Happy New Year 2016!!!!
I have said this once, and I’ll continue to say it until I’m blue in the face, but I LOVE the holiday season! No, I’m not saying “holiday” to be all PC and such…I say “holiday season” because I include New Years Day in this beautiful package. Not only have I been able to spend some good quality time with my favorite people, watching as they thoroughly enjoy their blessings, and personally benefiting from the amazing sales this month (75% off??? Hello new wardrobe!), but I’m also able to take the past year and relish in what I’ve gained…I’m able to look back over the year and see exactly what I have to be thankful for and how I’ve grown. New Years Day is also a huge inspiration and symbol of hope for me. It’s a new beginning and a way to start fresh with anything and pretty much everything.
So, using the lyrics of Great Big World’s awesome anthem to New Years, (go ahead and listen to it while reading…give it a sec, it’ll put a smile on your face!) I’m going to breakdown my resolutions for this year!
“Say everything you’ve always wanted”
This year, I vow to be a bit more strong in my message. I have always been very careful when talking about things I’d like to promote for fear that it would offend someone or put some sort of label on me. (Then again, you can’t post ANYTHING these days without offending someone!) I don’t usually post any of my support for JDRF, American Heart Association, Celiac Disease Foundation, and many others on social media because I fear becoming a “poster child” or “that girl” who’s always pushing her health agenda. I have no intention of being a poster child pushing any type of agenda, but I should not fear being supportive and helping when/where I can! From now on, I won’t hide and instead will be more openly vocal about my involvement. After all, how else does awareness work if you don’t say a word?
On that note, here’s my first step… Jan 5th marks my 2-year kidney-versary!!! Kirby will have been living strongly within me for two years and I plan on celebrating this every single year in honor of his/the transplant team’s success and the life of my precious donor. This year, my mom, my sister and I all had our nails done to celebrate Kirby and my donor, and when anyone asks me what the green ribbon is for, I will gladly tell them. 🙂
“Be not afraid of who you really are”
Part of my resolution above fits this piece of the puzzle. However there is another shallow part of me that also needs some work. I had dinner with a very good friend the other night, and as we talked, I was reminded of my flawed self-perception. I always believed that I was a pretty strong person with a good sense of self, however with every word that came out of my mouth, I realized I still have many improvements to make (don’t we all???). He helped me see that most of my insecurities were things that are unimportant. I speak of vanity and my self-confidence. I have many reasons…no, I rephrase…”excuses” that would justify why I feel the way I do about myself, but I have THOUSANDS more reasons to squash those excuses into dust. I have so much more to offer than a few wrinkles on my face, some chubby cheeks that show up at odd angles, or a few years that have crept up on me all too quickly. I have fought some pretty big battles and won them (health and otherwise). I have made my career my own. I have never stopped going for what I believe in and have always (eventually) come out on both feet. Why should I feel bad about those few shallow things I see in the mirror when everything else is so much cooler than that? 2016 will be my year to finally accept myself as the “me” I am now and not the “me” I used to be (who I kept striving to be again). There is nothing wrong with a smarter, wiser, healthier, and albeit a few years older Nachomama! 🙂 I won’t lie, I will still be attempting to improve my fitness routine in order to look better at an upcoming beach trip, but I also plan on focusing more on the health benefits this time rather than the vanity. Baby steps…
“‘Cause in the end we have each other…and that’s at least one thing worth living for.”
This resolution is a bit different, and it’s something that has been bothering me for awhile. Yes, I try to volunteer for various organizations because I believe in their goals. However, there are times when I still feel as if I can do more. How can I make a more direct impact? What do I have to offer? All I have is what I know, and I believe that we are all encouraged to help others using even just that. This year, to further my pursuit in philanthropy, I plan on using what I’ve learned via my experiences and knowledge to research how I can further help make a difference. I will post more on this as I figure it out!
And that, my friends, is my list of resolutions for 2016. Wait, I have a few more smaller goals (I have to publish them so that you will all hold me to them!):
- to learn a new culture (I kind of already do this whenever I choose a new book to read, however, it’s fascinating and I plan to do more via travel as well)
- to lower my A1C score to below 7
- to be on a more consistent schedule with my blog…hee! (maybe I’ll even take off the “snow” that has been falling on this blog continuously for two years! hahaha… after winter is over, though, of course.)
So, to summarize this exciting initial blog post for the year, I’ll again quote lyrics from this post’s song:
“Another year you made a promise
Another chance to turn it all around
And do not save this for tomorrow
Embrace the past and you can live for now”
Truer words never spoken. 🙂 Can’t wait to hear what your resolutions are!
