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          If you get to the point of going through living
          donor surgery, the team will be there to look
          after you throughout the process.
             The psychologist will be available to support
          you, because recovery can bring up all kinds of
          issues for donors and their loved ones,

          ● The donor finding it difficult to be in the         Of course, living donors can also experience
             unfamiliar sick role. This can be especially       positive outcomes from giving a kidney, including;
             difficult because the recipient often recovers     ● The practical benefits of not having a spouse
             more quickly than the donor after the                 or child on dialysis: the recipient is more able
             surgery.                                              to get involved in family life.

          ● The donor can sometimes feel an anti-               ● The ‘feel-good factor’ the donor gets knowing
             climax or a sense of loss or sadness after            that they have made a positive difference to
             the surgery. This is normal, and might be             someone else’s life, by donating a kidney, and
             partly due to the anaesthetic or the  physical        perhaps feeling closer to the recipient as a
             exhaustion of surgery. It can also be a result        result of the surgery.
             of feeling upset at being dependent and
             unwell in a hospital bed.
                                                               “The psychologist is also available
          ● The living donor may worry about the
             donated kidney being rejected by the              to support you, because recovery
             recipient’s body. If the kidney is rejected,      can bring up all kinds of issues for
             donors can feel huge disappointment and              donors and their loved ones.”
             even despair and often need a lot of support.

                                               WHEN DIFFICULTIES ARISE...

                             For the most part, living        at a  slightly greater risk of mental health
                              kidney donors do not regret     problems (e.g., anxiety or depression) because of
                              going through the surgery.      the strain.
                              The research shows that for        This also explains why it is important to donate
                             most donors, one year after      for the right reasons.  A strong bond between
                           surgery there is no significant    donor and recipient can help
        change in their quality of life, self-reported        both parties to get through
        health, anxiety or depression.                        post-operative difficulties,
           A  minority of people regret donating              whereas if the relationship
        however, and this is linked with a negative outcome   breaks down, the donor may
        for the donor and/or the recipient. Complications     be left with regrets about
        for the donor or the recipient leading to long-term   donating.
        consequences such as chronic pain, place the donor       See also book six of this
                                                              series -’Emotional Wellbeing’.

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