My kidney transplant, a year later

Un texte de Andrea Conway

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It is hard to believe that more than a year has gone by since my kidney transplant. Where do I start? Firstly by saying that I am doing very well. Having a transplant not only saved my life but has enriched it in ways I could never have imagined. I am also forever grateful. The…

It is hard to believe that more than a year has gone by since my kidney transplant. Where do I start? Firstly by saying that I am doing very well. Having a transplant not only saved my life but has enriched it in ways I could never have imagined. I am also forever grateful.

The first few months of recovery involved many appointments in Sherbrooke during a particularly treacherous winter. My wonderful husband Wayne drove me 3 times a week for the first 2 weeks, then twice a week for a few months. Visits decreased slowly until finally, after a year,  my check-ups are now once every 2 months.

story of a transplant

Soon after I submitted my article to ‘The Tour’ last January, wondering who my donor had been, I received a call from Transplant Quebec who informed me that they had received a letter from my donor’s mother. They needed my permission to send it to me. Transplant Quebec was very hesitant thinking that maybe it was a bit too soon.  I had had the transplant only a month earlier and the success of the transplant can only be fully confirmed after one year. They also informed me that if I chose to continue the communication, all letters had to be approved by Transplant Quebec to ensure everything remained anonymous.

I had no hesitation – I told them to send the letter. Whether the transplant did or did not succeed, I felt that I still had to honor this generous person and thank the family. I was very nervous and excited at the same time. Because I would finally find out if this person was male or female, and possibly what kind of person he or she had been. I anxiously waited to see the flag up on our mailbox.

The letter finally arrived from my donor’s mother – she had lost her only son. It was sad to read but at the same time I sensed that since her son had saved another life, it brought her some comfort.

We’ve been corresponding on a regular basis. In every letter there is always something that makes me laugh and something that makes me cry. It is beyond what I ever could have imagined especially that receiving hand written letters in the mail does not happen often anymore. It is so special to be writing intimate feelings and thoughts to someone anonymously. We share this incredibly rare bond that is a result of this particular circumstance. And I deeply cherish the relationship we have developed.

I have earned my living as an entertainer my whole life. This experience has made me want to create something more than just entertainment. I feel I have to create something that will honor organ donors and their families. As well as strongly promote organ donation in a funny/sad theatrical way. This winter/spring I have been writing a play that will hopefully do just that.

Two articles by Andrea Conway have been published in Le Tour on the subject of the transplant. For reference, check the stories on her pre transplant and on her transplant. Visit this site for more information on organ donation in Québec.