Monday’s Austin Triathlon impacted me in a lot of ways, but the aftershocks that I felt for the rest of the week were the strongest of all. Everything that I thought about and wrote about on Monday concentrated around competing as a triathlete. Out of 160 people in my 35-39 age group, I was 6th in the swim, and 29th overall. I dropped 14+ minutes off my time from last year, even with a crash during the bike course. In an Olympic distance, I had never broken into the top half, much less being in the top 20%. Unlike my insanely competitive wife (whose competitive spirit I love dearly until it makes our Wii contests turn into wrestling matches), I’ve never really cared who I beat or if I won, but just how I did relative to my goals. And Monday I was proud of the results of my training.
And then Tuesday, I was driving home, and it hit me. All during Monday, the thought of “I did really well for a transplant recipient” never entered my mind. For the first time, I had thought of myself as
a competitive triathlete
a transplant recipient who does triathlons
It may seem like a small difference, but it overwhelmed me with emotion, a strange rush of happiness and overflowing gratitude to all the people who have made this miracle possible, and even brought tears to my eyes.
Six years ago, I wondered if I could ever be an athlete again. And now I’m wondering how much faster I can run. This thought and feeling hit me over and over again this week. Driving home from swim practice this morning, after knocking down a lot of yardage in the pool, those same thoughts hit me. This started as a way to just prove that I’m healthy, and now most people who meet me through the sport think of me as a competitive athlete, not a transplant recipient who is trying to finish.
I’m still a transplant recipient who does triathlons, and incredibly proud of that identity. But the fact that I could just be a triathlete for a day highlights the miracle of the gift I received.
A lot of people tell me how amazed they are with what I’ve done. I really haven’t done anything. Everything that made this possible happened over five years ago in a hospital surgery wing, where my cousin gave me a second chance at life. I had no idea I’d get so much more than just a second chance.
Super Cool Kidney Transplant News
I couldn’t help but share the following links I’ve seen over the last couple of months:
- Proof of Concept for creating new livers at Mass General Hospital
- Working on the artificial kidney (This is incredibly exciting)
- And, it’s time stop using malaria meds to stop leg cramps. This is a great example where unscientific medicine leads to really bad decisions and negative affects on patients. Just because some patients you’ve treated, or some conventional wisdom says a drug has alternate benefits doesn’t mean you should start prescribing it for those other benefits. My first nephrologist put me on this, and after one night on the medicine I strongly preferred the painful, gut wrenching leg cramps.
Save Money, Save the Planet
One of my favorite people in the world just launch Blissmo, a Groupon-like service where the products are sustainable. While I do scan a daily email I get for good deals on stuff I like, it seems like most of the food offerings move me closer to a coronary than better health. If you’re at all into organic food, sustainable products, green companies, then check them out.
Yes, this is still Bryan writing this blog. While many people would guess that I’d be more likely to be a member of the NRA than the Sierra Club (which, if forced to choose… well…), I am a big fan of recycling. And in general we shouldn’t be stupid with natural resources. So check out Blissmo!