Saturday, July 16, 2011

meant to be

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.

Really 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.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Yesterday in class, about a third of the way through, my teacher leaned over and whispered in my ear: you're a miracle. 

I knew that she didn't mean that literally. But in her class I was finally moving like myself. Twisting, bending, balancing. Extending, sweeping, fully present in the flow. I did every plank/up dog/down dog. Bird of paradise with my leg extended. Bound extended angle. Half moon, not touching the floor. Eagle into warrior 3 into leg extended straight out holding my big toe into dancer's pose. Headstands away from the wall. Side planks holding my toe, leg stretched up to the ceiling. 

I was drenched in sweat. Crazy dizzy at moments. I got home and was toast for the rest of the night.

But, this is 5 weeks post surgery. When I take a step back it is amazing, how a body can heal so well from such a shocking and invasive experience.  I've been tentative all this time, worried I couldn't handle or I'd hurt myself or take on to much. Recovery is walking a very fine line between getting back to where you were and respecting where you are. 

Today I drove for the first time, at least more than moving the car to the other side of the street. We took the dogs for a long walk by the river. And I'm exhausted. But that's ok.   

After alternate side I have a meeting about a possible film project. And then, I'm crashing. For as long as I need to. I am so grateful to have the time and space to find my way back to where I was. Or to somewhere new. I'll see how it goes. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

overdoing it

For the past 2 days I've been thrown back into regular life. 2 kids in 2 different camps in neighborhoods in opposite directions. Work. Laundry. Countless trips to the supermarket. Walking the dogs. Dinners. Showers. Shopping excursions for baseball gear and blenders.  It's been oppressively hot. And by the time I was walking to my second yoga class in 2 days, dizziness hitting me as I walked up 6th Avenue, I realized I hadn't been eating. 

I grabbed a banana on the way to class, pushed myself through challenging poses I hadn't done in 5 weeks and then spent an exhausting night battling insomnia, barking dogs at 1am and Iz's  dehydration cramps at 3. 

This morning I took both pups out, dropped Jack off and then walked a mile home, slowly, stopping along the way as waves of unsteadiness washes over me. 

I came home, crawled into bed, and stop pretending I was fine. I crashed for an hour and a half, finally letting myself be where I was, not where I thought I should be. 

I'm still healing. I'm still not fine. I'm so much better, so so much better, but I can't push myself the way I did before. 

To be honest, maybe I never should be pushing myself that hard. 

Maybe it's time to give myself a break and let the healing run its course. 

And so today I'm lying on the couch. Sitting still. My feet up and my mind quieter than it's been. 

Yoga later? It's only a maybe. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Even though I'd written in my last post that I was just about done here, I'm taking it back.

This story doesn't ever really end, it shifts and changes as I continue to heal, as life gets back to a semblance of what it was, as my body and my mind ease back into their respective grooves.

5 weeks and one day out I'm amazed at how fine I feel. How back into myself I am. How the previous six months seems to have quickly faded away. Aside from intense fatigue periods every day and the sensation that my insides aren't back to normal yet whenever I pick up something to heavy or try and twist, especially to the left, it's almost as if the surgery didn't happen.

In every yoga class I take, something gets added back to my can-do list. I've done headstands in the middle of the room. Yesterday I did side plank holding onto my big toe, my leg extended up to the ceiling. That's not easy any day. And I was shakier than usual. But, it's coming back.

I've got 4 creative projects to work on this summer. One is my first film collaboration. Just talking about any of them is a huge leap for me. During the kidney journey, my creativity wasn't just back-burnered, it went missing and I was terrified I'd never have those flashes again. The drive isn't back yet, but I'm not beating myself up over it.

What I am feeling badly about is my body. It's hard to hold onto the fact that it's in remarkable shape, that it gave up an organ and is still chugging along, that it's healing so beautifully, when I feel this fat.

Yup. Fat.

The weeks of post-surgery carbo loading, the middle of the night mac and cheese, the early morning bagel runs and left over pasta-fests caught up with me. Add to that that I was far less active than usual, that I was sleeping far more, that exercise is only starting to find its way back and I'm feeling swollen and bloated and huge.

For those of you of a certain age, I'm channeling Mrs. Roper at the moment. Give me a caftan and I'd be set.

I'm not sure how much of this is real and how much is the destructive part of me beating myself up for not being as perfect as I can possibly be at any given moment.

The good news is I'm not taking it that seriously. I'm not chained to a stair master or living on lettuce. I'm wearing clothes that are comfortable and heading to bed when I feel exhaustion set in. I suppose I could say I'm more at ease being me. The me I am, not the me I think I'm supposed to be.

Although I don't know that I'll ever come to terms with frizzy summer hair.

PS . . .

I've not done this before, but after posting this post, turns out there's more to add:

It's not just feeling fat. It's feeling old. Not that I "feel" old, but having my body compromised at the moment is giving me more time to look, in depth, at what's drooping and shifting. The wrinkles in my elbows. The thighs that Iz made sure I know should not been seen on the street. The sundresses that used to look cute that now make me look like I'm trying to hide something. The puckered skin around my scars that make me wonder if I'll be able to be seen in a bikini again.

I was feeling good before surgery. Powerful. In shape. Capable. Healthy and strong. I was comfortable in my skin and ok with not being super skinny and the aging changes. But from here, not so much. Maybe when I'm fully back in my flow, it'll be easier. At the moment though, it's hard.