It’s pretty complicated when you consider the intricacies within your family. When my brother called me this evening and remarked on how well I sounded and that I will be fine; I thought to myself “that’s my role in the family”. I am always fine, I handle things well and I rarely let anyone in more than I choose. That’s what makes writing and publishing this blog so uncomfortable for me, sharing private matters that I have spent a lifetime protecting.
Seeing how this affects each member of the family is fascinating as well. Tim has mixed feelings about me doing this. On one hand he is so appreciative and grateful and on the other hand he feels nervous and responsible for me. I never consulted Tim on donating my kidney, I just knew it was the right thing and proceeded through the different steps.
Being part of a big family, I also feel that some healing can come out of this. For Tim who has always separated himself from the rest of us– he can see that we are all connected through family and love. For me, I too realize that I do not to have take this on by myself. At one point I was driving the four plus hours home from Pittsburgh after spending the entire day at the hospital going through tests– I felt exhausted, scared and very much alone. The social worker at the hospital requested the name of someone who would be responsible for me after the surgery and I gave them my brother Shane’s name. I called Shane that evening and told him to expect a phone call, but assured him he would not have to do much. I still cry when I think about what he said that evening; “Wendy, if I could give Tim my kidney I would (you see Shane also has diabetes) the least I can do is take care of you through this process, so allow me to do that”. I realized in that moment that this was my healing and I needed to allow.
Several people have asked me if I am nervous about the surgery next week, my typical answer is “not yet”, I prefer to worry about things the day before verses days or weeks prior to any event. However, it’s 4:00 am in the morning and I am up wandering around the house thinking it must be something I eat….
Seven days prior to surgery a couple of tests kick in. I received a FedEx package from the hospital in NYC where my kidney will be transported– requesting six large tubes of blood for tissue samples. And I received a second request from UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) requesting five tubes of blood to be drawn the following day for NAT testing. Apparently this is a requirement to retest for Hepatitis, HIV, etc. within seven days of the surgery.
It has never really bothered me to have blood drawn, however so many tests have been requested that I feel more sensitive to them.
I have a lot to do before the surgery! I am wrapping up any business details before I go. I am required to stay in Pittsburgh for seven days to ensure everything is working and healing properly even though I will only spend 2-3 days in the hospital. Once I am released from Pittsburgh I will head to Charlotte to stay with my brother for a couple of weeks.
In preparation of the surgery I wanted to change my habits by eating healthy and getting in great shape. Over the winter I had gained 10 pounds. I quickly dropped the weight by going to the gym five days a week and then I began juicing– I combine a green apple, orange, carrots and beets (all organic) every day. The juice helps me feel more energetic and healthy and I use it as a snack mid-morning. I also started eating mostly for the purpose of health. Greek yogurt in the morning, juice; salad for lunch and vegetables with protein for dinner. I have a terrible sweet tooth, but at least my meals were healthy.
Exercising for me was fun. I love the classes at the gym, I challenged myself with high energy classes like turbo kick and RIPT (really intense physical training) at the RAC (Rochester Athletic Club) and I began running… something I hadn’t done in a very long time. At 52 I feel physically good by living my life healthy and in shape, I also started meditating daily to deal with my emotional stress.
What I didn’t count on was my personal and work life falling apart. I no longer had any family living near by– they had all moved away from Rochester for various reasons. The relationship with the man I loved did not work out and I moved out of the home we shared. It seemed every aspect of my life was falling apart including my business which had suffered tremendously with all the transition. With all of this change unfolding, I am facing financial and emotional turmoil just before my surgery. However with the work I am doing, I am starting to see new beginnings.
I started keeping a gratitude journal which helps me focus on what is positive in my life and that has lead me to consider “what do I want” in my life moving forward. I have a lot of freedom to choose what work I want to do, where I want to live and how I want to live my life. My children are doing amazing! Both of my sons are highly successful and doing well in life! My oldest son lives in LA, California. While my youngest son lives in Tokyo, Japan.
I am grateful for my family, my friends and my health. I am grateful I can donate my kidney.
I am not sure how everyone else makes decisions or processes an upcoming event such as Living Kidney Donor surgery. For me its very similar to how I make life decisions.
- I first consider is this the right decision for me?
- Is this something I want to do?
- Am I able to do this?
