Why I decided to give away my kidney

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This is a question I’ve been asked many times over the past two years.  It’s a question I’ve had to ask myself a few times too.

Since starting this journey, I’ve read many stories of people doing exactly what I’m about to do.  I resonate with each of their reasons.  Many of them don’t really have a solid reason why they chose this path and I resonate with this too.  I’ve tried to explain to my family members, friends, a psychiatrist, and the transplant team but can’t really pinpoint where this urge comes from.

I can’t remember how old I was but I was at least 17 yrs old because I was able to drive on my own.  Somehow I found out it was possible to volunteer to donate bone marrow to a stranger and it seemed like a cool opportunity to help someone in need.  I decided to sign up.  The process involved me driving to a clinic about 40 min away, getting my blood drawn and my cheek swabbed.  I filled out a few forms and anxiously waited for a call.  I told a few people and their response was, “I heard that donating bone marrow is painful!” I’m not sure I have the best pain tolerance but the thought of helping to save a life outweighed the thought of the pain I might experience for a short time so I kept the hope I would get a call.  The call never came and after a few years I forgot about it.

From then until the moment I decided to donate I became a mom, went through a separation, dealt with anxiety, post-partum and seasonal depression, was diagnosed with endometriosis and fibromyalgia and tested for cardiovascular issues due to fainting spells and heart palpitations.  I went through some traumatic emotional events that turned my world inside out and upside down.  I spent the past six or seven years figuring out how to feel my best in this body and this mind. This has been crucial because I know I will need to tap into all of the resources I have been gathering over the years to help me heal and deal pre and post donation the best way I know how.

Since I got my licence and knew that being an organ donor at death was an option, I had signed my card, had registered online and let everyone know my wishes.  I thought it was a guarantee that my organs would give life to someone in need.  I felt satisfied and happy with the thought of something good coming out of my death.  I signed up to donate my blood and tried a few times before being told that my being there was actually using too many resources because I would almost faint every time and they needed to abort mission or have more than one volunteer distract me during the withdrawal.  I felt proud of the handful of times I was able to make it through to the end but felt sad that I couldn’t be a part of this amazing life giving service.

After working many years at the same facility in the same department I was starting to feel an itch to do something different with my life and my career.  I started with taking an integrative nutrition course then experimented with building a website in hopes to one day start my own business as a health & wellness coach.  My boss at the time asked me where I saw myself in fives years.  This was a serious question during my serious performance appraisal meeting.  My response, “not here”.  I wasn’t being sarcastic or negative, I was being sincere.  I told my boss I was getting ready to make a change, I saw myself in a career that was in service of others in a bigger way.  I wasn’t quite sure what that looked like yet but something was burning inside me to make a change.  A job opportunity fell into my inbox twice before I really noticed it and became interested.  This job was for my provinces organ donation agency and it was a remote position! After a quick chat with the hubby, I cleaned up an old resume and applied.  I figured if I got an interview I would move through the process and just see what happened.  After a few weeks, I got the call for a phone interview.  A week or so after that, I got the call for an in-person interview. A day or so after that, I got the job offer! It all happened so quickly but it seemed so right.  I put a request out to the universe for something different and it answered.

I’m still with the agency and love the job and the people I work with.  I get to work from home and have opportunities to travel to different hospitals across the province, allowing for new experiences and finding new places to eat (I love food!). Through this job I have learned quite a bit about organ donation.  It has highlighted the low percentage of people who actually have the opportunity to become organ donors at death.  I started to understand why there is such a long list of people on the waiting list for organs.  This fact was shocking.  In 2016, over 4500 canadians were waiting for organ transplants, a little over 2900 organs were transplanted, and 260 people died waiting. I always thought that by registering to donate my organs, it almost guaranteed one or more of my organs would help save a life.  The number of deaths in 2016 here in Canada were 268,932.  In most provinces, only about a third of the residents are registered to become organ donors so there is still so much room for growth.  Just a quick glance at these numbers shocked me.  I was becoming more interested and was starting to read stories in the news about recipients and their families and how amazing the gift of life truly can be.  I read a few stories of people donating their kidneys to loved ones and even strangers.  This got me thinking so I did a bit of research on becoming a living kidney donor.

