Living Kidney Donation Stories: Andy and Jill Dietz

Here at Donor Appreciation Network, we love to hear from living kidney donors that we have reached through distributing donor celebration boxes at Indiana University Hospital! We invite these donors to share their stories and today we would love to share an interview from Andy and Jill Dietz from Fishers, Indiana! Their story is unique in that Andy donated in the advanced paired donation program before his wife Jill needed a kidney. This ensures that when Jill is ready, she will receive a living kidney transplant. Stories like Anthony and Jill's reiterate the fact that living kidney donors and kidney patients alike are heroes and deserve much praise and respect!

 

Name:  Andy Dietz (living kidney donor)

Age:   54

City:  Fishers, Indiana

Date of donation:   December 6, 2017

 

1.       Who did you donate to? 

Wife - Jill

2.       What made you willing to be a living kidney donor?

My wife was in need of a kidney and I had a spare.

3.       What was the matching/donation process like? 

Very thorough and in depth medical questions and procedures.  Some tests included are:  lab work, EKG, chest x-rays, stress test, ultra sound and kidney tests and psychological screening. 

4.       What was recovery from the surgery like? 

I was in great shape to begin with, so for me it wasn’t that difficult.  I was walking again, then running again in 2 weeks.  I went to work after a month.  I do tire out easily and require a nap every day, but that’s to be expected until my body recovers and begins to function well with just one kidney. 

5.       What would you tell a potential living kidney donor that was on the fence about donating?

My physical health has not changed since donation, but my mental health has improved, because it has given me a great sense of joy to be able to help someone you love and could be someone you don’t even know.   To save someone’s life is a miracle you just can’t explain or understand, until you’ve gone through this process. 

6.       Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself or your donation? 

I would do it again in a heartbeat if I had more kidneys to give.

 

Name:  Jill Dietz (kidney patient)

Age:  53

City:  Fishers, Indiana

 

1.       Why do you need a kidney transplant? 

I’ve been diabetic for 43 years.  My kidneys failed 14 years ago and I had a transplant then.  4 years ago, this kidney began to fail and my husband decided to donate to me then.  Over the years, I developed an antibody from my first transplant that precluded Andy from giving directly to me.  We then got involved in the Advanced Paired Donation program so that he could ‘bank’ a kidney for me.  I will then get one from this pool of other donors when I’m ready for transplant.

2.       How has the donation impacted you? 

Words cannot even begin to express how this has impacted me!  How do you thank someone for giving you the gift of life?  There are a lot of emotions that go along with this -gratitude, love, thankfulness, guilt, am I worthy of this?, along with incredible awe.  It truly is the gift of a lifetime! 

3.       What message do you have for living kidney donors? 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!  The wait on the cadaver list is between 3-5 years.  The wait in this pool is around 3 months.  My life will be saved, because of my husband’s loving gift, and loving gesture, in 3 months rather than 3 years and by doing this, we hope to save me from dialysis. 

4.       Is there anything else you would like to add about yourself or your kidney journey?

  People are having a rough time understanding how my husband could give his kidney to a stranger and how that helps me.  They mistakenly think that this bumps me up on the cadaver waiting list.  It does not.  They are completely separate lists.  By being in the Advanced Paired Donation Program, I will get my kidney from that pool, not the cadaver list.  With this program, you have to have someone step forward to donate on your behalf. It could be a direct donation or it could go to a stranger.  They don’t have to match you.  It could be a relative, a co-worker, a person you know from church, a Facebook friend, whatever.  If they are willing to give their spare kidney into this program, in the recipient’s name, then when the recipient needs a transplant, they will be activated in this pool, giving them the kidney they need. 

 

I would do it again in a heartbeat if I had more kidneys to give.
— Andy Dietz