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Friday, June 24, 2011

The Dark Horse

This blog will be posted some time after it was written due to an outside directive to not talk about my living donor experience until after I have donated.  If you are reading this, it is because I have completed the donation process.
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May 21, 2011

It's funny how at the eleventh hour in any project or experience, something or someone comes along that surprises you. I think that is the universe's way of making you do one last shoulder check before the point of no return.  In this particular case, the dark horse that seemed to come out of nowhere was the husband of one of my closest friends.

Apparently they were watching the late evening news one recent night. I should preface this by saying that with toddler kids, the fact that they were both awake and speaking at this time of night was an event in itself. As the story goes it had been a regular evening with regular chores and family time. I was not a part of any of there conversations nor was anything related to kidney donation. The hubby, who we'll call Billy, has had actually very little to say on the subject of my kidney donation and he has known for months. Even at family gatherings or at other times when his wife brought it up as a conversation subject, he wasn't one to comment on it. Except that the other night, as they were both zoning out in front of the TV, he had something to finally say on the subject.

"Do you think we can get Lauren to change her mind?"

It's strange to have someone so close to your inner circle wait that long to voice opposition to something like this. It even came as a bit of a surprise to my friend (his wife). Billy is someone I've known a long time and I care about.  I value his outlook on things.  He's a very smart, logical guy and while I haven't agreed with every opinion he's had in the last 15ish years I've know him, I respect him greatly. So when this message made its way to me, I couldn't help but pause and think about it for a moment (or several hours actually).

Am I making a mistake? Is this a dumb idea? I was really surprised how much his opinion was causing me to doubt my decision. For some reason it was almost embarrassing to me that this was happening-like I didn't want to get caught having doubts. Was it just timing or was it because I was uncertain of my choice to donate now that it was real? What was with all this doubt? Why were these comments, out of all the ones I've received good and bad, affecting me so much? When did Billy become my voice of reason?

But I'm glad it happened. I think doubt is good when you know you’re ready for what’s next, even though you don’t know exactly how its going to go. When clarity and understanding is temporarily replaced by the shadows of doubt, the doubt can be very good at making you run through your decision one more time and review all the supporting factors (and consequences) to be sure you haven't missed anything or that the situation hasn't changed significantly. I ran through everything-from the scientific logic and statistics, to the emotional stuff. I tested myself.  I purposely read some "anti donation" web posts I found on some online forums-surgery horror stories and debates about it being unethical. I thought about the worst person in the world I could think of and then pondered how I would feel if THEY got my kidney. I went over all the what ifs, making sure I wasn't sugar coating anything too much.

While Billy's comments seemingly came out of nowhere, and I did lose a little sleep over it, in the end I think it's made me more confident in my choice to donate. I think I'm at peace now with my decision and I guess maybe I wasn't as much as I thought I was before this happened. Yet another great learning I've had along the way!

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