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When it is done with love

What quote am I vibing? "Hard work is never so hard, when it is done with love." Audrey Hepburn

Pounds of Trash Removed from the Wild since Last Post: 116

Pounds of Trash Removed from the Wild in 2021: 275

All-Time Pounds of Trash Removed from the Wild: 1869

In order to not bury the lead - I donated a kidney!! To Brian's sister, Stacey. Our transplant surgeries took place on March 3, and about 6 weeks out - we are doing well. Both healthy. Both kidneys healthy. Both of us getting stronger every day.

I spent the last 6 weeks very focused on convalescing, so that I could get back to clean-ups as soon as possible. I think I am finally there! But I realized in my distraction and focus - I never reported my cleanups from February (and one bonus cleanup in March with Brian).

Those cleanups are detailed below, but I want to take some time to speak about my experience as a living organ donor.

The Miami Transplant Institute works like a well-oiled machine to match transplant patients with matches. When I learned that Stacey was eligible for a kidney transplant, I kept in touch regularly to find out when I could be screened as a match. Brian also was screened - we are all three the same blood type, and it was assumed that he would be the better match as her brother - this was not so! And, miraculously, her blood and antibodies didn't so much mind my blood and antibodies - so we continued the rigorous testing process, and planned for surgery.

I learned a lot about my body through all the blood tests and imaging required to make sure that I was a good candidate, but more than that - I learned that I am very brave. Braver than I ever expected. Throughout my life, I have struggled with becoming faint at the sight of blood, sometimes at the thought of needles. My body's response is nothing that I have ever been able to manage - my blood pressure drops, I turn white as a ghost, and I had better be lying down. In fact, during the very first test I had at the Transplant Institute - they administered a (surprise!) IV into my arm for a CT scan, and I woke up a minute later on the floor, with extra people there who were called to help manage me. The woman who was performing the test told my nurse coordinator that she didn't think I would be able to go through the testing process, given my strong vasovagal response, and I freaked out. "I can do it. Please let me try." I said through tears, and what I imagine was an expression full of conviction. And that conviction got me through many vials of blood without ever passing out again. 14 that day. 26 another day. And, ultimately, a complicated abdominal surgery, and a two day hospital stay full of poking and prodding.

When I tell you that it was all worth it, IT WAS ALL WORTH IT. Stacey no longer has to go to dialysis three days a week. Her body still has work to do, and she still has to maintain a strict regimen of medicine in order to keep her body from rejecting my kidney. (Why it would want to, I have no idea.) But she is on her way to a different and less complicated life. I spent a couple weeks in bed reading, and a month letting the rest of the healing occur as I slowly got back to normal life. I remain healthy and vital, but I also have something else - some absolute vigor and appreciation for life that I couldn't explain if I tried.

We are now kidney sisters! And our sister kidneys are named Tina and Louise (after Bob's Burgers) -- I have Tina, and Stacey has Louise - the wild child. It is all beautiful.

And now it is time to get back to trash cleanups, and focusing on the Earth - my convalescence is over. No more excuses. :)

If you have the ability to donate blood - I encourage you to do so, it is so vital to so many lives. And if you have the rare gift to donate something more - consider it. Your life will be forever changed for the better - I promise you.

Pre-Surgery. March 3, 2021. Kidney Sisters 4 Life.

A gallery of cleanups from February and March, 2021. Total of all cleanups: 116 pounds.

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