I can’t believe it has been two-and-a-half years since my aunt renewed my lease on life. It still blows my mind. It blows my mind that my aunt’s kidney is doing a job my body could not do. It blows my mind to think that I would either be in a dialysis clinic or not alive today had my aunt not done what she had. What a wonderful gift.
For some reason, going to the UCLA clinic feels different than going to my regular kidney specialist; it carries more weight even though they do roughly the same thing. In some ways, my regular nephrologist is more thorough. But, I couldn’t help being nervous in the days leading up to the appointment. The crazy thing was that I had a very good idea what my doctor would say because I did blood work about four weeks ago. I couldn’t help thinking that maybe, somehow, something could have changed. I wonder if that anxiety will ever fade, or whether it will stay the same or even intensify as “the kidney” ages.
While driving to and from the appointment, I thought about the long journey I’ve taken to get where I am today. Over time, I’ve learned to appreciate the ups, downs, and plateaus. I thought about going into kidney failure, and spending months in a dialysis clinic. I thought about the day of the transplantation surgery and the recovery. I thought about all the people I met along the way.
In the elevator to go home, I flushed with anxiety. For some reason, I feel like an imposter, like I have gotten away with something. After all this time, I still feel like I am living on borrowed time. I picked at my cuticle as the elevator rumbled down and then hurried to the car to escape. I think that feeling is a reminder of the fragility of life, a reminder to be thankful for every day.