Tuesday, July 6, 2010

sharing my journey

Until now, there are few people that I have talked to about my decision to be a living kidney donor. I have of course shared much of my thoughts and concerns with Cara, but that’s a given since it was my blooming relationship with her that inspired me to make my decision. The one person that I wanted to share this with first was my mom, but I really felt that I needed to wait until after my test results are in and I have the green light to proceed with this, to do so. My guess is that it’s going to be a small fireworks display in upstate New York when I drop this bomb on her, but I guess we can’t always choose the paths that our parents hope we will. I am thinking in the long run, my mom will support me but I also know that not unlike most mothers, she is going to be overly concerned. I felt that inviting her into this prior to any real confirmation of the transplant would be premature and could bring some unsettling news to her that might not ever come to fruition. My mom is probably the most important person in my life and sometimes we need to treat each other with extra care and caution. It’s just love, that’s all.

My father lives out of state and last week he was visiting my family for his annual summer vacation. I decided that I wanted to tell him while he was here, simply because it was the only opportunity I would have to discuss this with him face to face. I felt it was only fair to him and didn’t want to disrespect him by telling him over the phone. I also think it’s important to be with someone in person when you are discussing something that is so very important to you. I needed him to know how serious and sincere I was about my decision, and that I had done the proper homework and research to put him at ease a little bit. I made up a small packet of literature that outlined the entire procedure and provided him with a copy of my itinerary for my medical workup at Weill-Cornell so that he was aware of all the tests and procedures I would be participating in. As I had predicted, he had many questions and was so supportive of me. Of course he is concerned, and I know that it was important for him to soak in all the information in the packet to get the whole picture. I have been keeping a log of any and all websites that I feel are solid and factual resources about living kidney donors, and I gave him that as well. I hope that he will take the time to read and review a lot of that data and watch some of the many videos I sent him links to, as I feel they are all really well done.

I have also chosen to talk to my niece, Amber, about this. I called her to ask if she would accompany me to NY for the day when I go for my tests. She didn’t hestitate to accept and she also promised to keep quiet about our little excursion until I’m ready to share more with my family. It was important to me to have someone close in my life be with me for the trip since I am anticipating a long and tiring day. Although I won’t be in any physical pain, I know myself well enough to know that I will be exhausted for the return trip and having her with me to drive home will be such a nice gift to me.

I have mixed feelings about conversations with friends and family regarding my decision to be a living kidney donor. I am so confident and comfortable with my decision, but I am also anticipating some negative reaction from many. The technical questions thrown at me will be easy, because all I have to do it point to the numerous resources providing the information about kidney transplants. It’s the personal questions that I might find will be difficult to answer. I’m a brutally honest person; I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I certainly wouldn’t want to offend anyone, nor do I want to be put in a situation where I feel I might have to defend myself with my decision. I suppose I will cross that bridge when I come to it. I have chatted with other donors to get some feedback as to how to ‘break’ the news to those you might anticipate will not respond so favorably. Every case is unique, and so is mine. There is no script, and I'm the type that speaks from my heart so I'm sure when the time comes, the words will flow smoothly. I’m a strong woman with strong convictions and live with purpose. I suppose that they will just have to accept that I now feel I have a purpose.

Until next time... our summers here in upstate New York are short and sweet - appreciate and embrace the sun and heat!