Sunday, February 27, 2011

my body, my mind... take it all

my body, my mind... take it all
I received some great news on Friday... Somebody actually wants me for my mind instead of my body. Shocking, I know.

Georgetown University researchers in the Laboratory of Social and Affective Neuroscience are seeking adults that have volunteered to donate a kidney, and I am the chosen one (of many).  I have no idea what those smartie-pants people do, but I do know that I volunteered to donate a kidney, so sign me up. I love to have my brain picked. It was such a memorable experience to have my internal goodies poked at, I can only imagine how exciting it will be to have them study my gray matter. Boy, are they in for a disappointment surprise.

I've been told that my participation may involve behavioral observation, brain imaging (MRI scans), and psychological interviews. As long as they're not observing me on a Saturday night in mid-August at a bar in Saratoga, I think they will be satisfied with their subject. Or bored out of their minds.

Anyhow, I'm excited. Very excited. I participated in the initial online testing about 3 weeks ago. They warned the participants that the test would take about 90 minutes and fortunately I was allowed to stop periodically so I could pick it up again if I was interrupted. Thank goodness because you know how Derek is such an attention whore and can't possibly be without my presence for more than 15 minutes... ugh, so needy. The test was divided into several sections, covering everything from image perception to ethics. I love this stuff. I find human behavior to be so intriguing, and am fascinated at the statistics that doctors and scientists are able to collect just by asking questions.

I passed the online test and qualified for more. So much so, that they need me to travel to D.C. to spend a weekend with them. Apparently I have fans all over. They're footin' the bill, so away I will go. The dates have not yet been confirmed, but I'm looking forward to this and I feel good knowing that in some small way, I'm helping the living kidney donor community.

Since my surgery, I have tried my best to keep current with all the news and information in the living donor community. I have set up feeds on my email to alert me with stories, news and medical breakthroughs that continue to grow. This is good thing. It's also a bad thing, at times. Sometimes I think  I read too much. I see tragic stories daily, of patients living with kidney disease that can't find a donor, or the transplant was not successful and their donated kidney was rejected. This is why I didn't hesitate to participate in this study. My presence in the donor community did not end the day I gave my kidney to my recipient, if anything, I feel as though it's stronger. Because I want it to be.

I have also been invited to attend a conference May 2-3,1011, with the National Kidney Registry. Details are still not solid yet, but I know that this opportunity is not to be missed. I will continue to embrace any chance I have to better myself as a mentor for other living donors. As I've mentioned in past posts, this is a huge part of my life and I'm lucky to be there for others that are beginning their journey. With time, patience and education, I know I can provide the proper support to other donors - much like the support that was given to me.

Until next time... this thing called snow - I'm done with it.