Tag Archives: Living Kidney Donor

Attitude – Living Kidney Donor Journey

Friday evening I attended one of my favorite yoga classes of the week. In this class I can usually find myself letting go of my day, my week and my thoughts. When I am in this space I tend to move into a feeling of gratitude which is almost magical where every fiber of my being feels joy.  I let go of my fears and my worries and I am focused on the present, the here, the now.  

Wendy, Audrey & Allegra

Wendy, Audrey & Allegra

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Max Planck, Nobel Prize-winning physicist  this is so true for me this past week. Last Saturday I had gone for a bike ride and then became sick and passed out later that same evening and I became overwhelmed with new fears. Then on Monday morning I read a question a member posted on a forum who continues to feel exhausted a year after her kidney donor surgery and wondered if anyone else had the same experience. Within 53 minutes 12 people had responded with the same experience including myself.

The evidence of the post along with the 12 responses backed up my own personal fears. (I was attaching myself to someone else’s experience that I know nothing about) I began to think that I would never feel completely healthy.  My energy was low for the next few days, I felt exhausted and it was difficult to get things done. We all have our own unique experiences;  however I personally feel that our attitude can fuel how we perceive a moment, a memory and life in general.

I often think of bike riding as a metaphor for life, when I am tackling a large hill and I am confident that I can make it up the hill–  the ride is much easier. However, when I am not in a confident state I find myself negotiating….” If I cannot make it up the hill, I can get off my bike and walk the rest of the way or if I do make it up I won’t have the energy to go the distance  and I will need to shorten my ride or even worse I am not good enough, I am not strong or healthy enough”.  By the end of the week I had completed two long bike rides and four yoga classes and I feel great!   I listened to my body, took care of myself and didn’t over push. All of this has left me feeling more confident in moving towards perfect health. 

This week was a great reminder that attitude is a choice and I get to make that choice in every experience.

Cheers to a beautiful productive day!

Wendy

Lesson’s learned from donating a kidney…

If you have read my posts since the beginning, you know how donating my kidney has impacted my life. This particular journey continues for me; however to date here are the lessons learned over the past five months since the donation…. 

Lesson one- Giving my kidney to my brother is never a good time, but absolutely the right time in my life.

Lesson two- Truly understanding compassion. The problems that one is facing are small compared to saving a life. Look in the eyes of those you love and don’t run.

Lesson three- Then the miracle sets in and you are actually saving your own life. Broken open, seeing more clearly.

Lesson four -Broken glass, looking in the mirror and not seeing your life’s path and trusting not to look for a quick fix, just allow it to unfold. God’s plan is bigger than yours could possibly be.

Lesson five -Just stop. Feel, listen, don’t judge, be present. Life happens and it’s all about how we choose to manage the present moment.

Lesson six. – How do you move forward and continue to stay mindful?  Back to lesson five.

Lesson seven – Pay attention to your gut! It may start screaming at you and this time listen and trust in yourself

Lesson eight – Finding my spine, confronting those who are close to you in a clear and loving way.

Lesson nine – Finding love for myself,  this is  my biggest lesson. I always felt that choosing love over fear meant doing the right thing for someone else. I’ve since learned it means doing the right thing for yourself.

Lesson ten – Being vs. doing regardless of the consequences. Not always easy, not always safe but definitely worth it! Follow your passion, follow what brings you joy.

Rochester, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles,  Japan, back to NY – home at last.  Truthfully — home is you, you are home….

And always knowing that this too will pass.

With gratitude! Wendy

broken – Living Kidney Donor

Tim is still in intensive care, we are not completely sure what is going on. His kidney is responding better each day, however it’s not completely functional. Tim is in a confused state, they have him in ICU and strapped to the bed; when he is awake he wants to go home and remove his IV’s… They have ruled out uremia (thank god) and his infection seems to be clearing up. The transplant team is testing him for everything, however they believe his medications have simply not filtered through his body – therefore resulting in access of medications since his surgery.

For me I  feel shattered, I have always had a picture of what my life will look like. Now I see a broken image, I suppose this is because of all the changes that have impacted my life this year.  I feel exhausted mainly because of my own surgery along with worrying for Tim.  It feels odd where almost three weeks ago I was running a few miles a day and today I am walking slowly around the block in my neighborhood (which isn’t very far).  At night I am sore and get up often to stretch and walk around the house. I am eating healthy and juicing daily to build up my energy!

