For over a week, my chest itched. Not just any part of my chest, but right along my transplant scar. I scratched until I bled, but the scores I made with my nails would not stop the sting in my skin, somewhere deep underneath muscle and bone.
Over time, I have learned to listen to my body, so when this happens – as odd as it sounds – I believe it’s my donor reminding me that something is amiss with my either my body or my spirit.
When you become a transplant recipient, you enter into a duty of care. My lungs are a shared responsibility between me, my donor, her family and the doctors who have kept me alive for close to fourteen years. And so the penny dropped last night – I needed to start respecting my body again. For far too long, I have played with fire with the manifestation of diabetes many years ago, for there are times when I look after myself and times when I want to forget about it because I have an obnoxious sweet tooth.
We had a little chat last night about what I could do and the first flag that waved in my face was exercise, closely followed by diet and the re-addition of daily meditation and yoga. And so this morning, with intention (and 2L of glucolyte), I went for a walk that tested my body and my mind. Hill climbs were the best and the most painful, but it reminded me that I need to keep going.
Don’t stop. Don’t stop for anything or anyone.
With the city cast in a thick fog, I took my donor for a walk this morning – a heavy breathing scenic tour of my suburb because it makes sense to me that everything I see, she sees. I am taking her on a journey that she never got to go on herself. But I like to think that she only sees the beautiful things – other peoples joy, flowers, sunshine, the ocean and the mountains, my owls, my books and my collection of tea and typewriters. And my words. I hope she sees my words. She has guided me time and again to words.
Allowing me to take her everywhere, I can only hope that we have met halfway. She has given and I have taken. I have lived and she has not. I hope she can forgive me and that I do her gift the justice it so wildly deserves.