Friday, January 7, 2011

life changing change

Yesterday morning, while having coffee with a friend, we spent a lot of time talking about potential change. Going back to a conventional job versus staying home with kids, what that juggle might be like, how we felt about where we are, where we could be, where we should be. And then, as we were walking home, we ran into another friend who looked stricken as we said hello. On the verge of tears. She'd found out the day before that her best friend had breast cancer.


The trajectory of that woman's life changed in one sentence. Nothing would ever be the same. Out of nowhere she, her husband, her kids, her parents, her support system were plunged into the unexpected, the unknown, a dark, scary place where there were no guarantees everything would be ok in the end.

To be honest, no one can ever know all will work out but we live (or at least I do) in this place where we can pretend to have control. 

We don't. Not really. 

Not at all.

Another friend of mine lost his apartment this week. The recession hit him hard and he can't afford to keep his home. After years he's starting completely over. He'd tried, for too long, to maintain that everything was fine while his foundation was being worn out from under him. 

I too, am standing on a precipice. It's not coming out of nowhere—I'm choosing this road instead of it choosing me. No, actually, it's not that black and white. I'm not choosing this out of nowhere. I'm choosing it because I have no choice. There's no way I couldn't give my brother a kidney. Put more plainly, of course my kidney is his. 

Of course. 

But this road is fraught with unknowns. My first physical is next week. It could be that I'm a relatively healthy 46 year old. It also could be that there's all sorts of stuff going on in my body I don't know about. Yet. But soon I will. And after all that gets sorted out, once I have the green light to move forward, once we're tested and matched and tested again, once we're in the hospital and prepped for surgery, I still won't know. I won't know until I wake up whether I'll have one kidney or two. My brother's body is so compromised they won't know until they open him up whether he'll have room for a new organ.

All this could lead to nothing. Or a life, two lives, could be drastically, dramatically changed. 


Life smacks you in the head sometimes and leaves you reeling. But, still, it's better than the alternative.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

reality settling in

I just woke up. At 10:40. For the second time today. The first go-round I walked the dog, got 2 kids out to school, threw in 4 loads of laundry. Answered email, waded through paperwork, hit the bagel store, then hit a wall.

I didn't sleep well last night.  Could be the stress of getting off a ship on Sunday, traveling home, and then plunging back into back to school and the rest of reality without a buffer. Could be the mellowness of steam rooms and massages and staring at the ocean wearing off.

Could be the voicemail I got from the transplant coordinator yesterday about next steps. I've had a week and a half or so to live with being a match—from a purely conceptual, not examining or looking too hard at the big picture, all is great. Exciting, enervating, gratifying. But I'm thinking her message popped the tiniest hole in my transplant bubble.

Next up is a comprehensive physical with my soon-to-be nephrologist. A quick aside: Last night, when updating everyone about the day, we had quite the enlightening discussion about necromancy and necrophilia, not that either are related to my kidney, but it was a good starting point for illuminating conversation.

By the end of today I should have my next appointment set up. Way up town. A full work up. More blood tests. A revisiting of every medical issue I've ever had. There haven't been many, thankfully. But I'm not a fan of going over things that went wrong.

There's a part of this that's revving my anxiety. My deep-seated, life-long, so strongly a part of me that it defines me fear that something terrible could be wrong with me. And then what?


I'm trying so hard to take this in stride, to hold on to the positive, to keep my cup brimming.

But I'm scared too. Not even for the transplant part. For what they might find before.

There's a comfort in being oblivious. Less to worry about (although in my case I worry anyway).


There's so much I could/should do to distract myself, to stay busy, to accomplish. It's a new year and usually I hit the ground running with goals.

Right now though I just want to curl back up under my blankets.

Monday, January 3, 2011

3 out of 6

I just found out today my brother and I are a 3 out of 6 match in terms of kidney compatibility. What does that mean exactly? Or even vaguely?

I have no idea. None at all.

Having said that, I was seriously disappointed at not having been a better match. I was hoping for at least 4 out 6.

Which apparently isn't possible. It's either 0,3, or 6.

Even so, I felt like I had failed somehow. Not done enough. Wasn't as good as I could have been.

It's not like this was a test I could study for. No cramming would have made any difference. My own expectations got in the way of what was realistic. Or even possible.

And that is something I have to let go of. This process is going to be long and mostly out of my control. Being a match at all is wonderful. Going forward it's got to be one step at a time and being able to accept what is, not what I want it to be.