Tag Archives: wendy brabon living kidney donor

Life’s assumptions – living kidney donor

The light on my car dash reads 15% Oil Life!  I wonder how often we react to information that is displayed in front of us and how it affects our daily life? I purchased a new car that now has about 5000 miles on it, the message on my dash last week read 20% oil life. So I stopped at my local garage station and asked the mechanic to check my car’s oil, after checking it he said it was fine. That didn’t make sense to me since the message on my dash said I had little oil life left. I explained to him that it was important for me to know since I was taking a trip that weekend and didn’t want to damage my car. They assured me the oil was fine. dont-make-assumptions

A week later the message on my car’s dash read 15% oil life and I now have an orange light on my dash and I’m worried.  So here is what’s going on in my head. Did I purchase a lemon? Will I consistently have problems with this car? What if I drive the car and their is no oil in it, will the engine die? Can I make it the two miles to the garage station? Maybe I should  pick up a quart of oil and drop it in my engine to be sure I am OK . Yes, believe it or not it’s all going on in my head. This time I went to a different garage and asked for help. I got out of the car to watch what they were doing and sure enough I got the same response that the oil was fine. The mechanic explained that the light is on to let me know that I will need an oil change soon and not that I needed oil!

Well that added unnecessary stress to my day, but in was small perhaps ten minutes! Where are we adding stress in our relationships and in everyday circumstances?   Consider that our subconscious mind is the part of your mind responsible for all of your involuntary actions.  Source: M. Farouk Radwan, MSc.  I think of our subconscious mind as narrating every moment of our life and it’s time to take control!

Miguel Ruiz who wrote the four agreements says “Don’t make assumptions”.  How often do we make assumptions in our life with our health, our partner and in general? In the book the four agreements Miguel Ruiz writes:

  • Find the courage to ask questions
  • Communicate often and clearly to avoid misunderstanding, sadness and drama

Ask yourself today.

Are you making assumptions with  your health, your partner, your life? What’s going on in your head and how can you change the messaging?

Quoting Dr. Wayne Dyer: Change your thoughts, Change your life.

With gratitude,

Wendy

Connection & Coincidence – Living Kidney Donor

Today I experienced the most amazing story of connection! I have often said  “we are all connected” and with that  I mean whatever is happening in our life today or in our past has probably been experienced by others.  Our connection makes the world a smaller, more intimate place of human bonding.  This incredible set of circumstances really bears that out.Hands

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know that I have been interviewing people who have donated or received a kidney for a book I am writing about human kindness, awareness and connection. Some of the people I am interviewing are from my own donor exchange and others were referred to me through friends.  I was introduced to Stephen through my close friend Barb, who’s brother had served with Stephen in the Army.  They had been stationed in Germany.  Stephen and I spoke briefly a few days ago about scheduling a time to talk. Then, after reading my blog he emailed me that we had both donated on the same day just 8 months ago! I thought that was a nice coincidence.

Stephen and I had decided to talk by phone Sunday morning and I was anxious to hear his story. You see, Stephen chose to donate his kidney to a complete stranger.  On two separate occasions while leaving church Stephen felt in his heart that it was his calling to donate and his wife Jill agreed.  After doing some research on line, Stephen reached out to a man in Chicago and a women in the state of Washington explaining he wanted to donate a kidney and was looking for resources to get started.

Harvey from Chicago answered him immediately and gave him links and information to get him started. He began to build a relationship with Harvey and did not hear back from the women in Washington for some time. When he did hear from her she apologized explaining that for some reason Stephen’s email did not get to her right away.  She gave him some information similar to what Harvey had shared and she mentioned that she was an advocate for several people in need of a kidney – and one of them was Harvey.

Stephen was not aware that Harvey was in need of kidney, and immediately made a decision to donate to Harvey,  feeling it was meant to be.

Another coincidence is that Harvey had emailed me the day before my surgery (after finding my blog) wishing me good luck and telling me his surgery was scheduled for the same day. I remember thinking about him that Thursday on August 16 and hoping everything had gone well. I find it extraordinary how we are all connected.

  •    Harvey emailing me the day before my surgery and introducing himself.
  •    Meeting Stephen who turns out to be the donor for Harvey
  •    All three of us receiving our surgery the same day
  •    Stephen contacting an advocate in Washington and then referring Harvey as a donor
  •    Stephen being a long time friend with one of my closest friend’s brother.
  •    And ironically it was Barb (my long time friend) who drove me to Pittsburgh for my surgery.

Coincidence?

It’s amazing to me how we are connected.  Who would have thought someone who sent me a random email 8 months ago that I would be meeting his donor today and that would come from a close friend!  Truly enlightening.

At times in our life we can feel so alone and wonder where we fit in. Our differences can often feel like separation to us however when we share — we then realize we are not separate, we are not alone.  Today I wake up knowing that we are truly connected.

