Tuesday, May 9, 2017

When the Scars Fade

I lay in bed the other night alone. The covers were off and the ceiling fan was whirling around. It was a pretty warm, inside the house and outside. And I lay there, watching the fan and not sleeping, because Ben was downstairs watching the NFL draft, and also I couldn't allow myself to fall asleep because I hadn't yet taken my immunosuppressants. 

I decided to run my hands over my skin.  My arms mostly and then my stomach. Sometimes I like to feel places on my abdomen where surgeons have cut me, and I smooth my fingers over each area,  pressing into the tissue. I like to see how deep the indents are, if there are any.  Just about all of the "gunshot wounds," as Ben calls them, are now are identified by raised lines of lighter than my normal skin--the kind of skin that forms when you cut yourself and the body tries to heal. This is called scar tissue, and it's what they say most of my kidneys were covered with by the time they both failed.  

Much lower on the right side of my abdomen, getting closer and closer to--yes--my pubic bone is the six-inch scar where my transplant surgeon cut me and inserted my dad's kidney. The strange thing is that I almost hesitate to call it a scar anymore. The line where the incision occurred is so thin, so light and so faded that it's pretty difficult to see it. I feel like someone would have to put their eyeballs really close to my stomach to see that there's a piece of skin that just isn't like the rest that's unbroken around it.  The other scars from other surgeries--my appendix, dialysis and the removal of my ovary--are pretty clear. This one though, my transplant scar...even I am surprised by how much it's changed over the past four years. Yep, four years ago, my surgeon sliced through my skin, muscle, fat and other tissue and put in a new kidney.  

I've been struggling lately to cope with my health lately and the fact that I HAD to have a kidney transplant to be OK. I couldn't be like everyone else and just avoid doing this and keep living a normal life. I had to have a transplant.  There wasn't really a way around it. The experience of kidney disease, kidney failure, the transplant and even some of the related events that followed (CMV, rejection, no immune system, miscarriage and so on and so forth), was so traumatizing. Emotional marks were made. But four years later the outward physical evidence of that period in my life is starting to disappear.  The area where the surgery actually took place is mostly healed. 

I've been wondering lately if it's time for the rest of me to become "mostly healed," too.  

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Last Trail: In Pursuit of Eagles and Silence

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence.... We need silence to be able to touch souls.  ~Mother Teresa
The last trail trek Ben and I explored was in February, on one of those unseasonably warm days when you think, "Yeah, we all gon' die from climate change."  There's a state park near us called Mason Neck where you can walk along the shoreline of the Potomac River and take in some really amazing views. The wooded portion of the park has become renown for its bird-watching. 

I'm not a bird-watcher. In fact, many birds terrify me, and not just because of Alfred Hitchcock's ability to turn this species into creatures who would jump at the chance to blot out the whites of every human eyeball. Last year, whenever I'd take Burton out onto our back deck to listen to the morning birdsong in trees behind our yard, BLUE JAYS and some bird with an orange stomach would dive-bomb us every time.  I like my birds to be a little less aggressive.  

Fortunately, during our short walk from the Potomac River shore at Mason Neck park to an area where several bald eagle's nests are hidden a little deeper in the trees, we never had to cower from crew of birds crouching on phone lines, or protect our eyeballs from some angry (birds? lol) blue jay.  

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Hamilton Post I've Been Waiting For

Something awesome happened recently.

Ben and I went to see HAMILTON!!!!!

LOL I know right? 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Chronically Expecting Something

“Peace begins when expectation ends.” ― Sri Chinmoy

I received some not great news on my birthday.  Or maybe a more accurate description of what came to pass is that I had an expectation of what I wanted to hear from my kidney transplant nurse, and that's not what I heard.

I've been doing some blood work and tests since the end of 2016 with the goal of being cleared to get a baby in my belly at some point in the future.  My blood work isn't great. My creatinine is above 2 now (the last reading was 2.6).  That last pregnancy really rocked my health world.  Things most likely won't go back to the way they were, when I was "healed" or whatever the hell that was, unless I have another kidney transplant. So it seems like this is as good as it gets.  

Monday, February 20, 2017

News About Health

So, what I said in my first post of the year is true. I got a new job!  I got a brand new job at a brand new company.  For the past six months, I've been working for the American Psychological Association.

That's their logo.   

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

[Insert Adjective That Rhymes With] Thirty

You're not the same woman you were a decade ago. If you're lucky, you're not the same woman you were last year. The whole point of aging, as I see it, is change.  If we let them, our experiences can keep teaching us about ourselves.


I'm 30 today! Leaving one decade behind. Entering another. I started putting together a mostly-wordy post about what I've learned in not only the past 10 years, but the past 30.  Ambitious, right? And also BORING. You don't care what I've learned! I barely even care what I've learned because I know that all the theories I have about how to do life right and how to love people will continue to be debunked for as long as I'm alive. What's more exciting than a list of lessons is looking back at some of my favorite memories over the past decade!  A trillion warm and smiley feelings filled my heart putting together these collages of  photos showing some of my favorite experiences in life thus far.  My 20s were: curious, eye-opening, FUN, care-free (at least more care-free than this very moment), sometimes confusing and sad, filled with a lot of self-doubt and naturally a lot of self-discovery.  

Friday, February 10, 2017

Ring in the New Year

I got to be a part of something super cool on Jan. 1: the engagement of one of my very best friends!  

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Needing Nature

My job is awesome because it offers basically FREE onsite fitness classes to all the employees. “Basically FREE” means that each class costs one dollar.  And that dollar doesn’t actually go toward paying the instructors.  It goes into a glass box filled with other dollars. And those dollars are raffled off at the end of the month to the employee who essentially attended the most fitness classes.  The location of the classes and the idea that someone might PAY ME to get in shape pretty much eliminated most of my excuses for refusing to exercise--money, distance to the class, time. So now, I’m back to doing yoga! Yay. And just because these classes are free and at work does not mean that my yoga teacher isn’t legit.  We’re working on headstands, OK?!

One of the things I learned about myself during the meditation part of class is that when the teacher tells us to “imagine our paradise” or whatever, I always see myself walking through nature with Ben. Our hikes and trips to National Parks and overseas parks are some of my favorite memories.

On a hike through Glacier National Park

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Good Year

I have to make a selfish statement:  2016 was not a bad year, for me.  I say “selfish” because I wasn’t that happy to see it end, like so many others seemed to be. I was honestly a little sad.  My 2016 started and ended with a great bottle of champagne and a little party with my very best friends in life. The year started and ending about the same actually, but fortunately, there were a few differences.

First Day of 2016
I started 2016 reeling from my miscarriage and recovering the sanity I lost from having arguments with my insurance company over not being covered for some services, thanks to some "coordination of benefits" bullshit.

I started 2016 with one ovary on my left side. And surprisingly and thankfully, this ovary did not have a very large cyst just hanging out on top, plotting to twist the life out of it so it could join it's sister, "Right Side Ovary" in the grave of dead organs.  

I started 2016 in a job that was no longer bringing me joy, some days feeling undervalued and just plain bored.

At the beginning of 2016 I was given instructions to hold off on trying for another baby, and then given instructions on when to show up for the first treatment of my kidney’s acute rejection episode, likely caused by my failed pregnancy.

But by some miracle of heaven and all that is magical in this world, I ended 2016 in a completely different and GOOD place.