For the past couple of days I've been working on a post called "The Donor Who Cried Transplant," which the title sums up perfectly. Usually when I write here, it flows quickly and I'm done. But not with that one.
It feels like, in the midst of this kidney chaos, perhaps the bright side deserves a shout out. Because, I've discovered extraordinary silver linings along the way.
Last Thursday, after the surgery postponement, my coordinator's leave of absence voicemail message, the donor social worker's leaving for 2 weeks vacation email , and the 8am trip to the lab for blood work that was now pointless I was a wreck. Instead of tackling my huge pre-donation to-do list, Friday stretched out endlessly in front of me.
I texted my brother and asked if he wanted to go on a cupcake run. To a vegan bakery in Rutherford, NJ that he loves. Usually he's so busy he hardly comes up for air. But within minutes we had a plan to hit the road.
He picked me up on 6th Avenue and we headed out of the city. First time, ever, we did something like this. First we headed to a diner with an extensive vegan menu. He had waffles with blueberries. I had regular French toast with pecans, strawberries, bananas and whipped cream. We shared a pot of pure maple syrup. I never eat like that, but somehow it felt like I was celebrating. Then we hit the bakery, discovering they sell frosting shots - mini cups of the day's frosting selections, with sprinkles no less, for a buck. We both splurged on chocolate. After picking out too many cupcakes to take home, we stopped by a computer store, then checked out discount clothes before heading back to city.
It was a really nice day.
In the 5 or so months since this kidney journey began, my brother's become much more a part of my life. Instead of being in touch every few weeks, we're in contact every day.
Recently Iz mentioned that in spite of the reason behind it, how lovely it is to see so much more of her uncle.
It is. For all of us.
And it's more than that. When staring down a transplant, I'm letting go of fears that have bound me for as long as I can remember. After years of a personal subway ban, I take the train up to the lab for testing. Or, I drive. Last week I even drove out to my brother's weekend house with the kids, something I'd normally never consider.
I headed out, alone on my bike and explored the boardwalk there for hours.
I'm head-standing in the middle of yoga class with hardly a panicked thought. I've even left the back row, after 6 years of needing to hide there, to move way up front.
We adopted a second puppy, who's brought endless joy to all of us. And, because of these fuzzy creatures, I'm often outside, usually first thing in the morning, literally having just rolled out of bed. No makeup, hair a wreck, torn jeans, sneaks and a hoodie. And I could care less.
Biggest, I suppose, is that I'm doing nothing. Well, not exactly nothing. My life is full and my days are busy, but I'm not in the midst of a project. For years and years that would've thrown me into a panic. But now?
Wait, there's an even bigger one. Not new but just more present than ever.
I am grateful. So grateful. Grateful to be a match. Grateful to spend more time with my brother. Grateful that perhaps I can help make his life better.
Grateful for this amazing man I'm married to, who supports me no matter what. Grateful for my kids, who continually blow me away. Grateful for my sister, who is brave beyond brave, and my mother and stepfather who help me stay grounded.
Grateful for the amazing friendships I've developed, after years of having none. For the outpouring of love and support that sweeps me away every step of this journey. Grateful for the 2 puppies lying on my lap at the moment who are joy wrapped in fur and cuteness.
I'm grateful for my body, for being strong and healthy and able to give up an organ.
I'm grateful for me. In spite the occasional anxiety and the random panic I have never once questioned this decision or believed, even for a second, that this isn't exactly where I'm supposed to be.
And I'm grateful for you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all who support me and Dave as we live this kidney adventure.