Kidney’s, they come in two’s – they hang out in the back of the body straddling the spine with the rib cage protecting them, Kidney’s assist in cleaning out the toxins in our blood and are essential organs to the bodies main functions.
There are currently 72,000 active donors waiting patiently on a list to receive a kidney. In 2008 the US contribution to the transplant list made a good dent at 15,000 transplants that year…10,000 from cadaveric donors, and 5,000 from living donors. In my mind I would go out on a limb to rightfully assume kidneys are in better working condition when they are alive. Depending on blood types the typical transplant active candidate is on the wait list and told to not expect anything for at least a year and up to anywhere from 8 to 10 years….however those numbers are for deceased donor transplant times, meaning the living can deliver a whole lot healthier and a whole lot quicker.
I learned a lot from a recent tragedy, a tragedy in which a friend was taken far too early but even then he gave himself for others to live again. Simple principles and gratitude have stuck with me since then: making sure we take everyday into account as though we may never see tomorrows sun rise, we truly have no control over the clocks hands of time. Donating my kidney is something I have been mulling over for a year or so now, it’s been discussed in my head more than out loud, but I have done the proper research and have made sure I met the medical requirements. I have decided that come this winter I will be giving someone the gift of life for Christmas. I live in a world where I forget to appreciate my health, love, and happiness – I sometimes forget that sincerely not a whole lot of people are as fortunate, and for that I am showing my gratitude.
At first I wanted to do a non-directed donation, which is a donation to an anonymous individual that is chosen at random from the waiting list by the transplants panel and committee members, we would have the opportunity to meet but only if both parties agreed, I wanted to go with this option because it would relieve my fear of meddling the role of God. Then life started happening, the wheels started turning, and I started thinking….I don’t want my kidney going to a real shit head of an individual [although I could be included in that category] what if it’s transplanted into a criminal, or a registered sex offender? Oh hell…what did I do.
I changed my mind – if God wills it within the body I choose then that’s what he wanted, I am not a woman of high faith but I do believe in the opportunity to live through donation. I reversed my initial decision of non-directed donation to Direct donation of an unrelated donor, where I am able to give to someone I know, who knows me, a circle of friends, or a complete stranger of my choosing. Now I ran into the same problem of playing God and I felt that I was having too much to do with who’s going to live or die, then I thought to myself – if it’s my damn kidney I think I should get some sort of say, yes there are those shiny laminate letters that spell out D-O-N-O-R on my drivers license, but that’s for when I’m not around to make these decisions. If I left it up to the transplant committee, wouldn’t there be a boat load of built up bias there as well? I decided to tempt fate.
The largest argument for this donation has truly been “what if something happens to a family member and they need a kidney”…well that exactly, what if? 1. I come from a LARGE family – to put it mildly, where one or 73 of my family members would be willing to step in and contribute as well – I currently have no spouse, and have no children; if my parents were to need one I know that without a doubt we wouldn’t have a problem throwing one their way. 2. I have ‘waited’ for 22 years for something to ‘happen’ to a family members kidneys [essentially speaking] and nothing has, that’s life – the day I donate, someone in my immediate family could really need a kidney – but I will never know, so the question should be – “do I keep it for the ‘just in case’ or donate it to help someone who actually needs it right now to live?” [That’s a rhetorical for me]
Another popular concern is “what if something happens to your own health and kidneys start failing what are you going to do then?” Well I plan to rest on the goodness of the human race and hope for someone out there to do like I plan and donate to help those suffering, live. Generally speaking, when the kidneys become defunct with bacteria/infections, they attack both kidneys – never one or the other, leaving us to thank the lucky stars that we had that right side kidney hanging out for when lefty bit the dust. So if I were to get sick and my kidneys were to become defunct, they wouldn’t do any good then anyways – I’ll rest in good faith on my good health.
When casually speaking to a friend about my decision the question arose: “What if the recipients body rejects it…how will you feel?”
Honestly, that one threw me for a loop – how would I not hurt and feel for that family after everything they went through? Regardless I wouldn’t regret my decision one bit, I will be happy that I put my best foot forth to give someone their second chance, if their body rejects it then that’s God’s will and it’s out of both of our hands. All I can do, is all I can do.
Whatever this journey brings my way, I look forward to seeing someone benefit from an organ they needed, see them play with their children – their parents – their friends. I hope to maintain a relationship with this individual and see them progress through life the way they were intended to. Either way whether I’m walking this Earth or six feet under pieces of me will go on to help others live – I think it’s a beautiful thing that I may just get to witness it in my lifetime – I always live by the words ‘Be the change you wish to see in this world’…this act reflecting no different.
Until next time: Be Bold.