2014 in review

30 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,800 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

7 Jan

Hi everyone!

Yesterday guess what I did- climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge!!

I had a lot of debating as to whether I could manage it or not, especially as Phil wouldn’t do it but I decided that this type of challenge is exactly what I have been given these lungs for and went for it. There was only one person I was thinking of at the top and we all know who she is xxx

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Travel News

1 Jan

Happy New year everyone!

A new update is available on the travel page 🙂 xx

Travel update

18 Dec

Hi all,

I have written about the first week of our trip on the post- transplant travel page- you just need to scroll down 🙂

Love Kerry xx

Reflection

4 Dec

It has now been 2 years since my transplant, I just can’t believe how quickly that time has gone and it has been amazing- I am doing things I never thought I would be able to, and have had so many happy times with my friends and family- which I hope will continue for many more years.

I realised that it has been 4 and a half years since Phil and I bought our house, got engaged and only a few weeks later I really started to become very ill. I went from feeling over the moon and excited about the future to having to come to terms that I was already quite far down the path of a terminal illness. Obviously I had been struggling with my health for some time by that point but I had no idea quite how serious it all was. It seems like a lifetime ago that all this happened but looking back, I also can’t believe how much has changed and happened over a 4 year period. You all know the story so I wont go into it today but I would like to try and express my feelings a little.

The last 6 months have been hard for me. To be honest, I don’t completely understand why but as I reach the 2 year milestone (which is generally considered the main recovery period from the surgery) I am starting to realise what physical issues that I am left with long term and also the mental scars of the whole experience. The physical effects can be testing but I do not wish to complain about them at all, I have gone from being 100% incapacitated and not being able to do anything for myself to having some annoying issues that I ignore whilst I live a normal life- there is absolutely nothing to moan about!

Whilst I could not wish to be more lucky and I fully appreciate all the time, care, expertise and hard work that has gone into to making me as well as I am, being a survivor through an experience like I have had is hard, really hard. It changes you. I have never been someone who really understands depression- I like to think I have a ‘get on with it’ attitude but at times I now understand what it is like to feel depressed and really low.

Again, I honestly do not see that I have a reason to feel like this but I know why I do. I think transplant gives you a severe identity crisis. Illness took away your life, then over the trauma of the surgery and recovery you don’t have energy to even contemplate anything and then you are given your life back and sent out to live it. This is wonderful but what is your life? I no longer have my career, I know I don’t have a full future to plan (hopefully I have a good few years though) and I don’t really know what my purpose is. You do not have the identity of a sick person anymore but you are not quite like anyone else either. Sometimes I feel like I am a square peg trying to fit a round hole although I don’t know if the peg is square and I’m not really sure if the hole is still round! Also, the world changes when you take 4 years out of it and it can be hard to find your new place.

I don’t think my overall personality has changed but I have, and not necessarily for the better. I am obsessed with things being fair and right. Everything that happens in a normal day that is slightly annoying drives me up the wall, and I can’t let things go. I also to a degree have some sort of OCD about things being in their place at home and I can’t possibly sit down or rest until a daily to-do list has been fully completed. If the supermarket doesn’t have 1 item, I have to drive round others until I find it- otherwise I just can’t relax. It’s ridiculous and drives my husband mad!!

This all probably sounds really pathetic. Please do not think I am moaning and I do not want any sympathy whatsoever, I am writing this post as I want people to understand why maybe I am different to before. I feel like I sometimes push people away with my attitudes because I can’t really hide them. I get very frustrated as I have been trying to work on this and assess why I can’t be more normal but I am not getting very far!

I know that a lot of the problems are likely to stem from the drug cocktail I take everyday so there is not much that I can do about it, the main culprit probably being the steroids. My dose may come down a little soon, which could help things but I will always be on a certain amount.

I am basically just having a little time of reflection and I was reading a blog about a guy in America who has had a transplant and he wrote some advice to other transplant patients that really touched me:

“When you get the call (saying there’s an organ available for you), put it in God’s hands and never waste the chance to thank your donor and donors everywhere. Be humble because no matter what pain you went through to get there, you deserve this no more than others waiting. You are very lucky to receive such an inexpressible gift. When you heal give back…you’re not an inspiration, you’re not special, you’re not a chosen saint, you’re the recipient of a life-saving organ from another human being. It is the most precious, special gift anyone of us could imagine….and… YOU OWE!”

These are really good words, it made me think that I shouldn’t let this journey I have been on define me- I am not solely a transplant patient. But then this leads me back to the original question- who am I now? It also makes me realise that maybe this is just all a self indulgence that I feel I am entitled to after a few tough years and I need to focus on doing what he says and giving back- this is not about me and how I feel, it’s about being kept on this earth to give something back. There are also plenty of other people going through what I am and other hard times.

