About This Blog

A writer by trade (and passion), I found it only appropriate to document my journey to becoming an altruistic kidney donor. If my writings inspire just one person to consider becoming a living donor, I will have accomplished so much more than I ever could have dreamed.

I’m a firm believer that when people come together for a common cause, there’s no limit to the good they can accomplish. As a fellow altruistic donor (and a true inspiration to all) once said, ‘God gave us two kidneys – one is meant for sharing.’ Amen. And, since I will soon be down to my last kidney, I figured the best way to continue the sharing was to get my story out there in hopes that it will maybe one day touch someone the way I was touched by the stories of those who came before me – maybe even inspiring them to donate, thus continuing the life-saving chain I hope to perpetuate.

Before making the decision to become a non-directed kidney donor, I read every piece of literature I could find. Once I knew all the facts, read all the research, and could practically recite the procedure by memory, I wanted to learn all I could from a donor’s perspective – the stuff the doctors, researchers, and scientists couldn’t possibly convey. The sites I found and the people I met along the way (and continue to meet) have made this journey one of the most exciting and rewarding ones of my life. So, to give to others what was given to me, I vow to tell it all – the down and dirty, the nitty gritty, and the not-so-pretty details. From here on out, I am an open book for all to read – no over-worked writing, nothing formal or unapproachable – just my thoughts, as they happen. Just me.

Most people think living donors (especially those who donate to strangers, like I will be doing) are crazy. Well, we are. But perhaps the world could use a little more crazy.


11 responses to “About This Blog

  • Marina

    Hi Melissa! I’m Marina, the writer of the Glamour story (and the health editor at Glamour). I think your blog is incredibly touching, and what you’re doing is amazing. Would you email me? I’d love to see if we can feature you in the magazine or our website in some way.


    • melissaarlio

      Hi Marina! Thank you SO so very much!!! You and Christina have literally changed my life – I would love to work with you to hopefully inspire others the way you two inspired me! You should already have an email from me in your inbox! 🙂

  • NicolĂ© Walton Sharpe

    Hi Melissa! I came across your blog from a link on Living Donors Online’s page on Facebook. I’m on my final stretch as a directed kidney donor, and I’ve also been blogging about the journey (kidneychronicles.wordpress.com). I’ll definitely be reading your posts to see how you’ve experienced your journey, and I’d love to be in touch with you at some point.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! Blessings to you.


    • melissaarlio

      Hi NicolĂ©!! I’ve actually come across your blog before – kudos to you!! And CONGRATS on the near-culmination of your journey! I cannot begin to express how wonderful you will feel when you wake up after that donation (ok, not physically, but emotionally and spiritually!). You’re so brave for what you’re doing and I hope you realize what an amazing gift this is!!! PLEASE contact me when you get a chance if you have any questions (even embarrassing ones!) – I’d love to chat about your experience! melissa.arlio@gmail.com Best of luck and please keep me posted!

  • Bill Bishop

    Melissa — You’re extraordinary — in the fullest sense of that word. I’m on dialysis — but retain a lot of kidney function — so I know about that side of things. But I’m also 65 and I have grand-nieces in their 20s with kidney disease.

    When I am asked if I would like to get placed on the transplant list, my answer is sure, right after there are no folks under 50 on the list. I’m healthy, do dialysis at night while I sleep and continue to live a great life. But I came close to dying — and so I know what the gift of life looks like. It looks just exactly like you. Bill

    • melissaarlio

      Bill – thank you so much for reaching out and for your amazing comments. Your post literally brought me to tears. I’m so sorry to hear about your situation and that of your grand-nieces. I wish I had spare kidneys to give to each and every one of you! I commend and admire your strength, optimism, and bravery in the face of what would cause many people to simply give up. You’re a very special person and I’m sure you brighten the lives of everyone you know! Thank you again for your support and if you or your grand-nieces need anything, please let me know!!!

  • Reflection « Spare Parts

    […] to look into being a potential donor, as well as stumble upon the blog of a fellow kidney donor https://considerthestars.wordpress.com/about/. I was reminded of my vow to educate people on the benefits of kidney donation, and I, […]

  • leony

    Hi, Melissa.

    Long story short: I am a kidney donor myself and ran marathons prior to donation. Now, after three years this is no longer possible because of this fatigue and reduced stamina. It is more donors who suffer from this for a long period of time (not months, years) and as you can imagine when you notice these symptoms at first you still hope they are going to dissapear, but once they don’t it gets really frustrating.

    Can you do me a favour and contact me via email, please? Would love to hear how you are feeling right now and talk to you.

    Thanks, Melissa.

  • thislittlelark

    Wow… Thank you for sharing your story- the several posts I’ve read have been intriguing, inspiring, and quite impressive… many blessings to you for following your heart and spreading the act of compassion to people around the world 🙂

  • Danielle Long


    I’ve been browsing through your blog and I am truly honored to have you as a step-sister and I am so incredibly proud of the selfless donation you have made to provide life to someone else, a complete strangers! You are an inspiration to all of us! Congratulations on a successful transfer!

    Lots of Love

  • Cathy

    While I have some experience with organ donation secondhand, (we donated my brothers corneas after his suicide) I, for one, can never, nor would I EVER want to be a donor while alive or dead. You see, I have suffered undiagnosed Lyme disease for 20+ years, which modern medicine and insurance companies deny the existence of and in doing so, have exposed me to at least 10 MRI’s with contrast; and although I had no kidney disease PRIOR to my posting here, it is probably a matter of time until I am diagnosed with KD too! You see, the MRI contrast material called “Gadolinium” is supposed to chelate out of the body; for some reason, it has stayed with me, along for the ride of my life and death!. I have developed Fibrosis of the Bowel,Bilateral Stenosis of Carotid Arteries, Contractures of boh hands and both feet, pancreatitis (although this is blamed on Sjogren’s syndrome, for which I test negative but I am diagnosed with nonetheless. I have typical lesions for NSF, Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis, the only known manmade disease on the planet!! And doctors WILL DENY there being a Systemic fibrosis that is NON NEPHROGENIC! I test positive in blood and urine for Gadolinium, it being HIGH in urine, all this FOUR YEARS POST MRI WITH CONTRAST! HOW DIS IN”GUESS” that inhad Gadolinium in my body?!

    So imagine that, a test (MRI with contrast)that is supposed to help you FIND out what’s is wrong with you, instead, makes you sicker, for LIFE! And the final diagnosis, that being a deep dermal tissue biopsy, is WITHHELD FROM YOU, IN LIEU OF USING THAT TISSUE TO DIAGNOSE CANCER INSTEAD! Lovely, when modern medicine makes you sick, you CATCH them at it and they try TO deny it to the end, because they didn’t want you to know that what you had was Lyme to begin with; branding YOU in need of a psych for being hypochondriac… Well that would be the first time a hypochondriac has POSITIVE BLOOD, POSITIVE URINE, POSITIVE DEFECOGRAM (FIBROSIS/STENOSIS) & POSITIVE CAROTID DOPPLER (BILATERAL STENOSIS) with upcoming endoscopy and colonoscopy , that will just seal my fate, most likely revealing fibrosis of my intestines and further damage within my bowel!
    Gadolinium based contrast agents DO NOT chelate from the body, no matter what your kidney status is and it’s only a matter of time before they are pulled from the market and labelled for the poisons medicine KNOWS they are! The poison manufacturers are aware of this or they wouldn’t be doing post marketing studies on them as they are currently doing!
    So no one, but no one is ever getting one poisonous ounce of my body dead or alive, I shall leave it to the manufacturers of poison that do me in, GE and Bayer Healthcare, they’ll know just what to do with it! And I KNOW WHAT I’D REALLY LIKE TO DO WITH THE BODIES OF ALL THOSE DRUG COMPANIES’EXECUTIVES THAT CONTINUE TO PEDDLE THESE POISONS, THEYBSHOULD ALL BE MADE TO HAVE ATVMEAST 3 MRI’s WITH CONTRAST TO DETERMINE IF ANY OF THEM EVER HAD A HEART, AND THEN SEE WHAT HAPPENS TO THEM A FEW YEARS DOWN THE ROAD!

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