Back in 2000, when my third round of having a kidney transplant was a no-go, we were all disappointed, and by that I mean my friends, family and doctors. When I was back in the hospital and it was clear that the transplanted kidney was already damaged beyond repair after just a few months, my dear nephrologist, Frank Strauss, came into my room. He stood over my bed and gazed out the window.
“Why aren’t you screaming at me to do something?” ” Because I know this is beyond your control — if there was anything you could have done, you would have done it by now.” Yes, I was as disappointed as everyone else in my life, probably more. But I also knew there was a lot more to me than the presence vs. absence of kidney function. “Don’t worry, the kidney is going but I’m not. There’s dialysis and I’m going to do the best possible treatment I can to keep me well. (And that would mean getting out of the clinic and figuring out a way of doing dialysis at home that was going to work.) Frank looked at me incredulously. “Why are you comforting me? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?” I love that man. Not only an outstanding doctor, but an all-around outstanding guy.
So here I am, almost 15 years later, working on a documentary about overcoming adversity and creating a good life for yourself. I just launched this brand-new website to go along with the film, Life On the Bridge. There’s a saying that life is 10% circumstance and 90% attitude.
I was just asked to moderate a panel on Health Literacy aimed at physicians and nurses at an international conference in a few months (more on that soon).
My journey screams that saying out to me. it is about attitude and I continue to direct myself to that. And I share this journey with you.