Nothing In Life Worth Doing Is Easy
Theodore Roosevelt once said “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”
These powerful words ring true when I think of the process of living kidney donation. The day I decided I would donate one of my kidneys, which was far before I actually was even cleared to donate, I knew I was volunteering myself to go through an extremely difficult process. What I learned throughout the process of being tested and cleared to donate is that I would likely be in the worst pain I have ever experienced, that I was giving up something that my body did not understand nor want to give up, and that not only would it be physically demanding but would likely take a toll on me emotionally as well. I was told this information multiple times and I was told that I could back out at any moment. However, not once did I ever consider backing out.
I don’t back down from challenges. In fact, my entire life has been centered around overcoming obstacles and stepping up to whatever challenge life throws my way.
Through so many of life’s challenges, I have found that I am not one to make excuses for myself. I am the type of person who would run through a wall, yet tell another person that I would understand if they don’t want to do it. The same concept applies with donating a kidney. I do not feel I can tell someone to voluntarily donate one of their kidneys, because it was not even close to easy. I cannot tell anyone that it was not painful. It was very painful. In fact, having had broken glass in my leg, falling off a motor scooter, having torn my ACL and consequently having knee surgery, separating my shoulder, and being hit in the head by a thrown softball, I can honestly say none of that compares to the amount of pain I was in following the surgery and even days after.
What I can say is that it was 100% worth it, and I would donate again if it were possible. What I can say is that when I donated my kidney, I felt like I truly had not given up anything and instead, I gained everything.
I gained a new perspective on life, on love and on genuinely caring about others. I opened up my heart and my mind to empathy. I try to listen and feel what others feel, even when I cannot relate to exactly what they are going through. I do so because walking around with so much in my own heart and in my own head, I now feel for others who are going through something, anything, that causes them pain or sadness.
What I can say is that if you decide to give life to another person or persons that you will be tired, you will likely be emotional, and you will definitely experience pain. But, on the other side of all of that, is a full heart, a strong will, a determined spirit and a new found courage that will guide you through any of life’s obstacles in the future. You will know how strong you are, both mentally and physically, and you will look in the mirror every day and know that not only did you save someones life but you also are making the most of yours!
Written by Mimi, who donated a kidney into paired exchange so that her mom could receive a transplant from a matching donor. She is also one of our GET LOUD Ambassadors, helping create much needed awareness.
Read her Donation Story HERE
Read her GET LOUD Ambassador Introduction HERE