When I was four years old, sitting in a examination room at the Cleveland Clinic my kidney doctor at the time came bounding into the room and after and obligatory "hey tiger" began talking to my parents about everything that needed to be discussed and decided as to my care. My parents, grateful and polite, thanked him for all the information, but said to the doctor that he needed to talk to the patient in the room, me. As a four year old, and for all my years growing up I was directly included, and expected, to be a central party in my own care. So I learned to be responsible, and more importantly, aware of my own situation, medications, vitals, how to report my day to day health, and what was critical and how to accept the many forms of medical care that would become a regular part of my life.
I feel just as important as the above story and moral was an intangible belief that I have had, through my parents, my environment, all of it, or something else, that I have always believed in my own self. That I was, regardless of the process, that I was OK. As I am aware that a finger is no more of who I am that a lock of hair, I also know that my kidney, or my physical well being is only temporary, and in essence does not define who I am. By not being attached to the suffering, or the ecstasy I have learned, through hard lessons, that my life is not these "feelings". It does not always work that way in practice, but overall it has helped me through this unique life journey I've been on for almost forty years.