A mother & daughter’s journey through kidney disease and donation

Kristi Nelson, Mom Set for Kidney Transplant

Surgeries to be performed Thursday morning

By Scott Gordon
|  Thursday, Aug 18, 2011  |  Updated 6:14 AM CDT
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Kristi Nelson and her mother are both ready for Thursday's surgery.

Scott Gordon, NBCDFW.com

Kristi Nelson and her mother are both ready for Thursday's surgery.

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Kristi's Circle of Support

While deciding to become a living donor, NBC 5 anchor Kristi Nelson found love, pride and honesty in her family and friends.

In Her Own Words: Kristi's Emotional Journey

NBC 5's Kristi Nelson talks about the complex mix of emotions she is experiencing as prepares to donate one of her kidneys to her mother.
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NBC 5 anchor Kristi Nelson and her mother talked with their surgeons Wednesday on the eve of their daughter-to-mother kidney transplant operation at Baylor Medical Center.

"Nobody is terrified -- there's none of that," Kristi Nelson said. "At this point, we just want to get it over with and move on."

Her mother, Helen Nelson, sounded just as eager.

"I'm just ready to go," she said.

Kristi Nelson met Dr. David Arnold, the surgeon who will remove her kidney.

"Hi, Dr. Arnold, very nice to meet you," she said as he walked in the room.

Arnold explained the procedure in detail and asked her if she knew which kidney she was donating.

"No, I forgot," she said.

The doctor told her the left kidney usually is better to transplant.

"It's a little easier to sew the left one into the recipient, so we like that one, if possible," the doctor told her. "And it looks like that's the way it's going to be."

Once Arnold is done removing her kidney, another doctor will take it and transplant it into her mother.

Dr. Goran Klintmalm, a pioneer in transplant surgery, will take the kidney and put it in her mother, whose operation is planned for an hour after her daughter's.

"I actually stand at the donor table receiving it in my hands," Klintmalm said. "I take it to a back table to a basin, where I clean it up, flush it out, make sure everything is just right. Then I carry it in to the recipient's room. And there I do the surgery."

Both mother and daughter said they had no second thoughts.

"I gave her life, and now she's giving me life," Helen Nelson said. "So you know, it's a blessing. It's a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful blessing."

For more on Kristi's Gift, kidney donation, and other resources, click here to access our special section. You can follow the latest on Kristi's journey through Twitter (with hashtag #KristisGift) and on Kristi's Fan Page on Facebook.

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