What are your passions? It’s so important to spend time doing what you are passionate about. When you are in the present moment, immersed in something you love, you can’t help but experience pure bliss! You find yourself smiling and overcome with joy!
One of my passions is being on water or having the presence of water near me. I must have been born a water baby! Water inspires me. I love everything water related: walking along beaches by oceans and bays, swimming in lakes, or sitting and writing by a creek or river. The first summer I arrived in Vancouver, I learned to sail, windsurf, and dragonboat. I absolutely loved sailing and dragonboating, and eventually raced competitively for many years. I later developed a passion for racing outriggers and kayaking too.
Unfortunately, when I started getting sick with kidney disease, I had to stop all strenuous activities because I was so anemic and nauseous. There were days when I could barely get out of bed. I clearly remember just last summer, when my kidneys were functioning at about 15%, watching the dragonboats practice on the waters of False Creek, and crying because I was so sad that I physically did not have the strength to participate. I missed dragonboating and had a harsh reminder of what my life was like before I got sick.
Little did I know that one year later, I would have a new kidney, regain my strength back and be strong enough to dragonboat again! It’s been six months since my miraculous kidney transplant and I am so proud to say that I participated with the O2P Dragonboat Team in the Dragon Zone 500M Regatta last Saturday!
As with all things in my life, I believe it was no coincidence that I had recently met the Special Events Coordinator of The Kidney Foundation of Canada, British Columbia Branch, who told me about this fabulous dragonboat team made up of kidney transplant patients, dialysis patients, and health care professionals, including kidney doctors, nurses, and support workers. One of the goals of O2P is to increase public awareness of organ donation. Wow, I thought! I had no idea there was such a team! “Where do I sign up?” I asked her!
Unfortunately, I was unable to attend any of the O2P practices before the day of the Regatta. However, I was encouraged to join O2P and race in the Regatta anyway, even though I had not paddled for years! The members of this team were so very warm and welcoming. I was thrilled to meet the team and it was surreal to exchange stories with other kidney recipients. I was uplifted and grateful to meet such a diverse and supportive group of people. Another amazing blessing in my life!
My heart was skipping as we headed down to the boat.
I was excited and nervous at the same time. Was I crazy to go into a race without having had one single practice with this team? What if I don’t have the stamina or strength to finish the race? What if I collapse from exhaustion? What if I make a total fool of myself? Oh well, too late to worry about that. There’s no turning back now!
As I fitted snugly into my seat and got my paddle ready, I smiled at how nice it was to be back on the water again and in this dragonboat. We headed to the start line and got into position. I heard the announcer say, “Ready. Attention. Go!” And off we went! My heart pounded, my brain focused on each stroke and my body pumped with adrenaline. I entered into a trance of sorts. I told myself, “Reach it out, make each stroke count, push off with those legs, lean out, top hand and elbows up!” What were those paddling tips I learned so many years ago?
The finish line was in sight. “Come on team! Push it! Finish it!” I screamed. It all came back to me and it felt so good to cross that finish line. It was a personal victory.
The race was such an accomplishment for me and I couldn’t help but feel a bit emotional. The race symbolized everything I went through with my kidney journey from start to finish. Keeping my eye on the ball. Seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Pushing through to the end no matter how painful it was. Having the faith and hope that all would be well in the end. It was only a year ago, I woefully watched the dragonboat practices wondering if I I would ever be in a dragonboat again. Now, here I was—racing in a dragonboat and at the finish line, almost exactly one year from that day, doing what I was passionate about!
May each and every one of you pursue your passions. Never give up on your dreams. Be positive and grateful for all you have. Have faith and be hopeful for good things to come. No matter what the obstacles, you will always cross that finish line!
Love & light,
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