I called my local transplant hospital to get more information, I joined a living kidney donor facebook group, I started asking for any and all spiritual guidance.  It took about a year before I truly decided to sign up as a living kidney donor which involved lots of conversations with family and close friends.  I’m writing this now only two weeks away from my surgery date and feel more sure about my decision now than ever before.  The idea of starting a chain of potentially many recipients across Canada lights me up inside.  I know there are risks to any surgery and I realize that it’s not impossible that someone in my lifetime who I am close to may need a kidney.  I have read some negative and sometimes scary stories of what has happened with living kidney donors.  Even after digging through those dark thoughts and moving through the what ifs, I still feel a strong pull to do this.  What I am sure of is that I will be in some pain, I will be moving slower for a few weeks, I will be more aware of things that could potentially harm my remaining kidney, my family will have to step up and help out with chores, and some people I love will be worried about the outcome of my surgery. The thought that gets me through this is the discomfort and inconvenience I will experience for a short amount of time is absolutely worth knowing families will be able to celebrate a better quality of life with their loved ones for many years to come.

Choosing to become a living kidney donor is a major decision and should not be taken lightly.  My main reason for sharing is to shed some light on the area of organ donation as a whole.  We still have a long way to go before waitlists become shorter and less people have to spend their lives on dialysis machines or die waiting.  The easiest way to help is to register to become a donor at death and tell your family members your wishes. Currently in Canada, your next of kin has the last say even if you have previously registered.

Want to know more about the Kidney Paired Donation Program: click here

Want to register your wishes to become an organ donor at death: click here

 

Never curse an avocado again!

Anyone who loves avocados knows what I’m talking about…

You buy the avocados while they’re firm, keep on the counter waiting for the perfect opportunity to cut it open just to find out every single one of those jerks are rotten! I’ve dropped the F-bomb a few times when dealing with the love/hate relationship I have toward avocados.  Scroll down for a miracle solution!avocado-close-up-colors-557659

I keep trying because I know just how amazing they are for my health!

Why I love avocados:

  • High in fibre regulating appetite, feeding friendly gut bacteria, and reducing the risk of many diseases
  • Packed with healthy fat which is great for reducing inflammation in the body and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Super filling helping to feel satisfied faster so would be beneficial when trying to lose some extra pounds

What I didn’t like about them until I found a solution:

  • They’re sneaky little suckers and can go bad so quickly
  • Eating a whole avocado in one sitting is tough so finding a way to store the other half wasn’t practical (it would turn brown so easily)

I recently discovered a way to store avocados so they last weeks!

Store them in the fridge! For some reason, I never thought to do this.  If you find them on sale, stock up and throw them in your crisper! Take one or two out a day or two prior to using them and voila – fresh and perfectly ripe!

A few other quick tips:

  • Slice up unused portions and place in a plastic baggy or wrap to store in the freezer for smoothies
  • Leave the pit in the half you won’t be using and place in the fridge using a plastic baggy squeezing as much air out as possible
  • Avoiding plastic? Rub some lemon juice or olive oil on the avocado half and store bottom down in a dish in the fridge

Do you have any tips on storing avocados? What about recipe ideas other than good old guacamole? Share below so we can all learn from each other!

xoRox

 

 

 

A letter to my dad

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If you knew my dad you would know he’s funny, patient, generous, and always says it how he sees it.  What you might not know about it him is that he is extremely intuitive, he’s a beautiful poet, and an empath.

When I try and trace back where my interest in all things spiritual/universal/woo woo began, I always draw on memories of my dad telling me that if I want something bad enough, it will come to be.  He taught me that being grateful for what you already have is a huge part of getting what you want.  After getting my licence to drive, my dad let me drive his car often but I really wanted my own wheels.  I would complain to him that it would take forever to save up with my minimum wage part-time job and would constantly compare myself to the other kids at school rolling up in their shiny cars their parents paid for.  He offered me two things: what money I saved he would double it and a lesson in gratitude.  He pointed out that I didn’t show appreciation for the car I was already driving, even though it wasn’t mine.  I would leave my garbage in it, I wouldn’t clean it and take care of it like I would’ve if it was my own.  That truth hurt but I still remember those words to this day and it has served me SO MANY TIMES! I did get my car.  I saved $500 much quicker than I ever imagined and my dad kept his promise and matched it with another $500.  He found me a cute little Dodge Shadow and gave it a new paint job at the shop he worked at. My dream came true!

I think back to the time he offered a book for me to read, The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy.  I’m pretty sure I was only 12 or 13 years old at the time but I did read it and was blown away by the possibilities.  My mind completely opened up to a new way of thinking.  I kept this quiet for years because I was still trying to fit in and I knew if I even mentioned the idea to my friends they would call me crazy.  I’m still struggling with owning my beliefs and sharing with those who I think might judge me.

