Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Pushing the River

Personal Journal Entry: April, 2010

Well, it's a new journal and I'm still here waiting for new lungs -- it's going on 8 months now, I guess. I just realized today that it was actually April of 2009 (one year ago) that [my CF doctor] told me I needed to go active on the lung transplant list. I remember how stunned and scared and shocked I was that I might actually be "ready." I remember thinking I wanted more time, or that she was crazy and jumping the gun, or that surely I would wake up in the morning and all of this would be a bad dream. And now, one year (and 8 months on the list) later, I feel equally stunned and scared and shocked -- only this time because I suddenly realize that I probably don't have that much more time and "my miracle" still seems a long way off. It seems to me a bit of a lesson in contradictions: on the one hand I always wanted to fight with my old lungs for as long as possible, and on the other I am now admittedly beyond frustrated with the waiting. But I guess more than anything this has taught me that you simply can't fool the Universe -- clearly I could survive this long with my old CF lungs, so maybe it's right that I still have them?

I keep going on and on about trusting my doctors and myself, etc, but I think the real truth here is that I need to just learn how to trust in God and in whatever force it is that we call the higher order/plan. If I've learned nothing else in these months of waiting, it's that I can't force my will on this process (my friend Carolyn would say "you can't force the river", though Lord knows most of us will never stop trying). The fact of the matter is that my lungs will come when the time is absolutely right -- my donor's life will stop at exactly the right moment and the stars will align in exactly the right way -- whether I like it or not. And when I think about it that way -- when I really consider that maybe my role in this Universal drama is just to do all I can to be ready for the moment when all the ingredients that are beyond my control come together -- well, somehow that makes everything seem just a little more manageable. Because short of going out and mowing someone else down with my car (which would probably get me removed from the list, among other more serious consequences), or somehow contriving to get myself on a vent (which just sounds unpleasant), there's not a whole lot I can do to ensure that I get lungs tomorrow, or the day after that, or the day after that, or for that matter ever at all. I can keep myself healthy and I can keep on choosing to trust. Everything else, much as I hate to admit it, is just beyond my control on this one.

Just as I couldn't delay CF's attacks on my current lungs just by being too stubborn to go on the transplant list, so I can't will lungs into existence simply by being ready. The best I can do is evaluate my current situation and choose to see it as a part of something that matters: as a lesson to be learned, as a poem to be cherished for its simple beauty and longing refrain, or simply as a river to be crossed on my way to something beautiful.

[. . .]

Because, after all, you can't push the river.


Dear donor Bob:

Thank you for blessing me with so many new rivers to cross, and for being such a huge part of all that is beautiful. Most of all, thank you for coming at exactly the right moment, just as you promised you would. It was crazy and it was chaotic and it was beyond scary. But you, my friend, were totally worth the wait.

Happy 10 months to us.



  1. Happy 10 months Piper. I rarely to never comment, but have been with you since before donor Bob came and swept you off of your feet... Congrats to the both of you. I wish you so much happiness.... much love ~j

  2. I came across your blog last month as I started searching for other CFers who have had transplants. I was listed three weeks ago and everyday I am excited and scared. Reading some of your past posts I feel like your words are the thoughts I have. I pray that you continue to do well. Happy 10 month anniversary. -Sarah

  3. Congrats on your 10 months Piper! For me, as time went on, everything just kept getting better and better! I hope your able to have a big bash to celebrate month number 12! :) So happy for you!