Cape of TRIUMPH – 2nd Place Winner, 17th Annual Essay Contest

By Sandra Kisselback

When is the best time to admit to a deep desire to own a cape? A desire so strong, you have to pursue the notion with bold determination? Ignoring judgements some may have by following through with conviction and announcing to the world, “I really, really, really want a cape. A cape to wear with confidence whenever the mood strikes! Oh! And can you make that a purple cape with bits of lightning slivered across it?”

It’s more than just owning a cape, it’s wearing that cape with attitude. An attitude of  triumph, strength, and grit. A pile of attitude bursting forth like a Navy Seal going in for the rescue. An attitude releasing into the world a thunderous roar of triumph. A well fought triumph over those four little words that change a person’s life in a heartbeat:

“You have kidney disease.”

Stifled tears of panic.
Deep gulp and a question. “Are you sure?”

“Quite sure. All blood work and tests confirm the diagnosis.”

Bam! So, now what? Kidney disease sounds pretty scary. It’s devastating to hear and challenging to wrap your head around. Yet, while end stage renal disease is a life changer, it’s a far cry from being a life stopper.

Attitude is the game changer. And if you have a cape to go along with the plan? Well, let’s just say, your warrior self is born. Grab that cape knowing you are a force to be reckoned with.

Hah! Take that ESRD! You are in for a battle like no other.
Doing a daily happy dance is the mission.
“Stay Strong” is the motto.
Wearing your cape of TRIUMPH is the anchor.
Time to take stock and flesh out the plan.

First, listen to the experts. Ask lots of questions. Learn all you can about options. Do everything possible to follow the program. Pull in your support and back-up team. Know that you are surrounded by a community interested in successful navigation of the mine field of blips and detours.

“What needs to be done to get this cape party started?”

Find a bona fide cape maker and give her your ideas for the design. My cape has a purple background. The lightning flashes swirling around the foreground is a blueprint of the kidney journey that gently swallowed me 27 years ago. With a collection of beautiful scars to work with, each one is living proof of victory. Reminders to say thank you.

Dates, faces, and names fill in the borders on my purple cape. Each one diving deeper into the adventure that is my now. There have to be at least 17 smiley faces, three puppy dogs, four bouquets of purple lilacs, marigolds, and two giraffes. Lastly, the cape will be embroidered with gold edgings and glow-in-the-dark pineapples.

Everyone deserves a cape. From dialysis to transplants, to fistulas and hospital stays, it’s always better with a cape. Cape of TRIUMPH. Wear it. Throw some attitude, it’s warrior time.

why get a kidney transplantSandra Kisselback has a passion for wood, unicorns, writing and learning new things. There is a magic fairy door, a unicorn in a Little Miss Sunshine mug and soccer playing dogs picture in her vision corner. Kidney transplant in 1994 and 2014. Birthdays should be celebrated with gusto!

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