Are we there yet? Are we there yet? That question we asked as kids or heard as parents. Over and over and over. Well, as my non-directed donor day of January 2, 2019, rapidly approaches, I’m intentionally slowing down to reflect on this and stay in the moment for those thoughts and reflections as “the day” gets closer. After all, it’s about the journey right. And this is one journey I know I won’t be repeating, so I am taking it all in.
First, the fitness piece. Since my first installment with Kidney Donor Athletes several weeks ago, I’ve continued to hit the trails. And it continues to be full of awesomeness!!! Not only have I been able to surpass 300,000 feet of elevation gain for the third consecutive year, but I pushed through the big one on my radar…..1,000,000,000 feet of cumulative elevation gain the past three years. When I stop and think about that, it’s pretty awesome – it’s been a physical and psychological journey filled with so many blessings. There certainly have been moments and days where the challenges have been severe, but in the end, the work still needs to get put in to reach that summit, and that is done one simple step at a time. Anything of real value will take time, and I find a deep fulfillment through that process. It brings great joy, love, and self-confidence through the perseverance of just keeping at it. For me, this applies to fitness, and to life in general.
I’ve continued to connect with numerous kidney donors to see how their post-donation fitness has been. And as one might expect, their experience has been simply fabulous. So I’m planning some awesome adventures for mid and late 2019 after donation: summiting as many of the 5 Washington volcanoes as possible; completing the 93 mile Wonderland Trail around Mt. Rainier in one single outing; participating in the Grand Circle Trailfest; completing another single day Grand Canyon rim-to-rim-to-rim; and climbing in some extreme high elevations in the French and Swiss Alps. It’s shaping up to be a fun and challenging year!
As I’ve continued to rack up the miles, I’ve become more aware of taking care of “little dude”. I take extra care to not crash down-running on the trail and to not take any unnecessary risks, as I know my kidney has big days ahead in his new home. I have been fortunate to get myself into good physical shape to donate, and I want to make sure that in the closing days, I continue to take great care so that whoever receives this little 5oz bundle of joy has the life-changing experience he/she is looking forward to. Yes, this is MUCH bigger than me, and that reality has firmly hit home.
Over the past few weeks I’ve had the tremendous pleasure to hear stories of recipients, recipients’ families, and friends of recipients of how thankful they are that their loved one was able to receive a new lease on life. It’s certainly life-changing for the recipient, but the ripples don’t stop there….the impact is huge. And beautiful! And seemingly never-ending. This past week I was treated to meeting Patty Graham from Colorado when she was in Seattle. Patty is connected deeply to kidney donation (her own NDD included), advocacy, and part of this ever-growing kidney community. The kidney community is a super-charged group of beautiful people and it’s certainly something I’ll share with any potential donors I speak to. Yup, the ripples continue.
There is a lot in play in my life right now, and finding a good balance is a daily practice. This life balance has me dialed into what is really going on in my life as it relates to my upcoming donation. It’s also really helped me get more focused on what each day brings as it unfolds in front of me. Most of what unfolds is super good, and other bits offer challenges and growth opportunities. My game plan: stay in the moment, stay authentic, and continue to find every opportunity possible to help others. No act of kindness is too small. We simply never know how much one single kind act can impact someone, something that has been made abundantly clear to me through all of my interactions with people in this wonderful kidney community.
These words attributed to Mother Teresa sum it up perfectly:
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
The good you do today will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.