Things I’m thankful for today:
1. My kitchen is starting to finally feel like a REAL kitchen! Santa brought me some amazing foodie-gadgets that I’ve been eyeing, and one of them was a Kitchen-Aid mixer!!! WOOHOOO! If you have ever tried to bake anything from scratch using a mediocre hand mixer and/or spoon, you will understand the excitement. Thank you Santa! 🙂
2. A very dear family friend of ours has generously blessed us with the use of their vacation home in Hawaii, so my family is going on its first trip to Hawaii this year! I’m so excited I could spit! (I won’t… I’m not a camel…) However, you can absolutely guarantee I’ll be on the search for Alex O’Loughlin the entire time I’m there! 😛
3. Vacation time. For the first time ever, I took off work for the week between Christmas and New Years. WHY have I never done this before??? Sleeping in, cooking all my meals (ie. not having to eat out all the time), getting errands done… finally, relaxing, binge-watching all my shows on Netflix/DVR… yes, I believe I have finally learned the appreciation of true vacation time. Now, I’ve got to retrain my sleeping schedule so that I can get up for work next week. Ugh…
4. Christmas decorations. I think I post this every year, but this year was the first time in 4 years I’ve been able to pull out all of my OWN Christmas stuff to decorate my apartment. I love evenings with the Christmas tree lights on, the fireplace all done up with our stockings, the goofy elf feet and Santa hats I have all over the place! It’s impossible to come home and NOT feel happy!
5. My dad has finally found a doctor who could help him with his ankle. He’s been in tons of pain and has not had an easy time getting around due to injuries that were caused years ago. Now, hopefully, he’ll be able to walk without pain or a limp! Yaay!!! Mom, you’re next! 😀 #TakingCareOfBusiness #TakingCareOfFamily
I finally made it! My first trip post-transplant! The trip I’ve been planning for 3 years now… and it was awesome! 🙂 In hindsight, once getting there and seeing how much walking we were doing, I can honestly say there was NO WAY I’d have made it while on dialysis. First of all, there was just too much to do! I would never have wanted to be in bed at 10pm to start my dialysis every night when the city was calling our name to come out and play! Not only that, I would never have had the energy to make it through one day of walking much less three! As it was, I’m in much better shape now and I was STILL getting exhausted by all the walking. Hahaha…
Ironically, the thing that was my biggest hindrance was the Celiac. I have only traveled once with it so far, and although it was a pain, we found ways around it. The same can be said this time around, but I hate the thought of travel being so tedious. Yes, the food issue is difficult and could’ve been a pain for everyone around me. Thankfully, I have very cool, understanding, and accommodating friends who work with me on it. However, I can think of at least twice when I was so nervous of getting glutened by a restaurant’s staff, I was prepared to not eat at all. The stress of not knowing whether my peaceful lunch is going to send me home raging sick for the rest of the day/weekend is almost enough to ruin the entire meal! Yes, it’s safer to not even chance it, but I’m not prepared to stop living by not taking chances. Luckily, I never got sick, so I guess it was worth it! 🙂
Aside from the food, I’m going to have to get used to adjusting to older cities/buildings when I travel. You know that commercial where the woman is desperately looking for a bathroom everywhere she walks because she has IBS or something? Well, at times, it can feel like that with Celiac. Not just for the usual bathroom issues, but b/c when I get glutened, I have some serious projectile vomiting skills to display! In Texas, there is a law that states all public restaurants/stores must have a public restroom… not so in Boston! I don’t know if it’s to preserve the older/historic buildings, bad plumbing opportunities, or what, but I’d have been in deep kimshi had I gotten sick! There were times I actually had to walk two blocks to the nearest bathroom…and even then, it was a single bathroom with a 15 minute wait! Yikes! I don’t know if it’s the same in other big cities or foreign cities, because I’ve never had to pay attention to that, but it’ll now have to be on my radar. There’s GOTTA be an app for that!
Ok, so enough of the TMI bathroom talk, hee… I’m so glad I have no shame. 🙂 I actually do have some other good news to report.
– I’m finally free to go to the movies! LOL! Yes, I know, not a huge accomplishment, but I LOVE going to the movies, so it’s a good move for me. Of course, now I’ve become a movie theater snob…only newer theaters that don’t have 2 inches of sludge on the floor. haha…
– I’m starting tennis lessons next week! Yaay! It’s been on my wish list the entire time I was “sick”, and I’m finally making it happen. I’ve been doing yoga and working out at the gym, too, for the last few months and it feels great to be active again. You know that Victoria’s Secret bikini future I had to give up because of my scars? Well, they can kiss my soon-to-be fabulous tennis booty! 😉
– I had a sonogram done on my kidney to look into that “flushing sound” my doctor heard in my kidney’s blood vessels. It turned out to be nothing! So, whatever he heard has apparently gone away or is not as big of a concern as he originally thought. Loving that!
