The psychological impacts of being on a transplant waiting list

Post-Gazette | David Templeton

For 23 months, I was on the waiting list for a kidney-pancreas transplant.

It’s a waiting game requiring psychological gymnastics. You are down for the count, awaiting rescue from donor organs. I got on the list Dec. 2, 2009, with doctors advising me the call could come sometime between tomorrow and years from now.

Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes Nov. 1, 1966 at age 11, I took good care of myself. But without blood-glucose monitoring devices and with diabetes management little understood back then, I developed kidney disease by my mid-30s. Ten years later in 1995, my endocrinologist predicted kidney dialysis within four years.

So I became vegetarian then vegan to preserve kidney function until 2009, when I got on the list for a transplant. Doctors convinced me to get the bonus pack — a kidney-pancreas transplant to cure (or fully treat) my diabetes, as well. I never could pass up a two-for-one deal. Continue reading