Sunday, May 22, 2011

Decision Made

I kept waiting for another sign.  I had so many before that I figured surely I would get another one that would help me decide whether I should still consider donating a kidney or just drop the whole thing.  The thing is that I thought about it every single day.  I believe so strongly in donation and the journey had been so incredible that it just didn't seem to me that this could be the end.  Mike and I talked about it at length and his only concern was that I might feel emotionally empty if I donated anonymously(as a "non-directed" donor).  The recipient always has the right to choose whether or not they want to meet, so there is a chance I could donate and never hear from the recipient.  Finally this past Wednesday I was having lunch with my dear friend Roxie and telling her that I just wish she could tell me what to do!  I was pretty sure I knew what to do, but was waiting for that final "do it" from God.  She didn't have the answers, but promised to pray about it.  That night I happened to be on Facebook and glanced at an old group I had joined many months earlier about living donors.  There was a blog posted on there by a non-directed donor.  I read the entire thing and cried at her emotions -- they were so similar to mine.  Then the next morning I opened my email to find that my mom sent me a link to an article late the night before.  It was a story about a man who became a non-directed donor at UW and started a donation chain.  My mom had no idea that I had just talked with Roxie about what I should do.  I texted Roxie and told her about the email.  The text I received back said this, "Why don't you just wait for a kidney to fall out of the sky and hit you on the head?"  Well said Rox -- well said!!  After getting the final blessing from Mike, I sent an email off to Chris at UW telling her that I wanted to go ahead and make a donation.  It was such a peaceful feeling!  I just knew it was right.  Chris emailed me back and told me she thought that was wonderful news and she would turn me over to Kathy Miller, who is the coordinator for that program.  I was sad to know I couldn't keep Chris as my coordinator.  She is so incredible!!

I decided that I would initially tell very few people what I had decided until I was ready to update my blog and knew my next step.  But I did let one of my co-workers know due to the fact that she was going to be taking some medical leave as well and I figured we maybe could coordinate it.  Then on Friday I also told my co-worker Laura.  She just smiled at me and told me that she knows a girl who actually needs a kidney.  Her name is Sara.  She is married with a 5 year old girl and also works at Marshfield Clinic!  She said that Sara had just posted on Facebook that she had some family members tested, but nothing worked out and she would be starting dialysis soon.  Laura said that Sara was also worked up at UW Hospital just like I had been.  I told Laura to get in contact with Sara and ask her if she would like me to have our numbers compared.  It is really a simple procedure to check for a match once all of the bloodwork has been done -- the coordinators just need to look at our antigen numbers and see if there is any chance I can donate directly to Sara.  

Tonight Laura texted me and said that Sara was thrilled to hear about me.  It turned out that she had read about me back when the Clinic wrote an article about me in their newsletter.  Without having an update she just figured that I had already donated and it was over and done.  Laura told her what happened with Lonnie and I and that I still had one to spare!  Sara immediately "friended" me on Facebook and we just spent the last two hours chatting and getting to know each other.  It turns out she is a cousin to my friend Jodi as well!  Jodi had inquired about donating herself, but blood types were not a match.  During the time Sara and I were chatting I also emailed Chris at UW and asked her to compare our numbers.  She should be able to give me an answer on Monday assuming she is in the office that day.  Will we be a match?  That would be incredible!  I also mentioned the paired donation program to Sara.  She was not even aware of that program yet, so I told her about it.  If we were not a match, perhaps this would be an option for us as well.  Mike's concern about my lack of emotional connection with a non-directed donation could be solved!  If Sara and I can work this out then perhaps she will become my new recipient!  I am excited to see what Monday brings!

Today, May 21st, was my birthday.  I had a wonderful day with my husband and kids and was reminded of just how blessed I am.  Tonight my conversation with Sara just cemented that further.  My health is worth so much!  I will never take it for granted again.

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