The last few days have been incredibly exciting; I guess you could say they’ve marked the real commencement of this incredible journey upon which I am embarking. Let me start from the beginning:
Friday I felt like someone lit a fire under my butt. I had already registered as a potential kidney donor on the National Kidney Registry, which asks that anyone considering becoming a donor undergo six basic tests, send in the results, and wait to be contacted to move forward. However, other sites instructed me to first fill out a questionnaire before doing anything at all. Confused and not wanting to make any mistakes, I decided to go right to the source to figure out the next steps. My thoughts immediately went to Ok Solo, a wonderful blog written by altruistic donor Angela Stimpson. I’ve been reading this blog with such a fervent passion over the last couple of months – while there are countless, amazing blogs documenting donors’ journey’s through this process, something in the way Angela wrote really resonated with me. I found myself reading her posts, thoughts, and feelings and experiencing the overwhelming sensation that someone was reading (and blogging!) my mind. I went to her most recent post at the time and left her a comment stating that I was considering becoming a donor and could use some help. I didn’t have any expectations, but I did have a good feeling.
Just in case my good feeling was trying to mislead me, I logged into Facebook and went directly to the Living Kidney Donors Network page and posted there as well. Again, expectations were low, but I had that same good feeling – the kind you get when you just know, you can just feel, that something awesome is about to happen. I signed out, crossed my fingers, and waited.
Well, I didn’t have to wait long. If there’s one thing I’ve learned thus far, it’s that this community, this network of crazy donors like myself, is extremely supportive and truly willing to help those who help others. Within mere hours, I received contact from both of the places I posted – from Angela (from Ok Solo), Leiann Ortega of Living Donor Awareness (via my post on the Living Kidney Donors Network page), and Harvey Mysel, founder and president of LKDN. Wow. I was totally blown away. Unfortunately, I was out enjoying my Halloween weekend at the time, but I spent a huge portion of the day on Sunday responding to their wonderful messages of support and enthusiasm, and soaking up every bit of information they sent my way.
Unanimously, they all agreed that my initial inkling – to start the process as NKR suggested – was the best thing to do. As Harvey pointed out, NKR has facilitated more paired exchanges and domino paired exchanges (which is what I aim to be a part of) than any other organization, and when you’re dealing with an intricate process like this, there’s no option but the best and the most experienced.
I also decided, with enthusiastic support from Angela, to have the surgery performed at the New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center (that’s where she had hers done and I’ve read so many wonderful things about them, not to mention they’re a mere stone’s throw away from my apartment in Jersey City). So many decisions made in just a few days – I’m getting so excited and anxious!
Now that I was armed with new information, new friends, and avid support, I was anxious to get the ball rolling. So, first thing Monday morning I called my doctor, made an appointment to get a prescription for my initial tests, and then called the lab to see if I could go straight there after my appointment (scheduled for this upcoming Monday, 9am) and they said yes. Score!
To expedite the process even more, I will be stopping by the lab this week to pick up my urine collection container so I can submit that for testing on Monday when I go in for my blood work. Yes, folks, you heard me correctly – urine collection. And not just any old, one-off urine collection. I have to collect all my pee for 24 hours. Clearly this is a job that needs to be done on a day off from work, so I’ve slated this Sunday as the day. As someone who uses the bathroom quite often, this might prove to be a challenge – basically, I won’t be able to leave my house for more than a few hours at a time (unless I want to lug around a giant plastic container of pee, which, um, no). Kind of a bummer. But, as the weather begins to get colder here in New Jersey, I can’t say that I’m COMPLETELY upset about having a totally valid excuse to stay inside watching bad TV all day in my sweats. Christmas movies and reality shows, anyone?
‘I expect to pass through life but once. If then, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again. [William Penn]