an early christmas present

Remember a few posts ago when I said ‘today was a good day’? Well, no, today was a good day. An amazing day. An absolutely perfect day that simply cannot be ruined by anything or anyone. And I’m not even talking about the insane Prince concert I’m going to tonight with my boyfriend!! After much anticipation and nerves and tests and more tests, and more emails and phone calls than I can count, I finally found out that yes, the medical board at the National Kidney Registry has approved me to become a non-directed donor! I’m so excited I can barely form complete thoughts!!! If I wasn’t at work when I found out, I would have screamed and danced and cried, but I had to settle instead for a few ALL CAPS IM’s and some hushed phone calls. But I smiled the whole time and yes, even got teary eyed.

I emailed Diane at NKR again yesterday to see if she had heard back from the medical board yet about whether or not I was approved. When I didn’t hear back, I certainly grew even more anxious, but from day one I’ve had a good feeling about all of this. Nonetheless, when I saw her name suddenly appear in my inbox this morning, I have to admit my heart skipped a beat – all I could think about was what if I was denied? Luckily, that thought was only fleeting and with a quick click all my fears were calmed – I was approved! After feverishly IMing my boyfriend (who said he’d never seen someone so excited to be cut open), emailing my donor friend and mentor, Angela, and sneaking in a quick call with my stepfather to relay the news, I dialed Diane’s number to discuss the next step (I love next steps!).

Diane told me that she would be forwarding my records to the transplant team at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan (not only do I live close by in Jersey City and work in midtown Manhattan, but also I’ve done a lot of research about the number and quality of transplants done here and feel most comfortable in the hands of these incredibly talented doctors). Once they receive my information, one of their transplant coordinators will give me a ring to set up ‘the big day’ of testing (more waiting – fun!). From the things I’ve read and heard, this is a marathon day of blood tests, scans, poking, prodding, and even a psychological exam (even I don’t dare to guess what they’ll discover during that one!).

Though it sounds exhausting, I’m super excited and just itching to tell everyone I see! But, alas, I can’t – I’ve been forced to promise that I won’t tell my mother about this until after the holidays, so it’s two more weeks of secrecy for me (my mom is a worrier by nature, and though she means well, it’s better to let her, and the rest of my family, enjoy the holidays without talk of my impending doom that is, in her mind, the donation surgery). I guess after months of tiptoeing around, two weeks won’t be all that bad. With Christmas only eight days away and my best friend’s wedding a week later on New Year’s Eve, I’ll have plenty to distract me until my vow of silence can be broken. Until then, I’ll continue to thank God every day for my health and happiness, and count down the days until I can share a bit of that with someone else who needs it more than I do.

 

‘It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.’  [Mahatma Ghandi]

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3 responses to “an early christmas present

  • Teri Navickas

    This brings back with clarity our own journey two years ago. I gave a kidney to my husband Dec. 30, 2008. It was a stressful, anxiety filled time. I would look at the faces of those who were ‘on the other side’ of transplant and wonder if we would ever get there. I wish you well, it is a gift which actually gave more to me spiritually than I ever could imagine. God bless and good luck.

  • Lola

    So happy for you, Melissa. You are embarking on a meaningful experience that will never be forgotten. I’m so happy to know you – you have a beautiful soul and spirit. Your recipient will be lucky to get such a special kidney. Hugs…

  • melissaarlio

    Wow – my first comments ever! Thank you both not only for checking out my blog and for showing such heartwarming support, but for being donors yourselves! You both are such inspirations so THANK YOU a million times over!

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