Friday, October 12, 2012

Life in the Balance

Most of us will make a lot of promises throughout our lifetimes. From our first whispered promises of friendship to a new classmate or neighbor to professional oaths to committing our lives to another or pursuing the very best for our children, promises are important not just because they make public our intentions, but because they force us each to put into words our goals, aspirations, and -- hopefully -- our desire for actual action and follow through. They are important because, among other things, they give us the chance to examine ourselves.

I made one of my biggest promises two years and four months ago today, as I was being wheeled into the OR for my transplant surgery. Some of you might know that I had already had some not so fun experiences with last minute dry runs, and so I very distinctly remember the process of being wheeled off and wondering if this was finally the real deal. And what I remember thinking in my head, word for word, was this:

"Please God and Donor and Donor Family: if you just let this work this time, if you can just let this be it and these lungs be perfect, then I promise to do everything I can to keep these lungs healthy and to live to make you proud."

Not super eloquent, maybe, but at least it was honest. I made that promise with every last breath I had in my body at that moment. At the time I had yet to "meet" Donor Bob or his precious, amazing gift -- I had yet to experience the raw joy that is so-called "normal" breathing -- but I knew in my heart that this was a union worth praying for, committing myself to completely, and celebrating. Two years and change later, I wouldn't have asked for it to play out any other way.

We given many gifts in life to help us live it. Some of us are given more or less at different times, but all of us are givers, and all of us are receivers. The balance for those of us who have received our gifts in the form of new life is to learn how to protect those gifts without compromising our abilities to live with them. I don't know if I've always struck the perfect balance, frankly, and I'm honestly not sure if I'll ever manage to get the scales exactly right. But I do know that I have done my damndest to keep my promise(s) to myself, to Bob, and to all the many, many people who have loved or cared for both of us.

And so, tonight, I think it's important to send a little shout out to all the others out there who part of our collective balancing act. If you've ever asked yourself "where exactly does LIFE fit into all this medical mumbo jumbo?" or "how can I pay it forward for all the kindness that's been shown to me throughout this struggle?" -- well, then this post is for you. I may not have all the answers, but I do know that Donor Bob and I will be right there alongside y'all as we continue to hunt for them.

We promise.


  1. Hi Piper
    My name is Jenna and I came across your site. You are an inspirational hero and an amazing wonderful woman.
    I was born with a rare life threatening disease, developmental delays and 14 medical conditions.

  2. love this blog! Kinda gives you the "Oh yeah, I forgot
    I'm not the only one with CF out there.."