Now that my focus isn't just on me and my own journey, I'm discovering that despite the many twists and turns, starts and stops, ups and downs, and anxiety-driven meltdowns (those were all mine), my brother and I were lucky.
There are so many, too many, people out there who are suffering on their quest for a kidney. People who can't find a matching donor. Or those who find one (or 4 as I read today), and for whatever reason, things don't work out.
A man who lives across the street's girlfriend is in renal failure. Not one of her 4 brothers and sisters will get tested.
The daughter of someone my brother knows was all set for a transplant last week. But it seems the donor backed out at the last minute.
Someone I follow on twitter has been searching for a match for her brother for over 3 years—she isn't one herself.
A friend on facebook was set to donate this month but it turns out her surgery would be more complicated than expected and now they're hoping another sister will turn out to be a match.
And so, I'm putting this out into the universe: while donating an organ is HUGE, it's also not that big a deal. I mean yes, on the one hand it is a really big, life-changing deal, but now that I'm on the other side, healing and getting back to my life, I know I'll be fine. And I changed someone's life in a profound way.
While I try, when writing, never to repeat words, it's not a coincidence that I couldn't find substitutes for the word "life" in the last paragraph. Donating is giving life. Changing life. Improving life. And not just for the recipient. I will never be the same for having gone through this experience.