Friday, July 22, 2016

And that makes 6

(This blog was originally written June 2016)

As I pass the 6th Anniversary of my transplant, it becomes increasingly obvious that the more years that pass, the quicker the days seem to go. (Though it doesn't take much to remind me how slowly days can drag on and how easily our lives can be turned upside down.) Now that I'm feeling good, back to most of my old activities, working full time – all a huge gift and blessing – I find that I rarely think about 2010. If someone asks, it takes me a little while to remember specifics about my journey, and some of the details I can't remember at all. I think this inability to remember the hard times, or ability to forget, (however you wish to look at it) can be a blessing and a curse. Forgetting the bad days has allowed me to move on without being overly bitter or full of self-pity about my “new normal”. If I was constantly dwelling on the past, the present would be missed and the future wasted. But, with the dulling of bad memories, many of the awesome miracles and signs God performed in my life have also “dulled”. Not the big ones, those are never forgotten, but the daily, little ways that God spoke to me. During the long days and weeks,of 2010-11, I'd scan every song lyric, every devotion, every text message for a sign or message from God, and I never failed to be amazed at how often he “spoke” to me through others and how he reminded me that I was never alone.
As I move on into another year, I pray that God keeps me moving forward, always grateful, always ready to serve. I strive daily to remember God’s little whispers – for it’s those things that I can share with others when they need encouragement, and I strive to remain thankful for the little – for it’s those things that give me the strength and faith to fight through the dark times.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Happy 2016!!

Since my blog has been neglected this year, I figured I should post a brief Christmas/New Year update. My year has been very blessed. As I watched my 5-year anniversary come and go, I've continued to feel good and regain some strength. I finally ventured back to Mexico with friends last winter and in the Spring Keith helped me cross an item off my bucket list by taking me skydiving. I took a couple road trips – helping a friend move to Austin in June and going to the AVP tournament in Cincinnati over Labor Day. My lungs continue to feel like that of a 70-year-old smoker, but I still manage to maintain a presence on the volleyball court (and haven't lost hope for another miracle). As fun as 2015 has been, I feel most grateful for a year free of hospitalizations for the first time since 2010! God continues to bless my days and walk this crazy path by my side, where that path will lead, I'm still waiting to find out. May the peace, the goodness and the hope of the Lord be yours this Christmas season and throughout 2016!

Monday, July 6, 2015

5 years - can you believe it?!!!

5 years or 60 months or 1825 days, no matter how you look at it, that's how long it's been since my transplant. Hard to believe how time can go so fast and yet so slow all at the same time. Praise God, there's really not much to tell, except that it's my 5 year Anniversary and I just completed the annual trip to Omaha. At UNMC they like to say that boring is good so I guess I've finally achieved “boring”. That's fine by me, just doesn't make very inspiring blog topics which is why these updates are becoming fewer and farther between. For those of you that continue to periodically check, I thank you. I feel like I have a special savings account or backup artillery – just knowing that I have a great group of concerned friends and family out there ready to support and pray if needed helps me face the reality that every day is a big unknown. Anyway, since not much has changed for me (which is a good thing), thought I'd use this entry as a platform to publicly thank my parents for their role in me reaching the 5 year mark. The number of prayers that went up from their lips is probably rivaled only by the number of hours they spent in hospital rooms or the number of silent tears that they shed as they walked through hell with me. Everything and anything; from Dad mowing my lawn when my immune system was too weak to be outside, to Mom helping me shower when I was too sick to stand. Dad driving across town to make sure I was ok when I failed to answer my phone was just a blip on the radar of how much concern was shown. As I'm writing, I'm realizing that I'll never be able to convey all the sacrifices that they made or recount all the loving things they did to hold me up. So, you'll just have to take my word for it that they went well beyond the call of duty. In closing, I'll share one of the prayers that Mom said over me nearly every night during our 4 month stay in Omaha. It’s a good one (she tweaked the words a little bit but I’ll give you the original):

“Loving peacemaker, into your gentle arms I place myself and my concerns, that I may be free of worry and anxiety. Bless my night with sleep so that I may awaken, renewed and refreshed, ready to receive the care You have provided.”

