An Unenviable Position
Well, all the living donor testing is over and we’re in waiting mode once again. The Columbia teams (my team and Ana’s) will be meeting next Tuesday to review all my tests and approve or deny me as a living donor. They may ask for more tests (possibly even a biopsy). Meanwhile, we can still get THE CALL anytime – and that’s what we’re praying for. I hope someone’s out there listening.
I was able to get an appointment with my midwife today. No, I’m not pregnant. This is the very same woman who delivered Ana – she also does regular exams on non-pregnant people. This woman is like an old friend. We hugged. I showed her pictures of the girls – both of whom she delivered at Northern Dutchess Hospital. She was horrified at what we’ve been going through. I promised not to let any of the pregnant moms know what’s going on – no waiting room small talk from me! Giving birth is the easy part, ladies (but I won’t tell).
So I got the last two tests I needed and the results will be sent to Columbia within a week or two (I asked if they could speed it up, if possible). I’ve never had a mammogram before, so I do have some anxiety around that test since breast cancer runs in my family, but on my father’s side.
Ana is doing well for the most part. She had another minor hair-related meltdown at bed time. She’s still losing the old hair that didn’t come out with the second round of chemo (back in October). She’s also getting a lot of new hair growth, but she can’t bear to part with the old hair – even though it’s very thin and wispy and continues to come out. There’s barely enough left to peek out of her hat anymore. But that new growth gives me hope, plus she looks great in hats.
Her fevers are back nearly every night. She has a temperature of 99 to about 100.7. She’s also been getting some pain in her stomach on the lower right side. Worry, worry, worry, worry…
Several people have offered to become living donors for Ana, and I want to acknowledge these offers with gratitude and love. This much generosity of spirit is overwhelming and leaves me speechless. Knowing what I know about living donation, I can’t imagine letting someone go through something like this for us. But it’s incredibly touching when people offer to do this for Ana. Thank you. You are braver than I am.
Honestly, I don’t know if I’d be able to do this if it wasn’t my child in need of a liver. It is a HUGE surgery with all sorts of possible complications and a prolonged recovery period. People need surgical drains and end up with major scars. DRAINS, people!
So, yes, I’m scared shitless.
Jim keeps telling me that it’s okay to back out at anytime. He won’t blame me, or make me feel bad. And, you know, it is a really terrifying thing to think about – major surgery. What will happen? What am I giving up? Will I truly be the same afterwards (probably not)? What if Ana’s body rejects my liver? It can happen. There are no guarantees.
But the thing I realized (and shared with Jim) is that this is really the ONLY choice I have. If Ana wandered into the path of an oncoming car and I was standing beside her, I would push her out of the way. If a thug with a gun burst into the room and pointed it at her, I would throw myself in front of her. If she fell off of a cliff into a churning stream far below. Well, I’d jump in after her. Even if it meant drowning, or getting shot or being run down by some lunatic. I wouldn’t think about it, I would just do it. I mean, I hope I would.
Last year Emily panicked while she was swimming and started screaming for help and I froze. Someone else jumped in and pulled her out of the water. I don’t want to freeze this time. This time it has to be me who jumps in.