Tag Archives: transplant

Life is a highway. I wanna ride it all night long!

Wow… ok, so much for my New Year’s resolution about sticking to a more consistent blogging schedule!  LOL!  Maybe my new resolution should be to work on better resolutions!  I’ll add that to this year’s list.  Jot that down.

So, I am going to justify my “leave” by saying that a ton of stuff has been going on this year that has kept me insanely busy – to the point that I have not stopped to give you the time you deserve!  So, let’s take a break, grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and curl up on the couch to catch up.  Actually, my couch doesn’t fit that many people, and I’m not a fan of PSLs, so how about I just blog about it?  😉

In order to not overwhelm you with the many new updates of my increasingly ceaseless lifestyle (yes, I’m being totally sarcastic…kind of… it HAS been busy), today, I’m only going to focus on the biggest recent change – travel.  I say “change”, but really, it’s a return to my life pre-transplant/sick-time…just different.  On one hand, I’m absolutely LOVING being “on the road again”, however, the highway is less straight and wide open than it used to be, it’s now filled with twists and bumps!  Before I got sick, I used to travel a lot for work.  I loved it!  I was adventurous and fearless trying new foods, meeting new people, dancing till my feet would literally throb… anything that created the most fun and crazy stories and memories!  These days, my travel has a completely different feel.  I’ve become this overly cautious grandma!  What???  What happened to me?  Who am I?

shocked-grandmother

Wait…what?

Well, I’ll tell you what happened… my “new life” happened.  I once had a panic attack in the middle of one trip fearing what would happen if I got sick while in a “strange” city.  Who would know what all my “issues” are if I couldn’t speak for myself?  Where is the nearest hospital/ER?  Would they be able to treat me?  (In one case, they even admitted they couldn’t!)  No one knows me or would even know what to do to help!

I am still going through a lot of changes post-transplant that require adjustment.  And that’s how I’m regarding this… an adjustment.  It’s all about being a boy scout.  (Not literally… I have no desire to be a 7 year-old boy!)  I have to be prepared.  I have to think 10 steps ahead of everything I do, and I’m learning more with each trip I take.

When I fly now, I have to be very careful of the recycled air and germy, nasty fold-down tables in the plane b/c of my low immune system (yes, I pack clorox wipes for this reason).  I have to take into consideration where I travel – no 3rd world countries – so even some work trips are a no-go.  When I am in a new city, I have to do extensive research on where I can eat due to the Celiac disease (there’s an awesome app for that – Find Me Gluten Free).  When I’m in large crowds, I have to be aware of who’s coughing, what I’m touching, where the nearest “exit” is in case I get glutened, and so on and so on.  It’s exhausting, but I’m learning to adjust to this “new life” one step at a time (as are my very patient friends – God bless them!).

Now, back to my resolutions… with this blog, I thee vow that I am making progress on my “accepting my new self” resolution.  I am no longer the same carefree Cameron Diaz character I once liked to believe I was, but I’m able to go out and see the world again and if that means I have to be more Howie Mandel with my actions so I can do so, I’ll gladly take it!  🙂

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Things I’m thankful for today:

1.  Getting to spend an amazing weekend in Nashville with my Jersey girls – Jen and Carm!  It’s so glad to see that sometimes some things don’t change.  🙂

2. Luck!  After accidentally taking a big bite of a panko-covered fried banana (I thought it was a GF cheese bread ball), I did NOT get sick from being glutened!

3.  Virgin Airlines – they have a fun and modern take on the flying experience, AND they offer safe GF food/snack options in-flight!  Woohoo!

4.  All beef hot dogs – for when there is nothing else in an all-fried/deli-filled food court to eat that’s safe to eat.

5.  That my mom’s foot is healing better after her 3rd foot surgery within the last few months.  Mom, your new toe will be something to show off in sandals for our Hawaii trip!  🙂

6.  My new gray sweater/cardigan – definitely the most comfy, squishy, warm sweater I’ve ever bought!  It’s like the perfect blanket for all those freezing planes (and meeting rooms).

7.  Shout out to my friends Elissa and Nick – they are going to have their first baby this Christmas!  Congrats to you both!  🙂

 

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!

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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

 

 

 

Take a look at me now!

