As much as the transplant scares me, and it absolutely terrifies me, the one thing that has gotten me through it to this point is having a great support system.
I don’t want to even imagine what life would be like without the great support that I have had. I would be a basket case…well, more so than I am now. I know that I am fortunate, as I know not everyone has what I have.
It all starts with your family and friends. I am the type of person that has typically been the one helping others in the past – I like doing that. But things are a little different now. Now I need to ask for help or accept help of others when it is provided. That has been extraordinarily difficult for me. As I said, I am fortunate, in that my family has always been spectacular when “the chips are down.”
Mom, Tommy and Christine, well you could not ask for a better core, and I know Dad and Linda are always here in spirit (and, of course, I could not forget Bella, my beagle). And our family support just extends from there. I have the most extraordinary extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins, no matter where they are around the world, they always seem to be right there when you need them most – if not physically, by phone or email for sure.
I have also been lucky enough to always surround myself with great friends. You don’t have to have many of them, but those you do have need to be able to understand what you are going through. They will not judge you, but they will support you – help you take your mind off things for even a little while…by going out for a beer or dinner or whatever.
But a good support system goes far beyond just family and friends. It also extends to the doctors and nurses that take care of you from the time you are told you need a transplant, right up to your surgery and well beyond. It also extends to those you meet along the way who have either gone through it or are in the process of going through what you are going through…such as Dina and Becky, as well as all of the other who have been following this blog.
This has been a long road so far, and I know it’s going to be even longer and I am going to need all the help I can get to live a long and fulfilling life. The key, for me, anyway, will be when someone offers to help, no matter how great or how small, to take it – at least until I am stronger and won’t need as much help (or my Irish stubbornness kicks in).
For those reading, think of who your core is and then build out from there…you definitely need some type of support system in place as you go through this journey…this is something that you should not even consider going at alone.
You can also go to www.thewaitinglist.org for more information on organ donation, or visit The Waiting List on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/endthewaitinglist .