Sunday, October 31, 2010

scar(y) - boo!

WARNING: Post contains graphic photos, but it's Halloween so suck it up!

I’ll be honest here, I have contemplated sharing this post for some time and it’s all because of my fear of posting these photos. But, this blog is for future donor-wanna-beez, and I’ve decided it’s very important to reveal the incision pics. After all, this is the most important part of the procedure really. This is where it all happened, and it's a mark I will wear proudly, forever.

When I was conducting research about living kidney donors, I can only recall locating one image of a donor’s scar from the surgery. Hey, I’m curious, just like anyone else would be, right? Now, I’m not a narcissist and I’m not terribly vain, but if there’s one part of my body I feel pleased to be genetically blessed with, it’s my waist and belly button. I have a relatively flat stomach, no muffin-top yet, but I’ll never be Jillian Michaels either. I’m healthy, I can complete 100 sit-ups with little effort and thanks to my genes, I just naturally have a small waist. God gave me child-bearing, disproportionately large hips instead. 

Yes, I’ll admit it, I did have concerns as to what my scar would look like 6 months after surgery. I also came to terms that I might not like the results of how it healed, or the shape, or the color. Considering the gift I was going to give, I told myself that this was all irrelevant in the long run. And it is.

So, here ya go... BOO!


This photo taken September 20, 2010 - 2 days before surgery.

12 days post-surgery...

This photo taken October 4, 2010 - 12 days after surgery.
Steri-strips still intact, belly still swollen.

5+ weeks after surgery...

This photo taken October 31, 2010 - 39 days after surgery. Scar getting lighter daily.

So, there ya go... kinda creepy, eh? Kidding. It's not creepy, it's science and as far as I'm concerned it's a medical miracle. I can't believe that they pulled an organ the size of a computer mouse out of that tiny little space. I gotta say, doc did a fantastic job and it's still not healed completely. I know and have learned, it will fade more and not be as tough as it is now. I'm tending to it daily with Vitamin E oil and have been very fortunate that I had no infections during the healing process.

I have had many donor-wanna-beez ask me about the incision.. How big is it? ... Does it hurt? ... How many do you have? Well, every donor is going to heal differently, primarily because we all have different surgeons and they all perform using different techniques. Because my surgery was performed laparoscopically, I was fortunate to have only one incision, some donors will need to have additional incisions based on their situation. Yes, it still hurts, but I'm not in pain. It's more like a hard pinch, and still sensitive around that area. It's getting better every day and I even started doing abs again at the gym. It's hard work, it's uncomfortable to say the least and feels weird (and I know I look weird doing them), but I'm getting there.

My purpose in this post is to convey yet again the simplicity of this experience. Look and see for yourself, I truly don't think that this scar is really that bad. I would do it again tomorrow if I knew I had to live with another one next to it. Hey, it's far less offensive and much more attractive than some of the tattoos I've seen, and this scar saved a life!

Until next time... To all the donor-wanna-beez, keep the emails coming - I have lots to share with you all so don't be shy:


  1. I am impressed with the smallness of the incision. After seeing the "Bodies" exhibit this past week - I would have thought it to be a bigger incision and several of them. I would like to know if surgery will give me a flat stomach? Thank you for sharing this wonderful post!

  2. I have a larger scar in my lft lower quad and a few Trocar site scars that are small,they are advancing. I see you with only one scar. Pretty good!

  3. Got your site from LDO. That is a small incision, what a great "Badge of Honor". The scar from my donation is about 7 inches long. (I had an open procedure) and I love to show it off if someone wants to see it. I also just got a tattoo to honor my donation. I actually thought that the tattoo hurt more than the aftermath of the surgery. Either that or I blocked the pain from the surgery. :)
    Best of luck to you!

  4. Angela, Just came across your blog. Amazing and inspring. Thanks for sharing. Peace EricG

  5. I'm considering donating to my younger brother but am very concerned about my health after with only one kidney. Have you had any tests yet to measure your kidney function? That's what I keep getting hung up on, the what if's. What if my remaining kidney doesn't come up to a high enough function. What if I have low GFR, what if i end up with high blood pressure? Oh, it drives me nuts thinking about the what if's. I'm much less concerned about surgery than the long term effects even though I've read the studies. There are always the statistics though and I don't want to be on the wrong end of those stats. *sigh* I visit this site a lot though because I find it inspirational. I'm in excellent health, I want to find the courage to donate to my brother. I'm not there yet though.

  6. To Anonymous,

    Thank you for your kind words. Please contact me at my email address and I would be more than happy to share some information and thoughts on this.

    Please don't feel bad about being nervous, or not having the courage. Everything you are feeling is perfectly normal. You're very smart to have concerns, it shows you care about your body. Feel free to email me.

    Hope to hear from you...

  7. Angela,

    Wow it's healing nicely! Hey I am with you...I show it as a badge of pride! Course I really should control myself at parties and gatherings saying "Hey you wanna see my incision?" You are already being a mentor to others!!! Sending you hugs!

  8. I donated a kidney to my father on November 26, 2010. Never once was there a second thought; it was more like "let's get this over with, so he can start living again". To anonymous, the what ifs can drive you nuts, but try to concentrate on the here and nows. Here and now, your brother needs a kidney. Here and now you have the potential to better his life. In all of our meetings, we had to meet a social worker. She asked me what if my kidney begin to fail? What would I do? My reply was that I like to think I have enough loved ones in my life that one of them would donate to me, just as I had done for my father. Maybe that thought will make the decision process easier for you. Best of luck to you!

  9. that's a tiny cute scar! you think a liver donation would leave the same scar? because this is the only part that has been holding me back : (
    Thank you for sharing this.