I want to start off this next post with a question. Do you find it hard asking for help? When I first asked this question to myself. I thought about it for a while and started to look over my experience as a dialysis patient. It is in this experience I found my answer and I want to share this with you.
When you are a dialysis patient, and you are on the kidney transplant list. It seems that you are anxious for that call from the transplant center telling you that they have a kidney for you. I know I was, especially after I had my first transplant appointment and even more so when I was made active on the list. Active on the list means that you are eligible to receive a Kidney But there is a few things you must keep in mind. First active does not mean you are going to get a kidney right away. There is a wait time depending on your blood type and the wait time for a deceased donor can be anywhere from 1 to 10 years and in some cases it may be even more. During this wait time you must remain active, meaning that all your testing must be completed and kept up to date. Also you must be compliant on dialysis and making treatment on a constant basis and keeping up with your health. .
Asking for A Kidney from a Living Donor
I can remember that I did not understand about the wait time at first. Every time a call would come in from the transplant center, I jumped and answered with the hope that a kidney had become available. After a few of these calls I realized that I would have to wait, and my wait at that time was 5-9 years since starting dialysis. This is a long wait, I mean when you think about it, during that time I would need to go to dialysis three days a week until I received that call. I can hear some of you asking, is there any way to cut down that wait time?
The good news is yes there is, but you have a part to play in this and this can be a difficult step to take. The reason I know this is that I had a hard time taking this step and had I taken it sooner than I did it may have cut my time in half.
With my wait time, you would think that I would have been more motivated to take this step, but it scared me. What is this step, you ask?
Advocating for a living kidney donor. For me this was extremely difficult and while there are a few reasons that I had trouble doing this, I attribute it to myself walking the path of What IF.
- What if someone offers me a kidney and I receive it. What if their kidney failed?
- What if they say No
- What if I am don’t know the answer to the questions they have about donating.
These what ifs were hard to overcome, and I will be the first one to say that I did not do a good job of getting past these. The reason is that it was easier for me to walk the path of what if why not then to climb the Why Not Trail. On why not trail, here are a few questions I should have asked myself.
- Why Not-if someone donates a kidney and something happens, that donor would be next in line to get a Kidney.
- Why Not-The the worst thing someone can say no and if you don’t ask they won’t have the opportunity to say yes.
- Why Not-Call transplant and get more information on the process of being a donor.
Had I looked at it this way, it would have been much easier to advocate for myself and I would have cut my time in half? There is another advantage that you have in today’s time.
Todays Advantage, is your advantage.
The Kidney Advocating Community especially in the organ donation field is growing at a rapid pace and there are many shows and podcasts and social media influencers that will share your story with their audience and many of them do it as they themselves have traveled the very trail you are traveling now. I think of two organizations that do this. Hope with Jonathan and KWM. These two phenomenal organizations are making a huge impact each and every day, working to get the word out to their audiences so that you may have a better chance of receiving a kidney. If I had known about the power of social media in this way, it would have been easier for me to advocate more for myself. What about you?
Are you willing to take that step to a new and brighter stage in your life, to go from a dialysis patient to a transplanted life? If so, you just have to take the first step, and I encourage you to take that step and advocate for yourself,
Until next be encouraged for you are one step closer to the next peak.