Last night I got an email from my brother with the subject line: below 1. I opened it to find a snippet of a blood test report listing creatinine, but didn't see a number attached (if only I had thought to scroll to the right on my phone . . . ). So, I texted, emailed, sent a message through words with friends before I finally spoke to him this morning and found out that it was .9.
I actually got tearful this morning as
Jon and I were talking about it. A low creatinine number means the kidney's working well and we're almost three months post-transplant, which is a big milestone.
Sometimes, rarely, almost never in fact, it hits me what I've done. How I changed a life. How I changed mine.
And that got me thinking that perhaps the heightened anxiety I've been feeling lately, the sense of unease, the fear that a panic attack will slip in through the cracking, that I'll start to crack into pieces, is related. Every time I finish something big, usually a book project, I crash. That huge expenditure of energy, of drive, of creativity comes with a price tag. A finished product I'm proud of but a sense of exhaustion and emptiness that flirts at the edge of depression.
This is so much more. The transplant was my project, in a way, for months. It was the focus of my life and it required as much attention and energy as I could muster throughout most of it. But, it wasn't just me weaving ideas and words and images together. Someone's life was at stake. Their future health depended on mine. And I had no control over whether any of it would work. Almost never did I let myself go there - to the what ifs. What if something happened to me on the operating table. What if my brother's challenged body had been pushed too far. What if the kidney didn't fit. Or what if it did and it failed. I held on harder to "this is meant to be" and "all will be fine" than I ever have in my life. I had faith, which normally I roll my eyes at.
And now I've lost it. That faith. That trust. That belief that all will be fine. Is fine. I'm wondering if this is part of my own post-transplant crash. The emotional part couldn't happen right away because my body was a mess. I'd been cut open, organs were moved around, one is now gone for good. I'd been pumped full of drugs I'd never taken before. This was my first surgery. My first catheter. My first morphine. That's a lot to recover from.
It's feeling like maybe that while my body is getting back to where it was (although heavier and with much less stamina than usual), my mind, my emotions, my center are still thrown off balance.
I don't know how to get back there.
I hate the sense of dread that's managed move in.
But I'm hoping that perhaps understanding where it's coming from will help me stay strong as it moves through me.
I don't believe that yet. But I like the thought.