Feeling as one.

Wendy

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Fearless…. Kidney donor

Tonight I felt frightened for the first time as long as I can remember. The day started really nice with a trip to the public market to pick up lots of fresh vegetables and to share a cup of coffee and conversation with my friend John. 

It was a beautiful day– after a long winter it’s pretty exciting when Spring truly arrives and most everyone in Rochester is outside and enjoying the weather. I had planned a long bike ride with my friend Kyle immediately following my trip to the market, so I had loaded up my road bike, my head gear and water bottle and headed to the lake to see my friend. I was excited about going on this ride, it had been almost a year since I had been on the bike. I wondered what kind of experience it would be for me today. In the past I had always shared these bike rides with a man I was in a relationship with and we had enjoyed the ride together talking about life, enjoying the views and we would challenge ourselves physically with speed and distance. Things changed and towards the end of our relationship these rides had become bitter between us and a place to argue and discuss our issues. 

So today was a new day and it felt exhilarating to be on the bike. Kyle and I rode hard along the river, over bridges, up and down hills and the sights were beautiful. We saw a swan sitting on her nest protecting her eggs, a boy scout troop, and many other riders on the path. We rode 20 miles and challenged ourselves with this first ride of the year. When we were done Kyle made a nice salad and we enjoyed some intesting conversation in her home on the lake.photo[1]

Afterwards, I stopped at Wegmans a local grocery store thinking I would stay in for the evening and enjoy a movie and just relax. I was tired and felt fulfilled after a busy productive day. That changed when my friends called and invited me to a fundraiser for the RPD, typically I would say no– but the new me is looking to be more adventures and say yes.  I was dressed and ready to go in 15 minutes.

When I arrived I was happy to see many friends that I had not seen in a long time; however within an hour I was dizzy and ready to collapse. I knew I was in trouble and wasn’t sure if I could move in fear of passing out, let alone drive home. I confided in my friend Shelly who escorted me to the ladies bathroom, she found a paramedic to see if I was OK – my pulse was low, my face was flushed and my skin clammy. I found steadier legs after sitting down in a quiet space for a while and drinking some cool water. I am not sure why this happened, was it the affect of the rigorous bike ride and perhaps I didn’t stay hydrated enough? Or could it be my creatinine levels from my kidney, what I do know is that I have found myself easily tired since the kidney donor surgery.

I felt frightened and alone, I realize it was nothing serious however moments like this can bring out unexpected fears.  For example; I have no family nearby,  who would be called if something serious happened? Would I no longer be able to push myself as hard as I used to?  Can I complete some of the goals I had set out to do this year, such as the 100 mile bike ride and the Tour De Cure ride? 

I know this too will pass. I find myself thinking about what others have to deal with and I feel embarrassed for giving this any power over me.  In the meantime I will continue to ride and build myself back up and definately look to stay hydrated during my workouts!

W.

Best in human kindness – Kidney donor

This morning we gathered to celebrate living donors at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC hosted by  Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation at UPMC.

Dr Humar who is Chief, Division of Transplantation Surgery Clinical Director talked about human kindness. I love those words “human kindness”.  I often refer to a letter by Vincent Van Gogh to his brother where he talks about creating art that shows human kindness and what that meant to him. For Van Gogh it was not about doing the popular thing to sell his art it was about being true to himself and painting what his eye saw in people and places.  Dr. Humar talked about the worst and the best in humans today. It comes at a time where so much tragedy and fear has affected our world, however we cannot forget the kindness of humans that will give part of themselves to others.  Whether its the gift of an organ, fighting for our country or the compassion we have for one another.

Dr. Tevar, Tim and I

Dr. Tevar, Tim and I

I was deeply touched today by a women who spoke about her family. When she married her husband 25 years ago he had kidney disease. They have three children together and each one of the children carry the same disease. She donated her kidney to her daughter in college  who otherwise would not survive and she is now looking for a kidney for her son. She desperately wishes she had more to give – for a mother to have to make a choice on which child to give her kidney to is  devastating. Her daughter was at today’s event and you would never know that just a year ago she was fighting for her life– for she looked beautiful and healthy.

A kidney is a second chance at life for many and I hope and pray they will find a kidney for her son along with many others who are waiting.

Tim and I saw Dr. Amit Tevar today! Dr. Tevar was both Tim’s and my surgeon during the kidney transplant and donation.  He is so friendly and kind and we had such a great experience, I thanked him for not just his surgical abilities but for being so genuine, so positive and good with all of us including my Mom the day of Tim’s surgery.

In listening to Dr. Humar open up today’s celebration talking about human kindness ~ I  feel grateful for my experience.

When I hear the stories about the hero’s,  the acts of kindness in Boston that transform us in the worst of times– I continue to believe in human kindness.

Wendy