Today's post is different to my usual content on this site, it's more personal but I wanted to share this with you...
11 years ago today I had a kidney transplant, almost seems trivial now when I look back on it and how time heals the physical and mental scars. However it was anything but that. I wrote quite a lot about the process at the time and those blog posts can still be found on my old Wordpress site, nicklewis.online.
So given the number of years past, how are things now? What is it like to be a transplantee?
Generally speaking all is good, I'm in good health but I do think about life a lot in the sense of how precious it is. I dread think what would have happened had I not gone for that voluntary blood test that day. I guess I wouldn't be writing this now perhaps? It's a morbid thought and as a result my views on mortality changed forever 11 years ago. Think about it too much and depression is never too far away. So on those dark days, I do get them, I seldom talk about them, I bottle them up and force the cork into their proverbial jar and shelve them along with the other chutneys of emotion in my pyschological pantry. In all seriousness it is not always easy but then I think of those who have been less fortunate, who have to dialyze frequently in order to keep on going. I skipped having to go on dialysis but then I think to myself, a transplant isn't going to be a permanent fix, it will keep me going for around 20-25 years and then I think, I am 11 years in, shit, should I worry about it? Thoughts like these are always springing up out of that darkness and I cope with them. I instead look to more positive sources or go off to do something fun and healthy, which scoops those worries back into that emotional jar, out of reach.
People who donate live organs such as my Dad (who gave me one of his kidneys) are heroes, they may deny that sentiment but they are all amazing. We need more people to consider organ donation in general. More people nowadays are stepping in to help friends, family or even complete strangers. Altruistic donors are not that rare, their stories perhaps should be told more often. Research into Kidney disease (of all kinds) is woefully under-funded compared to others but the Kidney Fund, who are one of many charities in this field are doing a great job.
So if you are a fellow transplantee, look after yourself and keep on enjoying life. I damn well plan to do so for many years to come!