My Double Lung Transplant

Friday, September 25, 2009

Survivors Guilt?

A weird concept.

Anyone who goes through waiting and hopefully, receiving, a transplant, can attest to the fact that the bonds you forge with fellow transplant people are bonds you’ll have for life, and that you honestly root for everyone around you to get their transplants. Not only that, but you want them to have as much of a successful transplant that you are hopefully going to have/have had.

With myself, I’ve been SO fortunate to have a good, healthy, relatively uneventful (thankfully!) recovery. I count my blessings and say my thanks every day – and I don’t ever want anyone to ever doubt that. Without transplant and a good recovery I would not be where I am 6 weeks post. I’m feeling fantastic and everything is working as it should in this body of mine. I don’t just take one moment every day to thank my donor, God (or Buddah, or whoever you choose to believe in or not believe in), my awesome surgeons for not mangling me, the docs for not messing me up, my family, friends, pets, and stubborn determination to not fail at this.

And while that’s all fine and dandy, it breaks my heart when I see and hear of people who aren’t as fortunate as I am to have a good, uneventful recovery. It’s something only you can hope of. I’m not wondering, “why did I do so well and you didn’t?” as it does largely depend on your health leading up to the transplant and if you have other issues that could interfere; but it makes you sit and wonder why we can’t all be so lucky to have smooth sailing *knocks on wood*. You become close to everyone but on different levels, but still, you want everyone to succeed, and it’s hard to grasp it when you find out that those you have going through waiting with aren’t as lucky.

So there’s that issue that you sit on, and ponder, and worry about, and send out good vibes, spidey senses, prayers, what have you. You hope that whatever time they have left on this Earth is peaceful, stress free, and when their time comes and they crawl out of this world, that the other side greets them in the friendliest way possible as they crawl into the next.

Then you have your friends who are still waiting – the ones who were listed before you. You watch them get sicker and sicker and hope and try to come up with ways that would get them to receive their call all the sooner, because you know that would the situation be reversed, they would move Heaven, Hell and Earth to do the same for you.

I’d sell a boob if I had to.

One of the toughest parts is that all control is beyond you. You can only offer mental, emotional, and maybe on some level, spiritual comfort. By no means am I claiming to be an expert because I am far from it; these are just some tough observations that I haven’t wanted to address but know that I must. I am not oblivious to the challenges that come with being a transplant recipient, despite being blessed enough to have a good recovery. It’s hard when the people around you struggle. It’s hard when there is nothing you can do. Some days, words and smiles don’t cut it for them, b/c i HAVE been ‘them’ and i know what utter bullshit those words, smiles and ‘you’re in my thoughts’ and ‘you’re next, I can know it’ can feel.


In less preachy news, there is a movement in the province of Ontario to raise awareness about organ donation amongst our youth, called I have been fortunate enough to have been in contact with them and did a small interview last week that was published on my University’s website. They are raising awareness currently among university students in the province. On Monday, I am going to be on the panel at a meeting as a ‘recipient’ to discuss my story!!! How exciting! I can’t wait! Free pizza afterwards too! BONUS!!

Is it ironic that as I write this, “How to Save a Life” is blaring from my blog...?


Megan said...

I've had that song stuck in my head since yesterday for some unknown reason. Oh, and I'm trying to get friends to sign up to be organ donors, even if it's not the most easiest conversation to start. I signed up too, when filling in the form for my drivers license. Xx

Matt Todd said...

Organ donation is the ultimate form of recycling.