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While my son was on the transplant recipient list due to liver damage caused by Alagille syndrome (ALGS), I decided to become a living donor. Throughout the process of becoming a living donor, there were several tests I had to undergo that created a lot of anxiety for me. I feared I wouldn’t be approved to be a match, or they would find something wrong with me medically and I would have to handle yet another medical crisis. 

Once I made it through the initial living donor approval process, there were several tests that needed to be run and reviewed by the doctors. They were very thorough in the process. Beyond the tests, there were numerous sets of labs and meetings with social workers and psychologists alike. I initially started by meeting with cardiology and having an EKG completed. 

After the tests were complete, I had the pleasure of meeting with the cardiologist to review the results the same day so there was no waiting for results or not knowing whether I was approved to continue the living donor process. 

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After the cardiology discussions, I had a meeting with a social worker and psychologist. They dove into my family and support system. They asked questions to ensure a good game plan was in place, like who would be doing the cooking and grocery shopping for the family since this was one of my main functions in the household. They discussed my other children and the support system we had in place and plans to take care of the children, the house, and help myself and my son recover. 

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In addition to the other meetings and tests, I had an MRI completed. The MRI was done with contrast dye so they could see my liver. They were able to see the liver’s shape, size, and vessels connecting it to ensure that if they were to take a portion of my liver, it would match what my son needed.

I needed an initial consultation with a gastrointestinal doctor. This was meant to go over my medical history and discuss the surgery. They gave me additional education on the body and liver and completed some measurements. After that part was completed, I had a separate meeting with the transplant surgeons themselves and was given real, raw information during that meeting. Along with the information provided, they reviewed all the testing with me, along with the results and any concerns or findings. 

Once everything was completed, I was given the approval to become a living donor for my son. I was given a surgery date the same day and went ahead with reading a lot of paperwork and signing surgical consents at that same appointment. Even though there was a lot of testing, and it took several days to complete, I admire and am thankful for everyone who was part of our journey and who supported us.