Whoa!  Where have I been?  I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything for almost a year!  Is anyone still out there?  *knock knock*   Hello?   Beuller?

I’m glad to say that my absence hasn’t been due to any horrific circumstance… it’s actually due to the opposite!  Things have been going so well that I felt there really wasn’t much to report on!  Which, given the nature of this blog, is actually an awesome thing.  However, after hearing back from a few people, it seems people actually liked my blog and want to see it continue.  😀    *enter warm fuzzy kitty grin here*

Sally Field

So, on that note, here’s the scoop:

  1. The biggest and most important change I’ve encountered this year is with my job.  I FINALLY got my dream job back!  I can’t even begin to tell you how good it feels to be back doing what I absolutely love.  I’ve missed it TERRIBLY these past four years, and being back in this role just feels like coming home.  It’s almost like I’ve finally found the last piece of the puzzle for putting my “old” life back together!
  2. I’ve been able to travel again! Obviously, from my last post, I was able to visit Europe for the first time, but now I’ve got the freedom to allow me to see outside of my little Dallas bubble again.  I’m lucky that my job pulls me to all parts of the country, so I can continue to add memories to my travel check-list.
  3. I’ve regained my independence. This year, I was finally able to move back into my own place again.  I am blessed with an amazing family that took me in and took care of me while I was sick and incapable of handling everything on my own.  However, once I got better, I was itching to get my own kitchen, my own living room, my own mess, and even doing my own chores again.  There’s something about having your own little piece of the world to take care of that is very empowering.
  4. I was able to join the committee for the JDRF Type 1 Nation event in Dallas!  For the first time, I felt able to put my expertise to use for a good cause!  It was the first time this event has been held in Dallas and it was a total success.  I can’t wait to do it again next year.  😀  (FYI, anyone who has diabetes, has family with diabetes, or simply wants to learn more about it should absolutely attend the one in your city.  The speakers, information, and networking are invaluable!)
  5. I think the one and only fly in my soup is my cheeks.  I’ve complained about the prednisone “moon face”, and I know I don’t have it nearly as bad as others, but I still feel as if I don’t have my normal face back.  My cheeks are still “Dippity Dogs” as I call them, but if that’s the worst of it, hey, I’ve got it GOOD!

keep-calm-and-look-like-droopy-dog

That being said, regarding my health issues, I realize I am very fortunate to have been able to regain a healthy post in life.  I have watched the successes and failures of several people around me who have suffered similar health set-backs and am fully aware that unfortunately, the blessings I’ve been given don’t fall into everyone’s lap.  One of the guys I met while going through my transplant clinics had a kidney/pancreas transplant, and his recovery has not been very smooth.  My heart goes out to him to think not only of the suffering he still has to endure, but of how disappointed he must feel after having such high expectations post-transplant.

We are rolling dice with our outcomes.  There is never a guarantee that our lives will ever be the same after such a large life-altering circumstance.  I bet big, though, and I’d like to believe that someday the odds will “ever be in our favor”!  Yes, I totally just dropped a Hunger Games reference there…

Beat odds

At this point, I’d like to re-focus my blog on more exciting and positive experiences.  I may be stuck with the list of “ailments” I’ve been lucky to receive, but there are always going to be advancements.  For those of you who were following to keep up with my transplant, the journey continues, and I hope you stick around to hear the good things that are waiting around the corner!  This isn’t a journal for me.  I’d like to think of it as more of a community – a place where I can share what I know/learn, and for you to do the same.  I LOVE feedback, and always welcome it.  🙂

Now, given I’m about to make a turkey dinner for the first time ever, anyone got some tips/advice to share?  Hee…

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Things I’m thankful for today:

1.  I love my job.  I am so thankful that my company has worked to create a position for me to return to and that I have a very helpful and supportive boss that is pushing me to grow.   Yay Essilor!

2.  My sister has been able to switch her careers too and start her dream job as a teacher! She’s worked very hard to get there, and I’m so happy to see her get what she wanted.

3.  The unity world-wide following the Paris attacks. It’s fascinating to me how such horrible crises end up with so much love.  All of those small, petty annoyances we tend to focus on day-to-day tend to disappear when we see the suffering of others in such a terrible way.    Those terrorists have no idea what kind of power comes with this type of support…and I hope their asses get kicked!!!  #prayforparis

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