1st Transplantversary Eve

How does time seem to fly by so quickly? I had such big plans for 2011 and I’m feeling a bit pressed for time now… It was last October 21st (2010) that my old left kidney moved to Denver. For those of you wondering – Lisa is still alive, she just doesn’t seem to find time to blog. The ol’ left kidney, affectionately known as Brutus, is doing well in its new body even though the Buckeye football team isn’t having a stellar season. The twins, Daniel and Sophie, are entering their terrible two’s so I probably won’t go visit until they are about 5. I last saw them over Labor Day and I needed naps more often than they did. They are total fruit and veggie aficionados and tend to pick directly from the vine – regardless of ripeness. I got to be with them on their first Ikea outing – who could ask for more?
Now then, I’ve decided to reflect a bit on this year – both successes and challenges and these are in totally random order:
1. Frustration – this may not be appropriate – but I really get frustrated when I hear how many people are in kidney failure, on dialysis and unwilling to consider a living donation. Unwilling may be unfair – maybe they haven’t been told it’s an option. But if you are reading this and know someone in this position – make sure they know they have options. Do they know that living organs tend to last longer than cadavers? Don’t they think it’s kind of perverse to be sitting around waiting for someone to die to get their organ? Maybe it’s more perverse to give away your perfectly good organs when you’re alive – but if you can stay alive without it – didn’t we always learn sharing is a good thing? I know, both giving and receiving is a personal choice, but there are positive aspects to both donating and receiving and I wish more people were knowledgeable about the living donation process and were more open to receiving…. And this is an open invitation – if you know someone who won’t consider a living donor – I’d be more than happy to talk to them. I’ll even show my scars! Choose life…
2. Sadness – this year marked the passing of my cat buddy Sebastian. And to add insult to injury, the shrub I planted over his grave didn’t make it through our horrific, hot, dry summer. It’s since been replaced and the lovely ornamental grass is thriving, thank goodness. I hate to cry over dead shrubs. I think Kirby still misses ‘Bas too. He looks for him in my closet. Not to mention the kitten from hell – OJW – Outlaw Josey Wales is just a menace.
3. Survival – not only me – but Gabby. I still cringe when we walk through the area she was attacked this past spring. Her personality has changed forever – she’s no longer all happy go lucky and glad to see any dog or person. She doesn’t like dogs anymore. Just people. She does well at doggy day care – but otherwise – has turned fearful and borderline aggressive.
4. Thriving – after not liking my 6 month post-donation lab results – they have rebounded nicely at a year. My creatinine level is all happy – not normal – but not bad for a solo kidney; my blood pressure is in the good range, and all is looking good. Go kidney go! I still hate getting blood drawn and my veins don’t cooperate any better than before.
5. Courage – although I’ve been speaking publicly in professional settings for years, I haven’t had as many opportunities in the last three years. Last month, I participated in a briefing on Capitol Hill talking about one of my main projects at WellPoint. I know this stuff inside and out, in my sleep, etc….I shared the stage with a U.S. Congressman. And I was nervous…. But then I thought to myself –dangit (well – use the language you THINK I used), you gave a kidney away last year you big sissy – this is an 8 minute talk…. My time sailed by and I think it went well. But it really made me stop and think – how many things do I not do due to fear? And why do I keep letting fear get in my way? I’m not invincible – but I am stronger than I tend to believe. And I would bet you are too!
6. Perseverance – I really wanted to lose 20 pounds this year. And I lost 9, and gained some of that back – but I continue to try. But I also am giving myself some slack. I know I feel better when I weigh less, but I need to celebrate – I’m perfectly healthy right now. I want to keep trying to lose to ensure good health into the future, so will continue that battle. I also continue periodically going on dates. I’m just really bored with the dating scene…. So have focused more on building my circle of friends.
7. Awe. I had the absolute privilege of crewing for a friend, who is a hot air balloon pilot, at the 40th Anniversary of the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. The first mass ascension had something like 345 balloons in the air at once. It was a world record and absolutely magnificent. I had way too many nights/mornings of not enough sleep – but I wouldn’t trade that experience for the world. I continue to help crew on some weekends and in 2012 will look forward to some traveling balloon rallies where my friend flies in Utah, Colorado and Arizona.
And with that – who knows what the rest of 2011 and 2012 will bring. I’m open to new opportunities. Will probably keep the rest of my body parts for now, but ya never know… I heard one can regenerate a liver! Wahoo! (for those of you who like to take me seriously and I just can’t figure out why – no, I’m not currently considering donating my liver or a piece of it…my friend ibuprofen has been taken from me, I need my Tylenol! ) I hope my pet population stays as it is for now and that Brutus will continue to thrive. There are over 99 special shapes balloons – maybe I’ll have a kidney balloon created and learn to fly!

I hope this blog finds everyone doing well and believing in and supporting organ donation (and if you want to wait until you are done with your parts – I’m good with that – I promise. :-p).