Friday, January 9, 2015

Happy 2015

Belated Merry Christmas and Happy 2015! 5 years – I can't wrap my mind around the fact that it's been 5 years since I started this blog! The entries have become fewer and farther between and that is a reflection of blessings. I like the “boring” life where the more exciting moments include surviving the holidays without catching a cold or earlier in the month, when I did catch a cold, I didn't end up in the hospital – both very good things that I list among the blessings. (Blessings that a few years ago probably would have been taken fore granted). In any case, the point is that I've been doing well. After my 10 day stint in the hospital last Spring, things have been better. In the fall I underwent elective surgery to correct a deviated septum and open some sinuses – not to change my profile, but in an attempt to decrease a trigger for some of my lung issues. For those of you that have had similar surgeries, I can now sy mpathize – it was terrible and it took weeks before I could say that I was glad I had it done. But, that's in the rear-view and a 2015 full of big anniversaries and endless possibilities awaits. I feel like my life is transitioning, but have no idea where to or what for. So as the days move on, I try to keep my eyes open, looking for what God has in store and where he can use me next. I'm ready for the next chapter and just wish I knew what it was going to look like, but as we've all learned many times before, it will happen in God's own time. Not mine. Happy New Year.
"I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord" ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, August 1, 2014

Mid summer update 2014

Happy last week of July – one that's made especially happy by the fact that the skies are blue, the temps are in the 80's and my AC is turned off! Since my last blog entry was in May, I guess I'm once again past due for a little update. Things have gone well since April – it took about 4-6 weeks to recover from being in the hospital but that was just about perfect timing since I had a date with Mickey Mouse the beginning of June. Lisa, Connor, and Katie invited me along on their Disney cruise which I gladly accepted and am glad I did. An enclosed area with thousands of kids was definitely a test of my germaphobic inclinations. Between bottles of Purell, selective eating from the buffet and God's watchful eye I survived without picking up another cold! And with the exception of a tooth knocked loose, I think the kids also survived unscathed. Since then, summer has flown by – sand volleyball, Catholic Challenge Sports events, weddings, a few trips to cheer on the Royals and a couple fishing outings with Mom and Dad. I haven't made it water skiing yet, but hope to remedy that in August. My health has been about the same – caught my quarterly cold a few weeks ago which of course ended up as pneumonia. It was treated a little more aggressively than last spring which will hopefully keep me out of the hospital this time- I'm not quite off the medications yet but am feeling pretty much back to normal. Today I had my annual visit with Dr Vose in Omaha which went well – after 4.5 years of trips up I-29, she said that I didn't need to come back until next June! (I'm sure Dad will miss those drives). I have no doubt that the bumps of life will continue to come but at this point I just have to roll my eyes, shake my head and laugh with each new bump – I'm pretty sure that I'm getting close to a Guinness record of having the most body systems affected by chronic diseases. (I forgot to tell you that last week I was diagnosed with avascular necrosis of the femoral head – fancy way to say that I've lost blood supply to the part of the leg bone that hooks into the hip socket – that will earn me a hip replacement at some point) The way I see it, when I finally make it to Lourdes France or when God whips out the big miracle, it will be all that much more amazing and glorifying! All this is just setting the stage.

Monday, May 5, 2014


Quick update – everything is going well. I am feeling better and stronger every day. I haven't had a fever since leaving the hospital, and my breathing continues in the direction of “normal”. I lost a lot of muscle and weight while in the hospital and unfortunately, regaining that has not been as quick or easy. But, nothing I haven't faced before. I had my first follow-up with the pulmonologist on Friday. The repeat xray showed signs of improvement, my oxygen saturation was back to normal and she felt like my lungs sounded better. Presuming that COP is what I had/have, I am recovering faster than some which means I'm able to start tapering off the steroids. Unfortunately that taper will take at least 2 months. So, as I work to climb back up the hill I am grateful for the sunny days and nice weather. Taking walks outside is definitely preferable to walking on a treadmill in the gym.

“the Lord is with me; I will not be afraid...The Lord is with me; he is my helper...It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.” ~ Psalm 118: 6-8

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

After 261 hours in the hospital, I feel so blessed to have been discharged in time for the holiday weekend. Though a long way from back to normal, I'm feeling better and stronger each day. No fevers for 4 days which is in and of itself a great accomplishment! Keith, Lisa and the kids came in for the weekend which was an effective motivation to get moving and I'm hoping to get back to work on Monday even though it probably will be a little reduced workload as I attempt to get caught up after missing 2 ½ weeks. Thank you to everyone who has followed along with my most recent journey and for all the prayers. I will try to give periodic updates on my recovery. For now, I'll spend the next 2 weeks regaining strength and will follow-up with the pulmonologist in 2 weeks.
During Lent, we try to pursue a deeper relationship with Christ and I can definitely say that the past 3 weeks forced me to do that. They have also been a good reminder of how as we draw closer to God, he draws closer to us. At the resurrection the angel tells us, “Do not be afraid.” - I'm not sure I can say I've achieved that state. As God continues to challenge me and pull me out of my comfort zone, I still find myself hesitating at the unknown of where the Spirit is leading. I pray that God will give me the grace to step into the new day, ready to face the next challenge.
The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his Love, He will rejoice over you with singing." -Zeph 3:17