No, Living Donors–Don’t Think You Have Kidney Disease!

My Do’s and Don’ts for Advocacy

Had a very full–and rewarding–day of meetings with congressional staffers and fellow National Kidney Foundation advocates last week as part of NKF’s Virtual Kidney Patient Summit, which drew nearly 250 advocates. We shared our personal connections to kidney disease and briefly outlined kidney-related legislative priorities. My group’s first meeting of the day was with Nora … Continue reading My Do’s and Don’ts for Advocacy

Talking about Books

I have so much to report this week as our book The Insider’s Guide to Living Kidney Donation makes its way to publication. Our copy editor is finishing up the detail work, and several people we admire in the donation and kidney community are reading the manuscript in preparation for writing back-cover blurbs! I’ll keep … Continue reading Talking about Books

Living Donors: What Do You Think About COVID Vaccines?

Last week I wrote about issues surrounding kidney recipients’ getting a COVID-19 vaccine. In it I offhandedly mentioned that risks and priority currently aren’t considered particular issues for living donors. So I’ve been trying to get an appointment for a COVID vaccination ever since the eligibility in my state opened up to include people over … Continue reading Living Donors: What Do You Think About COVID Vaccines?

Should Kidney Recipients Take the COVID Vaccine–and When?

This week I attended a National Kidney Foundation webinar that answered questions about kidney patients and the COVID vaccine. As the mother of a kidney transplant recipient (my recipient, actually), I naturally have a particular interest in the topic. As a living donor, though, it doesn’t appear that I have any reason to need or … Continue reading Should Kidney Recipients Take the COVID Vaccine–and When?

“Good News” on Immuno Drug Bill Is Now Great News!

The good news in my last post was that the House had passed the Immuno Drug Coverage bill extending Medicare coverage for kidney transplant recipients’ medications past 3 years. Next step was the Senate. I’m thrilled to report now that after nearly 20 years of advocacy by the transplant community, this bill is finally going … Continue reading “Good News” on Immuno Drug Bill Is Now Great News!

Good News on Immuno Drug Bill

So glad to have good news to report on the Immuno Drug coverage bill that would extend Medicare coverage of anti-rejection meds for people not otherwise eligible for Medicare. The bill passed the House last week with strong bipartisan support (that alone is worth cheering) as part of the BENES Act (Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and … Continue reading Good News on Immuno Drug Bill

It’s Great to See More Financial Aid for Donors…But

The news this week that the National Living Donor Assistance Center, or NLDAC, had expanded its eligibility and its benefits is certainly welcome and long overdue. I remember submitting (and later posting here) my public comment on its proposals back in May 2019. The changes are well worth cheering about: for starters, the income-level cutoff … Continue reading It’s Great to See More Financial Aid for Donors…But

Kidney Donors Don’t Get Paid, But the Rewards Are Very Real

In previous posts, I’ve described some of the enormous benefits of a live vs. deceased-donor kidney transplant for the recipient, but did you know that there are many very real benefits to the living donor, too? For family members or couples, the benefits are nothing short of dramatic. And I’m not just talking about feel-good … Continue reading Kidney Donors Don’t Get Paid, But the Rewards Are Very Real

Wear a Mask! The Life You Save May Be My Son’s

As a kidney recipient, my son, Paul, and other transplant recipients have to take essential anti-rejection medications to keep their bodies from rejecting the precious new organ they were given. Unfortunately, to avoid rejection, the meds have to lower the body’s natural immune system. The trick is to do that without the recipient’s getting an … Continue reading Wear a Mask! The Life You Save May Be My Son’s