Monday, January 30, 2012
Sunday, January 29, 2012
I've been doing a plank a day challenge. I was explaining my planking to Marty and Conner overheard. He says, " Yeah, she's all into that photo planking craze now Dad!" Oh dear! When I actually showed him a plank he said, " Your supposed to lay flat" ......only from a teenager. ( if you don't know what a plank is: Planking on Youtube)
Today, I wore a skirt to church that I bought six months ago and it was loose. What a great feeling to finally start seeing some results. I came home and changed into a pair of pants that I haven't worn in two years because they were too tight. Feels really good.
We were talking to some friends after church in the parking lot. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a car with a road bike on top. Of course, I wanted to get closer and see what brand it was and what bells and whistles it had on it. Conner comes strolling up to me and my friends, he says, " Hey Mom, did you see that road bike over there?" I turned to him and said, " Yeah, I want to go check it out." Our friends started laughing and I explained that since we've become cycling fans we are always checking out bikes. We are such bike geeks!
Elizabeth is more and more a Daddy's girl. Those two are always giggling and laughing with their wacky senses of humor. Tonight I was trying to get her to watch a movie with me and she refused per usual. I told Marty she refuses to have things in common with me. She looked at me and said, " At least Conner is like you mom. He will read Anne of Green Gables for you." Sharp witted girl.
Always a barrel of laughs around here with a pre-teen and teenager. They keep me on my toes constantly. Lately we've been fighting the battle of bickering. Somedays are long with lots of playing peace keeper as they argue over things such as "micro managing" the dog. Don't ask, I have no clue either....
Just a brief look at life inside of our house these days. We all are starting to train for our triathlons this coming spring. Conner and I are newbies and Elizabeth will be competing in her second. It should be a intense few months around here as we prepare. I will keep you posted on our progress.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
My blogger friend Darci recently wrote about being transparent. She mentioned in the age of social media, its so easy to make your life look perfect.
She challenged her readers to be transparent and share challenges. I always strive to be transparent and honest. I don't like facades and trying to save face.
I often feel like sometimes other bloggers seem preachy and know it all. I don't want to be preachy. I have a gift of being able to relate to people where they are at. I don't like to make them feel judged or less than.
I shared our struggle with dialysis and transplant in hopes of helping others. If you read those blogspot you will see a very broken and struggling me.
I've been appreciating a friend's transparency via email as she for a through cancer and chemo. She really has been inspiring me.
My life is far from perfect. I come from a broken nuclear family but have a strong extended family.I strive to give my kids a strong foundation at home. My family isn't perfect but we love one another above all.
I stopped excercising and gained weight. I didn't eat badly but I never drank water and that caused me to over eat when in reality I was thirsty. Now I've got over 65 pounds to lose. My main motivation is to get fit and be healthy. Also to teach my children good habits now.
I've been inspired by a multitude of fit people who are encouraging and supportive. I've been sharing my journey and it somehow has motivated many other people. I've got people telling me I'm motivating them.
I'm blown away. I'm just doing it for me. Now I feel like I'm helping others and we are doing it together. It's a amazing feeling and a huge motivational tool.
My challenge to you is strive to be transparent. Thanks Darci for challenging me to so the same.
Friday, January 20, 2012
I was reading "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp for my bible study and this quote leapt off the page. I had been encouraging a friend that morning and I knew it was for the both of us.
"I may have always known that change takes real intentionality, like a woman bent over her garden beds every day with a spade and the determined will grow up something good to strengthen the heart." ~Ann Voskamp
I am determined to make a change and grow up something good. My heart is being strengthened by motivation and encouragement. I am sowing the seeds of change for myself and its a spiritual change also. The valley was long and dark. Now on the mountaintop, I am determined to bask in the glow and truly live fully.
The other night, I swam the most yards since I started swimming again. I wasn't tired or worn out, it was invigorating and exhilarating. It simply feels great to be moving and working out. This week I decided to do a city triathlon here in my town. It's a half tri which is more like a baby tri. Perfect for a beginner like myself.
Check out my fellow #FitChickTweeps on Twitter as we encourage each other daily. Check out Lei at Southern Maine Living as she works out alongside me. She has been a huge encouragement to me. Darci at Busy But Precious Moments and Ronda who isn't a blogger but a busy mom and nurse. Those are just a few of the Fit Chick Tweeps. Join us as we get fit in 2012.
