In Answer to the Kind Offers of Help . . . .

If you’re reading this between 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. on December 16th, I’m in the surgery room at Legacy Good Samaritan hospital here in Portland. If it’s later than that, I am one kidney lighter, so that Gloria can have a healthy kidney and live a normal lifespan. I love that some readers have offered to help. Thank you!

Here are things I’d find helpful and uplifting in my recovery, in order of preference. This isn’t the most traditional post-surgery wish-list, but then, you’re dealing with someone who loves song lyrics written since you know me that won’t surprise you :). Gloria and I have wanted from the beginning of our shared project to have an impact beyond ourselves.

  • Share in the comments what actions you are taking for anti-racism. I don’t need praise. In contrast, reading about your efforts will trigger endorphins in my body that will combat my pain and fatigue. It really does work that way.
  • For example, you could sign up to receive the Anti-Racism Daily in your inbox. It’s educational, with practical suggestions on how we can make a positive difference. Consider donating to them, or to another nonprofit that works for antiracism.
  • Share this or another of my pieces with a friend or colleague you think would be open to it. Let me know you did that. Again, I’m jonesing for the endorphin hits that come from having an impact.
  • Food — dinners — would be helpful to Thor and Sura, my at-home care team. Please coordinate with Sura at (Sura is our essentially adopted 26 y.o. son from West Africa.) Write “dinner” in the subject line. Warm shout-out to my friend Micki, who brought over three frozen containers of fancy soup — three weeks ago. So proactive.

Special thanks to my kidney donation mentors Sherwin, Heather and Emily. Also to my friend Colleenhandwritten letter from child Kaleda, a fellow writer who may pen an update in the next week or so, based on chatting with me as I’m recovering.

And speaking of help, Colleen’s daughter Marie Louise wrote me the letter to the right earlier this month. It is refreshing to get unscripted, holistic feedback that includes my dancing abilities and list(en)ing skills. She is an honest 11 y.o. person who, for example, has let me know when a certain new haircut was not my best idea. So, when she writes “To Alison who is powerful” I feel . . . a touch more powerful.

Love, faith and blessings to you.

P.S. Marie Louise gave me permission to share her letter. I wouldn’t have done so otherwise.

17 thoughts on “In Answer to the Kind Offers of Help . . . .”

  1. Alison, you are an inspiration! Glad to see you are telling your stories so others can be inspired as well. I don’t have a daily practice to confront systemic racism and this reminds me I could/should. As Latino woman I try to always think and consider about the barriers people face as the starting point when I meet new people. We all come to the same place, when we work, study, play, meditate, etc, having walked different paths and some of those paths are more difficult than others–we don’t see the paths walked by others and the hurdles they had, unless we recognize them and learn about them.

  2. Still holding you and Gloria and all the healthcare workers in prayer today, Alison! For my anti-racism work, last week I learned about the racist, silent understory of the Emanuel Hospital expansion decades ago, the devastating generational financial impact on Black families and businesses because of it, and the re-emergence of this racism-via-“development” trajectory in the Interstate Corridor Urban Renewal plan being voted on by the Portland City council today. At the Black community’s request, I emailed the mayor and all the city commissioners urging them to reject the plan unless restitution is made to the descendants of those displaced Black families. I do not yet know what the outcome of the meeting was today.

    1. Such good learnings and work, Solveig. I like that you are responding to the requests and leadership of people of color.

  3. Hi ya, Alison. You might be in post-op recovery right now, with your kidney on its way to a grateful recipient. I just signed up for Anti-Racism Daily, and have prioritized adding anti-racism reading into my daily agenda. Thanks for being the catalyst for so many 🙂

  4. Alison, I’ve been thinking of you and Gloria over the past week — and the other donor and recipient who I assume will be part of this matched donation. Wishing you all the best! To your question, I’m currently working with a client on a series of videos to help white Southerners better understand systemic racism. It’s been a while since one of my paid assignments has had such an explicitly antiracist goal. I’m grateful for the project and (I think, naturally) a little scared I’ll screw it up. But it’s the motivating kind of fear, as I expect you fully get!

    1. John, yes, I do relate to the kind of fear that motivates us to positive action. And I love that you’re doing a paid project on anti-racism. Shows that the client takes the work seriously.

  5. Hi Alison, glad to see your post this morning. Thinking of you. I just signed up for the antiracism newsletter after reading an article. These articles can be difficult and I must limit my reading of them, so as not to feel defeated by the problem. On the other hand, it’s good to have awareness and take small action steps.. I contribute to various groups such as ACLU, NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Equal Justice Initiative, as well as CAUSA, which supports undocumented workers through the pandemic, They fall completely outside of any benefits packages. Speaking of which, our country is behaving like a failed state in comparison to say, Germany or Canada, who are supporting their citizens $2000 a month to get through the pandemic. But that’s another topic….yet related; Because it discriminates against the “working” class, which is most of us… and favors protecting the upper echelon. I have included my Hispanic workers in my living trust. I am not inclined to enrich family members just because we are connected genetically, though they are included too. You seem as light as a deer and aging gracefully. Why don’t you let me know which soups you like best and I’ll bring you more during your recovery. Love Micki

    1. Micki, you are such an engaged, motivated citizen I think you could write your own blog!

      I too have to monitor my anti-racism reading to avoid feelings of overwhelm and defeat, also known as flooding.

      You’ve already been generous and I don’t expect yet more soup from you!


  6. I signed up for the anti-racism daily email. Thanks for that suggestion.. May your healing be smooth.. And we are all blessed and encouraged by your faithfulness to love and justice.

  7. Prayers today for two powerful women and their teams! I am subscribing to the newsletter you mention. My husband is working with a non-profit which works closely with Black families, providing support for education, transportation, child care, and financial well-being. He also has been working with one of the Outward Bound schools to include more marginalized communities in the good work done by the school and its excellent staff. We have prioritized giving to non-profits doing similar work in our area this year, We look forward to news!

  8. Doris, thank you for sharing your experience of kidney surgery (I believe you were a recipient?) and for not pretending it doesn’t hurt. I will take your advice concerning photos, which it wouldn’t have occurred to me to take. “The Color of Compromise” sounds like a good tip. Being humbled by what we learn, I get it.

  9. Thank you for sharing Alison. I have marked my calendar to pray for you and Gloria tomorrow. My suggestion is to take lots of photos, whether or not you choose to share them. I remember my transplant day was so surreal looking back. I wish I took more pictures of every seemingly mundane moment. My room, my visitors, my meals, myself. It will be a day of some pain and lots of good memories. I pray all goes well. While the risk is not zero, the surgery is very common, and I trust the medical staff at Legacy are highly competent.

    I have also subscribed to the email you mentioned. I am reading (and watching on Rightnow Media) the Color of Compromise. Highly enlightening and humbling how little I knew about our country’s shocking history of systemic racism.

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