Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Adventure Bowl
Change Somebody's Life

UPDATE 1: I know a lot of people don't read on the weekends but I will update this post tomorrow after the testing. Wish me luck!

UPDATE 2, Sunday: I am still speechless. Yesterday was amazing. Why did I wait so long? Why did I fear so much? I will write this as a full post tonight. THANK YOU everyone for your kind, supportive comments. You were deeply part of this Adventure.

Long but worth it. Money back guarantee.

First, I have to thank everyone who left comments with suggestions about how to change someone's life here, twitter or DMs. Thank you. The biggest theme was: give your time, you can do something small and it will make a difference.

I believe that. I know that. I practice that.

I donate magazines to a dialysis center (inspired by my Dad), clothes to the Downtown Women's shelter, food to the homeless. Save all my cans and bottles for that one guy who says "Hello" to me every night as I walk the dogs. He breaks my heart with his 8 year old son helping him. Care packages to a young girl fighting brain cancer.

I have so much.

But there is more to give.

The point of this Adventure Bowl is to do things that push me past my fears. Okay... what fears do I have? Commitment. Yes. That. It's why I never wanted to sign up to be a "Big Sister," even though I really freakin' wanna be a big sister. What if I'm not good enough? What if the girl is like, "You? But you're a mess?" That would be bad. And the whole commitment thing. Yeah.

Fear of seeing grief and pain up close which is why I have never worked with kids in hospitals. Listen, I don't like admitting this stuff. I have flaws, I am so flawed it's ridiculous. Oh, the things I could admit...

When my Dad was sick and my Dad was going to die if he did not get a kidney transplant and my Mom called his sisters and asked if they would be tested and they never called her back and she had no choice and it broke her heart--

To ask her kids to get tested. See if we would be a match for my Dad. I sat there that day in a Boston hospital and I listened to the doctor as he explained the process and looked over at my younger sister who seemed to be very involved with inspecting her nails. Their growth? Their cuticles?

They seemed of grave importance.

When he left I said to her, "Are you paying attention? Are you listening to what he is saying?" (Him of wanting to saw one of us open, root around and take one of our ORGANS). Yes she said. "I hope so. And God, I hope it's you." That's what I said.

I said it because I didn't want it to be me.

I was young. Younger. I was scared. I had already lived through his heart transplant and I did not want to see this. If I was not a part of it... I would not have to see it. Or feel it. Flawed. Bad daughter. Terrible sister.

Of course it was me. Have I ever mentioned this? Yes, they took that kidney out of me and yes, they sawed me in half and this was no laproscopic thing like they can do now.

If I am with someone new and they are kissing me and perhaps putting their hand on my back, and they can feel it or feel the ribs that are missing and ask, what's that about, "knife fight" I will say.

So here we are or were, yesterday and I pull, "Change Somebody's Life" from the bowl and I am scared by how vast and vague and slightly fantastical this is and "what will I do and what can I do? And I'd like it to also jive with something I have wanted to do but been to afraid to do.

I have always wanted to be a Bone Marrow Donor.

Because every hour, minute, second leading up to the kidney transplant, I was so f'ing scared. All the focus is on the person receiving the organ - AS IT SHOULD BE. But, if anyone had told me many, many weeks later, perhaps longer, that I would feel awesome for doing it... I would be back to my normal routine -- I would have never feared it. I would have gone into that surgery with a pure heart, instead of a fearful heart.

So... the bone marrow thing. It just... seeing my Dad get to be alive and seeing how... just how... what seemed so frightening (the transplant) was ultimately, the thing I am most proud of. It's shaped me as a person in ways, probably ways I don't even know. Because my testing phase was very long and arduous so I met a lot of people waiting for transplants.

Your heart breaks for them but opens too. You feel more compassionate. You vow to live your life differently - you are not hooked up to machines, your activities and abilities to do things are not limited. You are not going to treatment alone, you have love all around you.

I've been circling the bone marrow thing for a while but the fear would come in. Excuses: you have to drop everything if you are a match and do it, how would I do my job? Can I get a leave of absence? They might fire me. I hear it hurts.

All BS. So much BS. Fear buried in excuses.

But I've grown up though I don't know when that happened. I don't know when I changed but somehow I just did.

So I picked, "Change Somebody's Life" and now on Saturday, I go for the testing for the Bone Marrow thing.

Yesterday, someone changed my life because of an email they sent me. So yes, you can do the smallest of things to change someone's life. Do not let this post be an indictment of the little things. For they are awesome.

But this thing... this is the thing, I just had to do.

Of course, it always means so much when you repost this to Facebook or Twitter. Organ donation is a big passion of mine and my family and you never know who it might help. Thanks so much :)



Anna said...

... and ... goosebumps. Beautiful and I wish you luck.

Tiffany said...

You are awesome! Every time I read another post you get more awesome! Thank you, thank you for always sharing and inspiring! :)

Marni said...

Wow. This is amazing. So glad you are confronting a fear and... just wow.

Tw!nkleTw!nkle said...

This is amazing. Be proud of yourself and have COURAGE. Have courage and know that you will be changing someones life FOR REAL. Not just changing it, girl, possibly SAVING IT. Did you realize you picked "save someone's life" from the bowl? ;)

Chrissy said...

:) I am so proud of you! <3

MsLopez said...

You are beautiful!

Erin said...

:) You rock this world so hard it is close to spinning off its axis.

And THANK YOU for your encouraging comments on my blog. I appreciate them so so much.


Jamie said...

I'm proud of you!!!! This is a truly awesome post. Big love to you, girl!!!

trulytrayce said...

Everytime I read your posts I'm amazed at how YOU change my point of view. Every. darn. Time. Thank you for that and thank you for opening our eyes!


Michelle said...

This might be my favorite post you have written, and it made me cry a little. I am so in awe right now of what you're doing this weekend. Good luck and we're all thinking of you!

The DeepEnd said...

I'm stunned and speechless but must say you sound so different than when you first started. Such an inspiration. wish there was a word bigger than that. please tell us how it goes!

Anonymous said...


Going back to read more.

- Jenny

Chrissy said...

okay...I did it today adventure grrl! My oldest son and I registered to be a bone marrow donors. I guess we are now registered for the next 21 years...
They say the odds of a match are 1 in 30,000...we'll see. Thanks for the giving me that push I needed.

andrea said...

this is amazing.
you are so brave!

BloodRedRoses said...

This is a beautiful post - got me all teary eyed first thing in the morning!

Thank you for inspiring me today. I really needed this.

NoPlasticBags said...

This is my fav. post ever... good for you. And I love that you told us the whole back story. Really stunning.

CoffeePlease~ said...

Holy shit. wow. My friend just sent this to me, I've read nearly half way through and I'm just blown away. I love this. And all of it, I needed to hear. Relate so much.

Justine Musk said...

This is an amazing post. It makes me think about our relationship to suffering, how it breaks us open, destroys us, but it also lets in the world. If you form a relationship with it (instead of trying to deny or repress or refute it), it makes you bigger, deeper, more connected. There is a strange horrible beauty in it. (I lost a ten week old son to SIDS when I was 29. It was the most devastating and spiritual experience of my life and forever changed me in ways I'm just starting to realize.)

And your point about how the attention and emphasis is always on the recipient and never the donor -- that's remarkable and so true -- seems like it should be the subject of a personal essay or short story. You have such rich material to work with!

All the best to you, and I hope to see you on my site again. I like you. :)

Tara said...

Truly inspired. Not just that you did this but with the honesty you write with. I just, I love your blog.

Anonymous said...

I second the comment that you are not changing someone's life - BUT saving someone's life and I hope you know how truly inspiring this is.