"A friend loves at all times." Prov. 17:17. This is one of my favorite Bible verses. I have tried to live by it, but feel I am unsuccessful a lot. Doesn't that feel comforting, though, to think that your friend loves you through thick and thin. I have friends that love me that way and have seen me through some very tough times. I couldn't have made it without them! The rest of that verse says "and a brother is born for adversity." In my case that would mean sister. I have two sisters and a sister-in-law. All three of them epitomize that verse. They have been there for me all the way. I see it as proof that God cares for us and answers our needs before we even realize we will have them. How comforting that is. If you have questions about God and Jesus Christ, I certainly don't have all the answers, but I would love to discuss my personal experience with you.
Why music? That is a very good question! It is as hard to answer as why pink or why Peanuts? From about 5th grade on I knew playing the piano was for me. Hymn playing is something that some people find to be easy and others find very hard. It came easily for me so I was playing for opening at Sunday School by 5th grade.
One thing my mom did that I think was very smart was buying us sheet music to any songs we wanted. I remember learning "How Great Thou Art." On a Sunday morning that I consider a turning point in my life I was playing it in the Sunday School classroom before Sunday School. I was a 5th grader. A high school guy named Rocky Albers was the pianist in the 4th grade classroom. He was a fabulous pianist that I admired a lot. He walked into my classroom and told me to keep playing and to play louder. Then he went into the 4th grade room and started to play with me. What he added was exquisite. I will never forget that day and that duet! My only regret is that I couldn't be out in the hall listening. He has no idea what he did for me that day, and that he actually kickstarted my musical career. I often think I need to find a way to thank him, but I'm sure he has no memory of it. I still love to play duets to this day!
You might wonder how it feels to be a person who has received a transplant. Besides the fact that you feel incredibly blessed because your life has been saved you actually feel pretty normal. I feel like it is surreal. I know it happened, and I have a magnificent scar to prove it, but it is hard to realize it fully, too.
I do have to take several medications. They all have possible side effects, but I don't read about them or worry about them. I decided right away that God wouldn't save my life and then let medications kill me so I will handle side effects if and when they appear. One of them gave me severe migraines so a change was made. That is the only problem I have noticed.
I feel well which can be deceptive. Three times I have felt perfectly well and found out I wasn't. Two of those times I even had to enter the hospital. I am blood tested fairly often to keep an eye on things. Sometimes medication changes are made, but after the first year that has not been as frequent.
I walk a fine line with my immune system so that I don't go into rejection. My immune system can be a fighter and give me trouble! I am a social person and have had to learn that sometimes I can't go where there's going to be a crowd, especially during flu season.
I was so weak and sick before my transplant that I never dreamed I could feel this well again. In my opinion I am pretty much back to normal which is a MIRACLE! There is absolutely no way I could have had company last weekend at my home. Actually, I seriously doubt I would have lived to my 42nd anniversary. God used a wonderful young man's unselfish choice to be an organ donor and saved my life!
Happy 42nd Anniversary to us! I can't believe it has been this long. Where did the time go? Also, can you believe I actually found a way to get back on my blog? I have not been able to get on for ages. I'm not sure I will be able to get back on again an hour from now, but at least I'm doing a new post for now.
Hayley snapped this picture of us the other day when we were celebrating with my cousins and sister and brother-in-law. It's not too bad, but the people in this picture have aged I tell you! Just the other day our granddaughter, Molly, looked at our wedding picture and told me that I didn't look the same at all, but grandpa did. That is the story of my life! Oh, well, truth hurts! :D
In the group picture left to right you see Joyce & Stephen, Us, Ken & Connie. Ken & Connie were married the same year we were in June. They are the same age, too.
We had a great time with all the family. Our kids were there, too. Nicholas and Brooke hosted dinner at their beautiful new home. Hayley, bless her heart, was the photographer. Molly & Halston were our entertainment.
Uncle Nicholas managed to get the kitties to come out from under the bed for some loving from the girls. This helped his popularity rating go up immensely!
All in all we had a wonderful day! It makes getting old worth it when you have so many blessings! Thank you, dear God for all 42 years!
I haven’t added to this
series in a long time.I still
haven’t managed a picture with Dr. Dexeus.I did, however, pin down my transplant surgeon, Dr. John P. Duffy, today for a picture.
As I said before, I know a
LOT of doctors, and feel that God has divinely intervened with all of
them.I couldn’t ask for a better
team of caring, knowledgeable men and women.Dr. Duffy is one of three surgeons that comprise my
transplant team.He is the one who
did my surgery, and I can’t thank him enough for doing such a wonderful job.
