According to this article from Ohio State University, the kidney I donated to my stepdad is likely to last at least 10-13 years, while a kidney from a deceased donor might have survived only 7-9 years. So, it’s worth noting that as of this past December, it has been 10 years since my donation! I figured I should take stock of that and look back over this past decade.
First of all, the most important thing to note is that my stepdad is doing really well! Although his anti-rejection drugs have had the side effect of giving him skin cancer, he has remained otherwise healthy. It has been a remarkable thing to witness and makes me feel so good that I was able to donate to him.
And, in addition to 2021 being the 10th year since my donation to my stepdad, I believe it’s also been just over 10 years since my real dad underwent surgery for colorectal cancer, which left him with a colostomy bag. Both my stepdad and my real dad have done amazingly well since 2011! They are both in their 80s now and still very active. I’m truly grateful for how well they have done and amazed by them both!
Here are some things I’d like to take stock of and acknowledge about my life and what I’ve done over this 10-year period:
- I did three Ironman triathlons, the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon, and several shorter triathlons. (I almost can’t believe I did this – as I look back now… I was sort of a badass at one time … I don’t do tri’s anymore, but I appreciate that I got to do them. They gave me a lot of joy!)
- I successfully completed the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim of 4.2 miles with my friend Terese.
- I successfully completed the JFK 50 Mile ultramarathon with my husband.
- I hiked the Maryland portion of the Appalachian Trail with my husband.
- I changed jobs/careers three times (!) — moving from a technical writer/trainer position, to a product owner/manager position, back to the training realm, as a course manager.
- I was a “donor buddy” for four other donors, and – most especially – was able to give advice and support to my niece, who donated to my nephew! (Out of everything on this list, I’m most grateful for this last one.)
In recent years, I’ve slowed down some. But that is mainly due to getting a bit older and having different priorities. I think if I’d really wanted to keep doing triathlons, I could have. I’ve also ended up having high blood pressure. But I can’t say for sure whether my kidney donation had anything to do with that. Recently, I’ve realized that I am way too high-strung and just need to chill out!
I definitely want to stop and appreciate the moment more these days. Wouldn’t it be cool if–after the next 10 years–I could write another post where I told you that I focused on stopping and appreciating all the moments as they passed by?
I recently saw a sweet little movie called The Map of Tiny Perfect Things. It made me reflect on the tiny, perfect moments that can pass by unnoticed and the people you can forget to reach out to even though you love them dearly. You can care about people deeply but forget to tell them or even ask how they are doing. I don’t want to look back and regret that I missed such opportunities.