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.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

And now, a thank you - for you, my readers!

Well, it's almost the end of a crazy year for me.  I just want to take a little time out to say "Thank You" to you - my readers.  I've gotten a few comments on some of my entries, and I've gotten some emails from some people, and I have to thank you - those make all the difference.  It's really nice to know that my writing has entertained, inspired and educated so many people from so many different places.  I enjoy writing, and I enjoy sharing it with other people - so thank you for taking the time to read what I have to say.

I'm looking forward to an interesting year as I get back on my feet again, and head out into the world as a new kidney recipient.  Not being on dialysis this Christmas is the best gift I've gotten in years.

So, again - thank you so much, all of you.


Monday, December 12, 2011

A Christmas Story

I've always loved Christmas.  Especially when I was a kid.  I was having dinner with my parents and my wife recently, and my Dad remarked that I was "... Always great to be around on Christmas." because I was just such a bundle of excitement and joy.

I just love the season.  I love Christmas Lights on houses, I love singing Carols, I enjoy listening to Handel's "Messiah", I like it when there's a nice coating of snow over the ole' town.  I grew up in a small town just outside Syracuse - it bordered the countryside, which is a great place to take a drive through on Christmas.  I remember sitting in the backseat of my parents care, slight layer of frost giving a halo-like glow to the Christmas Lights on the houses we passed as we drove between my two Grandparents houses.  I was lucky enough to know both sets of my Grandparents while growing up.  There was always a lot of family, always a lot of love, and always a lot of FOOD!  My God, the food.  Endless bounties of snacks and beverages when you walked in the door.  Candy in dishes on every corner; as much Soda Pop as a kid could drink (without getting yelled at!) and just a mass of relatives that were so happy to see you.  Every year at this time, I still feel that joy and wonder in my mind.  That feeling of being three feet small, scampering around in a quickened gait that you didn't even notice.  Now, I lumber around at six feet tall, ambling slowly from room to room because I can already feel my knees get creaky!  But now, I'm the one who's excited to see the new children who are excited for the day.  The run around the house, playing games of fanciful imagination, and talking with a rhythm that's so quick and so foreign to me now - yet, I still appreciate the patter.  I hug my relatives, and I make merry - though I try not to over-indulge in the food and drinks, because if I do that now, I'm going to have to chug half a bottle of Pepto-Bismol later while I sit on my couch at home and whine!

I took these scenes for granted as a child; when you're young, you just take the world you are presented with for granted.  You don't have any other choice; you just know what you see.  I was so lucky to have a family that celebrated this way - and remembered to make merry with each other, and share the love that was so important at the Holiday.  As much as I loved the presents we got, and I was ALWAYS excited for that - I just loved being with these people.  Heh, on Christmas Day - after my brothers and I had opened presents, one of the first things I'd do was call my cousin to see what he got, and we'd share and get excited to hang out and see each others new stuff.

I love that I'm still here, at 33, to share my Christmas joy with these people.  We've lost a few blessed souls along the way, but picked up a few new ones.  Yet for all of the losses, the struggles the changes, the trials and tribulations, we still get together to make merry.

That's the greatest gift in my world.  I see all of these "Black Friday" sales events, and the ensuing madness as people push, yell, steal, swear and degrade themselves in all manners just to get some consumer goods, and I just get sad.  People fighting, gnashing teeth and screaming, to obtain flat-screen televisions?  Or the incident where people were beating each other to get a waffle maker.  A WAFFLE MAKER.

I know not everyone is as lucky as I am to have such amazing family at the holidays.  But filling the void with consumer goods?  I know everyone likes things - we all like to get presents on Christmas.  Some like to give as much as they get - but this madness of recent years... it hurts my heart.  I could blame retailers, for encouraging this, and I could blame people for not having the self-restraint not to participate.... the truth is, everyone is to blame here.  And it won't stop.  My only hope is that people just try to remember to keep a little tenderness in their hearts.  There's always going to be more stuff.  I can always get a flat-screen television, but I can't sit down and have a beer and chat with my Grandpa Alexander any more.  The truth is life doesn't last forever, and people will leave you.  I'd rather take the time to make the memories I'll cherish when they're gone, than to worry about what I will get them.

People have been asking me what I want for Christmas this year, and I can only sit back and say "I don't know."  I do not want for anything.  This year, I've already been given so much.  I was given a reminder of the gift of friendship, when hundreds of my friends stepped up, came out and supported me with the whole Steve-Stock thing.  I recieved hundreds of donations from friends and family not only local, but all across the United States and the World.  I had donations come in from Europe, South America, Asia and Australia.   It was amazing, humbling - and timely too.  Shortly thereafter, I recieved a gift from a family I do not know, nor have ever met.  This family donated an organ to me, from their deceased son.  And as I sit here, alive and well this Christmas - not having to sit in my dialysis chair on the day for the first time in over four years, they sit at Christmas with a chair of their own empty.  And my heart and my love goes out to them.  I know this Christmas will be incredibly hard for them - while I go on to celebrate with my own.  I toast them.

And I say, if you know me, take a moment to toast that family as well.  They are hurting this season, and I couldn't give them anything in this world to ease that pain.  But, perhaps, if we all send them good wishes, they can find some comfort together this Christmas Season.

Merry Christmas, to you and yours.  And a Happy New Year.

May 2012 be a great year for all, and not the harbinger of doom and gloom as so many callously claim.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Heading for the Frosty Hills....

Winter is approaching here in Syracuse.  We're known for our snowy and icy winters.  When I was younger, it didn't bother me much, but now I just don't get along with the cold.  Well, I didn't on dialysis at all - I'll see how I do this year, but so far any encounters I have with the cold air still suck pretty hard.

Winter time is such a dormant time, a lot of time for reflection.  Truth is, I'm four months out from my transplant - which was amazing.  All the outpouring of support from friends and family was amazing - I'm still reeling from it.  But now, I'm a few months out - and things, on paper, are working great.  My labs are amazing, I feel good, physically (aside from a few lingering GI problems).... yet, still, there's a pretty gaping hole inside me now.

I guess, well, when you've been sick for so long, you kind of settle into a life of just trying to get by.  Now, I sort of feel like I don't quite know what to do with myself.  I've been fighting for so long, and now - the hard part of the fight has been lifted.  I'll always be fighting in some way, but the large burden is off my back.

My life, as I knew it, ended when I was 24.  I'm almost 34.  It's been 10 years of living like this, and - well - I kind of don't know where to go on the other side here.  Part of me feels like I've been in a coma for 10 years, and I've just woken up and I don't have the slightest ideas where to go or what to do.  I can't (and don't want to) go back to the life I was living before;  I'm too old for that shit, and frankly I wasn't headed down any great path there.  But where do I move forward to?  Sometimes the most frightening thing about being alive is having a great wide open path in front of you. 

Finding your way down it is the human experience, and of course, I know I will.  But, I guess, I do feel some apprehension, I do feel some depression, and I do feel a little lost and kind of useless.  I'm sure everyone feels like this, especially at crossroads in their lives.  I've got a lot to do now, and the worst part is just working through the months of slogging it out to get where you want.  Doing it in the winter, when I get seasonally depressed, is going to be hard.

I just wonder what life has in store for me.  Better yet, I wonder what I have in store for life.  I guess I still hold that dream that I want to do great things, but for now - I guess I'll settle for doing something - anything.