First the Spark, then the tiny quiet flicker of Thinking
Living Kidney Donor Stage 1 is the Idea is Sparked. There was a story about chronic kidney disease, people who need kidney transplants to live a longer life, why there aren’t enough kidneys, and a living kidney donor who is healthy and happy.
Stage 2 is Quiet Thinking.
You try to forget the living kidney donor story and the TED talk you heard from Stage 1, but you can’t. The whole idea of donating a kidney is intriguing, but also very scary. Why would anyone want to go through a major surgery if they didn’t have to? You are not crazy, so this is not something you would choose.
But you wonder if donating a kidney is for a higher cause?
Would donating a kidney bring more meaning and purpose to your life? Could donating BE part of your life purpose? Are you meant to help save a life? Is this one action you CAN take to impact this upside-down world in a positive way? Our society surely needs more acts of kindness. You begin to consider this unusual idea in your mind. Then, the next minute you try and talk yourself out of it.
You don’t tell anyone your secret.
You have to be sure donating a kidney is right for you and not too risky for you or your family. You have many concerns:
- You might want to back out.
- You might not be healthy enough.
- You don’t like blood!
- You might not match anyone.
- You might need to give your kidney to your children in the future.
- You don’t like needles!
- Your family may not support this idea.
- Your friends might think you have lost your mind.
- You don’t like pain!
No one can know what you are thinking, for fear of them criticizing you.
You are just quietly thinking about it without telling others. Sometimes you get overwhelmed as you contemplate donating along with all the fears and concerns that go with it. And then there are moments that something inside of you (that you can’t quite explain) is like a whisper telling you that it might be the “right thing to do”.
And this whisper won’t go away.
But for some unexplained, irrational reason, you are still curious about the donation process and feel this gentle, yet constant pull to learn more.
Just like Stage 1, Stage 2 may take years or much less time. Everyone is different and everyone will have their own special experiences within these stages.
Want to learn more?
Future posts of the “Living Kidney Donor Conversations: Breaking the Silence” series will provide you with general guidelines of what the journey looks like, even though every individual situation is unique. Get ready for more of this living kidney donor adventure! Stage 3 is next.
Previous posts in the Living Kidney Donor Conversations: Breaking the Silence series can be found here:
Glenna Frey, APRN-CNS, is a nephrology nurse who donated her kidney in April 2017 to a stranger.
Amanda Frey, M.A., LMFT, LPC, is a Marriage & Family Therapist living with kidney disease.
Together, they co-founded Kidney Donor Conversations in 2018 to provide education about Living Kidney Donation.