My dad would keep unscratched tickets on the fridge for weeks saying that he’s just waiting for it to change into a winner.  I would always laugh at his weird ways and roll my eyes in disbelief but there was always a twinge of hope for him to prove this manifesting stuff was real.

As I’m writing this and thinking back to all of his theories on life, his weird ways, and strange beliefs, I’m starting to see a pattern in me.  I’m now the weird and strange mom that my kids roll their eyes at and laugh about.  I point out examples of how perception, mindset, and the universe works while they try and argue back or simply change the subject.  I often think I’m wasting my breath but I’m starting to realize that it will never be a waste.  I’m planting seeds.  I’m giving them another option so when life throws them a curveball, they can have a head start and, if they choose, can dig deep and realize they have the power to create a life of their dreams.  At the end of my life, I will be satisfied in knowing I tried and I didn’t hold back the tools and beliefs that have offered me so many amazing opportunities and so much relief and hope during life’s ups and downs.

Dear Dad, 

Thank you for being weird and being an out-of-the box thinker.  Thank you for being a perfect example of how shifting perspective can change your entire life.  I only know a small amount of the many hardships you’ve faced in life.  You have a beautiful way of highlighting the best out of every situation.  Thank you for making me laugh when I need it and for the deep meaningful chats.  Thank you for reaching out exactly when I need to hear from you and for not reaching out when I need to push through and figure it out for myself.  Thank you for your spidey-senses when I’m wondering if my worries are real or if it’s my anxiety taking over. You’re someone I can lean on and someone who will tell me when my shit stinks.  I don’t always like it, but I do need it.  You are an amazing dad and grandfather. Swearing and all, I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Love you 

Girlie

 

What is in your spiritual toolkit?

27575080_215916682302606_8507186734168014848_nSpiritual toolkits are like food for you soul!

I have built up quite a large spiritual toolkit over the years.  Some tools I dig out daily, some only once or twice a year.  I’ve learned to rely on other people less and count on myself more.  Not saying that asking for help or support is wrong, but relying ONLY on others and external circumstances to make you feel a certain way only sets you up for disappointment.  Have you ever said to yourself, “when my spouse/boss/friend/kid acts this way or says that or does this, I will feel better”?  or “if I get that job/car/house/money, I will feel better”?.  If so, you’re not alone.  I’ve lived in this state for most of my life and built up a shit ton of anger, resentment, and judgment because of it.  It took me years to finally realize that I have more control over my circumstances than I once thought.

Why the f#&* are we waiting for to allow ourselves happiness?

If you are at the beginning of your journey to discovering your best self, I highly suggest you find at least one thing you can add to your spiritual toolkit.  As you move through this wild and wonderful journey, you will find more that resonate with you, you might ditch things that once worked for you and replace with new things that do! Also, reach out and find at least one person, online group, or social gathering that is at least one step ahead on their journey.  You will learn so much and will start to shift toward the direction you would like to go.  At first mine came in the form of books, online fb groups, and one friend who had been reading self help and spiritual books for years.

Your toolkit needs to light you up, support you, and offer some relief during times of crisis.  My current toolkit looks like this:

  • essential oils
  • gemstones
  • oracle/affirmation cards
  • podcasts
  • books/audiobooks (audiobooks are more realistic in my life right now)
  • self care (reiki, walks in nature, meditation, yoga, quiet time)
  • earthing/grounding
  • mindfulness and breath work
  • journaling/mind dumps
  • supportive facebook groups
  • chats with friends that leave me feeling full and energized

Notice how the majority of this toolkit includes things I can do myself.  I am responsible for how I want to feel moving through this life.  The above tools have helped me so much that I have been able to forgive every single person that has caused me pain.  The wounds from my past still affect me but do not have such a tight grip on me anymore. When someone triggers that old victim mindset, I am able to shift my perspective much quicker now and have actually seen huge shifts in the way certain people treat me.

Do you already have a stocked spiritual toolkit? Do you have a few of the items mentioned above and maybe didn’t realize you were already building a toolkit? Or are you looking to start your own toolkit? If so, I want to hear from you!  Leave a comment below or send me a private message.  We are in this together and can grow much quicker and move through this beautiful and sometimes f-ugly journey with more grace and understanding if we lift each up and support our collective goal.

xoRox