For me, I clearly remember waking up the day after surgery thinking "now what"? That uncertainty would continue for weeks and has to an extent stuck around. There was a bit of emptiness and not because there was a small cavity in my abdomen where Leftie had resided. I wasn't sad but I did feel a little lost. Okay, a lot lost. I had spent over eight months thinking almost constantly about my choice to donate my kidney. I had felt every emotion imaginable, from the highs of passing a tough medical exam to the lows of run ins with a few impersonal medical professionals. I had been excited; I had been stressed. I had been scared. I had spent countless yoga classes, bubble baths and sleepless nights visualizing how the surgery was going to go and how I'd get myself through the recovery. I had written blog posts, shared my feelings and ideas with whoever would listen. I had made lists and checked them more than twice in order to be prepared for the time off I would need. But it seemed like it was all over. So now what?
Of course this is all very "normal". Some people liken it to the experience of “post-partum blues” or emotional let down after the birth of a baby. Pregnancy (I would guess) is much like living kidney donation in that something big from a biologic perspective is going to happen. There is anticipation over the course of months which builds expectations in the new mother or, in my case, the kidney donor. With the birth of the child or the removal of the kidney, the process is over. Except with a baby, you have...well a baby, and a whole new set of expectations and things to look forward to, experience etc. Kidney not so much. It just seems kind of ... over - and so suddenly at that. Even though I had always planned to continue to be a promoter of Living donation and still wanted to do what I could to make the process better, it still felt like I was coming to the end of something. And I felt a strong need (desperation?) to have the "next steps" figured out, like what I had already done wasn't enough and I wasn't "finished".
Today I went to an industry breakfast and the speaker was Canadian Olympic Gymnast Kyle Shewfelt (who by the way is an awesome guy). He spoke about the moment he was on the gold medal podium in 2004. After years and years of training and competing, he was finally realizing an enormous, life impacting dream. And as he received his medal, all he could think about was "Now what? What is next?". He said in hindsight he really cheated himself. He didn't allow himself to have that moment, to stop and be present for it. He was hung up in that empty feeling where that goal used to be and felt lost for a good deal of time afterwards. Listening to his story was a real "a ha" moment for me.
|Not the same as Olympic Gold |
but still pretty cool
It's important to have goals-and believe me, I am not done with this living donation promotion stuff. But you have to allow yourself to feel the "wins" along the way-that's just as important.Success is not about being the best. It's about being YOUR best. And doing the best YOU can.