I donated a kidney last Wednesday and I feel like my recovery is taking forever. I've read so much about people feeling totally back to themselves in less than a week and here I am dizzy all the time, weak, and in (manageable) pain. What am I doing wrong?!?! I feel like I'm expected to be back to myself but I'm failing at something. Any advises/help etc...

9 Replies

  • Keep in mind that everyone is different and recovery times will vary by individual. I donated 2 years ago and I was in great pain for at least 2-3 weeks. Walking helped me with recovery. Just take it easy and take it one day at a time.

    I didn't lift anything heavier than 10 lbs. for about 8 or 9 weeks per the direction of my doctor.

  • Grunya -- hang in there and don't be discouraged. Like Adrian replied everyone's surgery and recovery is different. My kidney donation was 7 years ago so my memory may be a bit rusty but I don't recall much pain after one week. You are just hitting the one week mark so you should start to feel less pain real soon. I do however remember being amazingly tired and that I required a few long naps during the day. That feeling was with me for a full 2 to 3 weeks post surgery. Don't forget to hold a pillow tightly against your abdomen when you go to sit up from bed or a that helps to avoid the pain.

  • I donated in 2015 and I am also a RN. Please don’t be discouraged. Everyone recovers at their own rate. Drink plenty of fluid. Walk. Don’t lift. If you don’t start feeling better, call your donor coordinator.

  • Please don't gauge your recovery based on 'everyone' because truly every donor has a unique experience. Listen to your body and do not rush anything. Yes, some may bounce back quickly but that's because we all have a different experience with the surgery and our bodies are all different too. Drink copious amounts of water, and walk as often as you can, sloooowly. Get lots of rest and stick to a very nutrient-rich diet. Baby steps!

  • It took me 6 weeks until I felt like I could function. I thought if I took 4 weeks off I'd be ok, but I went back to work at 4 weeks and could not hack it. Extremely fatigue was how I felt. I couldn't function. You have to remember it takes a long time for your remaining kidney to pick up the slack. Plus it's major surgery in top of that and no one would he expected to be 100% after one week. Give your body the time and rest it needs. Listen to it. But know that you WILL feel 100% very soon. I forget I donated sometimes! But when I do remember it's just a great feeling for how I helped someone. Good luck and God bless you

  • Everyone is different, and I think you are totally in the "normal" zone!! I would even dare to say these "everybodies" are totally wrong or have amnesia. There is no way you feel back to normal in a week.

    This is major surgery with a serious incision, they shut down everything including your breathing, and the removal of an organ. It will be days/weeks before you feel "good" again and months before you're 100%.

    One fun thing I remember is being amazed by my body. Every day the healing seem to take on a new form! Something different, small improvements, every day. Pretty neat experience. The human body is spectacular, truly!

    I recall meeting someone who wanted to be back to normal so badly that she really pushed it. She had always been athletic and started doing work outs after a few weeks. She ended up having a hernia and another surgery. Listen to your body and your healthcare providers. Recovery will take a little work, be sure you drink A LOT and take those walks that they make you do. You are doing GREAT!

  • Hello Grunya - it has been a very short time since you donated your kidney. Everyone has their own pace of recovery. The first week after I donated I was very tired and often lay down to rest. I also did not gain my appetite back for a while. I remember eating, not because I was hungry, but because I needed the nourishment. Hopefully, you are staying hydrated and are drinking enough liquids. Please have your doctor see you to check that your blood pressure, etc. are all ok. I would try to be patient, continue drinking enough liquids, eating healthy foods and walking a little each day for exercise. But first please check in with your doctor and do whatever your Dr. recommends. I wish you all the best!!!!

  • Last Wednesday?? Well no wonder you're still not well, donating a kidney is major surgery! Don't let all outside resources fool you into believing otherwise, yes you are out of the hospital really fast but it's still part of you that was taken out and your body will take it's time to adjust. Plus, some surgeries I think are more invasive than others, sometimes they have to tear up muscles to get to your kidney. All you can do is drink a lot of water and walk, most importantly follow any advice the medical staff provides. I can say I was completely back to normal after 6 months, but even after that I couldn't carry heavy weight without feeling that all my internal organs were gonna blow out. The first 2-3 months I fell miserable and couldn't even push myself to get out of bed, I was in pain I couldn't eat, my medical staff said that was not usual. But I wasn't drinking water because it was super hard for me so that didn't help. Keep us posted, but yeah don't expect miracles, your body will take as much time as it needs, not more, not less.

  • I have been thinking about you. Hope you are starting to feel better. Thank you for your gift of donation.

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