Chris Joseph finally got a new kidney — and a slice of pizza.
On June 18, Joseph underwent a kidney transplant at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville with his longtime friend Mike Maxwell as a living donor.
Both Tunkhannock residents have reported a smooth recovery so far.
About 10 years ago while studying and running cross country at Penn State Scranton, Joseph discovered he would eventually need a kidney transplant. Prior to last month’s surgery, he was on dialysis for 18 months.
When he took to social media looking for a potential donor, Maxwell stepped up, but it wasn’t for the first time. Years ago, he told Joseph he would be willing to donate a kidney when the time comes.
Luckily for Joseph, Maxwell was a perfect match.
The surgery went much better than he expected, Joseph said. He ended up staying in the hospital for fewer days than anticipated.
“It was pretty awesome, my kidney actually ended up working ahead of schedule,” he said.
Early in recovery, he was on a lot of pain medication and didn’t feel much near the incision since some of his nerve endings were cut. It wasn’t until two to three weeks later when he really started to feel pain, but it has since subsided for the most part.
“Right now I can barely even tell that it’s there,” he said. “I even did sit ups yesterday.”
Joseph has enjoyed everything on his post-dialysis list, including drinking an unrestricted amount of fluids per day and eating foods like pizza and ice cream again.
He’s reporting for routine checkups and blood work for at least six months to make sure there aren’t any complications.
For Maxwell, recovery has been rough at times too, as he expected. Each week, he makes progress towards a full recovery.
He started a GoFundMe page to support his family during his time off work and appreciated the donations he received.
“The community was all over it and I thought it was great,” Maxwell said.
Maxwell has been vlogging about their transplant journey on his YouTube channel and expects to post a timeline video soon, which he hopes could raise awareness about the benefits of organ donation and how the recovery isn’t as bad as people might assume.
They both encouraged anyone thinking of being a living donor to get tested.
While Joseph and Maxwell were friends for years prior to the transplant, they agreed that this experience has created an even greater bond.