Throwback Transplant Stories – (1)

4 months post transplant

#maribelskidneystory‬ ‪#‎tbt‬ // “I waited five years for THE CALL. Those first couple months ‪#‎posttransplant‬ was really like being in a dream. Because of an organ donor, I got to enjoy my friend’s wedding with the glow of new health, from harmonious functioning organs. No pain, skin discoloration, or puffiness. I remember dancing the night away. It was a beautiful day when I was able to commit to my yeses. ‪#‎becauseofanorgandonor‬, there was this new independence. It was a beautiful time for me and my family.” — @the_waitinglist contributor Maribel Butts of Sacramento, CA. Maribel received her first kidney transplant in February 2010 as part of a eight-person donor chain. In August 2012 Maribel found out her donated kidney failed. She has been on ‪#‎thewaitinglist‬ for her second ‪#‎kidneytransplant‬ since October 2012. (Photo by @maribelskidneystory) // ‪#‎endthewaitinglist” Repost from www.TheWaitingList.org

I am continuing to be a regular contributor for The Waiting List and decided it was a time to write my reflections on untold transplant stories. What better day than to do it on a “Throwback Thursday”. A day the world reflects on the past memories. It was also a great opportunity to share it with the waiting list today. Their motto is “Together we will help end the waiting list one story at a time.” Something I’m very passionate about especially because of my personal connection and how it has affected my life. I have wondered if I would’ve had a more successful transplant if there really wasn’t a wait time. Nevertheless, I do my best to not dwell and just appreciate the time I had with my kidney transplant.

5 months post transplant
5 month post transplant

After all The anticipation, advocating and preparing myself for the day I would finally receive the call for my gift of life. Those first couple months having a transplant was really like being in a dream. After getting over the hump of recovering from the surgery, normalcy came in and honestly I didn’t know what to do with myself but live. Go after life with caution of course. That’s why I don’t have as much documented as I normally would’ve on my blog during that time. Thank God I took photos. Sometimes a single photo can tell better stories. It also helps me to remember thankfully as my memory has worsened. These photos were two weddings I was able to attend that year. This is what I believe is a picture of good health for me. The look of harmonious functioning organs. No pain, skin discoloration or puffiness. I enjoyed dancing the night away and just rejoice in the new-found health.

After years of my health slowly declining I almost forgot what good health felt like. It’s like how I am getting accustomed to the dialysis life now. I’ve learned to just keep moving forward in life the best I could. Although now I have a greater picture of how much a new kidney can benefit the health. The feeling of good health is a feeling you cannot compare to anything. The #1 gift that a kidney transplant gives you is the ability to make urine and lots of it. After almost five years of not a single drip; I couldn’t help thank God every time I had to pee. I was loving it. Just being able to drink without limiting myself. I didn’t know I could love so much water or that it could ever feel like a chore to drink. You don’t know how important your kidneys are until you lose it. Most importantly, me and my family were waiting for some relief from the dialysis life. Something I’m happy that my mother in law who is pictured above was able to see. She was our #1 support through all the challenges. She passed away as a result of her kidney failure just this past year. This makes me want to advocate for kidney disease and organ donation even more.

Little by little I felt the end stage kidney failure become beginning stages of new kidney function. After I hit my isolation/ healing period I finally felt like I was able to commit to my yeses without worries that something would happen suddenly with my health. There was this new independence. It was everything I waited for. Losing my transplant was devastating. Especially after receiving my gift of life in such a miraculous way. Being apart of 8 person donor chain. Which had lots of media coverage. It was a special moment that I will never forget and always be thankful to have been apart of. (Read: U.C. Davis Donor Reunion) I had to deal with a lot guilt with a combination of grief. This made it difficult to write as things have taken a turn for the worse. That’s where I left off in my blog in 2012. Steadily I eased my way back especially most recently but I lost touch with most of my fellow bloggers and subscribers. I apologize for that. I did turn to taking lots of photos to help me process the healing without words this time. Looking back at my archives I see that I was going through some type of healing journey around the same time in May/ June which prompted me to write more. A lot of what I’m writing maybe the same as far as the struggle goes but I believe time has taught me so much and wisdom was gained.

My season of healing and writing has come full circle as I am ready to fully commit to sharing my life story. I’m used to turning my obstacles as teaching moments in life. A continuous process that I want to stay committed to. Even though it can be challenging as my mind has turned to mush with the failing health. I will press on and know my writing can only get better by continuously doing it. This is the first mini story out of my “Throwback Transplant Stories” series that I want to start sharing. It’s unbelievable how much life can be lived in a short time. By going back it will help with the grief that still is with me. Gracefully my donor has been very understanding. Even saying if she could she would give me another kidney. My wait time on the waiting list could be more than five years this time around. I have a lot of work to do and I plan to also share the journey tightening my diet and getting back in shape. For now it’s all about healing. Thank you for looking back with me today. It always helps with moving forward.

Much love,

Maribel

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