I feel like it’s possible this story may have gotten a bit confusing because parts of it were happening in 2012 and I was talking about it in 2014 and blah, blah, blah. Let’s just lay it out clearly so we all know what’s up.
December 2010 – I learned about the possibility of becoming a living kidney donor, and I really wanted to it. However, when I called (I think a NY hospital, since that’s where I was living at the time) and asked about it, I was told I needed to wait at least a year (maybe two) after my open-heart surgery (from March 2010) before I’d be cleared.
November/December 2012 – I’m a lot more fit and stable. Things are good. Time has passed. Some weight’s been lost. Finances are in order (way more than they were in 2010). I think I’m ready for this kidney stuff. So, I go on MatchingDonors.org, thinking I have to start that way. I find a person at an Ohio hospital and begin getting testing done.
(I picked a hospital far away from my home because that guy seemed like an absolutely incredible person, and my parents and many friends live in Ohio. And I am always desperate for a break from L.A. So, why not?)
December 2012 – March 2013 – I get tested for the wonderful guy I saw on Matching Donors. Unfortunately, we’re not a match. I am grateful to learn I actually don’t have to pick a person. I can be an non-directed donor. So, I decide to move forward with that. I have that horrible interview with the psychologist.
March 2013 – June 26, 2013 – Mandatory 3-month cooling off period so the hospital could be absolutely sure I want to donate. I get rejected (for what I consider to be very flimsy reasons – whether you agree with them, we can at least all agree they were not medical reasons).
June – October 2013 – I know that in order to just have my paperwork looked at by Cedars-Sinai, I need to lose something like 25ish pounds (perhaps a little less or more kind of depending on what day you weighed me – and how tall you think I am, since even that seems to change by an inch or so between different doctors… I guess must stand taller sometimes than others).
I said I wanted to lose the weight… However, at the time, I was working a hard job with a really long commute and I just couldn’t (or at least I didn’t) get it together. I know. Excuses, excuses. It’s horrible.
(I’m so sorry.)
October 2013 – January 2014 – I work really hard and start melting pounds. (My next gig had a wonderful schedule and extremely easy commute. So things basically couldn’t have been easier for me.)
In December, I think I might still be a pound or two away, but feel comfortable sending in the form, since they said it’d take a few weeks to process – ooh, a real nail-biter of will I be skinny enough? Well, it ends up not mattering either way, because on paperwork alone I get rejected by the surgeon who says he’s conservative and doesn’t want to work on someone who once had a heart issue. They say I could possibly give a kidney somewhere else – just not with them.
February 2014 – April 2014 – Not really a lot happens here. I’m starting to get discouraged (though of course I’ll never give up). I continue losing a bit more weight, giving myself a nice safe distance from the cutoff. I didn’t have any good reason for waiting to turn in my forms. I just kind of wondered if I had the time to start re-testing… and at UCLA you have to fax them. Blech. Faxing. Basically excuses, excuses all over again since faxing isn’t truly all that hard, and no one’s all that busy.
May 2014 – Get settled at a perfect new job (which helps make it a whole lot easier for me to focus on life and passions since my work life was so lovely). Can’t stand to wait any longer to get this kidney stuff rolling, ’cause there’s really no reason for me to be paused on it. So, I fax my form to UCLA (finally!).
And this is where we’ll pick up next time!
(Note: Since it’s getting to the holiday season (when no one really reads), and since this whole thing is an extremely long story (from which I kind of assume you all need a break), I will not post the next kidney post until January 4, 2015. I’ll still post on the blog daily. But we won’t talk about this for another few weeks. Thanks!)