“I feel so bad for you. You poor thing.”
With only a sliver of light from the ultrasound screen, I saw only the profile of the ultrasound technician. Her long brown hair and face looked like they were glowing from the light that beamed from the screen.
My transplant nephrologist had ordered an ultrasound scan on my native kidneys and this ultrasound technician had struggled so intently to locate my native kidney beans as well as my first kidney bean transplant and second kidney bean transplant that she had escalated my case to the physician on staff.
From my view, I saw sadness and stress etched on her face and thought to myself: “Oh, dear God, is she going to cry?”
Please don’t cry, I thought. If she cries, I am going to start crying because, crying, like laughter is contagious to me.
She continued on, “It is just that you are the same age as me, and you’ve been through so much.”
Then, I did the most unexpected thing. I busted out laughing and exclaimed when the probe hit a funny spot on my roadmap of a scarred tummy, “That tickles! I’m really ticklish!”
She still looked sad and I said lightheartedly to her, “Don’t feel bad or sad for me. I’m alive. I’m here. I’m 4’9” inches above ground. There’s more to life and more to me and all of us than everything that has happened that are out of our control. Life is about what you make happen from all that has happened. I’m so very, very blessed. You gotta have spunk!”’
Spunk. Let me tell you about ‘spunk.' Spunk has been and will always be my inner drive tool to endure life’s worst moments to enjoy my best moments and, truly, just to enjoy life. Spunk is hope, positivity, passion, fire, joy, and, most of all, motivation to keep on moving.
After 33 years and most of that time being spent on health hiccups and hurdles, I came to the realization that I am not just the girl with 4 ½ kidney beans who only spends my energy and time on organ donation and transplantation. I am the girl who is immensely and intensely curious and with the ‘spunk’ to learn more and savor all my current plethora of interests: swimming, writing, dancing, listening to music, arts & crafts, traveling, cooking/baking, and the list goes on and on. I am the girl who has the most amazing supportive network of family members and friends who like me for me and not what has happened to me. Throughout my life, all I wished for was to connect with others in the organ donation and transplant community. However, I had my epiphany that common experiences are not equivalent to connection. In a world of billions of people, true connection is rare and few. Most of my closest and dearest friends I connect with have not had a transplant, but we connect and click on the surface level of interests to deeper level of life philosophies and beliefs.
I know so many people who become their illness and their circumstances, and this saddens me, because there is always more to and in life to make happen from the choices we did not have with circumstances. There is more to me or you that will ever meet the eye. And, this is the very core and crux of ‘spunk’- more than.
The uncontrolled that occur in life are actually the gifts, blessings, and chances we are given to become more and not to just be mediocre, trapped, locked, and boxed in that we know of only on the surface. Why settle when you can soar? Why good when there is great? Why ordinary when there is extraordinary?
There is always more. There is always ‘spunk.’ Do you have ‘spunk’? What motivates you? Do you think that we are our experiences? What have you done with your experiences that go beyond your scope and comfort zone? What is and where is your ‘spunk’?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,