Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Happy Transplant-iversary!

One year ago today. I still have all the text messages on my cell phone that were exchanged this day and many from the days that followed. Who was going into surgery at that moment, how it was going, when everyone was out, how pleased the doctors were with how it all went. Meghan* gave a piece of her life so Michelle could continue hers. That is pure magic!
It's hard to believe it's been a year already. My home phone message remains unchanged, from when I had to put my contact info for media to reach me if I wasn't home. People wanted Michelle's story, they wanted her to get her surgery. And she did! It's been a hard journey, but as an outsider I can see she is doing so much better. She is vibrant and glowing. She has more energy and is back to doing many of the things she couldn't do when she was unwell.
Meghan gave a selfless gift, complete with it's own sacrifices. She is also doing great and is back to the things she loves, like riding her horses and getting engaged to be married!
What a year it's been for these ladies! To celebrate organ donation month, Meghan and Michelle's story will be published in the April edition of Reader's Digest. Watch for it coming soon!

*let's not kid ourselves, most of you know Meghan is Miss M, so let's give the lady some credit and use her real name!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Pebbles and Stones

It's 1:10am. The eve before the eve of my transplant 1 year ago. Tomorrow I return to work from my pneumonia tune up. I felt weak and ill again and was amazed how familiar the feeling was even though I had kissed it good bye forever. I couldn't find the power in my knees to float me to the top of the stairs without a moments recovery. The energy of my 3 year old washed over me like a wave that nearly drowns the avid surfer. I began to feel hopeless that my life would wash out to sea without me. But, after all here I am back and returning to work tomorrow. It's a new beginning, a new job, the realization of a lifelong career goal. But I cannot sleep. My heart is heavy tonight. I cannot fit all the pieces in the right place. Despite the level playing ground of delight, pain keeps trying to insert itself. Tragedy keeps peeking in on the scene. Something is not in balance. I feel like the princess trying to snuggle down to sleep atop her mattresses of gifts and successes but I feel a pea lying between the folds and I cannot rest. There is something more I must do to find peace. I just don't want to take apart all the mattresses to find the pea. I've tried to ignore it but it's too prominent. I've tried to squish it, but it's too strong. I will have to find it and see it. Another round of bravery is required. There's always more of that isn't there?

Thank you for all the gifts, for my beating heart, for the feeling of joy and overwhelming love I feel for the family and friends and people in my life. I am so enjoying being there and being able to pay forward a small portion of the kindness showered on me.

Much love,


Friday, February 4, 2011

The Little Liver That Could...DID!

Michelle's ultrasound back in December showed that her new liver was still undersized, but working well. A more recent ultrasound showed that her little liver has made it to full size! I don't think this was expected, thus a pleasant surprise! This is only a partial liver though, and is missing some parts you and I have with a full/whole liver. As Michelle says, she doesn't have all her plumbing! So there are still some deficits, issues with fluid retention for example. But her liver is doing great! The biggest task at hand right now appears to be getting through this pneumonia. They think they have her on the right med regime, so hopefully it is just a matter of time. Please join me in praying for her lungs to heal, and for her body to adjust to the long-term antibiotics. The antibiotics are making her feel a bit sick.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Tribue to Grannie (from Michelle)

I was unable to attend my Grannie's funeral after working so hard. As it was happening I was having my lung scope and try as they might they could not put me to sleep. I ended up going through the proceedure with my eyes wide open. At least now I know what the inside of my lungs look like! I thought of Grannie, my broken hearted Grampa and all the family who surrounded him with great love and respect. I wanted to be there to grieve and comfort with them but I knew my place was to restore myself to health. In the end, I made it out of there the next day in time to meet everyone for lunch and return home for rest. I wrote this piece to read at Grannie's funeral. I thought I would post it here in her honor. It was never read.

Dear Grannie,

I wrote this piece after selecting pictures from the boxes of options that represented the 94 years of your life. As we shuffled through them, Gramps regaled me with the background stories behind the images and they bloomed to fill the senses of your character.
We were separated when I was only a baby and re united after I had fully grown. I missed so much. You told me of your disappointment that I wasn’t there to create childhood memories with our family. I cam as soon as I could.
I always dreamed of knowing you, of having a seat in the circle of your heart. In recent years we had our chance. Through our time together, sipping soups, stooping over sewing machines or during one of our many chats we caught up on our missed years. You taught me much of being a lady, cooking, loving and being courageous in mind and body. I will hold you close to my heart forever.
Your life has sparkled through a century and it seems you never wasted a day. Your whimsical art, travel adventures, decorating, painting, sewing, knitting, teaching, selling and celebrating the people you love tell the tale of a woman who has led a life to be proud of and a legacy her family can treasure forever.
When I saw you last I told you I find you and dad to be masters of wit and irony. Even then, lying small in your hospital bed your strength and humor pressed through to refuse my fear and sadness into laughter. I like to think you and dad are up there- holding your sides and laughing together.
Grannie, I’m so happy we really know eachother now. Thank you for your love of me and my family. Thank you for showing me what courage and strength of mind and character it takes to survive life’s challenges. Thank you for proving that true and enduring love is possible and the imprortance of cherishing your marriage.
My son has said he loves you with all his heart- I can’t say it any better then that.