Nutcracker. No, not the toy soldier or the ballet. However, it is quite a bit like the little toy soldier who squeezes a nut until it breaks. 

Nutcracker Syndrome got its name because it similarly squeezes and compresses the renal vein until there is little to no blood that can get through to flow through a person’s body. It is relatively new and rare, so of course it’s something I would have. This results in my most debilitating symptom–pain. All over, head-to-toe, pain. 

Treating Nutcracker involves doing a kidney transplant. An auto-kidney transplant to be exact. What does that mean? Let me tell you because it’s going to blow your mind. (At least it blew mine.) I will be getting a kidney transplant… with MY OWN KIDNEY. The surgeon will be taking my left kidney and moving it to the right side,so I will have 2 kidneys on my right side. Pretty cool right? He’ll also have to take out my appendix for future preventive measures. If it were to burst, it would compromise both my kidneys. He’ll also be fixing an umbilical hernia I have while he’s rummaging around inside me. 

Sitting in the hospital this morning waiting to go under the knife (yet again) has got me feeling all sorts of ways. 

Excitement. This could be life-changing. I should gain a quality of life I wouldn’t have previously let myself hope for, for fear I might experience crushing disappointment. Which is another emotion:

Fear. Of disappointment. What if for some reason it doesn’t work? What if it doesn’t help my symptoms? Sure it might have helped other people with Nutcracker, but what if it doesn’t help me? Because I’m, you know, me

Anxiety. I’m terribly anxious that something will go wrong — because with me something always goes wrong!. I’m anxious of the possibility that this could cause my family and friends an indescribable amount of pain. I’m anxious knowing I’ll be a burden to my family during my recovery. I know they don’t see me as a burden, but I still can’t help feeling that way.

Scared. It’s not necessarily feeling scared for the pain (although I should be — it will be rough). I’m used to pain. I’m expecting pain. In no way will it be easy and it will hurt beyond explanation, but I know I can survive the pain. I have survived pain for 8 years. I’m scared for the road ahead of me. I’m scared to go back to not being able to walk, sit up, or even move on my own. I’m scared to have to give up what little hard-earned independence I have gained. To go back to not being able to make my own breakfast or having to be walked to the bathroom. 

Worried. Worried people will judge me. They’ll think I’m being over dramatic or just want attention. That has happened to me a lot. 

Hopeful. I’m allowing myself to have a flicker of hope that this will give me back my quality of life. Allow me to live as close of a normal life as possible. Hopeful that I’ll be able to inspire others with my story. With this new monster, I’ll be fighting real-time.

Overall, though … I want to SCREAM. So I brought him with me to give me courage. Scream will comfort me as I scream, cry, and yell in sadness, frustration, and pain. Scream will be waiting for me alongside my family to help me tackle yet another monster.

So many emotions. So many monsters ahead of me. Yet, I can’t help but be hopeful and cautiously optimistic for the road ahead. No matter how painful and scary it will be.

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Jen

Jen