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.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Survivor's Guilt

I have a pretty tough confession to make here.

I have been battling some serious and crippling depression ever since I got my transplant almost two years ago.

This is going to be hard to get out with any kind of coherancy or eloquence, but I'll try.

When you're deathly ill - you're just trying to make it to the next day.  All of my energy, for almost 10 years, was just trying to make it to tomorrow.  To go to sleep and wake up the next day.  Pushing - I saw dialysis as just a means to keep me going.  To keep me sustained... the kind of life I was living on it... I made the most of it, but mostly I was just getting by.  I was hanging... clinging to life by a thread.

It changes you.  I think in some ways, it changed me for the better - I definitely re-arranged my priorities in life, and I know I grew as a person!  I mean, hell, I got married and managed to have a great and meaningful relationship while do dialysis!  She came along on the ride directly, too, being my caregiver. 

So, you sit there - on dialysis, waiting on "the list" for your "miracle" to come.

And then... the unthinkable... it does.  It comes.  Your miracle.

You know, the goal for so long was The Miracle.  The thing is, after the miracle has been performed, there's still a life to live.

All the regular stresses and trials of living... they're still there.  And suddenly, you have to face life again.  And where do you go?  Especially me!  I went into this as a 24 year old brat, and emerged as a 33 year old man...

And why me?  Why am I alive?  What am I supposed to do that's so great?  Can I take care of myself and my wife now?  What the hell do I do?  Where do I go from here? 

What if the transplant fails again?  Can I do dialysis again?  Why does everything cost so much?  I'm going to be a drain on my wife and my family forever... this is going to happen again....

Losing the kidney constantly goes through my mind.  I'm always taking my pills; so much so, that the thought of them or missing them gives me panic attacks.

It's been almost two years.  I'm still here.  It's still working, yet I still wake up in cold sweats every night, worrying about it.

I worry a lot.  I'm strong, and I know I'll figure this out, but there's so much on my mind... all the time.  I just wish I could turn my head off and coast through things a bit more.  But every moment I'm awake, I have 3,000,000 thoughts a second about everything I'm doing.

I just want to live a good life.  In someways, that's harder than waiting for the kidney.  And this makes me incredibly depressed.