Archive for December, 2008

Well, wow, this blog post from a living-donor recipient and his wife made my eyes get all teary through my smile:


I am so profoundly grateful for blogs, which give our world this never-before-available window to the world and its beauty.  Thank you, Dixie and Paul, for sharing this!


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Jason Bleistein from my own neck of the woods here in the Twin Cities had a nice little Q&A-style write-up in the Minneapolis Star Tribune a few weeks ago.  The perfect little happy post for a snowy Saturday.  http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/health/35231829.html?elr=KArksLckD8EQDUoaEyqyP4O:DW3ckUiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUUF

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This week, a delightful yoga teacher in Vancouver, WA, introduced her class to a Robert Bly poem that spoke to her deeply about the theme of “surrender to what is.”  Not “surrender” in a painful, woeful sense of giving up, but “surrender” in a sense of relinquishing control over those things which we cannot possibly have any control.  The passing of time.  The movement of earth through space.  Past events and circumstances.  The “what is.”

When she read it to us, it grabbed me, too, piercing me precisely at a place in my heart where I was storing the stories I’ve heard recently from some of my fellow living donors who had outcomes more negative than mine.  As I reflected and stretched, stretched and reflected during that hour, I found myself praying with every breath for inner peace for the people I know who are feeling grief, anger, resentment, disappointment, pain, regret.  And for the same thing for me. For all of us.

The poem, “People Like Us” by Robert Bly, is reprinted with the author’s permission here in full.  (I’m not reprinting it on this blog page because of copyright.) At the link above, you can also opt to hear the poem read aloud by Garrison Keillor, as part of a 2005 segment of his daily Writers Almanac show.

While I think the whole poem is great, the last two lines are the ones that I’ve been chanting to myself from the moment I first heard them.  “Greatness has a defender. And even in death, you’re safe.”

When I mentioned to my sister-in-law (who was with me in the yoga class) that I loved the poem, she encouraged me to look up another one that she says touched her even more than Bly’s did.  It is called “The Guest House,” and is by the Persian poet Rumi. Here is an excerpt from Coleman Barks’ translation, with a link to it on PBS.org:

The Guest House


This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor…

[read the full poem here]

Wishing you all peace today.

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True, we make up a rather small niche — organ donors who are spending the holidays either anticipating our upcoming transplant surgeries, or celebrating with our loved ones, or grieving over our loss and suffering despite our deepest gifts and hopes.  But still, we love presents!  And this year, perhaps more than ever, there are a lot of great themed items you could buy for us! (Hint, hint.) Some of my personal favorites, most of which I have purchased and can vouch for, are highlighted here. 

  • kidney-plush-toyAn “I heart guts” stuffed, plush organ doll.  These little suckers are too cute for words, and you can get a kidney, liver, heart, brain, even a gallbladder!  They are soft and cozy for post-op comforting, or for kids whose mom or dad is often explaining about that scar on his or her tummy.  I heart guts ships off your gift with one of their adorable little stickers.  Their tees are great too!
  • Living donor Christy has created a whole store full of living donor merchandise of her own design, on sale at her page on Zazzle.com.  How about a “Kidney Donors are Sexy” baby doll T for your wife, or “LIVING DONOR” keychain in pink collegiate letters?
  • 276577549v9_240x240_front_color-whiteGreat organ donation awareness T-shirts and other items are available at Angel Cove, including this great hoodie I’m a fan of.



Ideas? I got ’em!  Write if you want more… I hope all of you find something special to place under your living donor’s tree this year.  If any one is deserving of a special gift this holiday season, it is them, our courageous, special friends and family who have given so generously of themselves.

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Tomorrow, David will join the ranks of living donors when a portion of his liver is transplanted into his Uncle, Paul, in Toronto, Ontario.  (Find his blog here.) Please join me in sending him best wishes for a safe surgery, a swift recovery, and the delightful outcome we all hope so badly for.

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