Saturday, March 31, 2012

2 more days...

It's been 72 years in the making and in two days comes the big reveal...the 1940 United States Census!  For those of you don't know, I am a huge fan of and I love to index records for  So my inner Family History geek can hardly wait to see these newly released records which will contain information about one of our greatest generations.  These 1940 census images will be more accurate and will include more personal information about our ancestors than any previous census records to date.

At first you will only be able to view the census records, like flipping through a book--albeit a very, very large book.  Indexers will begin working behind the scenes to index the names so they will be searchable, making it so you don't have to scroll through hundreds of pages reading every name to find the ancestor you are looking for. Genius!

If you love learning about the past, consider getting involved in the indexing effort.  It is fun and simple to do.  You can sign up at  All you need to do is download the indexing program (free) and they have tutorials to help you get started.  Easy peasey.  You index at your own pace--doing as many or as few as you feel comfortable with.  Once you get going, you'll become a Genealogy Geek too. I guarantee it.

To learn more about the 1940 census, click on my Ancestry Ace badge on the left side of the blog.  April 2nd, I can hardly wait.  Let the census commence!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Blown mind update...

Last post I was finishing up my eval at Duke.  The whole process took a lot out of me, physically and mentally.  I'm finally focused enough to sit down and write about what's happened next.

Rheid and I spent the next day, Saturday, checking out possible housing.  We saw apartments and extended-stay hotel rooms.  They were all expensive and each had positives and negatives.  We did stop at Residence Inn and met a nice couple who invited us back that evening to meet the "lung group" who were getting together for dinner.  We got to know 6 of the 10 couples living at that facility who were around for the weekend.  I can see how being around others sharing a common experience could be helpful.  We are still trying to figure out the best place for us.

We flew home early Sunday morning.  Got to experience another TSA pat down and was tested for explosive residue.  As I stood spread-eagle, a cute teenager looked at me incredulously and shook her head.  Our telepathic communication:  "Unbelievable!  Targeting little old people who can't breathe."  "Yeah, I agree...well, except for the 'little old' part."

Monday was the beginning of the waiting game.  We were told several times that the transplant committee meets together on Tuesday mornings and you are notified of their decision on Thursday or Friday.  So as I was getting my day started on Tuesday, I kept wondering about what the committee was saying about me.  It was just after 12:30 when the phone rang and it was Duke.  I figured they must need some kind of info from me before they could proceed.  Man, was I surprised when Sandra, a pre-transplant coordinator, said the committee had reviewed my case and felt like I was within my transplant window.  They would like me to relocate to Duke within the next two months.  While I'm still trying to process what's happening, she continues to say that I need one additional test, an endoscopy, before I am completely cleared to come.  She said I could do it locally and have the test results faxed back to them.

To say that this news was a shock is a vast understatement.  I truly felt I was being evaluated too soon and their decision would reflect that fact.  But not so.  I was prepared for them to tell me that they would follow me and reevaluate the situation in 3-6 months.  My hope was to stretch that 3-6 months into years, if possible.    I've just never pictured myself in this place--needing a transplant.  My mind is struggling to accept the facts.  I hope it gets easier with more time because my anxiety level has increased to where it hasn't been for years.

I was also reminded by Sandra to sign up for pulmonary rehab here locally.  Well, I've been trying to do that for the last week with limited success.  When someone finally got back to me, it was a bit comical.  The therapist asked me a couple of preliminary questions and then proceeded to ask this:  "When is your lung transplant scheduled?"  Yikes, this did not inspire confidence!  I should have answered "only heaven knows," since no one on this earth is privy to this information.  Pulmonary rehab starts on Monday...wish me luck, I think I'm gonna need it.

Tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. I need to be in Denver for my endoscopy.  I made sure that sedation is included for this one.  Lucky me will get to sleep through it, thank goodness.

I am so thankful for faith, family and friends.  I am truly blessed.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Evaluation Day 5...

