December 14 – Appreciate What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
How do you thank a man who gives you your life back? Seriously. Someone who, quite literally, gives you the gift of life. (I'm taking suggestions.)
The thing I have come to appreciate most this year is family. Beyond our little unit; beyond the people I shared a house with.
When I went back on dialysis in late 2008, I was prepared for the long wait, the 7-9 years my transplant hospital tells people to expect, for a donor to come available; the time it takes for it to be your “turn”
My mom had already donated to me in 2004; that was the kidney that failed. My dad has hypertension, and my sister had been eliminated for other reasons back the first time around. I wasn't willing to have Jamie be tested; now that Max is in the picture, I simply wasn't comfortable with both us being in surgery (with all the risks that entails) at the same time.
And then Tim stepped up.
Tim is Jamie's older brother, a man I had spent time with on only a handful of occasions, and here he was, offering to be tested. I asked UCSF to send him the packet of information, and then filed it in the back of my mind. I didn't want to dwell too much on it; if it didn't work out, for whatever reason, the less vested in it I was, the less pain I'd have to work through later. So I basically blocked it out.
Anyone who has read anything on my blog knows that I blocked it out for no reason; my proverbial eggs in that basket have all hatched and are now placed in my abdomen. (OK. That analogy veered totally out of control. I apologize for that!)
So Tim is my donor, and surgery is scheduled for July 22, 2010. Then I got sick and surgery had to be postponed; eight weeks minimum. Tim had already made arrangements with his work for leave, his teenaged daughters were getting used to the idea, and he would be home recovering during their summer vacation… it was basically a gigantic cluster-eff that screwed everyone up. I felt awful, and could just imagine getting a phone call that it wasn't going to work out after all.
So here I am, getting ready to go back to work tomorrow, after three months off, and I *still* don't know how to thank him enough. I've got ideas, but most of them involve being independently wealthy, which I certainly am not. I've asked various celebrities (mostly Oprah and Ellen) to help me do something big, but to no avail. He is in my thoughts always, his sacrifice and his gift is with me, literally and figuratively, every moment. And yet I am still at a loss to say Thank You.
Brooke Farmer says
The way you thank him for giving you your life back is by doing as much with it as you can. That is the thanks I would want. Help people. Touch lives. Make a difference.
Noelle Reese says
I can't even imagine. Make n album for his girls. Get it all down on paper so they all know forever. Send him a card very week. Just to say thanks and have him smile, it's not a bill. 🙂
Just getting a chance to read your blog. Wow – what a story you're living. My mom lived on dialysis for years – we were so grateful for it, but I am familiar with how difficult it is. Thanks for sharing your experiences so openly.
I am in tears! What a stressful ride it was for all of us, but so glad both you and Tim are doing great. I must admit, Tim is amazing and deserves all sorts of awards for his generosity, but what can you give someone that has given you the gift of life???? To see you with Max makes him so happy. Just be the best person you can be…. what goes around comes around and Tim will be rewarded! Love to all of you!
Lori (Tim's wife)
Thank you. I love knowing that you exist in this world.
Patti Murphy says
What a gift. That Brooke Farmer gives good advice.
The generosity of people takes my breath away.