Giuliana's Living Donor Kidney Transplant Story: Choosing Love Over Fear

Giuliana Mingiardi

I no longer have a kidney, but all the love I've given has come back to me. By donating to my husband, I understood what it means to open up to life, accept what it presents to you, and act with trust.

We got married in 2017 when I was twenty years old. After two years, our son was born, but when he was nine months old, my husband's condition worsened, and a new transplant became necessary. In fact, he had already undergone a transplant in 2004 with a kidney donated by his mother. It was 2019, and I wanted a second child, but life presented something else, and I stopped thinking about pregnancy and started thinking about donating to my husband.

All the tests showed strong compatibility, which was a gift from the Lord because while it's easy to expect compatibility among blood relatives, it's not guaranteed among spouses. During those tests, I read the information that the risk of complications was very low but still existed. I reflected a lot because I had a child at home; you can't choose between your spouse and your child. In church, they always told us to open up to life, to accept what the Lord puts in front of you. So, I decided to truly put this teaching into practice, to think about today, as tomorrow doesn't belong to me.

From Hospital Rooms to Home

We were admitted to the hospital in December 2020. We were in separate rooms that faced the same corridor; we looked at each other from afar and talked on the phone. When the head nurse saw us like that, he allowed us to sleep together for that night, "but with the door open." In the morning, I gave him a kiss, and off we went. I tend to be always calm and happy with what I have, so I was in a good mood in the operating room. The doctors asked me about my favorite singers, but maybe they were just checking if the anesthesia was working. They took care of us in every aspect, like when the nurses came into my room after the surgery to show me a video of my husband saying he loved me and was fine. Then they recorded my response, "I love you too," I said. I was hospitalized for three days, and he was in the hospital for a week. On December 20, we were back home, celebrating Christmas with our son.

Healing Hearts, Pursuing Dreams

When I donated the kidney, I was enrolled at university, studying Psychiatric Rehabilitation Techniques. With the help of my mother and grandmother, I continued to study. The day before my hospitalization, I took an exam and got a top grade. During my recovery days, I prepared for a surgery exam; I brought my notes to the hospital, and I passed with a good grade. After the operation, it became easier to take exams; my mind was clearer and had more space for to learn. When I was close to graduating, six months after the transplant, I became pregnant. The doctor told us to wait a little since my husband was on anti-rejection medication. We were concerned, but I remembered what I had learned from donating, and I acted the same way, opening up to life.

In November 2021, less than a year after the operation, I graduated, and in March 2022, my daughter was born. She was healthy from the start. In December 2022, I found a job at a facility for patients with severe psychiatric disorders. We help them reclaim a normal life. The greatest joy in my profession is seeing that many of them now have families and jobs. I believe that the love you give comes back to you. If we could all give a little piece of love to others, it would be a revolution.

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