It turns out that they don't let just anyone donate a kidney - even if you are a match. You basically need to look like you are going to live to 90 years old, with one kidney, no problem. And that should bring us comfort. I learned a lot about the organ donation process through all of this, with one of the most important things being: they really care about the donor too.
So off to Dallas I went for the preliminary evaluation February 22-23rd. I spent a couple days in the clinic getting poked, prodded, and scanned -- and in some cases re-scanned. I jokingly say that I now know where every calcium deposit is located in my body - but I actually feel like I do. If anything looks remotely suspicious or numbers aren't quite right, more testing is required. I thought I'd get the go/no-go call by the end of that week, after my coordinator presented my case and medical results to the review board. However, due to those pesky calcium deposits, which required follow-up testing when I got home, a Covid scare, and some historical medical records that took a long time to locate...I didn't actually receive the phone call until April 23rd. My phone rang and I was greeted by that sweet southern drawl I'd become accustomed to, from my transplant coordinator..."Brandy, after presenting everything to the team, we have good news, you've been approved!"
It was the call I knew would come. Then why did my stomach just drop? Even though my "yes" was secure in my spirit, I decided in advance that I wasn't going to give the clinic an answer until after the weekend. Among other things, I wanted the opportunity for Alan to hear the news in a more personal way than through the clinic. Up to that point, we had continued to keep the the process private and anonymous.
But let's get back to my stomach dropping. As quick as those "Dallas" images had flashed in prayer previously, doubt flashed now. "Is it really good news?" "Do I even want to do this?" "Am I actually going to get an organ cut from my body?" Peace had left the building and anxiety was on the rise. I found myself entertaining irrational questions and emotions.
Through the gentle and loving response of some of my dearest sister's in Christ, I learned how to be with others in the wrestling, as they were with me. Confessions not met with trite Christian responses, but rather with empathetic withness. (I thought I was making up a new word, but Mr. Webster approves) Anyway, they must have taken notes from Paul, who encourages a similar response in Romans - and I'm adding part of a commentary too, emphasis mine:
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15 ESV
As strange as it may sound, I knew there was reason to celebrate all this would mean for Alan, but I also needed some time to grieve the eventual surgery and loss of a kidney. I wasn't looking for someone to feel sorry for me, but I did need people who simply tried to understand the magnitude of what I was feeling. Thankfully, we have a Savior who can do this perfectly because he walked the earth as a human.
This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. Hebrews 4:15
Though he was God,he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. Philippians 2:6-7
Jesus is with us.
This started as a private blog to help document my kidney donation journey and the theological, biblical, and ethical considerations for organ donation. It is shared with you here in hopes it might help with your own journeys of discernment and surrender.