Purpose Driven Life (wait, that's a book)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

“The pain that you’ve been feeling, can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.” 
-Romans 8:18

I felt this to be appropriate given that Good Friday is tomorrow and Easter is on Sunday. 

I jokingly tell people that my brain went with my pancreas, but in a way it is true. I used to be the kind of person to worry all night long about not dotting an “i” or crossing a “t”. I would get up and look over work items, make to do lists at 3 am when I couldn’t sleep, and I never forgot to turn in anything on it’s due date. I was talking with Brenda, whose 33 year old husband and father of their two babies had the TP-AIT today. Through all of our texting and late night encouragement, I was reminded of something that I shared with her. Last night was probably the scariest night of their lives to date (and I hope always). It was the anticipation of something huge with an unknown outcome. I told her that in one year they would be sitting on a beach somewhere together, blessed beyond measure, not because of her husbands new life (that will be great too), but because of a whole new approach to life that some people will never understand. I really mean that. 

This whole experience was my purpose in life and my reason for being here. In the end, nothing matters, no debate, no break up, no fight, none of it, if you are worried that you might die. Not that I am careless now, but I would say I am much more relaxed and honestly a little more selfish. That may sound horrible, but life is too short to deal with the petty stuff that clouds us so much of the time. I want to have as much fun here on this earth, because you never know when you may not be able to anymore.  Everything can change instantly, so spend as much time with the people you love. In a way, I am so thankful that I went through 3 years of illness, and the transplant. I am a better person than I was before, and I know so many can relate to that, even if the experience that changed them was something different than my own. 

I get emails often that remind me of my purpose here, and tonight was no different. A lady wrote me saying that while she was in ICU her husband would read my blog to her and she had hope. I find this amazing, and it makes eyes brim with tears! I have had so many positive and flat out nice comments like that, and for that reason I know I can’t quit my blogging. I started this blog for others, and also as a sort of therapeutic approach to a situation that was too much for me to handle alone. I had days that I felt so sick that I wanted to die, and other days where I would endure any amount of pain as long as I could see my mom every day (not kidding on that, the fear of what we would both do without me here made me sick). Our outcome was amazing, I am here and thriving. Others do not get so lucky, and the transplant doesn’t always become the end of their battle. 

I won’t say my battle ended with the transplant, I have every day life changers, but you can handle them with a smile or with anger. I chose the smile, because it is much more fun and I am into fun these days. I have diabetes, I check my sugar 10 times a day, inject insulin with every carb I eat, and do have a constant fear that I won’t wake up from sleep at night. But, every night I know my angels are watching me, and here I am. I also lost a dear this month, and she is now my angel as well. Our surgeries were 1 week apart and we were forever bonded from the experience. We spent hours online chatting, texting and talking on the phone and I really miss my friend Betsy. She would want me to post this tonight: Betsy did not die from her transplant. She passed from her port that got a blood clot, and it was unexpected and she passed quickly with her husband by her side in bed. She is looking over all of us now, I know that and I know she gives me permission to tell her story. She would not want you to be afraid if you are thinking of having the surgery. She was thankful for it, she loved Dr. Rilo and Dr. Grussner, and the entire UMC staff as much as I did. So please don’t let this steer you away. 

On that note, I will admit I went crazy the day I found out Betsy passed. I was at Safeway, buying some groceries and a bottle of wine, and I was facebooking in the check out stand. Her mom posted something about living in a world without Betsy and I was hysterical in the line. The checker asked me if I was okay and I told him I just needed to go home. I then panicked. I called my mom telling her I did not want to die, I left a pretty insane message at UMC telling them I wanted an EDG, EKG, MRCP, and any other test they could think of to make sure I was okay. Once I was calm, I could logically digest what had happened to my dear friend. I now know they were unrelated, but still heartbreaking and a true tragedy. Betsy was supposed to be celebrating her one year anniversary of getting her life back. RIP Betsy, we miss you! 

I have some left side pain, which began a year out, and the doctors say it is a “muscle wall weakness and an adhesion” that could be causing it. I felt like I was going backward, the thought of another surgery to fix a hernia (even though it was much smaller than anything before) made me upset, but again in time I came around. I know that of all the issues to have, this one is fine, and I am still blessed. I have had some pain with it, but nothing compared to life before the TP-AIT. In my eyes, my life is perfect right now. I would love to freeze it, keep all my loved ones close, and just be, but that is not the way God made this world. He made it so we can live, lose, and love, and I still can’t explain why the “lose” part happens but it does. People always say “God only gives you what you can handle” and truthfully I don’t like that saying. It does not make people feel better. A friend helped me to see that “we can only handle things with God” and I believe that to be much more my style:-) In closing, if you are debating the TP-AIT, or struggling with weekly hospital stays and a great deal of pain, please reach out and email me. I want to help you. I can get you to the right hospitals close to where you live, or my favorite place (UMC-of course) and I can help you. I went through 3 years of searching for my cure, and I know now how to find it! Remember, the joy is coming, even if you still have things that will never be joyful. Other things will come into your life that will bring you joy, it is His promise to us, and it is something I have lived in my own life. 

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