Monday, January 16, 2012
I was born in 1976. By the time I was in school the events of the civil rights movement seemed long ago. I never grew up knowing a different world.Growing up in Southern California a melting pot of diversity, I never knew any different. I went to schools where nobody was the same anything and skin color didn't matter. I don't know the difference because of those who fought against that principle.
I never really understood the impact until my visit to the Martin Luther King birthplace and historic site.
One of the most life changing moments in my life that words cannot do justice. I've never before stood in a historical place and had such a moving moment. Chills, tears, awe.....
If your ever in Atlanta, I highly suggest you visit.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Today I wanted to do a big thank you in honor of the one year anniversary. We have so many people who helped us and did so many things while Marty was in the hospital and while we lived at Stanford in the month following.
Thank you to my friend Heather who dropped everything and came to get my kids when the call came. Thank you for taking them to Melba the next day and thank you to Melba and Cindy for watching them.
Di for updating my Facebook and Twitter for me
Everyone including myself was afraid I would sit in the waiting room alone. Thanks to our friends Dennis and Evelyn at church, I met their daughter Stacey. We only talked on the phone once before the transplant. On the day of the surgery she came and waited over 5 hours with me. Not only that but she and her husband Dave opened their home for me to stay while Marty was in the hospital. Our family is forever bonded to their family and thankful to know them. Thank you Stacey, Dave, Ashley and Arya
We are grateful to our friends Matt and Tammy who picked up the pieces a thousand times. Not only were they a constant support but Matt picked up Marty's paycheck, donation checks and deposited them in the bank for us. They also drove up and spent two days at Stanford with us when we were living there. Also Matt who was one of my three angels watching out for Marty at work. Thanks Matt and Tam.
We are thankful to our friends Heather and Steve for being the first people to drive our kids up to see us. We were missing them terribly and they were the first to bring them to see their Dad.
Thanks to my Mom for taking time off work and coming to stay with our kids. Also to our friend Michelle for caring for our dogs and home while nobody was home. She also brought my mom and kids for a visit.Also who Robin brought my Mom and kids to visit also.
Thanks to my Dad, Aunt Maggie, Aunt Al and the rest of the family for taking care of my kids and allowing them to come visit in Southern California to take their mind off things.
Thank you to our good friend Crazy Rachel for driving my Dad and kids to visit one weekend all the way from So.Cal. People this is a 7 hour drive both way! What a selfless friend!
Thank you to my Cousin Sarah who drove the kids back to us from So.Cal when it was time for us to go home. Yet another 7 hour trip!
We are thankful to Aunt Sheila and Rick for coming to visit. Marty was so blessed to have his aunt come and truly enjoyed the visit. He is also thankful to his mom who drove up and came to visit.
We are thankful to Keith and Tammy for coming to spend a afternoon with us. I don't think I will ever forget that day as long as I live. It was a tough day and it was hard to see you suffering. We are so sad the outcome for your family was much different. I will be forever grateful to Keith for watching out for Marty for me at work.
We are thankful to our Parkside Chapel family who prayed for us, donated money and gave us a pantry shower when we returned home.
I am thankful to Tracy,Di, Andrea and my Dad for sending us generous gifts of financial support. We also enjoyed the care packages from Sandra,Ellen and Sarah.
Thank you to Randy, Angela and the Officer Down Foundation for the generous gift. You paid for several of our return trips to Stanford. Also Randy, thank you for watching out for Marty at work and making sure he was okay. I never worried when you were there with him.
To Annie for taking care of paperwork for Marty at work and mailing us everything needed. To his fellow CHS officers for donating time so that he could stay off work and recover.
Stacy in Ohio and her family and friends who started our Stanford fund and were the first people to ever give us money for our trip. You didn't know us but you gave anyways.
To James and Alison, Thank you for the selfless gift to our family and for watching our kids numerous times on our return trips to Stanford.
Our homeschool family who gave to us and helped pay for return trips to Stanford. Thank you for standing by us in prayer for so many years.
To Chuck and Stephanie whose Sunday School class sent Marty cards. The faith of those children blessed us beyond belief
Danielle for having us put on her church in GA's prayer ministry prayer list. Their cards and letters were so encouraging.