I shall take these thoughts into the new year. Part of the reason of writing this blog is that it is therapeutic for me and a record for me of my illness, recovery and life post-transplant (with ups and downs) and that’s why I wanted to get this down before my trip away. 2014 is a new year and a new start ☺

Just to mention as well that I have started a new page called “Post-Transplant Travels”- hopefully there will be many! I will be posting on this page during my holiday.

And if for any reason, I can’t access the blog online or something- I would like to thank you all for being fabulous friends and followers who have helped me more than I can say. I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a healthy new year.

Love Kerry xxx

2 Year Transplant Anniversary :-)

23 Nov

Hi everyone,

This time 2 years ago my life was not only saved but transformed by a very special lady who I so wish I could thank.
Today I will be thinking of her family more than ever and feeling incredibly lucky and grateful to everybody who has helped me reach today.

The pictures below are of me about to go into my transplant compared with today- can you see a difference?!

2 years

After a dip during the last few months, Im delighted that my lung function is now back at it’s highest it has ever been 🙂

This seems like a great time to say that Phil and I are off to Australia for Christmas and New Year in a few weeks time, something that I never thought would be possible. Whilst I am slightly nervous about going so far away from home, I am so excited and just can’t believe that I actually have this chance. I am planning on doing some blogging while I am there- a trip of a lifetime such as this deserves a few blogs! 🙂

Lots of love to you all xxxx

Another operation done :-)

7 Aug

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the delayed update, I’m home and just about recovered from the stomach operation. It all went well despite being complicated by my previous peg tube surgery but the surgeons were brilliant and although it made it much more tricky for them, they managed to keep it keyhole which was so much better for me in terms of healing and possible infection etc.

The anaesthetic really knocked me this time though- it has taken 2 weeks to feel better and able to drive and do normal things. I wasn’t sleeping so was getting more and more tired too, hence the reason this blog is so delayed- I just haven’t felt up to doing much. Stomach wise however, I really cant complain. The first week was really horrible and uncomfortable but I refused to take the pain relief which really didn’t help matters. I wasn’t trying to be hardy- it was just making me feel so much worse- confused and sick so I decided I would rather be in pain than that! It also really aggravated my existing back problems which has been the main source of discomfort but I have spent as much time as possible lying down and overall it is definitely improving- I just have to be careful how much I do and what positions I sit / lie in. Eating has been much better than I thought. I started off with just puree but within a few days I was able to eat mince and mash etc so not too bad at all. I have had a lot of yoghurts and soup. I very quickly discovered that freshly baked cake dissolves in your mouth and you can suck chocolate buttons so that was a great help! 🙂

I’m now off on holiday on Friday to Spain with Phil’s parents and family which I am so looking forward to. Its going to be a lovely relaxing break in hopefully just lovely sunshine. We have a villa with a pool and I have a loaded kindle so hopefully it will be the perfect way to finish my recuperation. The only slight snag is that I have woken up today feeling pretty rough, chesty and a bit cold. Today has been cancelled and I will spend it resting and hopefully sleeping off anything coming my way- I am NOT keen on swapping Spain for Harefield. I managed to fight off the last chesty cold I had without medical intervention and I’m slightly worried that I cant be that lucky twice… but it’s hopefully all about positive thinking!

I do have some very sad news- Little Ned who I have previously requested prayers for, heart-breakingly lost his fight on 28th July, aged 4 years old. Our whole family is devastated by this and I just cant imagine how his lovely parents, siblings and grand-parents must feel. His funeral is on Friday and I’m so sad not to be going. It’s just not do-able in terms of travel arrangements and even though I feel very guilty to be going off on holiday that day- I can promise that I will be thinking of gorgeous little Ned and praying for everyone who loves him all day on Friday and for a long time to come.

Life has been very busy the last few months with various ups and downs. The drugs and I guess your past journey through illness sometimes make things harder to cope with and I have been struggling a bit with this recently. This is part of the course and not something I really want to dwell on but I haven’t been great at getting in touch with people and socialising recently and this is the reason why so bear with me- it’s really not that I don’t want to make an effort. I’m hoping getting away on holiday will really help kick this.

I’m sure i have a lot of other news to tell you but I think it will have to wait for another blog as my brain isn’t functioning brilliantly today!

Oh I have been doing some bits of publicity for Organ donation in the last couple of months which I hope some of you will have seen- I will elaborate on this more next blog!

Thank you all as always for your continued support and love- it always means a lot.
Kerry xxx