What Is It Like Living With One Kidney?

Living With One Kidney

September 23, 2018

What is it like living with one kidney?

I’ve been asked many times what it’s like living with one kidney? And, have I experienced any side-effects from donating a kidney? My answers—amazing and no!

On July 7, 2011, I donated a kidney to complete stranger—David Ensley after hearing God’s Voice tell me I was his perfect match. Crazy, I know but David and I were 1-in-20 million perfect match.

Living with one kidney hasn’t been any different than living with two. Physically, I can’t tell the difference except I now limit anti-inflammatories. Offering complete disclosure though it has caused some minor aggravations nothing I haven’t been able to handle.

Although life has continued as usual at the same time it hasn’t. On a physical level, I am healthy. I work, eat healthy, exercise, and get plenty of rest.

But, it’s my spiritual life that’s been anything but ordinary!

As I mentioned, I decided to donate because I heard a Voice tell me I would be the one to give to David. At that time in my life, I felt lost and needed direction. So, I started meditating and journaling. I asked God to use me as a blessing. However, I had no idea the impact that request would have on my life.

Why did I decide to donate?

I believe living kidney donation is a calling—whether it’s donating to a family member, child, or a complete stranger. It’s an inner nudging that won’t go away no matter how hard you will it.

When I first heard David’s story I had no idea living organ donation was possible. But, I couldn’t stop thinking about him until I acted on the words I heard that night in the kitchen— “Amy that person will be you!”

My family and friends thought I was crazy and honestly, many times I felt the same way. But, my soul was convicted, and I couldn’t turn back.

Caution—saving the life of another human being is a miracle that not only alters their life but yours as well.

So, how has my life been affected?

First, my connection to God, the Source of all beings, has grown. I more clearly hear things I’m called to do like writing a book detailing my donation experience—Daring to Believe (available on Amazon). When I was researching the idea of kidney donation, I couldn’t find many books on the subject, and those I did see were boring and clinical.

Then a few years after the surgery, I wrote a memoir. In it, I detail the authentic experiences I had with hearing God’s Voice to donate; my feelings about completing the donor application; telling my family about my decision to donate and their reactions; and the actual surgery itself including a few “inconveniences” I encountered afterward.

Daring to Believe is a resource for those who are considering kidney donation and what to expect living with one kidney. It’s also for ordinary people who want to feel inspired to be extraordinary.

After the kidney donation, I felt compelled to become active in my community. About 5-years ago joined the NC Advisory Board of the National Kidney Foundation. We raise money to help educate communities about kidney disease and offer screenings to provide early detection for those at risk.

I also co-chair the Annual Kidney Gala and have just recently joined the NKF Big Ask/Big Give Program—teaching people in need of kidney transplants how to ask for a life-saving kidney and for people who want to give, how to say yes.

Eventually, I started speaking to groups about my experience as a living kidney donor. I found I enjoy inspiring others to hear God’s whispers in their life whether it’s to be a kidney donor, a doctor, a lawyer or a parent who then encourages their children to be great things.

Mostly, I love watching David live his life with his wife, children, and his grandson—that gives me the most joy. Knowing that I helped to make a difference and, in many ways, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.

In conclusion

Physically living with one kidney has not affected my quality of life in any way. If I had more kidneys to give I would do it a hundred times over—no question. I’ve heard other donors reflect the same sentiment.

Spiritually, I found my soul’s purpose and continue to thank God for the many blessings I’ve received as a result of answering yes to my calling.

I pray that as I share my story of living kidney donation and how God changed my life with six little words, that people’s lives are saved. And, as we to listen to the quiet voice within, may we be blessed.

What might you be called to do if only you dared to believe?




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