We are almost there! Both literally and figuratively. Dale and I are in Tyler, TX having and uneventful but enjoyable drive yesterday, and will be in Oklahoma City by mid-afternoon. Light breakfast this morning will be my last food until after surgery. Just clear liquids the rest of the day and nothing in the morning.
Kenzie posted a great article yesterday about the National Kidney Foundation's program called THE BIG ASK: THE BIG GIVE that encourages and guides kidney patients in need of transplant how to go about finding a donor. I think it's a GREAT program; very important and insightful, and can have a huge impact. I am not sure what my advocacy role will be going forward, but I want to do continue with something (and you can only give one kidney!). Education and awareness is the main thing. So many people don't know this opportunity is out there. My favorite quote from the article, "She realized that she gave something to the list of potential donors too - the opportunity to come to the aide of another human being in a big way. She knows now that is a special gift."
"See Clearly; Act Courageously" is embedded deep into my psyche now. It will always be a way of life for whatever remainder I have of of it. I told Dustin the day we met in April that the few people I had told about being a donor thusfar had seemed to want to give me credit for acting courageously. That felt odd to me because I felt like my action was just what followed from a good decision, and that was the part I gave myself credit for -- the seeing clearly that this thing needed doing and I could do it. And of course I never would have seen it if not for his willingness to tell his story and ask, and his team's hard work to get the word out and provide support and information. As he has said many times, this truly is a team effort. Roles could easily be reversed -- I could be the one receiving a kidney tomorrow. It's just the luck of the draw that mine are healthy. So this is all just a really cool way that right now in this day and time, one person can make a big difference for another. It's a really, really neat thing.
I've been listening to an audiobook by a transplant surgeon and my biggest takeaway is how hearty the human body is, and how many problems can arise and be dealt with in the transplant process. So although things can come up that will make these next days and weeks less than ideally smooth, that is par for the course. We will, as Dustin says, "navigate evenly over the uneven."
I'm so glad to have Dale with me. He says that there are other things he might choose to do with a week off than drive to Oklahoma to help me give away an organ ;) but yet he is here, supportive, and wonderful. We've known each other for 30 years and been married for 27, and I can't imagine having a better partner to go through life with. He always lets me be me, helps me be me better, and supports what I decide to do. I've had phenomenal support from all of my family and I feel that it will be something in our family legacy that did together; especially Dale and Tyler, my mom and my brother Seth, and so many others as well... "We" are giving a kidney. I am me because of all of you.
Looks like there's some stormy weather to get through on the rest of the drive. But 24 hours from now I will about to be put to sleep... Just need to get there so we can do this thing.
Anna Cannington has offered to be part of this program. As a kidney donor with a nephrologist brother (not to mention next level human) she will be able to provide unique insight into "other side" of the transplant process. It is particularly apt for her to join up as she is Dustin's Donor. To schedule a conversation with either of Anna or Dustin just connect with either of us!
Dustin was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy (Berger's Disease) in early 2007. He and his family know well the struggles that come with suffering kidney failure, dialysis and the transplant processes. Born from these fustrations and Dustin's love of strengths-based coaching (centered on what is best in people) comes the Kidney Koach program. This NO FEE program is for Renal patients, their families and nursing staff that want support, understanding and a little help on the path.