Any fellow living kidney donors lifting weights out there?

On April 10, I donated a kidney to my cousin. Because of a cosmetic complication I had to have an extra surgery, which extended my recovery period, ending May 29. This means that I cannot lift more than 10 lbs until later this month.

While my doctors assured me that lifting heavy weights after the donation wouldn't be an issue, finding resources online about this particular situation hasn't been easy. All I can find are the typical short answers: "No physical activity for at least 6 weeks after the surgery," "Do not lift more than 10 lbs for 6 weeks."

Prior to the surgery I completed stage 2 of The New Rules of Weight Lifting for Women. I know that I'm going to have to ease my way back into weight lifting. I know that I can't jump back in at stage 3 and expect to be able to lift heavy weights right out the gate. I want to be sure to avoid hurting myself or putting too much stress on my body since I've only got one kidney now. Are there any donors out there lifting heavy weights? Any advice on how to get back into it? Any dos or don'ts?
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Replies

  • pfgaytriot
    pfgaytriot Posts: 238 Member
    Well, no one replied, but I was able to find some sort of timetable for heavy lifting. I'll post it in case someone is ever in my position in the future:

    Recommended timetable for lifting heavy weights and abdominal exercises: Surgery date to 6 weeks - lift no more than 10 lbs; 6 - 12 weeks - lift no more than 30 lbs; 12 weeks and beyond - gradually introduce heavier weights, but no heavy weight lifting or rigorous abdominal exercises until 6 months post-op. This was recommended to other kidney donors, but wasn't a requirement. This timetable was given to try to avoid hernias while recovering.
  • DVaughan1975
    DVaughan1975 Posts: 158 Member
    Hi! I just read your post any although I have no advice regarding this topic I just wanted to tell you that you did a truly amazing thing for your cousin. Take care of your body and give it the rest it deserves. Everything else will fall back into place : ) :flowerforyou:
  • pfgaytriot
    pfgaytriot Posts: 238 Member
    Aw! Thank you! :blushing:

    While it's killing me to be out of the gym, I'm willing to ease myself back into my normal routine. I wouldn't want to cause myself anymore discomfort than necessary.
  • MzTanya77
    MzTanya77 Posts: 79 Member
    You prob didn't get much response because your topic is so narrow. I just had surgery myself, a bowel resection on April 8, and I was told the same thing, no lifting more than 10lbs for 6 weeks. So I think that advice is just general advice given to anyone who has had a major surgery. I'm also a lifter, and I would ease back into it, by starting at very light weight and increasing week by week, even if you feel healthy and strong, there is alot of internal healing still taking place, so you have to be careful.
  • luceroce
    luceroce Posts: 20 Member
    Hi Ashlee, thank you somuch for your post. In about a month I will also be donating one of my kidneys to my brother. And this has been a topic that I have been researching a lot, unfortunately as you have found there aren't many resources out there and now I'm just wondering and will continue to research diet; since I have upped my protein intake during my heavy lift days, but after the surgery I will consume the recommended about by the doctors... So I guess we will just see. I know that you posted this a few months ago and I wanted to know how you are doing?
  • Everend
    Everend Posts: 90
    Bless you for your donation. My wife needs a kidney, and I pray to find someone like you for her...
  • jayrudq
    jayrudq Posts: 503 Member
    I am a living donor. But, my donation was 30 years ago and the surgery was a lot different then. I have a 14" scar that wraps around my side. That being said, I have gone on to lead a perfectly normal life (well, not really, but in terms of the surgery!) with no complications, limitations, conditions, etc.
    Your biggest problem right now is time. Do listen to your docs and listen to your body. And I would ease very slowly back into lifting.

    Good luck!
  • luceroce
    luceroce Posts: 20 Member
    Everend your wife will get a kidney soon, life works out that way :) Thank you Jayrudq is always great to talk to people who have donated a while back, especially who have not had many complications. At the moment I am just trying to get in the best shape and continue to eat clean before my surgery.
  • jbnl1991
    jbnl1991 Posts: 149
    I am a living donor. I gave my sister a kidney in 2005. I had complications after surgery and had to be fed intravenously for six weeks. My only exercise options were walking and the recumbent bike. It was extremely boring! After I was back to eating solid foods, it took be about six weeks before I was back to lifting and kickboxing.

    The best advice I can give you is to go slow and listen to your body. Don't push yourself too hard. Your body is adapting to only one kidney. Give yourself time!
  • luceroce
    luceroce Posts: 20 Member
    Thank you jbnl1991! How are you doing so far now that it has been a few years?
  • pfgaytriot
    pfgaytriot Posts: 238 Member
    This is what I've done since I began working out again:

    When I started working out again, I waited until 6 weeks after my second surgery and started from square 1 with the New Rules of Lifting for Women. I modified as needed (mostly push-ups, planks, prone-jacks, etc.) I am now back to 100% and I am working out as I did prior to the donation; I'm actually doing a little more... I will have completed stage 2 of the NROL4W in two weeks and I've also added C25K and Muddlering training over the past two weeks to prepare for a Tough Mudder next year. I also mountain bike on my days off. I guess I'm an over achiever, but I just feel like taking full advantage of life.

    I've also upped my protein by including Muscle Milk into my diet daily. In general, doctors advise against high protein intake because it can lead to kidney failure. They did not give me any protein restrictions when I was release from the hospital. If you choose to do extra protein, know that you may be risking the health of your remaining kidney.

