As a child, the days seem so long. That feeling changes quickly as we grow older and the word “bored” vanishes from our vocabulary. I have entered the age range where time feels fleeting and the years are flying by. It is hard to fathom that today marks my 13-year kidney transplant anniversary. At 19 years old, I was too young to fully grasp and appreciate how a kidney transplant would change my life. I knew my life was being saved, but I never imagined how much it would transform. These extra years that I have been gifted – with thanks to my living donor, Sally Robertson – have granted me the time to live, love and learn invaluable life lessons. In honor of this monumental day, I wrote the first 13 lessons that came to mind, in no particular order, which I have learned since receiving the gift of life:
1. Never lose hope.
2. Miracles do happen.
3. Our bodies want to heal.
4. Don’t underestimate the power of positivity.
5. Change is good.
6. The ripple effect of selflessness.
7. Unconditional love exists.
8. A day not in the hospital is a great day.
9. Support is needed and it helps; give it and accept it.
10. Caregivers are the unsung heroes, thank you to all.
11. I’m lucky to be alive to see my body aging.
12. Keep life simple, as the little things matter most.
13. How therapeutic it is to find your passion and use it to help others.
Today’s anniversary is special as I am 13 years post-transplant on August 13. After receiving my treasured kidney bean, the 6-month anniversary of my kidney transplant was huge. One year was a great success. Five years was amazing and on the 10-year anniversary, I celebrated the remarkable milestone by doing 10 acts of kindness. I am ecstatic to have reached 13 years and I hope there are many, many more to come.
We can relate to our love for our partners, our parents, children, friends and pets. However, words cannot adequately express the love and appreciation I have for my kidney donor. Thank you, Sally, for affording me the opportunity to mature from a sick young girl into the grateful, strong, passionate woman that I am today. I graciously carry your 53-year-old kidney and strive to take the best care of myself, make the most of each day and use my life as it was intended, to help others. I love you and our precious kidney.
What life lessons have you learned from your PKD and/or transplant?