Jacqsworld's Blog

Dialysis, Kidney Disease, Living life with Chronic illness

Guilty As Charged

One thing about writing a blog is that the writer has to decide (if writing a personal blog) how open they want to be. I decided to write a blog to educate people about what it’s like to live with a chronic illness, mine being kidney disease. And since my kidney disease required me to go on dialysis, I also write about that so that people who don’t know what dialysis involves, gets a small understanding of it and also, so that other people on dialysis know that they aren’t alone in what they go through.

Opening up and writing about personal issues can be hard. For me, I worry about people feeling sorry for me. I don’t want that because I don’t feel sorry for myself. I actually feel fortunate that a treatment like dialysis exists…it keeps me alive and I have a lot to live for – my family and friends are some of the most incredible people and they are that way, naturally. It’s who they are. I could list something about each one of them that would describe what makes them so wonderful but instead I’ll just say, they love me.  Plain and simple.

Anyway, I sat down to write a completely different blog, which I’ll post later but I started chatting with my friend Anne and if you haven’t read her blog yet, you need to check it out:  http://anne315.wordpress.com

While we were chatting she began to tell me about some of the information that she had recently  received from someone at U of M hospital involved with the transplant process. At that time I didn’t really want to hear about it.  Anne, being my friend for over 30+ years and knowing just how weird I really am, told me that if I wanted to find out about it, I could read her blog.

Although I didn’t feel like it last night, I did. I was glad I did. She’s so good at writing about the process that she’s going through to donate a kidney. Her blog truly is educational and fun. I went to bed with a smile on my face.

When I woke up this morning I thought about something Anne had written in her first blog post; she said that she thought I had “donee guilt.”  I realized that she is right. For those of you who don’t know the term,  “donee guilt,” it’s feeling guilty about having a person donate an organ to you.

Please understand I do want a kidney. I have dreams of having a kidney and living a longer, healthier life. And I know that to get a “live donor kidney” is so much better than getting a cadaver kidney.  So what’s my problem?

I have some (a lot) of concerns, most of them irrational, LOL. I’ve read the data about organ transplants and Anne is a reference librarian, so she’s educated me too. I know it’s a safe surgery for her. I know she’s healthy and I know people live healthy with one kidney. Logically, I know that the both of us will be fine.

Emotionally, I feel responsible for her. She’s been my friend forever. We’ve gone through so much with each other,” the good, the bad and the ugly”. We hold each other’s secrets, most of them shared over dinners at Red Lobster. We’ve cried on each other’s shoulders,’ usually over Chinese food. She’s more than a friend to me, she’s part of my family and I love her.

So now she’s preparing to give me the biggest, most important gift that anyone can give another person (except for my husband giving me my son) and if I took her to Red Lobster and out for Chinese food everyday for the rest of my life, I could never repay her. Of course I’m joking…kind of. I know she expects no repayment. I know that she just wants me to live, which is the point of all of this.

But I do feel responsible for her and I do feel guilt. I know that I have to get over it and I am working on that because the day of the transplant, I just want to have a relaxed and positive attitude, ready to enjoy the next phase of my life, guilt free.


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13 thoughts on “Guilty As Charged

  1. Susan Robertson on said:

    Sometimes it’s worth considering what you are doing for another person by letting them help you. Acceptance of this donation is such a loving act of generosity, just as the donation itself is. When you can see your way clear to accepting Anne’s decision as being freely and lovingly made entirely by her, then you’ll be closer to letting go of your guilt.

    • You’re so right Sue and logically I know that this guilt thing is crazy. I really am working at letting it go. Thanks so much for your support with this blog, it means a lot to me.

  2. Robyn cline on said:

    Anne is an amazing person and friend. How many of us in life are ever blessed to know friendship like yours. I can say firsthand guilt is a horrible thing and it consumes us, but it can be so hard to let go of. I can’t say much else other than I love you Jackie! I pray for you every day and starting today, I’ll be praying for Anne too!!

