Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Five Years Max

I think it's time for a little kidney update. So, here goes.

My transplant nephrologist recently told me that I'm probably only going to have my dad's kidney for another two years.  That would put its transplant life at just five years.

Trust me. I know that's not a long time.  We all hear and read stories of people having their kidney transplants for 10, 20, even 30 years.  Well, this is the story of the girl who only had her transplant for five years.  

I really wished, hoped, and at one time I prayed, that I would get to be in the first group, regaling others with the success story of my kidney transplant. But five years is not a success story.  It's more like a failure. 

Chronic kidney rejection is what my nephrologist thinks I may be experiencing.  It's not acute rejection, which can be treated with steroids.  It's the type that just simply progresses to kidney failure.  The infections, multiple surgeries and my miscarriage all may have played a part in why this is happening.  The "why" of it all seems to be of more concern to people who aren't me, or people who haven't experienced chronic illness.  When you've been sick for half of your life, you eventually stop striving to determine the "why" or the "how."  Many times, knowing that information doesn't change the present situation or the future outcome. And unless you own a hot tub time machine or DeLorean, it's impossible to go back in time and change the past.

As I've matured in my experience with chronic illness, I've tried to focus more on "what does this mean," and "what are the next steps."   I'm having more labs, and another biopsy in about two months.

But in between then I'm starting a new job, continuing to run my book club and just living my life.  I feel so fortunate that I can do that, that being "just live my life."  I don't take that for granted at all.  

On days when I do feel sad about this, I remember that I have been through kidney failure before.  I have seen sickness and I have seen death.  And if I have to, I will deal with it again.  In fact, I might even handle things better than I did last time.  

Image from Buzzfeed

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Homeowning: The Pros & Cons

Last Spring we asked my friend to help us find a house.  Three months, a few screaming matches, and four rejected offers later we found our humble abode.  It was a little further away from our ideal location. But it cost less, has more space, and has better renovations than some of the other places we considered. It also doesn't hurt that we live ten minutes away from my favorite store.  Wegmans. Yes.  My favorite store is a grocery store because I am hungry...all the time.

Around July 22, Ben and I celebrated the one-year anniversary of us closing on our first home.  Around this time last year, we sat in a room for about two hours signing our names over and over again, sometimes reading the fine print, and then I handed over a check with what seemed like a billion zeros written down for our down payment. 

Now that we've had a mortgage for a year, I've decided that home owning is...a nice idea.  But it's not the BEST idea.  Here are my pros and cons, with a few of Ben's mixed in.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

When I Talk About My Miscarriage

A list of some things that happened when I've talked about my miscarriage:

A female relative sends a message to me about her miscarriage.

Another female relative sends a message about her miscarriage.

Another female relative sends me a message about her miscarriage.

A colleague tells me about her miscarriages.  

A colleague tells me about his friend's stillbirth.

An aunt tells me about her miscarriage.  

Another aunt tells me about her miscarriage, but also her stillbirth.

A colleague and his wife take me to lunch to share the story of their son's stillbirth.

A friend tells me about her relative who had a miscarriage.

My nurse at my kidney doctor's office cries with me while telling me about her miscarriage.

The same colleague and his wife share with me everything they went through following their son's death.  

My kidney doctor tells me about his and his wife's miscarriage. 

The neighbor with whom I started walking to the commuter train in the morning tells me that he and his wife suffered miscarriage.  

A colleague tells me about her miscarriage.

The security guard at my office tells me about her miscarriage.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Posts from the Archives: Part 2

I really liked revisiting my posts from a few years ago in May.  So I'm doing it again in July. SO SO fascinating to see where my head was at and what things I was interested in a year ago and even earlier.  

Apparently, I didn't write a blog post in July last year.  This was probably because I was still trying to keep my pregnancy a secret. You know, the "first trimester way."  So, instead you get to revisit...

Friday, June 24, 2016

Mid-Year Review: Is 2016 One of My Best?

This doesn't really need to be said again BUT... 2015 was s*&t.  I guess I just don't want you to forget that fact.  I don't want to forget it.  Yet, if I'm being honest, sometimes I do.  

I started this year with one goal: find more ways to enjoy my life.  This is unoriginal.  Spend five seconds on Pinterest and you'll find enough "Live Laugh Love" images that you'll want to rebel against the notion.  "I REFUSE TO LIVE, LAUGH OR LOVE!" you'll shout.  The more this idea gets thrown in our faces, the less genuine and urgent it feels.

I chose this broad goal because I felt like I spent too much of 2015 doing the opposite of enjoying my life.  I'm a recovering control freak and psycho planner.  And when Ben and I agreed  to "plan for" our baby, I relapsed into my old ways of trying to control the process and the outcome of every single situation.  And everyone knows that when you try to control everything, you enjoy NOTHING.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Three Years, Three Things

Ben and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary on June 15. YAY.  For this year's anniversary post, we each answered a set of questions, a few that came from outside sources, about our relationship.  This post is a long one, so feel free to skip to the end and watch a clip from one of Ben's and my favorite movies and our favorite filmmaker.  ***You'll also be able to hear the song we danced our first dance to playing in the background LOL***

Three favorite things about being married:
Jewel: I love the feelings of safety and security in a relationship that come with marriage.  And I like how I can say whatever I want to Ben and he's not judgmental. That might just be unique to Ben, but I do think there should be open lines of communication in every marriage.

Ben: It's such a comfort knowing you can come home and someone is going to listen to you gripe about work or ask you if everything is OK and generally BE THERE.  Jewel is so tied into the DNA of my life now that if I have to spend a few days away from her I pretty much forget how to function like a respectable member of society.  Two other great things about being married have to be the financial security and the division of labor.  I might never cook again.


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Faith: Am I Ready to Hope Again?

Hope is much like a cat in the Dark--you only know it's there by the reflection of its eyes--which means there is Light nearby.
-- Terri Guillemets--

I'm not a pessimist.  And, despite everything that's happened, I don't think I'm turning into one.  I did think the pessimist spirit was gaining on me for a bit, but it never actually caught up.  

I used to be an optimist.  I hesitate to call myself one now.  The first definition Google provides for that type of person is someone who is "hopeful and confident about the future."  Yeah, that doesn't quite describe me really. 

On average, I have not been very hopeful or confident about my future.  But sometimes, confetti sized images, of a future that could be....not just any future...but one where I get everything I want...float down into my thoughts.

A future where I am healed.  A future where I am a mom.  A future where I'm hopeful and confident about...anything.