The Dark, (Shadow) Side of Transplant

Updated: Jul 27, 2020

The dark side of Transplant-

I write this today not to create a disturbance in you or to complain about this life-saving process.

I write this today to finally reclaim a balance in care and offer ways to improve on subjects that are left unsaid, often the elephant in the room for many of us patients.

I will start out immediately by stating this fact.

"If you enter the dark side of life, and come through it, you emerge with more strength and passion."

-Nicole Kidman

There is a grossly out of balance and often unrecognized mental, emotional, and spiritual level of care throughout the process of organ transplantation. I say this after 10+ years of deep research, counseling patients, and embodying the process not once but twice over a 20 year period.

This piece is not about to me…not to boost about how awesome I am doing now, not to advocate for organ donation, and definitely not to sugar coat this for anyone but rather to advocate for transformation in "how" this process actually looks and "how" we can begin to treat the patient as a whole complex that espouses not simply a physical component but rather the trifecta that we are as human. The mind, body, spirit complex, all of which are active differently along the process to authenic healing and better long term patient outcomes.

To offer context, let me give a little background about my story;

I had a rough upbringing as a child. Born to very young parents who barely knew themselves, my early years constituted of me dealing with my emotions through dance balanced with periods of deep self-reflection and even isolation. I always kept a small tight circle of friends and as young as I can remember I sought pleasure out by feeling the feelings of others and attempting to transmute any pain to make them happy, often at my own expense. A tremendous lesson needed to be learned- to empower my empathy.

After many years of me attempting to help others whether it be by means of teaching yoga and meditation classes, doing massage therapy for those in chronic pain, or counseling (talk therapy) to anyone at anytime to help them get through a difficult situation, and suddenly at 21, it was my turn to develop a self care regime and the price it cost was almost my life.

See at 21 I was diagnosed with systemic lupus which led into complete kidney failure by 26.

I was a hemodialysis and peritoneal patient for 4 years before my first transplant at 30.

I cannot explain how difficult my life was during my 20’s. All I will say is that if I didn’t have a good team of professionals (which I had to arduously seek out), and my experience of emotional and spiritual practices, I would not be here today.