Tuesday, January 8, 2013
I am patently aware that continuing to dwell on the unfortunate events of my life in the past few years is a sad expression of my failure to move on from these events. I know that it is perceived as whining by some. I actually try very hard not to dump all my struggles on others. Maybe it's my own insecurities that cause me to feel like that - this idea that everyone I know is tired of me "dealing with it" Hell I know I am. Regardless I get the impression that I'm not very successful at it. I digress, though, this isn't really what this post is about. I'll just go ahead and call It what it is "Self-indulgent catharsis". Ultimately, I think I write these things in an attempt to have others...understand.
When others go through similar experiences. I often hear them talking about "Putting their life back together", as if, after these events your life is a broken vase, or a unmade, messed up jigsaw puzzle. I understand this metaphor. It makes sense. For me though, I have begun to realize that it is different. When I was in Pittsburgh visiting my family over the holidays, I discovered that one of my nieces liked puzzles. The first puzzle we did together was a small puzzle, maybe 40 pieces with a castle, some princesses and a unicorn. But we ended up trying to put it back together without the picture. I found it hard to even find the edge pieces, let alone have an inclination as to where they went. For me, I feel my life is like that at this moment in time. If I think of my life as that broken jigsaw puzzle, this beautiful portrait that has been shattered, and I go back to pick up the pieces and put it back together, I'm finding that I don't have all the pieces anymore. Moreover, the ones I have don't fit together the way they used to. There aren't even enough pieces left to make the picture anymore. Sure, I could go find a new puzzle, a new beautiful portrait, but I have no idea what that would look like. So there is nothing to put back together, I can't even find the edge pieces, I can't find many of the pieces at all. All I have are these random pieces from my old life that used to be lynch pins of a beautiful scene but now they are just a puzzle piece. But a puzzle piece that I don't want to throw away, because it was once part of something great and I don't like giving up the idea that these pieces, these parts of my life, if I'm being specific, mountain biking, and rock climbing and even my profession, can someday be part of something great again, something new and great and beautiful. For now though, I stay lost, because I don't know where to start again.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Sunday, January 1, 2012
I hope that this letter finds you well. My name is Michael. On September 24, 2008 after a devastating illness, I received the amazing gift of life in the form of a heart transplant.
"Thank you" is an expression which is used quite often and sometimes just in passing. This is a different kind of "Thank you." It is a "Thank you" that defies any language. How can mere words express the gratitude that I feel for your loved one and you. Still, I would like to thank you for your generosity in giving a part of your loved one to me. I am very sorry for your loss.
Since my transplant I have made an almost full recovery, despite a few complications. My new heart beats strong and I consider it my greatest duty and pleasure to live my life to its fullest in honor of my donor.
Although, I feel the words are not adequate. Thank you.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
1. The news never mentions how long these guys waited for their transplants, just that they had them. Personally, I have no idea how long either of these people were on the list. In case of Steve Jobs, there had been reports of him being SERIOUSLY sick for years prior to his transplant, he could have been on the list that entire time. In the case of Tracy Morgan, I seem to recall hearing several years ago that he too was sick, so again, who knows how long he was on the list. They both MAY have waited just like everyone else.
2. All cynicism about how the transplant list works, aside, the list is need based, and I find it some what difficult (though not impossible) to believe that these guys got their transplants before others of greater need. In the case of Tracy Morgan, it could have simply been a case of finding a match, which helps A LOT with kidney transplants. So I tend to believe that the didn't somehow cheat the transplant list. See my next point for more about ghis
3. In Steve Jobs' case, he was on multiple lists in multiple states, to better his chances of getting an organ. He was able to do this because, yes, he is rich, and he could afford to travel to all those different places multiple times, and at a moments notice. I don't know a single person on the transplant list, who, if they had the financial wear-with-all, would do the exact same thing. I know I would have (though I was so ill before my transplant that I couldn't leave the ICU). I cannot fault him for doing this. There is nothing, dishonest, mean-spirited, or unfair about it.
4. Lastly, as I have already alluded to, we do not get the whole story from the celebrity news, so really, we don't know the true circumstances of the transplant and are not really in a place to judge its appropriateness.