When I first met him, I asked
him if he were old enough to be a doctor.When you look at his picture you’ll see why.He told me he was old enough for a lot of things!JBut
seriously he is just a little older than my sweet Hayley.Yes, he is also young enough to be my
He is my main specialist now,
since he did my surgery.It amazes
me that he remembers me when he sees me outside of the office.He has many patients so I didn’t expect
that.One afternoon he saw me in
the hall at the hospital and called my name to come see Dr. Kautzman.They had seen me in the hall, and she
didn’t believe it was me so he had me come over and show her how well I’m
doing.That also made me feel that
I am recovering well which is so comforting.
I saw him today and left his
office feeling that all was well, and that he is on top of things.He has a fun sense of humor which you
know is important to me.He can be
very serious when he needs to be, but a smile is always near by.
If you ever need a transplant, Heaven forbid, you are in good hands if you have Dr. Duffy for your surgeon.
I am one
of those people who have been blessed with vibrant good health.Dennis and I seldom, if ever, met our
insurance medical deductible.That
is why all of this came as such a shock.
unsuccessfully fought a weight problem most of my life.If you can think of a weight loss plan,
I have tried it.I did not do
fin/fin, however.I’m sure I
misspelled that.In 2003 I decided
to try an over-the-counter weight loss pill called Malibu Trim by the Taebo
Corporation. I took a pill in early January and 3 hours later came down with
chilling and aching.I assumed I
had the flu.Two weeks later I
felt better so I took another pill.The same symptoms occurred, this time much worse.
on a Sunday.By Friday I had
turned yellow and was so ill I had Nicholas take me to the doctor here at
Fairview.That is when I started
seeing Dr. James Garner as my PCP, a wonderful guy.He immediately entered me in the hospital.I was sure the pill had caused it
because things were identical.No
one agreed with me.
week at the Fairview Hospital I was taken by ambulance to Integris Baptist
Hospital at Oklahoma City.I was
now under the care of Dr. Gurakahr at Nazih Zuhdi Transplant Institute.I’m sure I don’t have to tell you I was
terrified and had turned dark yellow.
biopsy I was proved right!It
showed a chemical damage of 25%.They began to look at that pill with different eyes.I was told that my liver should heal
itself.I improved rapidly, lost
60 lbs., and didn’t have to quit my job.Things went along pretty well for 6 years.I didn’t feel perfect, but after all, I was in my 50’s.Age was affecting me, too, I figured.
took a dramatic turn in March of 2009.I’ll begin with that next time.
My niece, Rhonda, delicately hinted that I needed to update my blog. Since I hadn't written since the 4th of July, I think she was right.
A lot has happened in my life since then, and most of the time I was too ill and weak to even get on the computer, let alone blog. I am getting ready to do a series on my transplant experience. I'm having a little trouble with writing about it, but I do feel it will make me feel better to share. If I can help the next person in any way, that will be my delight. It is an experience like nothing I've ever known. Facing your mortality is not that fun, but God never promised us a life full of fun. What He has done is bless me beyond measure.
Through the years I have blogged a little about living with liver disease. I advise you to go back and reread those (if you can stomach it!) :D I did, and I survived it! :D
I'll go into more detail later. I'm dwelling on my blessings today. My two precious granddaughters, Molly and Halston, are on my mind. Here are their Christmas pictures. You can see why I feel so blessed!
P.S. If you're wondering "What's up with the blue background?" Well, I just couldn't find a pink that went along with the picture. Hard to imagine, I agree! :D
"Whenever someone calls me ugly I get super sad and hug them, because I know how tough life is for the visually impaired." ~ Will Ferrell
"We can't all be princesses, someone has to clap when I go by."
"The best way to spread Christmas Cheer, is singing loud for all to hear." From "Elf"
"He who does not have Christmas in his heart will never find it under
~Roy L. Smith
"The Lord respects me when I work, but He loves me when I sing."
"Life isn't about how you survived the storm...it's about how you danced in the rain!"
"The great tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer - but unoffered prayer."
"Wherever I wander; wherever I roam. Wherever my mom is will always be home."
"Dad, a son's first hero; a daughter's first love."
"When mom and dad don't understand, a sister always will." ~Author Unknown
"Women are angels...and when someone breaks our wings, we simply continue to fly...on a broomstick if need be. We are flexible like that"
"May those that love us, love us. And those that don't love us, May God turn their hearts. And if He doesn't turn their hearts, May He turn their ankles So we will know them by their limping." ~ Irish Blessing
"Watching your daughter being collected by her date feels like handing over a million dollar Stradivarius to a gorilla."
"Discipline is remembering what you want." ~ David Campbell
"There is always a miracle waiting to happen in the midst of every catastrophe."
Church, family, the color pink, all the "Peanuts Gang", reading, hand sewing, playing the piano, singing, listening to children sing with all their hearts, Neil Diamond, Olympic Pairs Figure Skating, ruffles, school supplies, paper dolls, writing children's books, my front porch rocking chair, and playing games of all kinds.