I know it’s been a while – a REALLY long while since anyone heard anything from Live Lively ~ Be Well.
Well, that is because I had an overwhelmingly needy client most of the spring and early summer.
In February I responded to a friend’s post on Facebook for a friend of hers who needed a living liver donor. What followed was a whirlwind of tests, paper work and trips to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, a good five-hour drive each time.
And yep, on June 6th, I donated 60% of my liver to my now dear friend Tammy.
I remember taking a deep breath back at the end of February when I first typed, “Um, I’m O positive” in response to the initial posting. For a liver donation to be a match you just have to have a compatible blood type. Now, that doesn’t mean you are approved, just that you continue the process.
What followed was phone calls and paperwork and blood tests – once I had to give 43 vials of blood in one sitting, or one “laying” as I ended up doing, and then heading straight for the cafeteria. Even for a tough ol’ broad like me, 43 vials made me light headed.
I also wrapped my mind around the fact that this had to be a team effort. Yes, I would sort of be the one carrying the ball, as I would be providing the liver and needing the help. But I knew I couldn’t do it alone.
My initially enlisted team was: my husband, my best friend, my life coach (who was also my teacher and ran the program that certified me as a life coach), a friend who had recently donated a kidney, and my pastor.
They each served different purposes. My husband of course would have to do the heavy lifting, taking two weeks of his life to nurse me in a town five hours from home. While not overly graced with warm and fuzzy inclinations, he was a patient and conscientious trooper and advocate. My bff had a little more trouble as “shit got real” close on and realized what she saw as the enormity of the upcoming surgery. But when I returned home she was the meal and treat bringing, get-outta-bed-and-walk buddy I needed. My life coach helped me see that it wasn’t my “duty” to save Tammy’s life – that I had a choice. My friend who had donated before helped me see life beyond the surgery and my pastor checked in with my “why’s” before granting his blessing, support and guidance.
Eventually my team grew to include my husband’s brother and wife who graciously housed us throughout the testing, surgery and recovery. Two weeks of house guests gets old under the best of circumstances, even when they are as entertaining as I. ;-p
I also told two close friends, one a nurse and one the most pragmatic woman I know, with both of whom I opened the conversation, “You’re gonna think I’m crazy…” And then was my older sister, a former Red Cross staffer who is always good in a crisis, who came in to town at the last minute to help take care of my son who doesn’t drive yet, while I was in Baltimore. Speaking of which, both my children accompanied me to appointments, encouraged me, and even offered to donate their own livers to spare me the hassle. (I told them to keep their organs for each other in case there is ever a need.) The last part of my team was my Friday night margarita buddies who bucked me up, cheered me up, announced the deed on Facebook and didn’t rub my four months of teetotalling in my face… too much. Yet. One month to go.
So the lesson of this for me was this: trust your team. Develop your team. Don’t be afraid to ask. Many people are honored to be included in a support team. I know I love it when I can help someone. Often people don’t ask me because they think I’m too busy – but I really love being able to say “yes” and help someone out in a jam. And it doesn't need to be something as huge as donating an organ. Just ask.
And now I’m back and working with clients again. If you’re interested in developing your own team or just looking to sort through your life for your next steps, I hope you’ll schedule a session with me. There’s nothing you can visualize that you can’t move toward with a plan and a team.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Be well ~
Life coach, yoga teacher, writer, college professor, theatre professional, mom, wife... the order of emphasis changes daily, hourly, and often, moment to moment.