One thing that I have only touched on briefly so far with regard to the transplant is the emotional toll that it takes. Not the emotional toll on me, that is fairly evident…rather on those around me. This whole journey has been eye opening, to say the least.
As I have mentioned before, my family has been great. Obviously, Tommy has graciously decided to make a life decision in donating a kidney to me. Christine and my mother have been enormously supportive (not to forget Bella, either). And we have all had the fortitude of having great extended family and friends who have been supportive. As strong as some people have told me I am, I honestly don’t know if I could have done this without any one of them.
But as supportive as everyone has been, I can still see that it has been draining on everyone. Beginning with Christine…talk about a rock. She has been solid. From just after I got my heart by-pass surgery to the present, she has been as positive as anyone could possibly be, continuously saying, “now that your heart is fixed, you’ll get a new kidney either from Tommy or elsewhere if Tommy is not able donate, and then you’ll be as good as new and live a long, long life.” But as each day goes by, and the possibility of the transplant grows closer, the anxiety gets ratcheted up higher and higher. Recently, we were sitting and talking and she just said to me, “you know, I am scared too.” I didn’t know what to say…I never wanted her to ever have to worry as much as she does.
Then there is my mother…despite having a stroke several years ago and having difficulty walking as a result, not to mention three bouts with cancer, she also has remained as positive as she can be and determined that I would get a kidney, either from Tommy or elsewhere – there was no doubt in her mind that this would happen – with her, it has always been a matter of when, not if. Yet despite her very spry attitude, there is a deep worry that, as she tells me, only a mother could feel for a child, no matter what age they are.
Just as with Christine, I never ever wanted Mom to worry like this. But how do you tell your wife or your mother, your aunts, your uncles, your cousins, your wife’s family, your best friend, friends and colleagues you work with, friends and neighbors you have known for years…how do you tell anyone of them not to worry when they care so much.
To tell you the truth, when you have the gift of such a great family and extended family and friends, you can’t tell them not to worry – they won’t listen.
The best you can do is tell them to buckle up because they are about to a go for a ride scarier and faster than the Aerosmith Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Walt Disney World!