Woot woot!  Last day and I didn't even have to be at the clinic until 10:00 a.m.  Plus I got to eat breakfast--what a concept.  My first appointment was with the infectious disease doc, Dr. Cameron Wolfe.  Besides being a nice guy, he spoke in a very cool Australian accent.  We talked over my issues with numerous allergies to antibiotics and inability to use inhaled antibiotics with any success.  We talked about my pseudomonas strains and my MRSA.  Pretty exciting stuff I know.  He said although my allergies present challenges, they are not insurmountable for transplant.  Good news for me.

Next it was time to head to the pulmonary function test lab.  I was dreading this more than usual due to the fact that I still have to put pressure on my groin every time I cough.  And pft's cause me to cough like no other.  I sure didn't want to blow a gasket but I wanted to give it my best effort too.  My final effort was my best and I ended up with 29% lung function.  Not too bad.

Along with the pft, I also had to do a Arterial Blood Gas (ABG) test.  This is a blood draw taken from the wrist in order to obtain arterial blood to determine how much O2 and CO2 is in the bloodstream.  Not the most fun blood test to get but my gal got it on the first time with minimal digging when my vein stopped cooperating.  Good ABG techs are a true blessing.

At this point we were ahead of schedule, so we went over to the Center For Living to watch part of a pulmonary rehab session.  Almost every single doctor has not been happy with my lack of pulmonary rehab so I'm hoping my going to check it out on my free time makes a good impression.

After a quick bite of lunch, we headed over to talk with the Financial Coordinator, Julia.  She was very informative and really let us know how much we were looking at to get through this.  I am so grateful for Rheid thinking proactively and getting our fund-raising started.  Although we are far short of our goal, she seemed impressed with what we have managed to gather so far.  Thank you everyone who has contributed so far.  You have made a difference in how positively the financial part of my application can be presented.  Words are inadequate for how appreciative I am for your support.

Finally, what I've been waiting for:  my last tests!  They consisted of a CT scan of my sinuses and my lungs.  The schedule said the test would be with contrast which I wasn't thrilled about but it's okay.  It just makes you feel very flushed and like you need to pee (or feel like you already did.)  But after mentioning it to the tech twice that I was expecting contrast, he said they don't generally do them.  I sure hope he knows what he was talking about.  But short of shooting myself with the stuff, it wasn't happening.  So I got by without another IV  and more dye for my poor liver to strain.  Hurray for less free radicals!

I'm not sure if around 5:15 you heard a whooshing sound but if you did, it was just me letting out a huge sigh of relief.  I am done.  I am done!  I am DONE!  I feel like I deserve a "I Survived a Lung Transplant Evaluation" t-shirt.  Maybe a Duke one will have to do.  :)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Evaluation Day 4...

Another early morning (7:15) and no food, I think this is a recipe for burnout.  Yep, I'm ready for this to be done already.  Today was heart day with a scheduled echocardiogram and a heart catherization.  I was also scheduled for another EKG but had proof that it was actually done at the consult yesterday.  (Yes, insurance company, I saved you some money.  Wanna give me a good customer discount on my deductible to reward my diligence?)

The echocardiogram is basically a sonogram for your heart,  Not bad at all.  They also did a bubble study along with it where they pump some small air bubbles into your heart.  They told me what this was supposed to show but I can't remember what.  Maybe there are air bubbles in my brain.  They worked me in earlier because they had time while I was holding for the cath lab.  That was a blessing because the echo lab can be a long wait in the afternoon they said.  Finally the cath lab was ready for me, just as the echo finished. 

Well, the cardiac cath was interesting (10:00).  Let's just say there is a reason they give you Versed.  They informed me on the table that I would be given Benedryl instead because of breathing issues.  Bummer.  Let's just say the numbing and the threading parts are not too comfortable.  Then there was the coughing issue--kept telling "try hard not to cough."  Easy for them to say, difficult for me to do.  I still have to put pressure on my groin every time I cough for the next 48 hours.  Here's hoping I have a mild coughing night.  I slept all afternoon in a Benedryl stupor, starting to feel more normal tonight.

Tomorrow is the beginning of the end, thank goodness.