The Adventures of Kidney Boy

A Journal About Living With End Stage Renal Disease. Dialysis. Transplants. Love. Family. Friends. The Unsung Donor. This is my life, from the end of a needle to the bottom of a pill bottle.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

To My Loved Ones, On My Birthday

So, you know, because I was lucky when I was younger, birthdays were always about getting gifts. When I was young, it was just something that happened - and, sadly, I expected it - humility and a greater appreciation of what not only your friends and family give you but the world at large comes later in life for most. (Or sometimes not at all!) 10 years ago, I turned 25 - I'd been on dialysis for 5 months, and I was only starting to realize the magnitude of my situation. 6 months after that, my Dad gave me a gift of a kidney... and it wasn't even my birthday! And after the problems with that arose and the kidney eventually failed, I wondered how many more years I had in me. You know, you live with something like End Stage Renal Failure and dialysis - you get one of those unfortunately lucky glimpses into life - you think about the big picture, where you fit in, your purpose, your time here... everyone comes to different conclusions in that arena. For me - I always tried to look at what I had, not what I didn't. But that's hard, for sure. So, two years ago - when dialysis was finally breaking me down, and I felt like I didn't have much left - an amazing thing happened. A group of my friends rallied and banded together to support me - they donated their time, their love and their compassion to help me and my wife. I can't tell you what it's really like to experience such an outpouring of love like this - love and friendship. I spend a lot of time worrying over the things I've done wrong in my life, but I must have done something right to have the love and friendship of so many of you out there. You've all, in some way, touched my life and you all have a little seat inside my heart. I can recall a hundred thousand little moments with you - things we shared - a laugh, a song, a hug... a good time, a bad time... In the end, when you think you might go - it's these little moments that mean so much to your heart. I'll never forget that benefit - how it was like watching a million small, wonderful moments form into the great big moment... and even when I still think about it, my heart just can't contain all of it. I love you all so much - you, the friends I've made along the way, the amazing family I was born into, the incredible family I lucked out and married into and the family I've "collected" in my travels. Seriously - if birthdays are about gifts, in 35 years I've learned that the greatest gift I've ever received is, and always has been, you. I've lived an amazingly wonderful and charmed life. Thank you all for letting me into yours.


~Steve

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