Illinois Donor Diary – Chapter 43 – Learning to Encourage Yourself

Support is a seven letter word that I say many people lone for especially when your back is against the wall. At the age of 22 in 1990, I was diagnosed with end stage renal failure and was in need of a kidney. My life was turned into a midnight of hell filled with dark clouds. My whole life and youth had just been snatched from me. It happened so fast, right before my eyes. I was caught off guard.

I started to sing, “row, row, row your boat gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.” But when I woke up, I woke up to dialysis. You name it, I experienced every dialysis treatment there was. I almost lost my time on this earth fighting for 8 1/2 years, trying to stay alive to see my two boys. Depression, medicine denial fears, facing death and no support, it almost killed me but I didn’t give up. I took the punches and the bruises.

I did not understand this chronic illness that took me so fast and I knew that no one else would ever understand me. I have learned that when I acknowledge fear and share it with others, I can be empowering and help others while empowering myself. Maybe one day I can be that international motivational speaker that I say I am.

Being sick is very difficult but I adapted to it. There are times that I still feel happy even when I am feeling sick.

In January of 1999, I received a call (about an available kidney.) It was my ticket. Freedom had come but on the other hand, someone just lost a loved one.

If you receive (or received) a donation, be a good steward to your organ. The powerful immunosuppressive medications that are taken post-transplant may cause depression and can be very uncomfortable at times and for that reason, support is needed. I have learned through my second chance at life that sometimes we only get one chance, sometimes we get two chances and other times we get chances after chances.

The goal of my second chance at life is to support as many people as I can, especially those that are battling with organ failure and transplantation. It is a fight that we must keep fighting until god says well done, good and faithful servant.

Dedicated to two of my friends Megan and Danyale who recently lost their battle to organ failure.

-Lisa Givens

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2 Responses to Illinois Donor Diary – Chapter 43 – Learning to Encourage Yourself

  1. kathy m says:

    lisa, well written and inspiring article. I am a donor and received a left lung in 2008. Now dealing with rejection but I like you fight every day and wake up each morning happy to be here. I have been so lucky to get a second chance.

  2. Lisa says:

    Thanks kathy for understanding. I just want people to understand that we are in this together,no one should have to go tru this alone. Some how I made it without losing my mind.. Back then I had never heard of a support group but now there are so many support group out here for all of us. Im all about getting people involved and supporting those that need maybe just an ear to hear them. Lisa-

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