As a parent, how do you choose which child to tell news first? I usually follow the same pattern. I tell my oldest daughter first! First of all, birth order says it’s her prerogative to know first. Second she is just like her dad, calm and collected! If the world blows up trust me when I say, you will want both on your team:) Third she is a nurse. She is a healer! She was very matter of fact upon hearing I had decided to donate her great-uncle a kidney. It was in my conversation with her that a profound truth was embedded with in my spirit! This truth would guide me through out the entire evaluation process. “Trust the System!” Those three words gave me hope and peace. Peace that it would work out as it was supposed to. I had no worries and no fear! I have been asked repeatedly if I am afraid. I am not! I think this is one of the hardest parts to explain. By nature I am not a fearful person. I’ve often said that you could drop me out of an airplane in the remotest part of China and I would still find someone to talk with and laugh with. I would not be afraid! Giving up a kidney seems much easier to me than moving to a foreign country with one husband, two children, two dogs, and unable to speak or read one word of the language. My oldest daughter’s calmness gave me assurance. Since the moment I stopped fighting what I knew in my spirit I was hearing, all traces of fear and apprehension left me. That is not a natural human reaction. I believe that is a Spirit driven reaction. Doing what we know we are supposed to do brings peace and conquers fear!
Just because one wants to donate a kidney does not make it happen. There is a system in place for potential transplant donors. As a donor, you have a goal to give your organ to someone in need. But, the donor evaluation system also has a goal. It wants to rule you out! Potential donors go through what some call the “million dollar evaluation.” The transplant team is looking for a reason to reject you, medically speaking. Every transplant is guided by very stringent guidelines and mandates. Every transplant done in the United States, regardless which transplant center it is done through impacts national statistics. So every transplant team wants it to be a success! If you want to know more look up http://www.unos.org The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) was established under the National Organ Transplant Act of 1984. Since 1986, United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) has operated the OPTN under federal contract to the Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. Learn more at http://optn.transplant.hrsa.gov/ (Taken from the booklet Living Donation by UNOS.)
Talking to my oldest daughter clarified for me this fact, if there was a reason I should not do this medically speaking, it would be found. It is not uncommon for undiagnosed illnesses or conditions to be uncovered and identified in the process. Before beginning the process of evaluation to see if you could be a possible organ donor, you must be prepared to learn something about your body you don’t know. It happens! If there is a medical condition that would put you at risk, it will be found. One other thing I want to say to other potential donors. If you are a street drug user, you can not hide that so you might as well tell them up front! There is a myth out there that you can hide your use by taking herbs or over the counter remedies. You can not hide any drug or even alcohol use. The blood testing that is done is not such, as you get at your local family doctor. They are testing at the cellular level. They are looking at your DNA. “Trust the System!!”
Next, I called my youngest daughter. She is four and a half years younger than her older sister. I have often said my two girls are like day and night. I have been thinking about that and it’s not quite accurate. They are more like moonlight and sunlight! Both compliment each other and both are needed for survival! Mine! Life is better with both! What touched me most about my conversation with my youngest was her First remark. Speaking of her older sister she asked, “What does ___ say?” She didn’t need to ask, she knew I would have already talked to her big sister. She trusts her sister’s opinion!
The hardest phone call was telling my mother! I knew she would be nervous and worried. Of course, she wanted my uncle to get a kidney! But, it would have been easier for her if it came from someone other than her oldest baby:) As a mother, I totally understand that! That is a normal reaction, because who wants to see their child go through something like donating a kidney. It is serious! I am the oldest of four daughters. This August will be two years since my dad passed away. It is hard, we miss him! It was hard for me to tell my mom, because I didn’t want to worry her. It was hard for her to hear. She is supportive of my decision and will be there on transplant day! Kathy