I know the situation can seem unfair, especially to those people who are on the transplant list waiting, but I personally can't fault either of men for receiving their gift of life.
One note, this is certainly only my perspective, and should taken with a grain of salt, especially since, even though I have had a heart transplant, I have essentially zero experience with the transplant list. When I was placed on the list, on September 23, 2008, I was placed at status 1A, greatest need, because of this, and my chances of success with a transplant, I was placed at the top of the list for my blood type in my area. Furthermore, I live in Los Angeles, CA, where, unfortunately, many people lose their lives everyday from all manner of things. Because of these factors, I was only on the list for 8 hours, as my heart was found the very same day. Keep that in mind when reading this note.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
A few weeks ago, I felt something that I had not felt before, something I never really thought would happen. A few weeks ago, as the psychological and emotional worries and troubles that I have allowed to continued to allow to build upon me, I felt a physical weight lower itself onto my shoulders. I don't know how to describe it, other than like a sandbag, wrapped from shoulder to shoulder around my neck like a yoke. Honestly, to me, I swear this thing has real weight. Some days the weight feels so heavy that it slows me down, physically - my walking even slows. Without going to into details, I can even pinpoint the exact moment I felt it. Some days it's not so bad, others I can barely get out of bed. Don't get me wrong, I know it's all related to my depression., and I know it's some sort of psychosomatic reaction to all the stress I'm feeling these day. Still, this strong of a physical reaction to all this has really surprised me.
Sometimes I feel very lost with the direction of my life. It's similar with this weight as well. I think I know vaguely what I need to do to lift it, but at the same time I just can't seem to see how that would work. I don't mean, that I don't believe that I can't get rid of it, more that I don't understand to process, which just makes me feel even more lost.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
As a result of all of that silliness, I have 4 Dr. appointments before I go for the surgery. The first two weeks of December are going to be busy. Two pre-op appointments, 2 blood tests, and 1 surgery. Additionally, for most people, gall bladder surgery is an out-patient procedure, I will be staying in the hospital overnight. Good thing I have no sick time and no vacation left.
Really, I guess the question other people might ask me about this is "How are you feeling about all this?". Really, I'm not sure. In some respects, I think I'm numb to it all. After all I have been through, this just seems like par for the course. I'm used to it, and to some degree, I'm starting to expect it. Expect the problems. Perhaps as the surgery comes closer I will start to get nervous, but I really don't know. At least this time, a saw won't be part of the surgical equipment.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Anyway, at this time I like to do a kind of checklist or inventory of the issue I'm dealing with thus far and how it going.
1. BK Virus - My virus count are down and I've been Asymptomatic since Jan 2009, so I can't really complain about that.
2. ITP - As of the beginning of August my platelets were 80km as high as they had been in a year, though ~120k is considered safe and 300k is considered normal. Let hope for continued unexplained improvement
3. Gallstones - likely I have passed all of the large one (excruciating pain) though I still get twinges of pain here and there. It's coming out. Luckily it's laproscopic surgery and they will be able to take it out before the end of the year (for my insurance).
5. Barrett's Disease - For those of you who don't know, I now have Barrett's disease which is ..I don't know what to call it, abnormal changed cells in the esophagus. They are considered pre-cancerous and are typically caused by chronic acid reflux syndrome. I don't have acid reflux so it goes down as yet another unexplained issue. Sometimes I think someone is out to get me, but they aren't having much luck, I'm too strong. Anyway, the cells are confined to a very small area and are non-dysplastic, meaning they aren't really mutated, so at this point they are just going to monitor them.
5. Depression- well, I don't know what to say about this. It's still being managed with medications, my dose hasn't changed. I'm feeling ok...better, but I would say it's still tentative. There isn't really a plan to get off the medication right now. I'm just moving forward, and keepin tryin to get better, more optimistic, more motivated.
Well, that's pretty much it. No rejection so far, my BP is well controlled and I haven had a major medication or dosage change in at least a year. Everything with my heart is great, though sometime I kinda feel like the rest of me is falling apart.