Friday, June 3, 2011

IT'S A GO!!!!!!!

This morning was so beautiful, crisp and bright and cool, I spur-of-the-moment texted a friend asking if she wanted to go for a bike ride along the west side highway. Unexpectedly she said yes. We hadn't ridden since last fall, when I fell and broke a bone in my hand. But it was too perfect a morning to pass up.

It was windy and we weren't seasoned yet so for the first time in our riding history, we took a break and stopped on benches up at 96th street to chat.

There was a call from the transplant office that I didn't get to in time. As I waited for someone to leave me a voicemail I knew it could good news, another postponement, or some random information about admissions.

It was good news.

It was GREAT news.

Our cross match was perfect. Crystal clear. Absolutely fine. The very last hurdle had been hurdled.

All I could do was smile the biggest smile I have (and Iz will tell you, I smile really big). I felt giddy. Gleeful. Relieved. Happy. Excited.

I knew I should call people and share the good news but for a few minutes I just basked, grateful that I had a friend with me to share the moment with me and that this arduous journey was finally moving to a new stage.

As we rode home the leaves sparkled, the flowers that lined the bike path vibrated in their reds and pinks. The air was warm and sweet.

I was, I am grateful. So grateful. Ultra grateful. To be here. To be healthy. To be a match. To have a support system that blows me away. To have friends I adore. To have a family that goes beyond. To have come through this experience as a calmer and wiser person.

For this moment in my life, the words of Mahatma Gandhi sum up how I feel: be the change you want to see in this world.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

4 days out with a twist of drama

I started the day, 4 days until surgery (if all works out), with a massage. By 9:30 I was so blissed it was hard to remember the way home. As the morning was crisp and cool, in direct contrast to the muggy soup of yesterday, I slowly wandered home. And then, even though I have endless things to do, I took a nap. 

I woke up to a phone full of voicemails. All calm, but concerned. In wrapping up loose ends it turns out that there's a mass in my abdomen that showed up on my kidney cat scan that the gynecologist won't say for sure is not a big deal without an ultrasound. 

And so, here I am. In the waiting room. Waiting for this last test when I was beyond sure all testing was done. 

My hands are shaking. 

I'm trying hard not to cry. 

I tried on 4 outfits before I headed over - as if what I was wearing would make any difference. 

I'm scared. 

There's a difference between tests that are routine and extra add ons because something doesn't look right. 

Yes, I've gotten so much better about not knowing and letting go and floating in unknowns, but I'm not that good at it yet. I think, I hope, I pray all will be fine. And you know what? That's all I'll say. I won't let myself tiptoe into the dark side because if I do I'll fall in and the panic will take over. 

And so, instead, I'm holding on to this is one last obstacle to over come. One more test to pass. One more glitch in this very bumpy road. 

Ganesh, take me away. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Life or Death

Last night I got a message from a friend.  Over the weekend his best buddy committed suicide. I'd never met this person, knew almost nothing about him, but his death is haunting me. Add to that my fear, as surgery could very well be 5 days away, that something could go wrong and I'd never see my kids again? Oh, and every time I play wurdle (my favorite iPhone app) I find "die," "dies," "dead," even "death" appear in the letter jumble. 

Death is in the air. 

Or, more accurately, my fear of death. Which could be construed as a fear of the unknown, which could then be boiled down to how hard it is for me to let go. 

I've spent months doing everything in my power to make someone's life better. My brother has spent his life dealing with adversity while never giving up hope. 

And I'm heading to the lab, for last blood tests, an EKG, and x-rays. If all works out, next Monday, right now, I'll be in surgery. 

I'm scared. I want this to work more than I've wanted almost anything in my life. I want my brother to feel better. I want to heal and live a healthy life for many more years. I feel, in some ways, like I'm just starting - there's so much more for me to do on this planet. 

I choose life. Whole-heartedly. Enthusiastically (most of the time). I choose the mess and the pain and the anxiety. And the joy and the bliss and having Jack tell me I'm beautiful then pinching me and adding: except for the fat on your shoulders and thighs. I choose Iz rolling her eyes at me, the puppy peeing on the floor, the sweltering summers in NYC. 

Only I don't get to choose. I can want. I can pray with all my heart which is quite the challenge ad I suck at praying. And I can hope that all will be fine in the end. 

Yes, death is a part of life. But I'm praying  not to get there for another 50 years. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

6 days and sort of counting

I heard from the transplant office this morning that all's still good to go. Not that I don't trust my brother's assessment, but in this he's not the decider (I love that word - it's the only thing I have to thank George Bush for).

We have one last hurdle—that the last cross-match test which happens tomorrow shows all is still fine. Apparently my brother's body can develop a reaction towards mine. Please forgive the below sub-par explanation but what I understand is that things change and what was ok before, meaning stuff in his blood didn't react to stuff in mine, isn't a permanent given.

You never know.

Anything can happen.

It feels, in retrospect, that just about as much as could possibly happen in the past six months did. My life often felt like an out of control roller coaster combined with one of those tunnel of love rides where you're in the dark, moving very fast. Throw in a ferris wheel that got stuck with me swinging slowly somewhere near the top and bumper cars with an obnoxious kid who keeps going the wrong way, purposely ramming into me as hard as possible and you can get a sense of how I've felt. Not all the time, but often.

Now? I'm getting excited. Actually excited. In sort of a birthday approaching/big party planning kind of way. The anxiety's still here, but I'm managing to keep it at a low boil. At least for the moment.

The thought of surgery, of recovery, of stitches and pain and all the planning I have to put into making sure everyone's ok? Meh.

The thought though, that my brother could feel better, that we'll get to go bike riding next summer, that he and Jack can play catch for as long as they both want . . . priceless.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Today I am swollen. Corpulent. Pudgy. Jiggly. Fat. Embarrassed to be seen in public. I am ashamed of my body and myself for letting me get to this place of wanton abandon. 

I've completely lost control. 

Actually, really, I'm most likely in the same place as I've been for years, give or take a couple of pounds. But staring down surgery, knowing a week from today, literally right now, I could be unconscious on an operating table, is bringing up stuff.  

Old stuff. Destructive stuff. Stuff filled with negativity and self-hate and self-doubt. It's both amazing and tragic that I can be so disgusted with myself. Especially when approaching an act of nothing but good. 

Why? Why am I beating myself up?

Because I'm scared. And it's easier to go dark than to face what I'm afraid of. 

I don't want to even write out the shadows that are pushing in at the edges of my imagination. Naming them might just make it all worse. 

But, they're there. 

I'm holding on to positive as if it's a lifeline but the skeptic in me is fighting to take over. 

And so, fat is winning right now.

The good news is that I'm not starving myself. I'm not exercising to exhaustion. I'm not living on diet soda and apples and tasti d'lite. 

I'm having trouble not beating myself up though.

I hate this place.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

8 days

As of now, it's seeming as if the transplant is on for a week from tomorrow. My brother's pretty sure his infection is a thing of the past.

At the moment I'm lying in a hammock in his backyard, as the sun is starting to set, after a bike ride to the beach, frisbee catches, and bowls of popcorn.

Life is good.

I am grateful.

I love my family.

I love my brother.

And I can't wait for this next part of the journey to begin.