This past Thursday marked the 1 month anniversary of my kidney donation. I would say I am at 87%, my only complaint is that I get tired easily. If I could sleep 10 hours a night, I would! In terms of side effects, this one really isn’t so bad, as I have an awesome bed, and am gifted when it comes to the art of sleeping. The hardest part of my recovery was the emotional toll that it took. I felt weepy and emotional, and not like my normal, positive self. I am thrilled to say that today I feel like my old self again! I had a follow-up email from NM on my 1 month anniversary letting me know 3things:
- My recipient doesn’t want to connect with me yet, and respectfully requested we not check back in for awhile
- My recipient and their new kidney are doing very well!
- The chain is so far 3 transplants long, and still going. This means at minimum, the chain will result in 4 transplants.
I would really love the opportunity to connect with my recipient, however this can only happen if the recipient chooses for it to happen. They know I am eager to connect, and the ball is in their court. For me, it would be rewarding and exciting to meet, and it would give me closure. Most people who donate an organ know the recipient. I imagine the recovery process is different for these people- the reward of the donation is right there in front of them. They can see the life they impacted. In many cases they can watch somebody they love dramatically change from being sick to being healthy. It’s a nice reward on the tough recovery days! In my case, I don’t get to see that. Sometimes it feels like I didn’t actually donate a kidney. During my recovery, I thought about it a lot, and took it personally. It’s not so much disappointing me today- if we do get to meet, I see it as a bonus, but I am not counting on it happening. I am at peace with that. I respect the recipient’s privacy even if I don’t understand it. Confirmation from NM that the recipient is healthy, and knowing that the chain is still going makes me happy, and makes me feel good about donating.
An online friend, Diane Brockington, posted this, and while it took a few weeks to resonate, I think she’s right:
“Your reward isn’t delayed-it’s there every time you open your eyes in the morning, close them at night. The gift you gave was the decision to donate. After that, so many factors come into it that are completely out of your hands that you have to focus on the gift. Undiminished by the presence of a thank you. You did it. You gave. Rest in that.”
I had a particularly nice Christmas this year- I spent it with my Dickinson family and we had some really nice quality time together. It was at my house, but my mom did all the work, including making sure we all matched (THANKS MOM)! I am so grateful for all of these guys. They have been so loving and patient with me. Donating a kidney is #thebestideaever, but wow, you can’t do it without a support system. I didn’t fully understand how much my decision to donate would effect those around me. I am glad they were up for it 🙂