My transplant nephrologist recently told me that I'm probably only going to have my dad's kidney for another two years. That would put its transplant life at just five years.
Trust me. I know that's not a long time. We all hear and read stories of people having their kidney transplants for 10, 20, even 30 years. Well, this is the story of the girl who only had her transplant for five years.
I really wished, hoped, and at one time I prayed, that I would get to be in the first group, regaling others with the success story of my kidney transplant. But five years is not a success story. It's more like a failure.
Chronic kidney rejection is what my nephrologist thinks I may be experiencing. It's not acute rejection, which can be treated with steroids. It's the type that just simply progresses to kidney failure. The infections, multiple surgeries and my miscarriage all may have played a part in why this is happening. The "why" of it all seems to be of more concern to people who aren't me, or people who haven't experienced chronic illness. When you've been sick for half of your life, you eventually stop striving to determine the "why" or the "how." Many times, knowing that information doesn't change the present situation or the future outcome. And unless you own a hot tub time machine or DeLorean, it's impossible to go back in time and change the past.
As I've matured in my experience with chronic illness, I've tried to focus more on "what does this mean," and "what are the next steps." I'm having more labs, and another biopsy in about two months.
But in between then I'm starting a new job, continuing to run my book club and just living my life. I feel so fortunate that I can do that, that being "just live my life." I don't take that for granted at all.
On days when I do feel sad about this, I remember that I have been through kidney failure before. I have seen sickness and I have seen death. And if I have to, I will deal with it again. In fact, I might even handle things better than I did last time.
|Image from Buzzfeed|