  3. Wow I loved this. I completely understand how you don’t want people to feel sorry for you–they shouldn’t. I think it is SO MUCH more difficult to be in the position of needing a kidney than giving one. If the situation was reversed I know you would be writing the donor blog and me the donee blog. Susan and Robyn are right, don’t feel guilty. It will get better. Don’t be too hard on yourself, your feelings are natural. I don’t think donors are the heroes. The heroes are people who have to go through dialysis several times a week, plus deal with the other problems with kidney disease and still get on with their lives!

  4. Leslie Cunningham on said:

    Dear Sweet Niece Jackie, What a beautiful, sacred, and holy process this is watching you and Anne figure out how God wants you to be with each other! Do you remember the Johnny Cash song, “May the Circle be Unbroken?” This is exactly how we all hold hands to keep the Circle connected. Anne is laying down her life for you (accepting the risk) by giving you a kidney; and you Dear Jackie are laying down your life for Anne by accepting life, accepting what Anne can give to you, because you too are taking a risk. God is clearly right smack in the middle of this, and you, in your authentic truth telling in this blog have given us all a clear vision of the Creator of the Universe! God Bless both you and Anne and I hope I get to meet her some day. Love and hugs, Les

    • Thank you Leslie! Between you and your sister, you’re having me crying over here. I know that I’m writing this blog to try and help anyone out there that needs it and I have heard from a few people, so I do feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I do know that Johnny Cash song. You’re right about the Circle. I know that you and Sue are part of my circle too and I can’t tell you how much that means to me…especially with my mother gone. I do want you to meet Anne. As you can tell, she’s quite something. God blessed me by putting her in my life. HE has blessed me time and time again with everyone he has put in my path.

  5. Susan Robertson on said:

    Anne, you ARE a hero – just as Jackie is. You girls have always been different sides of the same coin – very strong individuals, but with a middle that enhances that strength to a level only possible with both of your minds and hearts.

    You have both agreed on this part of your journey together, and in the process, you’ve both elected to write so you can share your experiences and feelings with others. I know for a fact that your joint blogging efforts have already touched at least one family, and there are probably many more that we’ll never know about.

    Jackie, my love, I have no doubt that you will continue to work on this. You’ll turn it over and examine it, and put it back, and take it out again, until you make progress. That’s so you. Please don’t be too hard on yourself, though. What you’re feeling is normal and the process will take awhile. Keep writing, and keep being honest about your feelings, as only you can be. I love that about you!

    You are both such extraordinary women!

  6. Barbara Morin on said:


    I’ve been thinking about “donee guilt” and it made me remember a time when my friend Ellie was diagnosed with cancer and it felt so unfair and I was powerless to do anything useful to help. I helped organize friends to bring food to her family while she was incapacitated, but there was little concrete that any of us could do to make a real difference and that made us all the more frustrated and saddened.

    Later, during the last few months of Chris’s life, the same friend, who had, mercifully, recovered in the iterim, organized mutual friends to bring us food every week. In some ways, it felt a little embarassing, even unnecessary; certainly we would have found somethng to eat every night with or without the help. But when I talked to the food donees it was clear that they felt the same way I had earlier, that they were dismayed by our situation and that anything that they could do to help in any way made them feel less powerless in the face of all that.

    I don’t mean in any way to minimize what Anne is doing- it is truly a stupendous act of love. But, without knowing her, I am sure that she is grateful that she can do that will be a real and lasting benefit to such a good friend. We are all grateful, too!



    • Barbara,
      I know exactly what you’re saying. I think I’m dealing better with the guilt thing…I know that I want a kidney more than anything and I know that because of Anne, I have this great opportunity. So when I look at it like that, it seems simple. I have to just keep looking at it like that.
      I hope that when you guys come to Michigan (hint, hint:-) you’ll be able to meet Anne. I always tell her that we’re each other’s longest relationship.

      Love to all of you!

  7. Rittle Giru on said:

    And then we can go to Cedar Point and you can drink allllllllll the whatever you want. And eat elephant ears and fritos and not worry about the phosphorous or sodium or whatever else.



  8. Pingback: 2010 in review « Jacqsworld's Blog

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