A Joyful Giver: Donating A Kidney With Marcus Gullett

Marcus Gullett Family

Marcus Gullett and his wife Lindsey have been married for 7 years and are busy parents of 4 (Naomi [9], Anna [6], Ethan [5], and Piper [4]). 

Marcus and his family live in Carmel and attend Hazel Dell Christian Church, where he serves as an elder.

Vocationally he’s an auditor for the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). Outside of work, he’s usually reading a good book (currently reading Good Faith by Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman) or staying fit at Crossfit Carmel. 

Recently, Marcus offered his kidney to a friend when he heard of the need. Read his story and be encouraged to do good works when an opportunity presents itself in your life!

Marcus thanks for joining us on the mentee highlight, tell us how you’re feeling, we know that you recently had surgery to have your kidney removed.

Thanks for having me; it’s my pleasure!  I feel great.  I just passed the 6 week mark and have gotten the go-ahead to start increasing the weight at the gym.  I hadn’t noticed how much fitness I’ve lost… truly a humbling experience!!

Other than checking the organ donor question for your driver’s license its not often that you hear about opportunities to donate organs, where did you learn about an opportunity to give your kidney?

Organ donation has always been important to my wife.  Her brother received a kidney when he was younger, so she always had an appreciation for donation, but you’re right, until recently that practically just played out by us checking the right box when we renewed our driver’s license.  Late last year, though, my coworker’s husband found out that his kidneys were failing and that he only had about 10% function remaining.  It was only a matter of time before he would have to start dialysis.

Could you tell us about the process from there?

The process started back in September when I called IU Health.  They scheduled a simple blood test to see if my blood and Devin’s were compatible.  After that, they did more blood tests (tissue typing and cross matching) to determine how good of a match our blood was.  It turns out we were a really good match.  The doctor’s say this doesn’t normally happen unless the donor and recipient are related.  After that, I had x-rays, a CT scan, met with a nephrologist, a donor advocate, a social worker, and a psychologist. 

I think that’s it!  IU Health does a great job of explaining the pros and cons and making sure that you’re ready.  They make it clear that you can back out at any time for any reason even the day of the surgery.  Like I said, we started in September and the surgery was March 2 (about 7 months). 

The surgery is laproscopic and takes about 4 hours.  After that, I was in the hospital for 2 nights, then back home for recovery.  I was pretty tired for the first week, but started working out again (with a 15lb weight limit!) about 9 days after surgery. 

What kind of preparations did you and your wife make for this major event?

I had to decrease my protein intake for a few months so I could lose some weight and be at a lower BMI in anticipation of having the single kidney take on some extra work.  Other than that, we just made sure that Lindsey had enough help after the surgery. 

It’s funny, I always joke that she had the tougher end of the bargain.  We have 4 young kids that need to be cared for, fed, driven around, etc. and it’s truly a team effort.  So for me to be basically just laying around for a few weeks waiting to get stronger, I had the easy job!  Anyway, my sister came down from IL to help out and we had our family and friends come together and provide meals, pray for us, and make sure we were doing alright. 

What will life look like for you and family moving forward with one kidney?

Pretty much the same as it was pre-donation.  I was told not to lift anything over 15 pounds for the first 6 weeks.  Also, I need to be careful playing contact sports like football, soccer, wrestling (although I think my singlet days are in the past).  Of course, a normal healthy diet and exercise are important as well, but like I said, nothing different than before surgery.

How can we become more aware of opportunities to serve?

Unlike your heart and lungs, there’s not shortage of healthy kidneys:  most of us have an extra one!  The most surprising fact I found out through this process was that there are less than 100,000 people on the kidney transplant waiting list, but each year only about 15% receive a kidney.  Obviously, it’s not for everyone, but I would encourage #EDGENation and anyone else to look into whether it makes sense for you.  The National Kidney Foundation (www.kidney.org) has a wealth of information that really helped our family as we were making this decision. 

Throughout this whole process, I kept getting drawn to Ephesians 2:10: 

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  

I get this picture of God as an artist who prepares these good works for us to do.  So, the first step is just a mindset of looking out for what good works God is placing in front of you.  What is he calling you to do? 

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