– The best news though, came from my cardiologist. I had a stress test done last month, and the results were surprising! My doctor pulled me into his office to show me the images and said, “Look at that… that is a picture of a normal working heart! You now have a normal-working, healthy heart!” I could have cried. I went from having 30% usage of my heart to a fully functional good heart in the span of 2 – 3 years! He showed me where you could still see the damages of what had been done, but aside from that, it’s all good. 😀 Not only is this news exciting for me, it’s music to my ears to hear my doctors get excited about things like this!
So, folks, I’m almost the total package now! hahaha…
The only side effect I’m dealing with now (aside from my overwhelming hunger lately) is that I’ve been losing a lot of hair. It sheds all the time and my brushes are loaded with it! I talked to the doctor and he said it’s a typical side-effect of some of the drugs. Well, why am I just now having to deal with it if I’ve been on these meds for the last 7 months? I started taking Biotin to help with it, though, so hopefully now, I can add voluptuous, flowing hair to my “total package” soon. LOL! As long as I don’t lose my voluptuous, flowing eyebrows… I just got them started again, and I’m not ready to lose them yet! 😀
I hope everyone had a great 4th of July weekend!
Things I’m thankful for today:
1. Simone, for being so thoughtful and ordering GF pastries for Kameron’s welcome back party so I can participate in the fun! 🙂
2. James, for buying GF crackers for HIS birthday picnic so I could have some of the dips they were sharing! So thoughtful!
3. Steve for being such an amazing friend and for showing me all the fun stuff in Boston! Love you! Can’t WAIT to go back!
4. FindMeGlutenFree app – for helping me find something to eat in a new city I wasn’t familiar with.
5. Medication, patience and my cardiologist – for saving my heart!
6. My family in NJ – so glad my parents were able to get away and have such a good time with ya’ll! Wish we could be out there more often!
7. Cabs – for saving my screaming calves on the last day of my Boston trip. Maybe I just need to find some shorter friends I can keep up with. hee… just kidding Steve! 😉
8. My friends – Several years ago, a group of my friends confronted me about the fact I wasn’t sharing my health/kidney progress with them. I answered by writing this blog, and it forced me to share some of the most personal issues and thoughts I was/am dealing with. It has caused me to be so incredibly and unapologetically open-minded about pretty much everything (not just my health) now. It’s helped me become more empathetic to what pain OTHERS are going through, less self-centered, and less protective about my emotions. True friends do that…they help you become a better person and I love them for that. Life is too short, and it feels good to share. 🙂
What’s more fun than sailing the ocean blue in a private yacht with Ryan Reynolds and Conan O’Brian? Why, going to the hospital, of course! Yes, I kid…and yet, I can’t seem to get enough of them. I am, once again, sitting in a hospital gown, allowing people to shove huge needles up my arm, while trying to get comfortable with wires strapped to my chest. Alas, it’s not actually my kidneys putting me here this time, but my heart. Early this morning, I woke up to really sharp pains in my chest. At first, I was going to brush it off as random growing pains or something (right…even tough I’m almost 40. LOL!), but when it didn’t go away an hour later, and knowing my history, I decided not to take a chance that I’d be ignoring what could be another heart attack. So, to Plano Heart Hospital I go!
The good news is that the tests say it probably wasn’t a heart attack. (Whew!) Bad news is they still want to monitor me overnight b/c of my history. As I’ve said before, though, I’d rather them be safe than sorry.
To add to this latest drama, I’ve had another site infection to my catheter, so I can’t get cleared for my kidney until THAT goes away. Ugh! I’m beginning to wonder if this will ever happen! What’s more frustrating about this latest setback is that I don’t understand why this keeps happening. My ONLY goal right now is getting this kidney, so I’ve been following all instructions to the book! As hard as I’ve fought to make this happen, I’m absolutely not going to mess this up! Some of my doctors, however, are doubting me and it’s really testing my patience. I get that there are some patients who might not be able to take care of themselves properly, or who don’t want to, but that’s not me! So, I keep on keepin’ on and continue fighting back every time they question me. I don’t have an answer for why I keep having issues and why some never do…but it is what it is and all we can do is deal with each challenge as it comes. I just hope it doesn’t last much longer…
What I’m thankful for today:
1. That my heart was a good boy…
2. For the amazing spring break weather we’ve been having this week. FABulous! Especially for my bday! 🙂
3. That if I’m going to be staying overnight at a hospital, at least it’s in a celebrity-worthy suite of a room! You should see this place! It’s like a hotel! (I swear each time it seems nicer than the last…this one has a TUXEDO-attired guy delivering their food. What???)