    I hope your wife finds a donor soon, Everend! Hopefully you'll find one soon.

    Also, these two links have a lot of information from some pretty great people:

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/LivingDonorsOnline/
    http://livingdonorsonline.org/ldosmf/index.php

    Those sites can also offer some help on finding a donor if you or someone you know are in need of a kidney.
  • Hi Ashlee,
    Thank you for posting your experience online! I have just donated a kidney for my dad, and prior to the donation I was very active. REALLY struggling to find any information about what I can and can't do, and frankly the info that I have received from the doctors is a bit inconsistent.
    You have given me a bit of hope that I won't be a fatty in six months time :)
    Carm
  • rybo
    rybo Posts: 5,430 Member
    Just want to say thanks to those of you who donated. My mom is 6+ years post kidney transplant so I am grateful to anyone who makes that sacrifice.
  • I am 38 years-old. Donate my kidney when i was 22 years old. I have had no know complications. I did the BODY-FOR-LIFE program several years ago. I went from a size 14 to a fit size 8. I recently had my first child. She is only 6 months old. I had a normal pregnancy and delivery and my baby girl is a beautiful healthy happy girl. I want to get pregnant again. I will be 39 this year. I am concerned about consuming a high protein diet now. I don't have any problems with my remaining kidney, but I'm uncertain as to how all these factors: [age, pregnancy, high protein diet (to lose current baby weight), heavy lifting] will affect my health and that of the baby. I'm just wondering how much protein can i safely take to get lean and strong without jeopardizing my lone kidney??? Has anyone talked to their doctor about this??
  • pfgaytriot
    pfgaytriot Posts: 238 Member
    I am 38 years-old. Donate my kidney when i was 22 years old. I have had no know complications. I did the BODY-FOR-LIFE program several years ago. I went from a size 14 to a fit size 8. I recently had my first child. She is only 6 months old. I had a normal pregnancy and delivery and my baby girl is a beautiful healthy happy girl. I want to get pregnant again. I will be 39 this year. I am concerned about consuming a high protein diet now. I don't have any problems with my remaining kidney, but I'm uncertain as to how all these factors: [age, pregnancy, high protein diet (to lose current baby weight), heavy lifting] will affect my health and that of the baby. I'm just wondering how much protein can i safely take to get lean and strong without jeopardizing my lone kidney??? Has anyone talked to their doctor about this??

    Hmmmm... This is kind of a tricky question. I'm eating well over what is recommended for a kidney donor, but it is not having any kind of impact on my health in a negative way. However, every donor's case is different and may respond to high amounts of protein in different ways. Since you're otherwise healthy, I would say that it shouldn't hurt you, but you should really consult a doctor before upping your protein.
  • kimazoo
    kimazoo Posts: 37 Member
    I donated my kidney 6 months ago and I do remember them saying to shy away from a high-protein diet. I eat mostly a vegan diet and consume anywhere between 55-80 grams of protein a day. I personally feel like that's enough protein for my body to strengthen my muscles during my workout. I do cardio 4-5 days a week and strength train 2-3 of those days. I would consult your doctor and see what they consider high.
  • Ashlee I am so glad you posted this! I am really struggling with getting back into exercise post donation and body image. Also, I am wondering, what did you have follow up surgery for? I am doing well but one side of my main middle incision is so swollen and ugly. I think it is probably scar tissue and not a big deal, but now that I'm back at work and wearing regular clothes I really hate that one side of my incision is always sticking out through my clothes. I also still have pain around it and can't really use my abs or do an y upper body workouts that engage my abs even minimally. It has been 6 weeks and 2 days since I donated my kidney.

    Do you mind sharing how your exercise regimen slowly increased after the 6-week mark? I have been climbing stairs, jogging, doing bikram yoga, and doing squats and lunges (a little ab pain) since week four. But, I started have some pain from over doing it and had to back off for a week. Now my lower body is in the clear but it is really difficult and scary to figure out what I can do with my upper body and abs. I am so afraid to get a hernia, and I can't tell when I'm feeling a good pain or a "stop and don't that" pain. I don't think I can even do a sit-up yet. Anything you can share is appreciated - the only info I got from my Drs. was "no lifting over 10 lbs until after 6 weeks." The whole experience of donating has been awesome but right now my confidence is a bit down since not being able to work out as I'd like to.
  • relientk24
    relientk24 Posts: 1 Member
    Hi all, I know it’s been a while since you guys have posted this. But I’m looking at donating a kidney in a couple of months, and was wondering if anyone had any additional advice now that it’s been a few years. Does anyone have an average amount of protein the eat every day while lifting, post surgery?
  • Dory_42
    Dory_42 Posts: 3,511 Member
    I'm in the process of ensuring I'm a match and healthy enough to donate my kidney to a friend so definitely in for any advice.
    I train a couple of martial arts and am keen to get back on the mat as soon as possible after the surgery, taking into account that my health needs to come first.
    I'm encouraged by a friend who recently climbed Kilimanjaro 88 days after her surgery!
  • lorrpb
    lorrpb Posts: 11,465 Member
    What s wonderful thing you did for your cousin. Your body can function perfectly fine with one kidney. You have to wait for the surgical wounds to heal, both internal and external. That’s the reason for the waiting period. After that, ease back into your lifting and work back up to where you were. This is the same as restarting after any prolonged break. Having one kidney should not affect your ability to lift.