Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Adventure Bowl
Change Somebody's Life

UPDATE 1: I know a lot of people don't read on the weekends but I will update this post tomorrow after the testing. Wish me luck!

UPDATE 2, Sunday: I am still speechless. Yesterday was amazing. Why did I wait so long? Why did I fear so much? I will write this as a full post tonight. THANK YOU everyone for your kind, supportive comments. You were deeply part of this Adventure.

Long but worth it. Money back guarantee.

First, I have to thank everyone who left comments with suggestions about how to change someone's life here, twitter or DMs. Thank you. The biggest theme was: give your time, you can do something small and it will make a difference.

I believe that. I know that. I practice that.

I donate magazines to a dialysis center (inspired by my Dad), clothes to the Downtown Women's shelter, food to the homeless. Save all my cans and bottles for that one guy who says "Hello" to me every night as I walk the dogs. He breaks my heart with his 8 year old son helping him. Care packages to a young girl fighting brain cancer.

I have so much.

But there is more to give.

The point of this Adventure Bowl is to do things that push me past my fears. Okay... what fears do I have? Commitment. Yes. That. It's why I never wanted to sign up to be a "Big Sister," even though I really freakin' wanna be a big sister. What if I'm not good enough? What if the girl is like, "You? But you're a mess?" That would be bad. And the whole commitment thing. Yeah.

Fear of seeing grief and pain up close which is why I have never worked with kids in hospitals. Listen, I don't like admitting this stuff. I have flaws, I am so flawed it's ridiculous. Oh, the things I could admit...

When my Dad was sick and my Dad was going to die if he did not get a kidney transplant and my Mom called his sisters and asked if they would be tested and they never called her back and she had no choice and it broke her heart--

To ask her kids to get tested. See if we would be a match for my Dad. I sat there that day in a Boston hospital and I listened to the doctor as he explained the process and looked over at my younger sister who seemed to be very involved with inspecting her nails. Their growth? Their cuticles?

They seemed of grave importance.

When he left I said to her, "Are you paying attention? Are you listening to what he is saying?" (Him of wanting to saw one of us open, root around and take one of our ORGANS). Yes she said. "I hope so. And God, I hope it's you." That's what I said.

I said it because I didn't want it to be me.

I was young. Younger. I was scared. I had already lived through his heart transplant and I did not want to see this. If I was not a part of it... I would not have to see it. Or feel it. Flawed. Bad daughter. Terrible sister.

Of course it was me. Have I ever mentioned this? Yes, they took that kidney out of me and yes, they sawed me in half and this was no laproscopic thing like they can do now.

If I am with someone new and they are kissing me and perhaps putting their hand on my back, and they can feel it or feel the ribs that are missing and ask, what's that about, "knife fight" I will say.

So here we are or were, yesterday and I pull, "Change Somebody's Life" from the bowl and I am scared by how vast and vague and slightly fantastical this is and "what will I do and what can I do? And I'd like it to also jive with something I have wanted to do but been to afraid to do.

I have always wanted to be a Bone Marrow Donor.

Because every hour, minute, second leading up to the kidney transplant, I was so f'ing scared. All the focus is on the person receiving the organ - AS IT SHOULD BE. But, if anyone had told me many, many weeks later, perhaps longer, that I would feel awesome for doing it... I would be back to my normal routine -- I would have never feared it. I would have gone into that surgery with a pure heart, instead of a fearful heart.

So... the bone marrow thing. It just... seeing my Dad get to be alive and seeing how... just how... what seemed so frightening (the transplant) was ultimately, the thing I am most proud of. It's shaped me as a person in ways, probably ways I don't even know. Because my testing phase was very long and arduous so I met a lot of people waiting for transplants.

Your heart breaks for them but opens too. You feel more compassionate. You vow to live your life differently - you are not hooked up to machines, your activities and abilities to do things are not limited. You are not going to treatment alone, you have love all around you.

I've been circling the bone marrow thing for a while but the fear would come in. Excuses: you have to drop everything if you are a match and do it, how would I do my job? Can I get a leave of absence? They might fire me. I hear it hurts.

All BS. So much BS. Fear buried in excuses.

But I've grown up though I don't know when that happened. I don't know when I changed but somehow I just did.

So I picked, "Change Somebody's Life" and now on Saturday, I go for the testing for the Bone Marrow thing.

Yesterday, someone changed my life because of an email they sent me. So yes, you can do the smallest of things to change someone's life. Do not let this post be an indictment of the little things. For they are awesome.

But this thing... this is the thing, I just had to do.

Of course, it always means so much when you repost this to Facebook or Twitter. Organ donation is a big passion of mine and my family and you never know who it might help. Thanks so much :)