I never was lonely when I was at Stanford and Marty was inpatient. I literally received thousands of phone calls, cards, messages of support, tweets, blog comments and facebook messages. Thankful for the kind words and support.
We are so thankful to those who have "listened" to our story over and over and over again online. We are so thankful and each message has meant the world to us.
Words cannot express our gratitude for everything done for us over the last four years. We are so thankful to each person and never doubt your kindness went unnoticed. You carried us through and lifted us up when we were weak and weary.
We hope to pay it forward by helping others in need, sharing our story and living our lives to honor the gift that has been given to us.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
We had just gotten home from yet another Nephrologist appointment where we had heard discouraging labs and high blood pressures. It was just another battle weary day until my phone rang......
It was a 650 area code and my heart skipped a beat. I told Marty, " It's Stanford" and gave him the phone. Elizabeth started jumping up and down, " I knew it, I knew it" and Marty starts saying, " Okay, uh huh, yes, here let me give my wife the phone"
He gives me the phone and the call drops! Oh NO! he says, " That was Stanford and they have a offer" immediately the phone rang back and the nurse started asking me a million questions and my heart started racing. This was "THE CALL" not a false warning it was " THE CALL".
I hung up the phone and we all started crying and praying together. I called my back up sitters because my planned sitters couldn't sit. My back up sitters couldn't do it either. So I called my best friend Heather and she agreed to take the kids, while another would take them while she worked the next day until my Mom could get here.
We started throwing clothes and things in a bag. We had to take dialysis treatments with us and actually had to skip a treatment to go. Stanford said, " How soon can you be here?" I said, " We can leave in a hour" which was met by dead silence on the other line. I said, " We will leave in 45 minutes" and the nurse said, "That's perfect".
We literally shoved the kids out the garage door into Heather's car and it was so crazed we didn't even get to kiss them goodbye. I plugged in my headset and started calling people. I called my friend Di to update my Twitter friends, I called my friend Ruth to update our prayer group and she literally started screaming and fell to the floor in praise.
One of my greatest fears is that when we got " The Call" it would be foggy. We had been in a accident on the way to Stanford in the Tule Fog before. God heared my prayer and the road was crystal clear all the way to Stanford. I remember at one point Marty was talking to our friend Keith and it rained a bit. Other than that I drove shaking and fearful all 333 miles to Stanford.
We were scared, we truly believed we would get there and be told no. We didn't really believe it was going to happen. We were put into a room and the parade of doctors began. Lots of questions from Nephrologists and surgeons. We met Dr.G for the first time that night. They hooked Marty up to the evil machine one last time. I sat on a cot with my laptop in my lap and updated everyone. We barely slept that night with the evil machine going off all night. Which was funny since we had lost many nights of sleep to that machine before.
In one instant, with one phone call our life was forever changed. Hard to believe it has been one year already, time has flown by with so many good things that have come since that day. It really was our lucky day and we couldn't fully see that until now.
I got up this morning, dragging out of bed, not wanting to work out or be up. During my bible study time it hit me, like a ton of bricks. One year ago today, I couldn't even fathom life today. I would have been getting up to do dialysis instead.
As I got on the treadmill, I vacilliated between joy and grief for the donor family. I thought about how our lives were switched now. It's really hard to think of and something I will never fully wrap my mind around. All we can do it live our life in honor of their child and grateful for their gift.
Simply put, a random, selfless act of kindness changed our lives for the better. My challenge and my challenge to you today is to Pay it forward.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Last night as I came home from swimming, I thought about how a year ago it wouldn't have been possible for me to go swim. Marty was so sick, up to four times a day dialysis that I couldn't have left home for two hours to swim. At that time I couldn't imagine tomorrow much less a year later.
I was pretty exhausted, weary and worn down. I wasn't even thinking of exercising or getting fit, I was just thinking about what our future held and where we were going as a family. Would Marty be alive in one year? Would he make it to transplant? Was he going to have to go on hemodialysis? A good picture of me then would be this blog on how I was feeling . I wasn't feeling much giddy, happy, grateful instead I was heeding to God and his will.
We weren't sure when? but that point we knew change was coming soon and the first call had come. It wasn't our turn that time but our chance was coming very soon. Hope was being renewed and there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
I cannot shout praise from the mountain top enough. I cannot drink in the joy much faster than I am. I am so grateful and filled with joy. Marty and I have been working on our letter to the donor family, we are taking it with us to Stanford on Thursday. We cannot thank them enough for their gift. They may not even know the impact of the decision they made. I hope we can help them see that their loved one lives on through Marty.
