Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Fixed, but Fearful

Last week, I went to the gym and was unable to get on an elliptical with a connecting TV, so I had to listen to my iPod. I usually use my time at the gym to watch cable, since Ben and I suspended ours six months ago and have been relying on Hulu, Netflix and Amazon for our televised entertainment. But it was OK. I listened to one of my favorite podcasts, Snap Judgment.  It's a radio show where different people, essentially, tell stories about things that happen to them, and it's one of my favorite shows.  The stories are often compelling, funny, shocking, sad...but even the sad ones have a beautiful ray of optimism at the end, which I guess is what makes the podcast so good.

The episode I listened to was a collection of the editors' favorite stories from the past year and beyond. And boy did I pick the wrong time to start listening.  By the end of the first story I was in tears while trying to keep the pace on my elliptical. The second story continued the assault on my emotions. "Heart Failure" is the story of a woman's boyfriend who had  suffered four heart attacks by the age of 27, and it didn't seem like there was cure in sight. I'll leave out a big chunk of the middle in case you want to listen to it later, but *SPOILER ALERT* in the end, her boyfriend is somehow cured!  Fixed! His body simply stops having heart attacks.  It was so amazing.  He comes on for a bit while she's telling her side of the story and says this: 

"I still didn't believe it. It's too hard. It's too hard to get my hopes up. And I was just waiting for it to come back, almost like the worst old friend. It had just been around for so long. But I'm OK. I haven't had a heart attack in over two years now. I run five to eight miles a day. I can make plans for the future now, and I couldn't before." 

As much as I hate to admit it, this pretty much sums up how I felt for a long while post transplant. And even as I write this blog, I still am somewhat fearful.  I'm wondering if other people with chronic illness who suddenly have been given a new lease on life feel the same way.  I went so long being sick and dealing with kidney failure, that it is too hard to believe that it's not there anymore. It's hard to believe that it's not just going to pop up again when everything is going right in my life.  More often than I care to admit, I go through days just waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Anticipating a large cartoon piano being drop on my head somewhere.  And I feel guilty even saying this, because what my dad gave me was a gift.  He gave me his kidney and it's just sad that I can't even fully appreciate it because of this small part of me that's expecting the worst.

This post has to end, unfortunately, without a solution to my problem, because I'm still working through it myself.  I'm still trying to figure how to walk through life without constantly looking over my shoulder to see if "organ failure" is sneaking around, trying to make a comeback.  But one thing I am doing is saying something that I'm thankful for every time I have a negative thought.  I'll let you know how that goes.
Until then, here's to TRYING to leaving fear in the past, and making plans for the future.