Interview with Mark Potter, P.O.S.'s kidney donor
Mark Potter rests after surgery
Courtesy of Mark Potter
Last Thursday, Stefon Alexander, otherwise known as P.O.S., received a much-needed kidney transplant from his childhood friend, Mark Potter. Potter said the process started last June, just over seven months after P.O.S. canceled his We Don't Even Live Here tour and announced his need for a new kidney. After months of extensive compatibility testing, it was decided that Potter was an appropriate match.
Both surgeries were successful. Potter, a digital media strategist and photographer, is currently recovering at home and expects to return to work next week. For now, he's moved his bed to the living room and is resting in the company of Game of Thrones. Though P.O.S.'s recovery is expected to take much longer, he appears to be in good shape. According to Lazerbeak, "the kidney is currently functioning the way it's supposed to, and he's feeling better mentally/physically than he was before the surgery."
On Wednesday afternoon, we chatted with Potter about his recovery, his relationship with P.O.S., and the benefits of live organ donation.
Gimme Noise: How did you make the decision to become a live donor?
Mark Potter: I always check that little box on my license to be an organ donor, but, not to be morbid, you kind of have to die a certain way or be in a hospital within a certain period of time to be viable after you pass away. Knowing the blood type, it was a very narrow percentage of people who could even be a donor.
It was really reinforced it for me during the process with all these tests you go through to try to come up with a good match -- if it's somebody that's deceased that you're getting an organ from, you can't go through the same testing. An hour or two is really their window to take an organ. The longer it's out of the body, the bigger the risk it is and the bigger the question it is for the recipient. So, you know, it was an opportunity to meet that need while I was alive and see what happens from it. And you know, it was going to a good friend. It's already been kind of a life changer for him, so it's pretty rewarding. Implications for me long term are relatively minor. Obviously, there's risk every time you do a major surgery, but like I said, long term risks are pretty minor.
Did anyone else offer to be a donor?
My understanding is there was more than just myself that went in for compatibility testing. I think I was the first one in that round and I think at least one or two other people went in at the same time they did initial testing, which was basically like blood testing and tissue typing. Once they did that, they decided that they wanted to go through with the rest of the testing with me. They don't want to run a huge amount of tests on three people at the same time, so they picked me as probably the most compatible of the three.
Were you and Stef in the hospital at the same time?
Yeah, they want to limit the time that the kidney is out of the body. We started this process [around] June 3rd of last year. They didn't make the final [decision] until they actually cut me open and were looking at my kidney. They took him into surgery basically 45 minutes to an hour after I went in. I was laparoscopic, so they were using scopes and cameras and all that kind of stuff and once they got a look at it and everything looked the same as it did on the scans and pictures, then they took him in. We were admitted at the same time. We were prepped at the same time and all that stuff.
Have you seen Stef since the surgery?
Oh, for sure. We hung out in the hospital the first night. The second day that I was there, as soon as he was able to see visitors and stuff, I walked down to visit him and see how he was doing. His first trip up to walk around was coming to see me, so we got to see each other quite a bit in the hospital. We took a walk together, kind of stopped in each other's rooms to see how each other were doing and I talk to him every day.
How long have you known him?
Junior high. 8th or 9th grade, I don't remember for sure. We were never like best friends or anything like that, but we were always friends. We're both super busy, so we don't hang out all the time, but we always kept in touch. I've known Jake since he was little and baby Lincoln since a month or two of Lincoln being born. That's another thing too, I wanted him to be around for his kids.
I suppose you've reached a new level of closeness now
Yeah, you know, it's one of those things. I don't know exactly how it's gonna change things. I didn't really think about that going into it and I don't really worry about that now. I'm sure things will be a bit different in the future.
Is there anything else you want to add?
I would urge everyone to consider organ donation. I think it's really something where need outstrips availability. I'd encourage everybody to, at minimum, check the little box [on your driver's license].
For me, it's really just never been that big of a thing. It was just something that was the right thing to do. Talking to people, they think that I'm kind of underplaying it a little bit, but I never questioned it. I was never scared about it. I never thought twice about it. It was the right thing to do.
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