One Year in Review

One year ago today I was being prepped for surgery. About this time I was being wheeled toward the elevator when John ran up to tell me thank you. Our lives would never be the same.
I feel that it is my duty to be eloquent and poinient in this post. However, if you know me, you also know that I am neither of those things. I have tried to make light of the situation over this past year because I feel that what I did was not all on me. Eric, Rebecca and our children all deserve admiration for supporting us during this time. I am sure that it was not easy to have to tend to the two of us while holding down the fort. Thank you both.
As the months have gone by I have thought less and less about the events of September 6, 2011. Many days not thinking about it at all. As the end of Summer has been nearing it has all come flooding back. The support of everyone for the fundraiser was amazing. I still cannot believe that it came together with such success on such short notice. All of the wonderful dinners delivered to our house for well over a month. In fact, Eric asked Joy B. the other day if the donation had had any effect on her. Her reply, “Not really. I just remember all of the really great food that we got to try.”
In May I ran the Ogden Marathon. I looked at it as a way to get into shape, but it was much more. My doctor had told me that it would take at least a year to get back to running that kind of distance. I was slow, but I finished. I think I cried for the last six miles. Partly from exhaustion and partly because I was doing it. The last mile Eric met up with me and ran into for the finish. Seeing him and the support that he was giving me overwhelmed me with emotion. Eric has supported me so much during this past year and I will never be able to thank him enough. He really is the unsung hero in this story.
Over the Summer the Maws did all of the things that they were unable to do last Summer and the Bergstroms, as always, over committed themselves. We were unable to get together even one evening with the Maws, but we were thrilled that they were out and about and not tied to a dialysis machine.
On August 25, 2012 my name was added to the donor wall at the Salt Lake Library. The wall was first unveiled last year with over 4,000 names. My mother-in-law was the one that brought its existance to my attention. I filled out the paperwork and had myself added (Rebecca notarized it for free 🙂 ).
I wasn’t sure if what I was doing was self congratulatory, so I was a little hesitant to tell anyone about it. I was even on the fence about the importance of attending the unveiling ceremony. Thankfully, Eric emailed the Maws so that we could be there together. I was happy that my sister Ali and John’s parents; Gwen and John Sr., were also able to be there.
I had imagined that the event would be maybe twelve or so donors like myself in a very small ceremony. In fact there were over 500 people in attendance. The guest speaker (the wife of one of Eric’s co-workers) opened my eyes to what being a “donor” usually means. Her now two year old son was born with a heart defect. At two months they planned to send him home from the hospital so that he could die surrounded by family. The next day they received word that a three year old girl had died in an accident and he would be getting a new heart. This little boy’s life was saved by the ultimate sacrifice by this three year old little girl. This little hero saved or improved nine lives. Her family was in attendance and it was a very emotional experience.
I stood there with Gwen Maw listening to this story and realized very quickly that mine and John’s story is not the norm. As far as I know, I was the only living donor their that day. Most people in attendance were there mourning the loss of a loved one and celebrating their sacrifice. This was by far the most humbling experience of this process. My “sacrifice” will never compare to what these families have gone through. Hold your family little closer tonight and let them know how much you love them. Take this time to make a call to family you don’t see often and send love to them.
Ours is a win/win scenerio. John got a healthy kidney and I received a special place in my heart that will always be filled with light and love. I feel that it is my duty to spread that light and love around. The world can seem like a scary cold place sometimes. Remember that deep down most people have this spark just waiting for their moment to shine.
I like to think that I have made my Mom really proud. I am sending special love and thanks to all of you for making my heart happy. Please do at least one nice thing for someone today and make your heart happy too.

Sorry for the cheese, the occassion seemed to warrent it. Oh and I couldn’t find the spellcheck in this program, so don’t judge.
Peace and Love,