Friday, March 8, 2013

Real Life, Fantasy, and Optimism

You know the feeling of going through life thinking, "Gosh, I sure do have a great life"?  You think about how easy life is, how smooth it is.  I mean, sure you have some problems here and there--the job that you hate, but who doesn't hate their job right?  Not enough money saved up, but there's always going to be something else to buy.  Not sure what to make for dinner. Well, a million other people share that problem I'm sure.  You go through the little struggles of life but the point is, you get through them relatively easy, pretty well in fact.  So well that you begin to think, this is all going a little TOO well.  Even the bad stuff seems to be going a little TOO WELL.  You get kidney disease, it sucks but that's OK, you get to keep you kidneys for another 10 years.  Your kidneys decide to fail you.  Even that's not as bad as it could be.  You're O+ and so are a lot of other people in your family, including one of your best friends, your sister.  Awesome, right? How lucky you are! Most people take forever to find a donor but it sounds like you've already got one lined up. This is great!  You start a blog.  You write posts.  A lot of them are funny. You're really handling this well!  Then, your kidneys start to fail you even more, so your nephrologist helps your sister get an appointment to see if she's a match right away.  She even jumped over all the other people at the hospital.  Well, that's alright!  How blessed you are!  How amazing!  How...easy this process seems to be.  

You find out that what you thought would be a perfect match turns out to be the biggest let down.  And all of a sudden this easy process, easy life, it gets a little harder.  The other shoe has officially dropped.  

I've always been a pretty optimistic person.  I like finding silver linings and "thinking positive" most of the time. But I can see why not everyone would want to.  Letting yourself hope for the best has it's benefits, but it also leaves you unprepared to deal with the worst.  You're not ready for it.  There's no point in entertaining the worst with all that positive thinking.  Those types of thoughts can't fit. The positive side just bumps them out of your brain to the other side of the universe.

That's what happened to me. I thought about my sister...not being a match...not being able to donate.  No, no, no, no, no, don't think like that, I told myself. Stop that, other people told me.  You'll be fine. She'll be able to donate. You'll get your kidney. It'll be fine. Don't think like that.  More than ever, now, I really wish I'd let myself think about those things, because then this wouldn't be such a tough pill to swallow.  I've always been so scared of stuff, because of those positive thoughts.  I was scared of getting a transplant because I was so optimistic I wouldn't need one for another three years.  I was scared of dialysis because I was so optimistic I was getting a transplant soon.  I have just always wanted to accept something...that wasn't real.    

This is what's real:  as of today, I don't have a donor.  I am not getting my kidney right now.  I didn't get it in January.  I didn't get it in February.  It's March.  I doubt I'm getting it this month.  Soon April will be here.  Then May.  I don't know when I'm getting my new kidney.  I don't know who my donor is going to be.  And, yes, my kidneys are still failing.  These are neither positive nor negative thoughts.  This is the truth.  Thousands of people spend years on the waiting list for a kidney.  Years.  Because they just don't have anybody yet.  Nobody.  Why did I think I would be any different?