Okay, beautiful people, here's a riddle for your Thursday night pleasure. What has two hands for typing, two lungs for breathing, approximately two thousand doctors to visit on a monthly basis (warning: the preceding figure is just an estimate -- actual number of doctors visited may vary), give or take two more months until her 29th birthday, and two bedrooms in her current apartment -- one of which is now distinctly empty?
Yes, you read that last part right. As of right now there is only one person (and one super fat shorkie) living in my 18th story abode. And yesterday, after 15 months of urban not-so-zen, my mother/nurse/roommate/appointment scheduler/pill manager/dog walker/friend packed up her (many) suitcases and made her way out of New York City...and back to Colorado.
Back to her husband (aka, my father), her job, her dogs, her house, her garden, her friends, her favorite coffee shops and restaurants, and, well, her life.
And I, of course, already miss her like crazy. Sampson spent a good part of yesterday evening sitting by the door in anticipation of his "grandma's" return. When being patient didn't work, he resorted to some very un-dignified barking. When that also failed, he heaved a huge sigh and flopped down despondently on the couch. My thoughts exactly, Sammybear.
On Tuesday my mom came with me to a routine transplant clinic appt just to see my doctor for the final time before her big move. Honestly, we couldn't have asked for a better visit overall. Things are going great with my new lungs. My numbers are great and, far more importantly, I feel as though I could take on the world. My friends are sick of me already because I guess they didn't realize that new lungs mean bigger lung capacity (i.e., the ability to talk for hours) and more energy to run around like a madwoman. My dog pretty much refuses to walk with me anymore since I rarely have the patience to stop as often as he would like. Everyone complains that I'm too fast for them to keep up with on the street -- and I revel in every second of it.
There is so much to do in the future. So much hope and promise, and so many exciting options. Without sounding too pollyanna about it all, I'm really looking forward to trying out some new things and flexing my wings a little. The other day it dawned on me that people all too rarely get the sudden chance to reinvent themselves. Life is pretty fast paced most of the time, and there's always a good reason to stick with the status quo. Which, of course, makes a lot of sense from a practical standpoint, but how lucky am I to have a natural break to take stock of myself right now?
Yeah, I said it: I'm lucky. I went there.
Honestly, I'm a big fan of keeping things in perspective. (Um, okay, fine: most of the time. I'm sure I have family members out there who just fell off their chairs in shock reading that sentence.) I'm not about to claim that being born with cystic fibrosis is lucky. Needing a lung transplant in your 20s is decidedly unlucky, in fact. As is being "disabled" or having to swallow ridiculous amounts of drugs to kill your immune system everyday. These things kind of suck, no doubt about it. End of story.
Except that it's not really the end. Because as cynical as I am some of the time, I would be really hard-pressed to try and claim that I'm not lucky -- or at least it would be hard to do that while keeping a straight face. As a law school graduate, I just can't ignore the hardcore evidence.
I was born with an unlucky disease, but I have been lucky enough to meet some awesome people as a result.
I might have been unlucky to need new lungs, but I was lucky enough to get them. So, so lucky.
I am unlucky in the sense that I'm a hardcore veteran of the medical system, and lucky enough to have had some of the best doctors I could ever imagine.
I am currently in the unlucky position of trying to recover from a super intense surgery in which they swapped out some of my most vital organs for those of a stranger (um, wow, right?), but that very fact also means that I find myself with a lot of time for reflection, planning, personal growth, and education. That, my friends, is pretty darn lucky, even if I do say so myself.
And I mean, sure, these are only silver linings in what some would consider a very cloudy sky, but that doesn't make them any less precious or their shine any less brilliant. Which means that even as I was (and will be for a long time) very sad in one sense to see my mom get in that cab to the airport, I was also unbelievably grateful. Not just for everything she gave me when she was here, but also for her grace and wisdom in knowing how to wave goodbye and get on that plane. It was a lesson by example that I hope I can carry with me forever -- how to care for someone with great compassion and love, and then to step back to allow that person to care for herself.
So what has two hands for typing, two lungs for breathing, approximately two thousand doctors to visit on a monthly basis, give or take two more months until her 29th birthday, two bedrooms in her current apartment -- one of which is now distinctly empty -- and is quite simply one of the luckiest girls in the entire world?
Well, I think we all know the answer to that one. I love you, mom.
- I am a 33-year-old wife, sister, daughter, friend, law school graduate, CFer, lifelong student of public service, blog writer, patient, Sagittarius, reader, Top chef fan, double-lung transplant recipient (twice!), and dog owner living in Colorado's beautiful Mile High City. I love all things colorful, funny, inspiring, or needlessly sarcastic. I share my city with about 2,500,000 other remarkable people, share my disease with 70,000 other beautiful souls, share my life with some unbelievable family and friends, and share my apartment with one very handsome guy and one really fat mutt with a kick-butt personality. We make it work.
About This Blog:
This blog is about me, my life, my sometimes craziness, my disease, and my current journey as a double-lung transplant recipient. It's also a celebration of everyone out there with CF (and other chronic illnesses). It's for you, inspired by you, and dedicated to you -- the community that keeps me writing, living, and breathing.
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