It’s time to begin. I’ve put it off, but I can’t hold out any longer. This is where it all starts.
I created this blog in November, and I had great plans to start posting about what I was feeling as I looked ahead to the time when I would start dialysis for the third time. I even began writing a post, but I stopped in the middle of it and moved on to other projects. I kept telling myself, “It’s almost Christmas, and I have so much to do!” or “I think, all things considered, it’s a better use of my time to take a nap,” or even, “What on earth do people want with another blog to read?!”
On New Year’s Eve I finally realized the truth. We were down in Arizona, visiting family, and everyone was enjoying themselves, shouting out Happy New Year, setting off fireworks, excited for 2012, except me. All I could see ahead of me was the looming gray wall of another bout of dialysis.
For those of you who don’t know, dialysis is a process in which machines clean the blood of someone whose kidneys can’t do the job. It isn’t fun. In fact, it is often soul crushing. This will be my third time on dialysis. My original kidneys failed when I was a senior in high school. After three years of dialysis, I received a cadaver transplant. Five years later, my disease attacked my kidneys again, and I returned to dialysis. This time I was able to get a transplant only a year afterwards, thanks to my wonderful brother-in-law, Mitchell, who donated a kidney to me. Five years after that, guess who came knocking on my metaphysical door? That’s right: IGA Nephropathy and his good pal, Dialysis.
This is what I was facing on New Year’s Eve. My doctor had allowed me to put off the inevitable until after the holidays, but I knew that as soon as I returned to Salt Lake, the process would begin. I was so full of dread that night that I sat inside and cried on Kohl’s shoulder while everyone else was shooting off fireworks, and I LOVE fireworks. I hadn’t wanted to think about it before; I hadn’t wanted to write about it; I hadn’t wanted to accept that this shadow was back in my life.
Here’s the thing though: shadow and light together create beauty. When I was a freshman in college, part of my routine was a dialysis exchange in the middle of the day. I would sit in my parents’ living room and look out their big picture window, luxuriating in the sun like a cat, because dialysis makes me so cold. My mom had planted a beautiful tree in the courtyard, with slender branches covered in tiny, dancing leaves, and I was fascinated by the patterns the tree would make on the sidewalk beneath it. I used to watch it for the entire hour-long process, and eventually I started calling the shadowy, intricate patterns on the cement shadowlace.
My life has become synonymous with, and informed by, shadowlace. I am surrounded by beauty, and love, and delight, and I have learned to recognize these things clearly because of the dark patches. Whoever I am, and whatever I am becoming, it is happening because I have been in the shadows, and I am ready to write about it now.
I am going to plug writing a blog post into my weekly schedule, so, for those who are interested, I hope I have enough of interest to say. Kohl told me that I need to let more people in, to use this experience as a way to reach out and help others, so here come the shadow and the light of my life.