Friday, May 3, 2013

T-Day: The Art of Remembering

Transplant Day

By the time this is read by most, I'll be asleep on a hospital table, while surgeons do what has taken more than 50 years to perfect.  May 3 is the last day that the kidneys that were provided to me at birth, perform their last few functions, and curl up and die.  May 3 is also the first day of my second chance at living.  

In the days leading up to the surgery, my nervousness played second fiddle to excitement.  Two years ago, when I was told that my kidneys, which had been declining in function for the past ten years, would eventually fail I rejected the idea that I would need a transplant. I protested.  I kicked, and screamed, and cried.  I was angry at myself, my family, my fiance...God.  Fast forward to May 3, and the thing I want most is to have this transplant. The thing I want most is to not be on the last leg of my life.  I want to feel what it's like to be 15 years old again, because that was the last time my kidneys worked perfectly.  

After everything is said and done, and I regain energy, stamina, health...I don't want to ever forget this time.  I want to have this past year burned into my brain and imprinted on my heart.  I want to think about this period of my life everyday.  I want to photograph my scar. I want to stare at it.  I want to flaunt it. I don't want to wake up one morning and forget what it has been like to cry, to wish I was dead, to wish I was alive, to wake up feeling awful, to go to sleep feeling awful, to be in pain, to feel alone. I don't want to forget what it was like to miss out on things, to take it easy, to quit drinking, to watch what I eat.  I don't want to forget what it was like to have to call for help, to have to rely on Ben, to have to depend on God every second of every day. To count on God to perform miracles. I don't want to forget what it was like to watch other people, healthy people, and feel happy, sad, or jealous.  I don't want to forget was it was like to want to give up, but then decide to push forward just one more day.  I don't want to forget what if feels like to know you can't live without your kidneys. I don't want to forget all the people who have done so much for me. I don't want to forget what God has done for me. I don't want to forget that this has been the worst and best year of my life. 

I want to remember this time so that there will never be a doubt in my mind that I am stronger than I think I am. That even when I feel most alone, I can count on more people than I could have imagined to be in my corner.   That Ben and I can conquer anything, together.  That hope is enough to keep two crippled kidneys chugging along for a whole year, functioning at less than 10 percent.  That nothing is impossible for God.  That He is good, all the time.

I don't want to take anything for granted. I want to be thankful for every single thing.  Good and bad, because at the end of the day, it doesn't go to waste. It's all absorbed and becomes part of who we are.

"We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.  In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged.  Quite the contrary--we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit."