Sunday, July 27, 2008

"I'm Not a Hero"

I just look like one (kidding!)

That has been one of the strangest post-transplant experiences--people (some of them total strangers) coming up to me and saying "You're so brave", or variations of that theme. Or "you're a hero."

But really, I'm not. I wasn't.

Heroism, to me, implies some great feat of strength or daring, or something really impressive, like the firefighters who rushed into the burning Towers on 9/11 to save the workers trapped inside. That's heroic. That's putting your life before others for the greater good.

I didn't do that.

All I did was give my consent to lie down on an operating table for a few hours.

Transplant surgery has a different mind-set than other surgeries. Usually, if you want one, you're going to die without it. There's not a whole lot of risk inherent there--you will die without the surgery, for sure. You might die on the table. But you might die on the table getting an appendectomy. So really, the risks are in your favor. Without the surgery, you're dead. With it, you're giving yourself a shot.

The decision to get listed wasn't some big heroic thing. It was highly pragmatic. I wanted to live. My body was standing the way. So I had to ditch the trouble spots and move on. To do that, I needed to do this.

That's not heroic. That's just being logical.

And it doesn't make you especially brave, either, when your choices are "I will die" or "I might die." I'm going for the "might" part.

If you've read this blog since its inception, you know that it took me awhile to be convinced that I needed the surgery. For a long time, I felt fine--maybe not the best, but I was able to do everything I wanted. When that changed, so did my outlook.

But it doesn't make me heroic or brave or anything like that. It might demonstrate I was intelligent enough to go for it and not mess around vascillating between making the decision or not.

God gave me the cards that are my life. I played them. And to not play the hand to the fullest wouldn't go with me. So I did.

(btw, the title of this post is a song track title from the "Dark Knight" sound track.)

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