With my first husband, I learned the lesson that having children together does not magically make you a happy family. With My David, I have learned the lesson that if you open your heart, your family happily finds you. At the risk of sounding uncomfortably spiritual, it occurs to me that as we are all members of the family of man: the person who receives my donor kidney is therefore a family member I just haven’t met yet. And as with all families (including my own extended one, lest you think I lead a perfect existence), differences in communication needs and styles can lead to disagreements and estrangements. I am open to having contact with the person who receives my kidney at whatever level he or she wishes. I bless the donation forward in the hope that the receiver will be able to live the life his or her soul intended while creating the greatest possible good in the world, which is the over-arching goal of my life.
When I first approached David with the idea of my being a non-directed kidney donor, his first reaction was not surprisingly negative. This is, after all, a man who sleeps on the side of the bed nearest to the door to protect me, who always walks on the side nearest the road when we are walking arm-in-arm, which is anytime we are walking together. He wants to keep me safe, both physically and emotionally. Was I doing this to try and “pay” for the happiness we’ve found together because I didn’t deserve it? I’ve given that thought a lot of consideration and the answer is no. We all deserve to be happy and have a chance to live life to the fullest. I can give someone else that chance with very little inconvenience to my life. One of the top US transplant centers, Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ, is a five minute drive from my front door. The surgery is done laparoscopically, which means only a two inch incision and an overnight hospital stay. Within hours of the surgery, my other kidney will grow in size to give me all the kidney function I need. I’ll be back to driving a week or so later and I’m planning the donation in August, which is a slow time for my massage business so the impact on my business will be minimized. Most of all, should something happen in the future to my remaining kidney (a very remote possibility), I would automatically go to the top of the transplant list for a new one.
Living with Passion! in all aspects of my life has become my new standard. I won’t accept anything less. David can see that in me and now supports my decision. Next up: telling the kids.