It sounds like I am feeling sorry for myself, I do have many good things going on; I am making new plans for my business which is exciting. I spoke to my son Juliun and will see him and Natalie in Los Angeles on Saturday.  I will see my younger son the following week, I do miss my children they both live so far away. We raised them to think big and see the world and they are doing exactly that ~ I am so proud of them.

For me I am praying that tomorrow Tim will be out of ICU and back in his room recovering. I will need to be more patient with myself and get the rest I need and realize that I have a lot of freedom in my future, I can can create my own path from scratch.

I am so grateful for my family and friends.  My friend Carol made me this awesome stew and chicken soup that I eat daily.  I have received so much love and support from friends and family through all of this.

Throughout this process, I have posted on facebook a request to send prayers and thoughts Tim’s way. I really do believe the more positive energy sent Tim’s way the better.

Good night. w

Great experience – Living kidney donor

If I could do this all over again, would I?Absolutely! The only thing I would do different  is worry less, not sure if that isMy brother Tim and I feasible. It’s been 13 days since my surgery and I can see my old-self. Yesterday, I walked about 1/2 mile or so once in the morning and once again at night. I walk like a turtle, but I am building stamina. It feels good.  I am beginning to focus on work and things I need to do.

I had my post-op exam today at Starzl transplant institute and  met with Angela the transplant coordinator, Sue and Dr. Tevar my surgion. I had an excellent experience with everyone that I was in contact with– at Starzl transplant institute, such a caring and professional staff – I love that they always took the time with me. Never in a hurry!

Tim’s surgery is tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 pm, I am nervous and excited for him. His kidney is going to be driven in from Philidelphia and brought directly to Tim while he is in surgery. It’s amazing how they do this.  I wonder how the donor is doing, if he felt as I did just two weeks ago… I would love to tell him it’s ok, it will hurt the first day and everyday is expediatialy better and that after just two weeks it will be a memory.  I would thank him for doing such a wonderful thing and grateful that his kidney was the exact match for my brother. I am praying all goes well for everyone!

Now that I have been enlighented, my wish is for everyone to consider being a donor. Whether it’s a icon on your license that says if something happens– you are willing to donate your organs.  I have seen first hand the families that wait for an organ that can save a child, a spouse, a loved one. It really can make a difference.

Donating a kidney or any organ is obviously a personal choice.  I would recommend it and I am grateful I was able to do this for my brother.  It takes time and when is it really the right time, as my earlier posts have indicated. However, these things are only a moment in our life, this too will pass. The lessons along with the gratitude I feel helps me move way past all of my personnal issues.

I can physically see the difference in my brother and his family, so much hope. Again I feel grateful.

Healing and thoughts – Living kidney donor (9)

The gift of being in a healing place is thought and time. My thoughts feel more open, less stories in my head to back up my old beliefs.  We go through our lives telling the same stories, sometimes we enhance these events in our lives so that we can maintain the anger, the sadness or distance.

My Mom has been a huge lesson for me. She came over from Utrecht, Holland after the war at the age of 18. My Oma (grandmother) brought at least six of her ten children to Canada to create a better life for them. Today we call this entrepreneurship. “one who undertakes innovation to transform for financial good”.

When my Mom first arrived in Edmonton, Canada she did not know the english language. It was difficult being a young expressive person trying to fit into a new culture. She quickly met my father, married and had her first four of six  children– in less than four years. She devoted all of herself to us kids, always keeping a part time job and working tirelessly to take care of us.  I love my Mother’s dutch accent, but for her it always made her feel separate.

My Mom is now 78 years old and recently moved across the country to California to be near my brother and sister. I believe she did this for an adventure, an opportunity to recreate herself and perhaps not get too comfortable. She walks two miles a day and manages her diabetes very well.

Often being the daughter we find fault in those we love. We look to create our own destiny, to do better, to know more.  At some point we stop striving and look at ourselves and those we love not by what we have accomplished, how much money we have or who we know – but about the relationships we share. 

Being number four of a busy family, I have not spent a lot of one-on-one time with my Mom. As far back as I can remember this is the first time that I have been in a position where I needed compassion, patience, love and understanding. My Mom has not let me down, she has been an angel and I am so grateful to have this opportunity to be with her. She is an amazingly strong women that deserves nothing but respect.

I am proud to be her daughter. W

Family, healing and allowing. Living Kidney Donor

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.