Jude is a big part of my life and she has always been a source of total honesty for my life. I remember staying with Jude and sharing the mundane morning ritual of brushing our teeth and watching with awe at the massive array of tablets she would calmly throw down. Jude has never appeared ill. It was dialysis that spelled out the severity of what was happening to someone I love.
Dialysis can be quite frightening, whether observing or more hands on, it's quite scary. I have seen fear and pain in patients' eyes - but never in Jude's eyes. It was more like a fierce determination to have her blood pumped out of her, cleaned then pumped back in until the next time.
I have received many reactions since before our transplant and after. The decision to give a living piece of my body away is nowhere near as impressive as it sounds. It was quick and simple and I have never reconsidered it for a moment. This was a selfish act for me personally as it was nothing whatsoever to do with loss for anyone else but me; I couldn't watch someone I love die without trying to do anything.
So I harassed specialists, my own GP, family, friends and the amazing renal nurses. They all served as my technical support centre-without this level of care I doubt we all would have made it through the process with just the scars we signed up for. This part of my life has been a constant source of pride and surprise for me and learning that anyone is capable of swapping some good for bad. I hope people can find a little bit of strength and hope vicariously through our experience.