I keep hearing this song on repeat in my head. " There is hope for the hopeless, there is rest for the weary and love for the broken hearts." " There is mercy and healing"
God hears your prayers and someday he will answer them. Keep hanging on.
Friday, January 6, 2012
Christena and I met at Scott Ave. elementary school in Whittier,Ca our hometown. We really became friends one fateful summer afternoon when my Mom took me and my sister Carrie to Christena's house. My mom was looking for a babysitter for us and somehow had been directed to Christena's grandma Ilene. We were directed to go play a game and played a now infamous round of "Mystery Date" where we ended up fighting over the "cute" guy!
Ilene started watching us and so I got to spend everyday after school with Christena at her house. She lived in a really old house on a cool piece of property with a orchard in the back. This is in the middle of suburbia so having a orchard was cool. One day, we were going to see the neighbor boy Lonnie at the bottom of the orchard and I poured a whole bottle of her Grandma's dish soap in my hair. A story Christena has never let me live down. We spent most afternoons in 1984 watching "Nadia" and then going outside to play Nadia. We always fought over who got to be Nadia and who got to be Teadora. She always got to be Nadia because she said her hair was the right color. We fought about Girl Scouts vs. Campfire girls. We were more like sisters than friends at times.
She knows all of my family, parents, sisters, grandparents and cousins. She is one of the few friends who knew my family back when my parents were still married. Something not many people can say.
We had many fun times in that short time Ilene baby sat us. We ended up moving away and I went to another school after 5th grade. It wouldn't be until 7th grade that our friendship picked back up. My parents got a divorce and we had to go spend weekends with our Dad. He moved back to his parents home in Whittier. The nice part was Christena lived right down the street and we could hang out. I think I spent more weekends with her than I did with my Dad. The path between her house and my Grandparents was less than a mile and our friend Jamie lived in between. It was a road well traveled in the late 80's and early 90's.
My cousin's who are my first friends often call me ,"The Ringleader" because I was always coming up with a crazy idea or scheme. Christena was my ringleader, she always had a plan, crazy idea or scheme. We had so many fun adventures around Whittier. We either walked to the Whitwood Mall or caught the trolley to Uptown. People often comment on my abundance of friends, I always hear that I know everyone. This is definitely something I got from Christena, the girl knows everyone and has more friends than even I do. She is the "famous" Christena.
She is the one who introduced me to my first boyfriend Randy, she knew all of my friends and in a roundabout way introduced me to one of my closest friends today Andrea. We always were meeting up with someone or going somewhere. We went to our first concert together,( NKOTB for those wondering) and fought over who loved Joe Mc Intyre more. She is the one who introduced me to Morrissey, the Smiths and alternative music. We shared clothes because we were both the same size. Simply put, she was my very best childhood friend and there isn't one thing about those years that cannot be connected back to her.
There are so many stories to tell and memories to share. I really wish that I could write them all down and truth is one of the reasons I hesitated writing this blog. How do you put almost 30 years of friendship into words?
I am, who I am, because I have known Christena Pinkerton. She is a friend who taught, shared and brightened my life. We haven't been close friends as adults, we check in with each other from time to time and follow along with each others lives since the invention of Myspace and Facebook. It's been fun to watch her life through the years. Just this year she got married and is pregnant with her first baby. Today on her birthday, I wanted to share our special story and remember the good times we had together.
Happy birthday my old friend, I am thankful for all of our years of friendship and fun memories.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
I guess part of why I worked is so the kids wouldn’t have to see me at home sick all the time, at least that’s what I told myself. Conner and Elizabeth were smarter than that though, they knew how I was feeling and felt just as desperate for the transplant call to come as much as Julie and I. It was only towards the end of my wait time when things started getting really bad for me health wise that I became a whirlwind of emotions.
Not physically able to work for the last three months of my time on the wait list, I spent my days being tired, worn out, scared and even angry at what was happening in my life. I felt like a prisoner of this disease always on a leash to dialysis treatments. The once reassuring words from the nurses at the dialysis clinic telling me the “Call” would come and that it would be, “Out of the blue” started becoming cliché.