Tag Archives: Kidney transplant

This is the New Year!

Dallas New Years skyline 2016

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.  🙂

Kidney ribbon nails 2016

Lucky for me, the green ribbon has many meanings, three of which pertain to me – Organ Donation Awareness, Kidney Disease Awareness, and Celiac Disease Awareness. Kirby, this time, this one’s for you!

“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





Soldier on… Only you can do what must be done.

I’ll start today’s blog with a bit of a “Dear Diary” angle (to satisfy my therapeutic purpose of the blog)…

Dear Nacho,

Have you ever been driving on the highway and noticed that you are the one in the “slow” lane that everyone keeps passing up and speeding by on their way to whatever fire they’re rushing to?  Yeah, me neither.  😉  (My lead foot and swift race car-like abilities have kept me pretty capable.  J/k Mom!)  Well, I have been feeling like that with my life lately.  I have watched as friends and co-workers go on vacations, travel for work, have kids, take on big life-accomplishments and projects, while I…sit.  Stagnant.  Hmph.  I’ve been coming to terms with the fact that I need to take advantage of this “down” time, and focus on just being healthy enough to make it through the surgery (and whatever follows), but it’s no less frustrating.  I’ve been told that I might just be bored, and that’s very possible.  Because so much of what I love to do is off-limits for the time being, I’ve been trying to come up with ideas to keep me productive and busy.  I can’t workout, but maybe I can (finally) take up yoga.  I can’t take classes, but maybe I can try to relearn a new language (so I can better understand the Frenchies at work when they think they’re gossiping undetected).  I can’t take on a new 2nd job, but maybe I can volunteer with some additional non-work projects.  (I’ve already started that one by discussing ideas with the head of the Essilor Vision Foundation… we’ve discussed coming up with a Fundraising Committee that can organize various events/items (auctions, collaborative cookbook from all of our international offices, etc.) to raise money for their cause.  She’s discussing it with HER boss today, so we’ll see what that outcome turns out to be! )  Other than that, I guess I should just sit pretty and wait.  I know things will be better after it’s all done, however I can’t help but think of how much I have riding on this.  It almost feels like my life will finally start again with this one surgery!  I can travel again…be active again… eat better foods again…change my career again if I wanted to…I mean, this thing BETTER work or we’re going to have a serious turn in our Nacho posts!  hahaha…

Ok, venting done.  On a brighter note, I’ve have now been gluten-free for almost a month, and I am absolutely amazed at how much better I’m feeling!  My stomach issues have pretty much disappeared (!!!), my acne has completely cleared, and the rash on my back and legs is almost gone!  I’ve even been told that I’ve put on a few “healthy  looking” pounds!  Who would have thought?  I still need to discuss the skin issue with my dermatologist to see if he has anything that can help speed up the healing process, but all in due time..which apparently is what I have PLENTY of right now (ha!).  Since I don’t normally gorge on bread products,  it hasn’t been too difficult a diet to follow, but I will say it has been a challenge!  A lot of food has hidden gluten ingredients that you typically wouldn’t think of, like meatballs and sausage, which have gluten or bread as fillers.  It’s also been a pain to find places to eat out at times.  Mexican food is always a safe bet, but you can only have so much of that before you get sick of it.  (Wait…did I just say that out loud???  What????)  Not only that, but it’s a bit embarrassing to have to keep asking for the g-free menu and asking how various items are prepared.  As much as I hate being vocal about my illnesses, this ranks right at the top of my annoyances.  I’ve kind of lost some of my interest in food in general b/c I just don’t even want to bother with it anymore, but I’m sure as I learn more about how to cook with this diet, I’ll gain that excitement back.  Again… baby steps.  I did take on the initiative of trying to make our cafeteria a bit more friendly for people like me by requesting that they start serving more “special needs” menus… our chef said that they would be happy to start providing g-free bread at the deli/grill for us, but they couldn’t get a new panini/sandwhich grill b/c it was too expensive.  (Cross-contamination is a serious issue…I’ve tested it, and it’s no joke!)  I think I will have to do some Christmas shopping for Essilor and donate a grill for all of us to use!  🙂

In the meantime, I found a pretty good article online that I wanted to share with you.  (click here)  I like it b/c it starts out with the very same cynical vibe I used to have about gluten-free diets, thinking it was just another fad diet (yeah, the last laugh was on me when I was told I had no choice!  ha…), but it gives some very helpful descriptions for some of you who need further explanation of what all the fuss is about.   I can assure you, for some of us, this is NOT a fad, but something we’ll have to deal with for life, so I’m praying that the “fad aspect” of this gluten free popularity lasts for awhile!  I’d like to keep having all these options even when everyone has moved on to the next new “fill in the blank” diet!

Lastly, I’d like to sign off with some more good news… My GI has sent his clearance to allow me to go forward with the transplant!!  This doesn’t mean I’m active yet… ugh… but the process is rolling forward as we check off all the steps that get me there!  As I mentioned before, if ANYTHING out of the ordinary pops up, they have to clear it with the committee to say it’s not going to prohibit me from moving forward… they are very strict.  Now, we’re just waiting for my Cardiologist’s clearance and the clearance from the committee!  I’m also hoping to hear back soon whether I’ve finally been approved for the pancreas.  Even though my doctor said it might not be approved, there’s still a miracle’s chance it could happen!  (Crossing my fingers, legs, eyes, hairs… )


What I’m thankful for today:

1.  That all of my friends and family on the East coast made it through unharmed from Sandy.  I love ya’ll… a little rain won’t bring you down!   😉
2.  Goat cheese comes in slices at Whole Foods!  Love!
3.  That Texas de Brazil is open for Thanksgiving.  Bring on the beef!
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