I rarely consider the consequences such as; how will it feel, will this affect my business, my finances, etc. For me its always about the bigger picture and this is about potentially saving someone’s life. Once the surgery is completed Tim will no longer have to go through the painful process of dialysis three times a weeks at four plus hours a procedure, his health will improve and he can begin to live an ordinary life without having to plan around these events every other day.
I do however do my homework by understanding the details around the surgery, the recovery time, the amount of time it will take for the committee to approve me medically fit and how this will affect me physically in the future. UPMC (University of Pittsburgh’s Medical Center) did a great job of sending materials on what to expect in all matters of the surgery. In order to be added to National Kidney Data Base it’s extremely involved. Some of the tests include; A complete physical, heart – stress tests, running in place, echo. Mammogram, Pap Smear, one full day in the hospital meeting the Dr’s, learning more about the program, reviewing health records, psychological evaluation, CT Scans, X Rays, Glands, Throat, Blood tests, Urine Tests, etc. (more information on requirements). At times I found it difficult to be patient with the process since one blood test could lead to more questions and therefore more tests and more tests. However, I understood the necessity for the tests were in my best interest. It took approximately three months before I was added to the National Kidney Registry.
Once I was added, I received a call in 24 hours that a match for my Brother had been found! That was pretty amazing.
A year ago my brother called me regarding his health, he found out his kidney’s were failing. It was only a matter of months before he would be on dialysis. For years Tim’s health had been failing due to diabetes. I come from a family of six children where diabetes is prevalent; according to data from the National Diabetes in 2011 a total of 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have diabetes. However another 70 million people are “prediabetes”. That’s about 12% of our population.
Tim is my eldest brother who is married, they have a beautiful 10 year old daughter. Tim has saved my life twice. Once when I dove off a raft into a lake Ontario as a child and came up gasping for air. Tim saw me from the shore and immediately swam out to save me, he arrived just as I had given up and was going under. The second time I was in a barn fire around 12 years of age.
It was a fairly easy decision for me to donate my kidney, I figured it would cost me surgery and four weeks of recuperation in exchange for saving a life. I immediately went to my doctor and requested a physical along with determining my blood type. I was disappointed to find out my blood type was different and therefore not a match. A friend of mine told me about the National Kidney exchange program. When I called the Clinical Transplant Coordinator at UPMC in Pittsburgh PA and begin the rigorous process of determining whether I was completely healthy to donate.
I am donating my kidney next week on the 16th of August. I am planning to write about my experience leading up to the donation and then after the surgery in hopes of sharing my story with others who are considering this process.
“EXCELLENCE is the result of many small tasks, all of which can be practiced and mastered”. Source: Tom Peters
When I speak on behalf of PTAC on lesson’s learned in working with the government and gaining government contracts…. the message seems so basic.
Small businesses like Ignite Worldwide’s are mostly built off relationships vs. price. Therefore we have to do a great job of doing small tasks well!
– Showing up
-Doing what we say we will do
-Ability to have the conversations
-Listening, understanding and servicing our customers well!
It takes process and people to make a great company! Too often with our busy schedules, technology, and often looking only at the numbers we miss the point.
Consider what are your values and how does your company spread the word?
In search of excellence a favorite of mine, the three main points include:
Peters says that In Search of Excellence turned these ‘soft’ factors into hard ones, when previously the only ‘hard factors were considered to be the ‘numbers’.
Peters also said in 2001 that other than certain wrong companies highlighted – Atari and Wang for instance – In Search of Excellence ‘absolutely nailed the eight points of the compass for business at that time’ (1982), but that its central flaw was in suggesting that these points would apply for ever, when they most certainly have not.
Peters said finally in his 2001 interview that were he to write In Search of Excellence today, he would not tamper with any of the eight themes, but he would add to them: capabilities concerning ideas, liberation, and speed.
Here is a summary of the ‘In Search of Excellence’ eight themes, which also form the eight chapters of the book.
In Search of Excellence – the eight themes
- A bias for action, active decision making – ‘getting on with it’.
- Close to the customer – learning from the people served by the business.
- Autonomy and entrepreneurship – fostering innovation and nurturing ‘champions’.
- Productivity through people – treating rank and file employees as a source of quality.
- Hands-on, value-driven – management philosophy that guides everyday practice – management showing its commitment.
- Stick to the knitting – stay with the business that you know.
- Simple form, lean staff – some of the best companies have minimal HQ staff.
- Simultaneous loose-tight properties – autonomy in shop-floor activities plus centralised values.
This is my first post and hopefully not my last one.