A Gift from my Mom
My life of thirty-five years can be described by one word: fortunate. I have parents who love me, two older brothers who care about me, friends who visit, and a beautiful fiancee. Like I said, I am very fortunate. The one unfortunate aspect of my life is my health.
As far back as I can remember, I had kidney problems. Visiting doctors, going to hospitals, taking x-rays and wearing a bag on my side was a way a life for me. Having kidney problems never bothered me, as I figured this is who I am and everyone had problems. Mine might be more serious then some but then maybe not.
The seriousness of my kidney disease struck me when I realized that I needed a transplant at a ge 30. Doctors had warned me that I would ultimately need one, but I figured it would be when I was farther along in my life. I have always had a laid back, everything will be fine, don’t worry about me attitude my entire life, but when the doctors said, “transplant” I was devastated. Questions raced through my mind. What am I going to do? Will they find a kidney? How do I tell my parents? Will I still have a job? I had many questions, but few immediate answers. After time passed and my emotions had settled, I was able to focus. With the support of my parents, we were able to find the answers to our many questions. Having them with me at the doctors’ appointments, sharing their thoughts with me and changing my tears to laughter was a blessing. Like I said, I am very fortunate. Finding a donor was still our biggest unanswered question. Everyone in my family offered to donate, but we decided to start with my parents. My father went first, but he didn’t match. I could see the disappointment on his face because I knew he wanted to help. When the positive result came back from my mother we were elated. I told her that she didn’t have to donate if she didn’t feel comfortable. For a minute, I thought she was going to take me up on my offer! Of course I knew she would donate her kidney as she has always been there for me. Although there were more tests that were needed, we were pretty confident that we found a match.
Scheduling the surgery and actually going through with the transplant was the next big hurdle. To me, this was the toughest decision I would ever make. Even though I was tired, grouchy and weak I still had doubts. I was getting along fine and I didn’t see the need to change. I thought, this was my problem and there was no need to burden others. The transplant doctor convinced me that having a new kidney would make me stronger, happier and reminded me how fortunate I was to have found a living donor. After that, I knew I would have the surgery. April 2, 2002 was the fifth year anniversary with my new kidney and I couldn’t be happier. Although the decision was very difficult and tiring for everyone, I know it was the right one. To find a living donor and have my parents, family and friends with me from the beginning reaffirms that I am a very fortunate individual.